Lando Norris believes there was nothing more he could do than score some important points in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that secured fourth in the 2023 Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship for McLaren.
McLaren suffered for pace in Las Vegas, but seemed to be in a good place Abu Dhabi, Norris even looking good for pole, but an error on his final lap, and Max Verstappen of course, meant he started the race from fifth, while Oscar Piastri started from third.
In the race however, the McLarens did not seem to have the pace to fight for the top spot, and as a result, Norris finished where he started while Piastri dropped to sixth.
Commenting on his race in McLaren‘s media brief, Norris said: “Tough race! Not the pace that we wanted but we did what we could to score important points to finish the season.
“We lost out a position in the pit stop so a little bit of a shame, but otherwise, I think I did what I could, we were just not quite strong enough today,” he lamented.
However McLaren made sure they beat Aston Martin to fourth in the 2023 F1 Constructors’ Championship.
Norris said: “Overall, we can be happy with how everything has gone because we’ve done what we needed to do as a team by securing P4 in the Constructors’ Championship.
“We have had plenty of ups from the start of the season, the last few months have been great for the team, and we’ll take that momentum into the winter to come back stronger next year.
“Thank you to all the team at track and back at MTC who have worked hard this season to give us a car which is able to compete towards the front of the grid.
“We have made some memories this year and I’m looking forward to pushing on together in 2024,” the Briton concluded.
Piastri: I’ve enjoyed by first year of F1 a hell of a lot
Piastri concluded his rookie F1 season in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, and while it may not have been the best performance he showed in 2023, he nevertheless did his part scoring points to secure McLaren’s Constructors’ results.
“It was a slightly tricky day today [Sunday], but P4 in the Constructors’ is still a very good effort,” the Australian said.
“We know we want to aim for more than that next year, but I’ve enjoyed my first year of F1 a hell of a lot,” he admitted.
“There’s been some great highlights, some trickier moments but it’s all part of the experience. I’m looking forward to some time off now.
“Thank you to the team trackside and in Woking, thank you to all the fans for sticking with us on our rollercoaster this year and we’ll be back fighting for more next year,” Piastri concluded.
McLaren team boss Andrea Stella did not hide his disappointment from not finishing the season on the podium, after McLaren have come a long way since the start turning a trouble MCL60 around into a genuine podium contender.
Stella: It has been an amazing turnaround
He said in McLaren’s race report: “We would have liked to finish on the podium for the final race of the season, but today we simply didn’t have enough pace.
“This doesn’t detract from this having been an incredible season,” he insisted. “It has been an amazing turnaround which was made possible by everybody’s hard work. To finish fourth in the Championship with nine podiums, achieve a victory in the Sprint race, three more podiums in the Sprint race, two pole positions in the Sprint Shootout, and deliver the fastest pit stop in history is a great achievement for the team.
“All of this was made possible by the work, commitment, effort and the talent of the men and women at McLaren and our colleagues at HPP [Mercedes]. I am so proud and so thankful to all team members.
“This is a strong foundation for the future, and we can’t wait to confirm this next season. Thanks to our fans, sponsors and partners that have been so supportive and enthusiastic.
“We are on this journey together and we look forward to the next phase,” the Italian concluded.
Stella played an important role in keeping the Woking squad together after the departure of Andreas Seidl at the start of the season, before the team also let Technical Director James Key go after the MCL60 turned out to be a disappointment.
Big Question: Can McLaren continue their revival in the 2024 Formula 1 season?