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Lando Norris Wonders If His "Only Shot" At An F1 Win Is Gone

Lando Norris Wonders If His "Only Shot" At An F1 Win Is Gone
By Eoin Harrington Updated

There's no doubting Lando Norris and his F1 credentials, but the young Brit fears that a major opportunity passed him by last season.

Norris was among the best of the rest in the midfield during a thrilling 2021 season, taking four podiums and a pole position along the way.

It was the race at which he took that pole position, however, that the McLaren man says still dwells on his mind from time to time.

Speaking to the official F1 podcast, Norris revealed that he often wonders whether that race in Russia 2021 was his "only shot" at an F1 race victory.

Lando Norris: Young Brit hopes for another shot at F1 race win

Lando Norris came within minutes of winning a Formula One grand prix at Sochi last season. The agonising manner in which he lost out to Lewis Hamilton still has him questioning that race from last September, as he revealed on the Beyond the Grid podcast on Wednesday:

The one thing I think of is "was that my only shot?" I hate thinking it, because I also want to believe that as a team we're going to be winning races in a few years. But you never know in Formula One - you never know where you can be or what can happen.

There's been a couple of times where I've thought, "was that my only shot of winning a Formula One race in my career? Is that what people are going to speak about in 20 years - 'oh, he should have won that race in Russia!'" That's the only thing.

I think about it very rarely.

As a team, in two or three years, that's when our time will come.

Lando Norris took a sensational pole position at last year's Russian Grand Prix, and led for the majority of the race before the rain arrived with only five laps to go.

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Norris gambled on staying out on dry tyres while second placed man Lewis Hamilton would pit for the wet-weather intermediates.

It was a heartbreaking way in which to lose your first race win and, after struggling back to the pitlane, Norris would ultimately only finish P7.

Norris appeared to aggressively rebuke his team's suggestion that he pit for wets in Sochi last year, but he clarified his frustration in the Beyond the Grid interview:

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Everyone threw everything at me in this race, and it just wasn't meant to be. I still feel like I did a very good job.

People blame me a lot - I don't want to sound like I'm blaming the team. A lot of people do [blame him] - not in terms of team, in terms of public. They say "listen to the team" - but the team didn't tell me to do anything! So there was nothing to listen about!

It was just "what do you think of for the tyres?" And I was like "argh!" - that was it!

The only thing is the way I say things over the radio, which is so different to the way I feel I say them when I'm in the car.

I know I was stressed leading the race - Lewis had just caught me up, he's a lot quicker, it's raining - this is everything that can go wrong going wrong! At the same time I felt very much so in my zone ... I felt very comfortable at the same time.

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Russia was not the only race in 2021 in which Lando Norris contended for a race win. Himself and teammate Daniel Ricciardo took home the only 1-2 finish of the season at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, but with Ricciardo taking the victory.

McLaren appeared to instruct Norris not to challenge Ricciardo for the win while they were running first and second, as they sought to protect a massive points haul for the team.

Norris said that the Monza race is also one which he thinks of from time to time, but accepts that Ricciardo's pace would have made things tricky:

I do [dwell on Russia] at times. Obviously we won the previous race at Monza, Monza was a 1-2 with Daniel.

There is, sadly [a part of him that thinks he could have won in Monza as well]. I think what I have to be careful with on this one is that I don't think I can say that I would have won it.

I would have had to fight for it, none of us would have made it easy for each other - but I could have given it a shot. It was a shot that I missed out on, and I guess it's a little bit frustrating because of that - a shot that I could have had a chance of winning a race, and I didn't even take that shot. A little bit frustrated with that.

It certainly seems unlikely that Lando Norris will retire without a race win, given how much pace he has shown in the first three years of his time in the sport.

Formula 1 returns this weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, a race at which Norris contended for pole position last year before a dramatic qualifying crash.

It's been a tricky year for Norris and McLaren in 2022, but they will hope the British driver can recover last year's pace and deliver a good result at Spa this weekend.

SEE ALSO: F1 Drivers Ranked: Mid-Season Power Rankings From 2022


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