Norris said that if he had felt 100% and made no mistakes on his lap, he could have qualified even higher.
Speaking at length for the first time about his recent illness, Norris made it clear how difficult the Spanish GP weekend was for him as he battled for an eighth place finish.
“It’s been a long week, just going through the amount I went through last week with tonsillitis and fever and everything,” Norris said when asked by Motorsport.com about his condition.
“And then running with it made it even worse than it needed to be. But it was something that had to be done, and I was very happy that it was done.”
“It just took a toll on me physically, so I was struggling a lot on Sunday night. I did everything I could do, literally not talking to anyone, and whatever. I’m on the mend.”
“Throat-wise, I’m in a much better place, I can eat and drink now, which is already a good start, something I couldn’t do last week.
“I didn’t get any sleep last week, so just catching up, it’s not something you can catch up in a couple of days. It takes time.”
Norris stressed that while he felt better in Monaco this weekend, he has not yet fully recovered.
“I know I’m not 100% right now,” he said. “You can probably tell by how red my face is, there are some things I’m still struggling with.
“But it’s much better, I’m more confident that when I get in the car, I’m aware of everything, instead of being almost a passenger.”
“But this is difficult, because I know that especially here in Monaco, you need to be on top of everything. And that’s where you want to be physically 100%.
“I know I’m still quite a ways from that, although I feel like I can do a good job.”
Photo by: Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images
Explaining how much performance he could be missing out on, he said: “When I say I’m way off, I mean it can be a tenth, a tenth and a half.
“But if I’m talking about a tenth and a half today, and a couple of little mistakes that I made, then there’s a possibility that I could have been higher, something like that.
“So I think there’s a good confidence from within that if things are perfect things could have been even better today. But nonetheless I’m very happy with where I’m at, P5 is still a good result for us. “.
“We’re still one step away from the guys up front to be there consistently, because we’ve always been two or three tenths away all weekend.”
“I’m happy with P5, my laps I was happy with, just a few little mistakes here and there, which just let me down. But I want to put it down more to my conscience and a couple of things I’m still struggling with.”
Asked if he had considered stopping at points in Barcelona, Norris made the intriguing revelation that he doesn’t usually carry a booze bottle in the car, but he did last weekend.
“Certainly there were points, quite a few points,” he said. “I think one thing that really saved everything was the first time I used a drink bottle in the car.
“I tried wearing one when it first came into F1 and I hated it, I’m not a fan of it at all. So I’ve never worn one since, I don’t even race with the bottle in the car.
“For the first time, we thought it would be a good idea to try it, and it really saved me, I think. At the end of the warm-up lap before the start, I had to take a few sips, because I was struggling already.
“But I had to keep drinking, like every lap, which is not good, because it heats up so quickly.”
“I think without that I probably wouldn’t have made it past three laps, two laps, honestly. So that was my rate of decline in physical and mental terms of how much I was struggling.”
“But just a few sips per lap really did save me a bit.”