Lando Norris took yet another second place at the U.S. Grand Prix on Sunday but feared his resurgent McLaren team may now have missed their best chance of a win this season.
The 23-year-old Briton has finished runner-up five times this year and six times in a Formula One career that remains without a victory.
Sunday’s latest second came when stewards disqualified Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton from that position long after the podium celebrations at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas.
If that was an unexpected bonus, with McLaren also overtaking Aston Martin for fourth place overall, Norris was still beating himself up for the one that got away two weeks earlier in Qatar, where he finished third after starting 10th.
Australian rookie team mate Oscar Piastri won the sprint at Lusail and was second in the main race.
“I think Qatar was our best chance of winning a race. And I missed out on that one,” Norris told reporters.
“I think there’s no... Qatar-style circuits left which is where we’re strong.
“If you looked at the GPS and the overlays of how bad we are in the slow speed I’m not looking forward to Brazil. I think we’re going to be pretty shocking there.”
Norris seized the lead from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, also later disqualified, at the first corner in Austin and led until the half distance when Red Bull’s eventual winner Max Verstappen overtook him.
Verstappen went on to celebrate his 50th win and record-equalling 15th in 18 races this season.
The Dutch driver pointed out to Norris that the Briton had a good record in Abu Dhabi, which hosts next month’s season-ender after rounds in Mexico, Brazil and Las Vegas.
“Maybe Abu Dhabi, you never know. We’ll see. I don’t think they’re any good ones for us coming up,” said Norris, who is close to ousting now-retired German Nick Heidfeld for the record of most podium appearances without a win.
The Briton is now on 12, with Heidfeld taking 13 before he departed in 2011. Eight of the German’s podiums were second places.
“I think our best have gone. I just want to be hopeful that we can do good results and I think we can still fight for podiums but these guys (Red Bull and Mercedes) are too quick for me,” continued Norris.
“We can look decent, but I think realistically we’re not at that level as a general package with these guys. So yeah, not great ones coming up but Vegas, Abu Dhabi are probably the better ones.”
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