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Lando Norris: Did McLaren driver produce his best ever F1 drive at Mexico City Grand Prix?

Lando Norris' run of consecutive podiums may have come to an end at the Mexico City Grand Prix but he produced a stunning drive from 17th on the grid and 14th when the race was red flagged with 36 laps to go; watch every session of the Sao Paulo GP live on Sky Sports F1

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Lando Norris says he 'stayed calm' while battling his way from the back to finish fifth place at the Mexico City GP

Lando Norris stormed through the field in the second half of the Mexico City Grand Prix on Sunday to claim fifth place from 17th on the grid.

Although Norris wasn't able to add to his four consecutive podiums, he produced a stunning drive and made some great moves following the red flag for Kevin Magnussen's crash at the halfway point of the race.

Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle says it was "perhaps one of Norris' most impressive drives yet in F1" in the McLaren driver's 101 Grand Prix starts.

Asked if he agreed with that, Norris said: "Potentially. It's always easier to say that when you are at the back and have to come forward. Definitely just in terms of management and still beating a lot of cars who are not slow.

"With George [Russell] and catching the Ferraris. They are not slow. Just a lot of it was management and it's something I proved a lot. It was probably one of my biggest weaknesses a few years ago and I worked a lot with my engineers. We work a lot every single night to be ready for these kind of races.

"Every little bit of wheelspin, every little snap or oversteer adds up and when you see a race like Mexico, you see the consequences and how it can go when you get it right, you are thankful for the input and work. A perfect day."

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McLaren's Lando Norris says his shock Q1 exit is on him and admits that he made mistakes on his lap at the Mexico City GP

How did Norris finish fifth?

Norris was the only driver to start on the soft tyres and pitted from 14th to go onto the hards and undercut several drivers to move up to eighth when everyone had pitted once.

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McLaren elected to pit Norris under the Safety Car, when Magnussen crashed, which put Norris down two spots. On the standing start restart after the red flag, Norris lost another four positions as he was forced to back out on the run down to Turn One.

On new mediums though, Norris was flying and quickly dispatched Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg to get back into the points.

Yuki Tsunoda's collision with Oscar Piastri moved Norris up a place and he also overtook Alex Albon to jump to eighth. He was rapidly closing in on team-mate Piastri, who let him through to set about chasing Daniel Ricciardo.

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Highlights from the Mexico City Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez

Norris went around the outside of the Australian at Turn Four to have the inside for Turn Five and made an equally impressive move on Russell by cutting back through Turns Four and Five to take fifth.

"The restart we didn't get right. We struggled a bit with power unit temperatures, so I couldn't get the tyres and things in the correct window for the restart. I paid the price a little bit," explained Norris.

"I then had to avoid some incidents and back out down the straight, which could have gone a lot worse. After that, I just stayed calm and got the tyres into a good window and went from there.

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Craig Slater looks at the chances of Lando Norris leaving McLaren and how much it would cost a team to buy him

"It was enjoyable, I didn't think I would get back to P5, so encouraging pace from the car. The pace was very strong. I was a long way out of position. Boxing onto the hard and undercutting seven or eight cars was a nice thing. The Safety Car and the red flag almost played into my hands a little bit because I could then go onto the mediums.

"I played the overtakes well and put them in awkward positions, managed to get past them all quickly. The main thing was staying out of trouble and it all paid off. I wish I was further up and I think I could have challenged for some silverware."

He added: "Probably one my my most fun races. A lot of good racing. Hard and fair racing, which is always the best I would say, against George and Daniel. Both definitely didn't want to give it up easily, so I knew they would put up a fight but I played it smart and played it well. I put them in awkward positions and got past, so an enjoyable one."

Lando Norris
Image: Lando Norris was on a charge after the red flag

What can Norris do in Brazil?

A maiden win still alludes Norris, who is sixth in the drivers' championship, and he thinks the Qatar Grand Prix was his best chance for victory in 2023.

But, for McLaren to perform well on a track which has lots of traction zones bodes well for the remaining three events and 2024.

"It's normally where we perform well. In previous races like Qatar and Texas, it suits us. I think we know how to get a car in the window quite quickly. I'm still reserved about my expectations, I wouldn't say they are high," continued Norris.

"But after Mexico, when we didn't expect to be as quick as we were, it's encouraging for myself and the whole team that we can perform well on a slow-speed circuit."

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In September, Red Bull boss Christian Horner admitted 'big talent' Lando Norris is one of a number of drivers they are keeping 'an eye on'

When to watch the Sao Paulo GP live only on Sky Sports F1

Thursday November 2

  • 4pm: Drivers' Press Conference

Friday November 3

  • 2pm: Sao Paulo GP Practice (session starts at 2.30pm)
  • 5pm: Sao Paulo GP Qualifying build-up (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
    6pm: Sao Paulo GP Qualifying (also on Sky Sports Main Event)
  • 8pm: Ted's Qualifying Notebook

Saturday November 4

  • 1.30pm: Sprint Shootout build-up
  • 2pm: Sao Paulo GP Sprint Shootout
  • 5.30pm: Sprint build-up
  • 6.30pm: SAO PAULO SPRINT
  • 8pm: Ted's Sprint Notebook

Sunday November 5

  • 3.30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Sao Paulo GP build-up
  • 7pm: Chequered Flag: Sao Paulo GP reaction
  • 8pm: Ted's Notebook

F1 heads straight to Brazil for the final leg of the Americas triple header and the last Sprint weekend of the 2023 season. Watch every session from the Sao Paulo Grand Prix live on Sky Sports F1 from Friday, with Sunday's race at 5pm. Stream F1 on Sky Sports with NOW

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