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Stella: Norris in Mexico made me think of Alonso in Valencia 2012

Stella: Norris in Mexico made me think of Alonso in Valencia 2012

Stella: Norris in Mexico made me think of Alonso in Valencia 2012

McLaren boss Andrea Stella hailed Lando Norris’ drive from 17th on the grid in Mexico to finish fifth claiming it reminded him of Fernando Alonso’s win from 11th in Spain back in 2012.

Back in 2012, Stella was Alonso’s race engineer at Ferrari, and in Valencia that year, the now Aston Martin driver took one of his best wins in Formula 1 at what was called the European Grand Prix, after starting from 11th during the Red Bull/Sebastian Vettel dominance era.

Norris’ drive in the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix last Sunday was so impressive that Stella thought of Alonso’s 2012 win in Valencia.

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Stella was asked to rank Norris’ win, he said, quoted by Motorsport.com: “This race made me think of Valencia 2012. At the time we started 11th and then we won the race.

“We were having exactly this conversation on the pitwall. Will Joseph, his race engineer, turned to me and he said: ‘That’s one of Lando’s best!’ And I said: ‘Will, that’s one of the best of all!’.

“So many overtakes in Mexico, when yesterday if you read the quotes everyone was saying it’s so difficult to overtake, while managing power unit temperatures, and having to do lift and coast…

“I’m just impressed. One of the best days for a driver that I have been part of,” the Italian maintained.

If only qualifying was better…

However, that drive from Norris made McLaren lament what could’ve been had the Briton managed to qualify better on Saturday; he was 19th fastest but was promoted to 17th on the starting grid after other drivers received grid penalties.

“On one side, we are excited having seen this kind of masterpiece,” Stella pointed out. “On the other side, like Lando said on the in-lap, let’s do a good job on Saturday and we can fight for podiums. The pace was there to fight for podiums.

“We were in a position to be the second best car, possibly shared with [Lewis] Hamilton,” he claimed.

“There is a little element of frustration, but if you asked me yesterday, nowhere near would I have thought we could have overtaken so many cars,” the McLaren boss went on.

“I’d rather take the positive out of this race and I hope that the entire team at the factory and all the fans receive the same sort of message.

“We are there. We don’t give up. We are competitive. But we need to do a better job overall over a race weekend,” Stella concluded.

Big Question: How to do you rate Lando Norris’ drive in the 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix?