Norris would have passed Russell with one more lap

Sam Cooper
George Russell ahead of Lando Norris. Monaco, May 2022.

Mercedes' George Russell defends his position against McLaren's Lando Norris. Monaco, May 2022.

Mercedes believe Lando Norris would have overtaken their driver George Russell with just one more lap in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Due to a lengthy delay, the Monaco Grand Prix began an hour after its scheduled start time which had a knock-on effect to its ending.

After the three hour time limit had been reached, the race ended after only 64 laps of the originally planned 78 and it seems one man who felt the downside of that more than most was Norris.

Having pitted late on for a set of fresh medium tyres, the McLaren driver was hunting Russell for the P5 spot and would finish under three tenths behind his British compatriot.

Mercedes though say that McLaren’s strategy was so effective that had there been just a single lap more, Norris would have likely overtaken Russell.

“One more lap and Lando would have been over. You can’t fight off someone who is four seconds a lap faster. You’re due at the latest when you brake into the harbour chicane because the front tyres had hardly any grip left,” Mercedes said, as reported by Auto Motor und Sport, of Norris who made up 30.9 seconds on Russell in the final 13 laps.

The reigning Constructors’ Champions admitted they made a mistake in not pitting Russell but were gambling on there being a collision in the leading pack.

 

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After the positives shown at the Spanish Grand Prix just one weekend earlier, Mercedes looked to take a step back with both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell expressing their displeasure throughout the Monaco Grand Prix weekend.

“We assumed that there could be a collision in the battle for the lead,” they said. “We couldn’t imagine [Sergio] Perez’s tyres holding out. We didn’t want to let the chance slip away. In retrospect, a mistake. We should have stopped.”

Had they stopped, it could have impacted the race leaders as Charles Leclerc would have then had a window to pit without losing a place, allowing him to put pressure on both Max Verstappen and Perez as well as team-mate Carlos Sainz ahead of him.

“If we had stopped, Leclerc would have had the window to make an extra stop and then so would Verstappen. He might have changed his mind because he might have run into an undercut from Leclerc.

“The end of the race would have been crazy in any case. There would have been three drivers with much better tyres running into Perez, Sainz and possibly Verstappen.”

It was a frustrating day for Mercedes’ other driver Lewis Hamilton who found himself stuck behind both the Alpine drivers at different points in the race.

Mercedes say that had he managed to overtake Esteban Ocon after he pitted for the inters, then Hamilton would have been able to cut the gap to those in front of him.