‘This is where McLaren made a mistake’ – The key error that cost Lando Norris

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen gives Lando Norris a pat on the back

Max Verstappen gives Lando Norris a pat on the back

Lando Norris could’ve won the British Grand Prix were it not for the “mistake” of putting on the soft tyres for the final stint when he had two new sets of mediums.

Racing at the Silverstone circuit on Sunday, Norris was up against Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and at one point even his team-mate Oscar Piastri for the win.

‘Strategically, this is where McLaren made a mistake…’

Leading the Grand Prix ahead of Hamilton and Verstappen when the drivers made their crucial final pit stop of the afternoon, Red Bull put the hard Pirellis on Verstappen’s RB20 and Mercedes put softs on Hamilton’s W15.

Norris was the last of the leaders to make the swap.

McLaren: “We can choose a medium to cover people like Verstappen or we choose a soft to cover people like Hamilton.”

Norris: “Hamilton! I think Hamilton or do you think medium? I don’t mind.”

McLaren: “We are going soft. Box this lap please.”

Marginally overshooting his marks in the box, Norris not only lost the lead to Hamilton, but he wasn’t able to keep pace with the seven-time World Champion and fell into Verstappen’s clutches.

The Red Bull driver took second place off him on lap 48 with Norris falling six seconds back at the chequered flag. It was a day of what could’ve been had McLaren put him on the same mediums as his team-mate Piastri, who showed good pace in the final stint.

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“Strategically, this is where McLaren made a mistake,” Chandhok declared to Sky F1.

“We heard on the radio, they were saying, should we cover Lewis on the soft, should be cover Verstappen on the hard.

“Personally, I believe they should have done their best strategy. And their best strategy was to put on a new medium. They did it with Piastri, and Norris suffered on that set of soft tyres.

“Norris was suffering on those soft tyres, what is worth remembering is when they came out of the pits for that final stint, Piastri was 15 seconds behind Norris, he gained 10 seconds in that last stint.

“If McLaren had put Norris on a set of new mediums, even if he’d come out behind Lewis, against Lewis on a set of used soft, I believe Norris would have won the Grand Prix.”

Norris admits McLaren “threw it away”, telling the media including PlanetF1.com: “I’ve heard that a lot lately, so I hate saying it again. But yeah, I mean, so many things were going well. We threw it away in the final stop.

“So one lap, but also I don’t think it was a lap. I think even if I boxed on the perfect lap, our decision to go on to the softs was the wrong one. I think Lewis still would have won no matter what.

“Two calls from our side cost us everything. So, especially here, pretty disappointing.”

But McLaren didn’t only make a mistake with Norris as Ralf Schumacher called them out for not double-stacking the team-mates in the first round of pit stops.

Coming in for inters with Norris leading the race ahead of Piastri, McLaren pitted the Briton before leaving Piastri out for one more lap to avoid a double-stack.

Piastri slipped and slid his way around the circuit and was down in sixth place after his pit stop.

Schumacher, commentating on the race for Sky Deutschland, followed the situation and said: “What will McLaren do now? Both have to go in, and Piastri is second…

“Uh. That’s a really bad decision.”

Piastri finished the Grand Prix in fourth place, which saw McLaren close the gap to Ferrari to just seven points in the battle for second place in the Constructors’ Championship.

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