Norris blames ’emotions’ for calling race engineer ‘stupid’

Lando Norris has vowed there will be no repeat of his angry radio message from the Dutch GP

Lando Norris has explained his angry radio message from the Dutch GP in which he called his engineer stupid – Image: James Bearne/XPB

Lando Norris is confident the team knows his outburst at race engineer Jose Manuel Lopez during Sunday’s Dutch Grand Prix was born from emotion rather than any malice.

Norris was left to question McLaren’s early race strategy at Zandvoort when he was left out on slick tyres after the opening laps when others had pitted for intermediates when rain struck just as the 72-lap race started.

Norris requested to pit, believing himself to be “too slow”, to which Lopez responded he was faster than his rivals on the inters. An angry Norris, however, replied: “What the ****! Are you stupid?”

The British driver has confirmed the air has been cleared. “We just spoke about it a bit now,” said Norris prior to his appearance in the FIA drivers’ press conference at Monza ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

Norris appreciates that on reflection he does not sound as he thinks he comes across over the radio at the time.

“When you look at it after, I always make myself look like an idiot, and I get that,” said Norris. “But the people that I speak to know that I would never mean something like that. It’s more we made some mistakes with our calls, our strategy, and things like that.

“A bit of it is just emotions at the time. I think I said the other day, I always sound like I’m crying or I’m moaning on the radio. I don’t know why. I hate it but I feel like I’m really relaxed and chilled in the car, but then I’m always the opposite when I listen to myself after.

“There’s just always discussions, I guess. There are always things that you’re trying to tell them and information that you’re trying to get.

“It’s just a couple of times when the information was not to the level that it should have been, clearly, then I guess it gets a little bit frustrating a couple of times, but it’s stuff we’ve reviewed and it definitely won’t happen again.”

The 23-year-old is confident, though, that as long as he and McLaren are on the same page, he is unconcerned with what outside perceptions might be with regard to his occasionally forthright views over the radio.

“People always judge things from the outside and like to make comments, but the team know how we work and how we say things and so forth,” added Norris.

“At that moment I was a bit frustrated with what I was getting told, and some things like that. I’m not denying that, at times in the past, when you’re under pressure, and it gets a bit stressful at times, I maybe don’t sound the most relaxed.

“But a lot of the time I am and, and it maybe doesn’t come across that way, especially if you’re on the outside listening to things.

“But the team knows how I work, when I’m performing well, or when I’m not. Simple as that.

“So as long as they know that, and I know how they do things and how they speak to me and how we interpret things, then that’s all that is needed from my side.

“From what people see on the outside, I care, but in a way, I don’t care, because I’m doing my job, and I just do that the best I can.”

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