Fernando Alonso took part in his rookie Daytona experience last weekend and came back impressed by another beginner in the sport.
The Spaniard started off his hectic 2018 schedule by entering the Rolex 24 with the United Auto Sports team and suffered a disappointing race.
Alonso is new to Endurance racing and has to learn a lot of new skills to keep up. But amidst the new experience, he noticed an impressive performance of the younger teammates, Lando Norris and Phil Hanson.
Alonso said: “About my teammates, maybe it’s not a surprise [to me], but for the people that don’t know Lando, it will be a surprise for them,”
“The things he did were very impressive. The teamwork, the preparation, the focus.”
The two-time world champion admitted that Norris’s driving skill during the night when it rained was particularly impressive.
“At night if you look, when we switched to wet tires for one stint, we were fifth, one minute behind the leader.
“Then we switched to slick tires again in damp conditions – all this with Lando driving – and we were 27 seconds behind the leaders.
“So even in wet conditions, his first time in a prototype, first time in Daytona, the first time with Continental tires, he recovered 33 seconds in 20 laps or something like that.
“He is 18 years old, so that is quite impressive…”
Though their ride, the United Autosports LMP2 prototype did not have the power to be a challenger to the title, Alonso said the team’s efficiency was amazing.
“It was amazing teamwork,” he admitted.
“First with United Autosports, the package maybe was not as competitive as some other packages out there, but we were very fast in the race.
“We were probably easily on the podium, the other car was fighting for the podium and finished P4. That’s amazing, what United Autosports can achieve as a team.
“We had too many issues in the race, but the mechanics kept focused and they kept motivated all race long. That was a good example of teamwork and dedication.”