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Formula 1 Mexico City GP

Norris Mexico GP "masterpiece" reminded Stella of Alonso's F1 Valencia 2012 win

McLaren Formula 1 team principal Andrea Stella has compared Lando Norris' "masterpiece" Mexico Grand Prix drive to Fernando Alonso's iconic 2012 win for Ferrari in Valencia.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60 Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23

Norris was forced to start from 17th on the grid after failing to set a competitive lap time in qualifying.

But the Briton scythed through the field in Mexico City, and even after losing positions because of an unfortunately timed red flag and a poor restart, he continued reeling off overtakes to finish fifth.

His McLaren team was floored by Norris' race day performance, with team boss Stella comparing it to one of Alonso's finest wins when he worked with the Spaniard at Ferrari at the 2012 European Grand Prix.

"This race made me think of Valencia 2012. At the time we started 11th and then we won the race," Stella said as he was asked where it ranked among Norris' finest drives.

"We were having exactly this conversation on the pitwall. Will Joseph, his race engineer, turned to me and he said: 'That's one of Lando's best!' And I said: 'Will, that's one of the best of all!'.

"So many overtakes in Mexico, when yesterday if you read the quotes everyone was saying it's so difficult to overtake, while managing power unit temperatures, and having to do lift and coast...

"I'm just impressed. One of the best days for a driver that I have been part of."

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Alex Albon, Williams FW45

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60, Alex Albon, Williams FW45

But as McLaren proved more competitive than expected in Mexico, Norris and the team were left thinking about what could have been with a better qualifying position.

"On one side, we are excited having seen this kind of masterpiece," Stella added. "On the other side, like Lando said on the in-lap, let's do a good job on Saturday and we can fight for podiums. The pace was there to fight for podiums.

"We were in a position to be the second best car, possibly shared with [Lewis] Hamilton."

He added: "There is a little element of frustration, but if you asked me yesterday, nowhere near would I have thought we could have overtaken so many cars.

"I'd rather take the positive out of this race and I hope that the entire team at the factory and all the fans receive the same sort of message.

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"We are there. We don't give up. We are competitive. But we need to do a better job overall over a race weekend."

Team-mate Oscar Piastri wasn't able to emulate Norris after sustaining aero damage in a clash with AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda. The F1 rookie eventually dropped down to eighth after being passed by Norris in the final stint.

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