Lando Norris lifts lid on illness that made Spanish GP one of his ‘hardest races ever’

F1: Spanish Grand Prix preview

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McLaren driver Lando Norris was back among the points on Sunday after impressing to finish eighth in the Spanish Grand Prix. That’s despite the fact he was “feeling really unwell” after falling ill in the build-up to Barcelona.

The Formula 1 prospect has opened up on his struggles preparing for the sixth race of the season, where Red Bull’s Max Verstappen emerged victorious. Norris, 22, suffered his first retirement of the campaign in Miami a fortnight ago but battled sickness to record his fourth top-10 finish of the year this past weekend.

“Today was tough,” he told reporters following his run to eighth in Catalonia. “I was feeling really unwell before the race as I’m suffering with tonsillitis, and that, in combination with the high temperatures, made this one of the hardest races I’ve ever done.

“I’ve been a bit on the backfoot this weekend as most of my energy has been spent fighting off this illness. I’ve had to miss a lot of engineering sessions, which has compromised my weekend, and I definitely wasn’t as prepared for the Grand Prix as I could have been.”

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Eighth place was particularly laudable for the youngster given he started 11th on the grid. Norris occupies seventh position in the drivers’ standings, one point ahead of Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and seven behind Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton.

He accounted for McLaren’s only points earned in Spain after team-mate Daniel Ricciardo placed 12th. The Australian’s under-performance continues to hurt the manufacturer’s chances this term, with a sixth-place finish in Australia being his sole top-10 result thus far.

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Norris could do with Ricciardo picking up the slack somewhat, particularly if his illness endures through to the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday (May 29). The race holds some home advantage after he relocated to the French Riviera earlier this year, though that’s also true for numerous others on the F1 grid.

“The team have been working really hard to bring performance to the car, so I’m glad we could take something from the weekend,” Norris added of his display in Spain. “We’ll look at the data over the next few days, see if there’s any additional performance we can extract from the car and make sure we’re ready to go for Monaco.”

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