Motorsport

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix: Lando Norris Excited To See Mclaren Challenging Red Bull In F1 This Season

Norris started second at Imola on Sunday as a grid penalty dropped his McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri to fifth

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris pictured after Sunday's race
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Lando Norris is excited to see McLaren emerging as the foremost challengers to Red Bull, after he narrowly missed out on a second straight win at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. (More Motorsport News)

Norris started second at Imola on Sunday as a grid penalty dropped his McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri to fifth. 

It initially looked like Norris might face a battle for second as Charles Leclerc closed on him, but he found extraordinary pace late on as leader Max Verstappen started to struggle.

Verstappen complained of grip problems over team radio as Norris drew within 0.7 seconds of the world champion by the final lap, but he was just unable to pass him in a tense finish.

"It hurts me to say it, but one or two more laps and I think I would have had him," Norris told Sky Sports. 

"It's tough. I just lost out too much to Max in the beginning. He was stronger in the first stint.

"We are at a point now where we can say we are in a position with Ferrari and Red Bull. We have to get used to it. We are fighting for first and second now.

"It is still a surprise to say we are disappointed not to win, but it is what we should start to expect."

Norris has now managed four podium finishes in the last five races, and he sits fourth in the drivers' championship standings, six points behind Sergio Perez in third.

He finished second at the Chinese Grand Prix last month, then beat Verstappen to claim his first race win in Miami in early May, benefitting from effective upgrades to McLaren's MCL38 car.

"Hopefully, it continues like that because it's exciting, it's tough, and it gets you excited every weekend, so I'm looking forward to the next few," he said.

"We also had a second in China, so we've had second, first, second, and I think that’s a good sign."

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