Norris: McLaren should have given me firmer advice

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Lando Norris pitting at Sochi. Russia September 2021

McLaren driver Lando Norris pitting during the Russian Grand Prix. Russia September 2021

Lando Norris says that his team should have given him firmer advice and information in the closing stages of the Russian Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver looked set to claim the first victory of his Formula 1 career for the vast majority of the race at Sochi after taking the lead from Carlos Sainz early on.

It all went wrong right at the end though as rain started to fall and he opted to stay out on slicks while Lewis Hamilton, and many others, pitted for inters.

The decision proved to be the wrong one as the track got too wet and he went off, losing the lead to his compatriot, before finally pitting and finishing in P7.

After the race, Hamilton said he came in as his team had told him the rain was to get heavier; Norris didn’t get such a message and feels he should have.

“Yes, because from one lap to the other the whole thing changed, the game changed completely,” he said when asked by The Race if he needed firmer instructions.

“That final lap when I boxed the slick tyre was still the tyre to be on. On that lap they asked ‘do you want to go onto the inter?’ And from the lap I just did, I didn’t, because the slick was easily the correct tyre.

“Of course, that’s now the wrong decision. But this is my feeling I had. I didn’t know there was going to be a lot, lot more rain.

“And there’s no way of me knowing unless they tell me there’s going to be a lot more rain, which they didn’t.”

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Before the change of weather, Norris had Hamilton right behind him but was managing to hold the Mercedes driver off.

He says doing so was easy in dry conditions, and thinks he still could have stayed in front if things only got damp rather than wet too.


“I quite easily had the pace when it was dry, and even when it started to go to the damper stage, to keep him behind,” he said.

“At the times when it was tricky and we were going off track here and there, the slick tyre was still the tyre to be on.

“Of course it was like 10s a lap off, but the intermediate’s not going to be 10s quicker, that was 10s to a proper dry lap time. So even if Lewis was 3s or 5s quicker or something, I still would have managed to hold on to the win.

“I decided to stay out because the team said it was only meant to be drizzling like that and that’s as hard as the rain was going to get.

“For whatever reason, we didn’t know or see or anticipate that it was not just going to be a drizzle, it was going to be a lot of rain. And that’s where we went wrong at the end of the day.”


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