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Five days on from the joy, life is a pain for Norris

Five days after the joy of a thrilling podium finish, Lando Norris struggled with severe back pain Friday as he struggled through practice at the Styrian Grand Prix
Five days after the joy of a thrilling podium finish, Lando Norris struggled with severe back pain Friday as he struggled through practice at the Styrian Grand Prix Darko Bandic POOL/AFP
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Spielberg bei Knittelfeld (Austria) (AFP)

Five days after the joy of a thrilling podium finish, Lando Norris struggled with severe back pain Friday as he struggled through practice at the Styrian Grand Prix.

The 20-year-old McLaren driver became the youngest Briton to claim a podium last Sunday when he finished third in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.

Back at the same track, he found he was in too much pain to drive freely and was afraid to hit the brakes as he wound up eighth fastest in second practice.

He had earlier collected a three-place grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags in opening practice and spent much of the day taking pain-killers to help him through his workload.

In the end, he did 29 fewer laps than Ferrari-bound team-mate Carlos Sainz.

"I've been struggling physically with I don't know what," he said.

"It's been pretty painful. We had to cut down quite a few of the laps that were planned to make sure I am in condition for tomorrow.

"It's not ideal. I'm fine now and walking around, but when I drive it's painful especially in the high-speed corners and when braking.

"I don’t know what it is… I hit the brakes and then, with the compression, it spikes up massively so I'm just afraid to brake anywhere, which is not ideal here."

He added that on raw pace it was clear that the Racing Point team were faster this weekend.

"The pace is there when I need it to be," he said.

"I feel confident and the car feels nice, but me – not so much."

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