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Formula 1 Brazilian GP

Norris baffled by poor start that cost him lead in Brazil F1 sprint

Lando Norris says he doesn’t know what went wrong at the start of Formula 1’s Brazilian Grand Prix sprint race after losing the lead to Max Verstappen from pole position. 

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB19, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-23, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, the rest of the field at the start of the Sprint race

The Briton had made an initial good getaway from the front of the grid and seemed to have everything needed to lead into the first corner. 

However, during the second phase of acceleration, fellow front-row starter Verstappen was able to outdrag the McLaren and seized the lead after surging through on the inside. 

Norris admitted that perhaps he had played things too "safe" with how he approached things, but he was not convinced about why Verstappen had jumped him. 

"I have to review it," said Norris when asked about his explanation for losing the lead at the start. 

"It's something to look back on. My initial start was good, but my second phase of the launch, maybe I was just a bit conservative.  

"I don't think I had any wheelspin. I was just a little bit on the safe side. So, things to improve for tomorrow." 

Verstappen himself concurred with Norris's view that it was the second phase of the start that proved critical. 

"It was, of course important to try and get ahead at the start," said the world champion. "I think the initial launch wasn't, let's say, amazing, but the second part of the start was very good. So, we got alongside and then it was all about management." 

Caught sleeping 

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

After losing the lead to Verstappen, Norris then made his afternoon even more complicated when he lost a position to Mercedes driver George Russell on the run to Turn 4. 

However, he was able to retake that place and briefly closed in on leader Verstappen before the world champion was able to pull clear. 

"I was caught sleeping a little bit with George on lap one, but the pace was strong after," he said. "I tried to go after Max but just didn't have enough. But it was good fun." 

While Norris was slightly disappointed to not have enough pace to challenge Verstappen, he also said that there was nothing to be ashamed of in losing out. 

"We're not fighting necessarily, Max, I think we're talking about competing against one of the best drivers in one of the best cars that's ever been in F1," he said. 

"We're not going to suddenly be fighting a Red Bull on a track where we almost didn't expect to be as good as it has been. 

"So many good surprises and a lot of positives for us. Of course tomorrow we'll try again, but will have to do a little bit more overtaking." 

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