Lando Norris ‘rattled’ as McLaren star called out over Alpine comments

Lewis Hamilton reveals the Queen told him off at the Royal lunch

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McLaren driver Lando Norris has been “rattled” by Alpine according to their sporting director Alan Permane, after the Brit called out the team for their perceived underperformance. Alpine are 13 points ahead of McLaren in the constructors’ standings, though Norris is surprised that the two teams are still so close.

“They are so much quicker than us,” Norris said at the Japanese Grand Prix. “I have no clue how we are still fighting them in the championship. They are in another league to us at the minute. I’m happy we’ve been able to fight them so far into the season, it shows we’ve done a very good job in other areas, in reliability, in maximising our performances, taking opportunities, and not making mistakes.

“They must have done a lot worse than us in all of those areas to only just be ahead of us in the championship with the car they have. Not a surprise, it’s not a big fight at the minute because they are so much quicker, but we’ll keep trying and limit the points loss to them.”

With only four races remaining the two sides will look to battle for fourth place, with Mercedes over 200 points ahead of Alpine currently. Permane hit out at Norris for his comments comparing the two teams, and claimed that the Brit has been “rattled” by his side.

“Lando loves to keep quoting that, doesn’t he?” Permane said. “But we only need to just be ahead. I’m not quite sure why he keeps on: I guess we’ve got him rattled. We’re much more focused on Mercedes and trying to beat Mercedes.

“We’re trying to get ourselves onto that sort of level. Of course, we had a huge setback in Singapore. But I think in Japan, it’s all back to normal. I imagine that in the next races we can do the same. The car is clearly getting quicker. And I think it’s getting closer to those top guys.

“After every race, we look at where we are in terms of percentage wise away from pole and things like that, and I’m sure we are closer than we’ve ever been this season. So it’s definitely going in the right direction.

“I would much rather go into Abu Dhabi 40 points in front of them than one point in front of them. But, after Abu Dhabi, I don’t care if we are one point or 40 points clear. Fourth is our target. As long as we are fourth, that’s really what counts.”

Alpine bounced back strong from their double DNF in Singapore as Esteban Ocon finished fourth in Japan, as Norris was five places behind in tenth.

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