Norris left disappointed as Perez calls it as one of the best overtakes
McLaren's Lando Norris was left gutted after the F1 Abu Dhabi GP due to the overtake move by Racing Point's Sergio Perez on the final lap.
The last lap of the 2019 F1 season was a frustrating one for McLaren's Norris, who was upset to have given way to Racing Point's Perez, who he wished to have kept behind. At the same time, teammate Carlos Sainz got the better of Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.
Norris' race up to that point, however, was rather nice, as, starting from sixth, he held his ground and was ahead of the turmoil behind. His first stint was a successful one, barring a flat-spot towards the end, which forced the McLaren driver to pit earlier than intended.
That mistake came back to haunt him as his tyres were on the off by the time Perez arrived. "It was pretty much a good race having made a decent start," said Norris. "I struggled a bit and made a mistake at the end of my soft stint, then had a big lock-up.
"So, I had to box earlier than we wanted to. But in general I felt like I did a good job with my tyre management. There were some good battles with good overtakes when I needed to do them. The only other mistake I made was being overtaken at the end by Perez.
"In fairness, he did me fair and square but I’m gutted because that was a crucial overtake. I’ll take credit for that, of course. I allowed Sergio to do the best move of his career, no problem Sergio, but I’m annoyed because of it.
"I held him off for four or five laps prior to that. That one lap at the very end, I just wasn’t aggressive enough, I wasn’t the driver I needed to be in that current situation and I’m sure from the TV it looks like he’s completely mugged me off.
"And I look like a complete rookie and let him pass." As the overtaker, Perez was quite thrilled to have outstripped the British youngster, and even labelled the move as one of the pass of his career, cleverly using the favored track side swap to his advantage.
The move also enabled him to finish in the Top 10 in the championship. The Mexican began his race on the mediums, which he made last for an impressive 37 laps, before switching to the hard compound like many of his rivals.
His first lap, though, was quite rugged as he was involved in a collision with Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll, causing him to lose positions. From there, he battled back into the points, and ultimately found himself on the rear wing of Norris.
"The first part of my race was a bit messy," said Norris. "I got a big hit from Gasly into Turn 1, which meant that I lost a position to Magnussen. Because the DRS wasn’t enabled at the start, we lost a bit of time behind him, but I managed to overtake even without DRS.
"After a long first stint, we had to push hard to catch up to the midfield group. We had a very strong end to the race and my final lap overtake on Norris in Turn 11 was one of the best of my career. I couldn’t get him [early on].
"All the way to the end, I was thinking, 'how am I going to do it?', because he had pretty good exits, very good traction and good straight line speed, so in the end I saw into Turn 11, I dived in, he closed the door and I went on the outside to complete it."
[Image courtesy: FormulaRapida.net] [Note: The story was written by Duncan Leahy and edited by me on FormulaRapida.net]