McLaren head of race operations Andrea Stella has explained the key character traits that Lando Norris displayed last year which have helped him improve as a Formula 1 driver over his first two seasons with the team.
“I think Lando is a really strong racer now,” Stella told Motorsport.com this week. “We can definitely witness his growth as a racer.
“He has more awareness of himself and more awareness of the car,” he continued. “He now has more awareness of what should be the drivers’ contribution, and what should be the car performance.
- Read also: Norris says ‘better decisions’ paid off on race day in 2020
“With his natural honesty, when he started with us very often Lando was saying: ‘I’m not doing a good enough job there, I’m not that good in that corner.’ He was very much pointing at himself.
“We helped him separate what is the car and what is the driver,” Stella explained. “Being able to separate them means his feedback has become more accurate.
“Very often the driver actually needs to be more demanding with the car rather than simply thinking ‘I need to adapt’, or ‘I’m not doing a good enough job at the corner’.
“Occasionally he has been affected by some technical problems,” Stella noted. “And Lando, one quality I really like about him is that he doesn’t cry.
“He doesn’t say: ‘I had this problem and this problem, and these are the problems. I’m the best in the world, but because of this problem I couldn’t show I’m the best.'”
Stella said there were other strong points in how Norris was now handling his work in the cockpit.
“Hs consistency, capacity to stay on the targeted lap time, capacity to execute a certain stint duration to achieve the strategy that we plan, his tyre management and so on,” Stella pointed out.
“That’s the main things that we have been able to witness in terms of growth.”
Norris was very evenly matched with team mate Carlos Sainz in 2020. He picked up 13 top ten finishes including a maiden podium at the opening race in Austria.
He finished just eight points behind the Spaniard in the final standings. Sainz has since departed for Ferrari and his seat taken by the experienced Daniel Ricciardo.
He credited improved race craft for extracting more out of the car and better results in his second season in F1. “I’m making better decisions,” he said. “They’re paying off and allowing for much better results come the end of the day.”
Norris is currently in Dubai, recovering from a positive coronavirus test while on holiday in the country.
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