Lando Norris, McLaren, Baku Street Circuit, 2022

Transcript: Why Norris reluctantly complied with McLaren’s Baku team orders

2022 Azerbaijan GP team radio transcript

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Drivers are seldom satisfied at being told to stay behind their team mates, particularly in the final laps of a race when there are points on the line.

That was the case when Lando Norris to ordered to hold position by McLaren with three laps to go on Sunday.

When it was pointed out to him that his team mate Daniel Ricciardo had done the same for him earlier in the race, Norris objected. “But that was for the strategy,” he said. “This is for the finishing position.”

Nonetheless, despite showing his team mate the nose of his car going into turn one, Norris complied. But speaking to media after the race it was clear Norris was disappointed he’d been told to follow Ricciardo home, partly because his team mate had benefited from the timing of a Virtual Safety Car period later in the race.

However it was also clear, as is often the case in these situations, that Norris didn’t have the full picture about exactly how the team had made its decision, after Ricciardo followed him for much of the first stint while the pair pursued Fernando Alonso.

“It was one lap Daniel just stayed behind me until I boxed and I don’t think that one lap would have changed anything,” said Norris in response to a question from RaceFans. “He still would have been probably been behind Fernando and I still would have been behind. It’s just he got the VSC pit stop.”

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Baku Street Circuit, 2022
The McLarens chased Alonso early on
Norris stressed he was happy to follow the team’s instructions, but felt he should have had the opportunity to race his team mate.

“I think just racing for a normal position at the end, he wasn’t there or behind me or whatever in a different position because of what we did earlier in the race. We thought that would help me it, but it didn’t. Therefore, at the end of the race, there was nothing to gain or lose between us.

“It was just, it’s a race. It’s nothing I’m complaining of or I’m angry about it. I wanted to overtake and I wanted to race and that’s what I said on the radio. But I listen to what the teams says.”

Here’s everything the team said to both its drivers during the race:

Norris and Ricciardo Azerbaijan Grand Prix team radio messages

The McLaren drivers occupied the sixth row of the grid, Norris on medium tyres ahead of Ricciardo on hards. The pair kept their positions at the start, Norris unable to pass Alonso due to the Alpine’s strong traction out of the slow speed corners and speed on the straights due to its lower wing level.

Norris wasn’t able to get within DRS range of Alonso, and Ricciardo found good initial pace on his harder rubber, so he was immediately on his team mate’s tail. McLaren therefore told Ricciardo as early as lap four not to try to pass the team’s other car. Norris was also told the same.

Lap Speaker Message Speaker Message
2 Stallard Middle sector use anti-overtake if possible.
Stallard Ocon 1.2. Suggest brake balance plus two clicks.
Ricciardo Understood. I used some anti-overtake, was that okay?
Stallard Yeah, very good.
3 Joseph Suggest strat seven. Ricciardo Will DRS activate this lap?
Joseph And DRS has been enabled. Stallard DRS enabled. DRS enabled now.
4 Joseph Daniel’s been asked to hold position. Stallard Strat seven. Strat seven. No more anti-overtake.
Stallard Daniel team orders, hold position behind Lando, hold position for the moment.

The pair were told to extend their advantage over Ocon. The Alpine driver was dropping back from Ricciardo, who pointed out to McLaren he was capable of lapping more quickly:

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5 Joseph Lando our goal at the moment is for both you and Daniel to gap Ocon behind who is 3.5. Ricciardo Understood. I’ll keep you posted if I’ve got a lot more pace.
Stallard Understood. Keep me updated on pace.
Stallard We can protect the rear or turn eight/nine through the castle. Protect the rear through the castle.
Ricciardo Okay. Do you want me to not use anti-overtake at all?
Stallard Currently pack is full, that’s why Daniel. Anti-overtake’s fine if you discharged the pack.
Stallard And suggest brake balance plus two clicks, brake balance plus two clicks.
Stallard Gap to Ocon is now 2.7. What we want to do is keep pulling the gap on him.
6 Joseph How is the pace? How are the tyres? Stallard Suggest red…
Norris Pace three or so. Just trying to protect the tyres. Just can’t overtake so no point in pushing. Ricciardo This…
Joseph Okay Lando message understood. Suggest orange E5, orange E5. Stallard Go ahead.
Ricciardo Go on, you go.
Stallard Suggest…
Ricciardo I was going to just say if this is his best pace, I’ve got more.
Stallard Understood. Daniel, turn five, if you need it, use top-left toggle. But rear slip is high as well. 20k tailwind turn five.
7 Joseph And Lando minor white H8 position five. White H8 position five. Stallard Keep looking after the rears, Daniel, keep looking after the rears.
Stallard Daniel target smoother inputs turn 19 to protect rears. Smooth as you can with the steer turn 19.
Ricciardo Understood.
Stallard Okay Daniel, Lando is managing tyres, Lando is managing his pace by a few tenths. So if we want to just focus on doing the same, manage the tyres. We need to get good pace to target lap.

Carlos Sainz Jnr’s retirement caused a Virtual Safety Car period. McLaren kept both drivers out.

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8 Norris A lot of surges in third gear. Ricciardo Understood.
Joseph The switch we just did should help. Stallard Consider yellow down two for mid-corner rotation.
Stallard And with that diff change suggest orange torque four to protect rears, orange torque four to protect rears.
Stallard So that’s a 1.8-second gap to Lando. Now I would keep within that range. Ocon 2.8.
9 Joseph Couple of yellow flags turn four. Ricciardo Okay. Deg pretty even on both axles at the moment.
Joseph Lando how are the tyres? Stallard Copy. Yellow flags. Yellow flags turn four. Virtual Safety Car. Virtual Safety Car. Delta positive.
Norris They seem okay. Ricciardo Understood.
Joseph Understood. Ricciardo You happy with recharge on?
Joseph Virtual safety car. Virtual safety car. We will stay out. We will stay. Stallard Yeah. Recharge on is good, but you need to keep the delta close to zero. Hamilton was struggling with tyres, some other cars pitting.
Norris Confirm. Stay out. Stallard We will stay out. Stay out. Keep the delta close to zero.
Joseph Confirm. Stay out. Ricciardo Understood.
Norris Most others are boxing. Stallard Could be racing cars at pit exit.
Joseph Yep. We are happy to stay out as the tyres are good. Stallard Will be racing cars at pit exit.

The team could have brought Norris in for an attacking one-stop strategy, switching to hard tyres as Charles Leclerc did. But a message from Norris’s race engineer Will Joseph indicates why they ruled that out:

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10 Joseph Could be close [unclear]. Stallard Car behind is now Gasly. Gasly on hard.
Joseph And just try and stay on the delta. Stallard Suggest green shape four, green shape four and one click down on brake balance. Should be better through stop. Green shape four, one click down.
Joseph And VSC ending, VSC ending. Ricciardo Okay. How was Gasly’s pace on the medium.
Stallard Gasly was always in traffic behind Vettel but looks similar to what Lando is doing.
Stallard Virtual Safety Car ending. Recharge off.
Stallard DRS enabled.
11 Norris Straight line speed is tough, overtaking very difficult. Stallard Suggest red mid four for a mid-corner rotation, red mid four. Take care turn three exit, there was a bit of a snap, which we can’t afford.
Norris [Unclear] pace [unclear] quicker, I’m just stuck.
Joseph Okay. Understood. We are gapping the cars we need to. This is a relatively good position for us to be in.
12 Joseph So Lando an update for you. Everyone in front, apart from Alonso and the Red Bulls took it. Those who did have got to do a bad one-stop or convert to a two-stop.
Joseph Behind you is Daniel, who stayed out, Gasly who took it, and Ocon who stayed out. Our goal is to do a good job of Plan A and gap the cars behind from Ocon. We are doing that.

Following the VSC period Norris edged further away from Ricciardo, who was being given feedback on how to improve his driving style:

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13 Norris There’s still a lot of surging. Ricciardo Understood.
Joseph Understood. I’ll look at it. Be careful slips, turn six, turn seven, turn 12. Stallard Keep trying to smooth out the inputs to turn 19, we see high surface temperature turn 19, if you can protect that at all.
Joseph Lando, minor: White H8, position eight. White H8 position eight for the surge. Ricciardo Understood.
Joseph And Lando. The safety car window is open. Safety Car window is open.
Norris Confirm.
14 Joseph Thank you. Stallard Turn 19 better this time, turn 19 better.
Joseph And Lando if we had to stop happy with the down one? Ricciardo Okay.
Norris Yeah. I’m happy with balance. Stallard Okay. Gasly is now 1.5. I think we’re just slightly combining too much entry, so make sure you’re not combining too much brake and steer, not [unclear] that rear locking.
Joseph Gap to Ocon is currently 8.9. If you still get the surge, you could try lower gear. Just be careful of tyres. Only if it bothers you.
15 Joseph Lando you are currently P6. Hamilton and Tsunoda pitted. They are stuck behind Ocon, who’s in ninth. Ricciardo Okay.
Norris Graining front-right. Stallard You’re pulling away from Ocon, though, gap to Ocon now 6.7.
Joseph Okay. Lando, we see that, the rears look okay. Stallard Gasly 1.1.
Stallard Gasly now 0.9.

McLaren told Norris they were considering pitting him to attack Alonso, whose lap times were dropping. However Alpine brought Alonso in on lap 18 and the opportunity for McLaren to ‘undercut’ him was gone:

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16 Norris R3, struggling with front-right, a lot. Stallard Suggest yellow diff one. Yellow diff one should help you release the brake. Gasly 1.1.
Joseph Okay. Understood.
Joseph Orange E3.
Joseph Lando minor: White H4 position three.
Joseph We see similar graining on Alonso.
17 Joseph We suggest using the left-hand toggle for turn one, turn two. And we are Plan A, look to extend. Ricciardo [Unclear] the exit because rear’s loose on exit.
Stallard No should help straighten the exit, should help mid-corner rotation.
Stallard Alonso suffering with graining now.
Stallard So we expect him to pit?
Stallard Unclear, Daniel.
18 Joseph Lando we’re thinking box to overtake, R switch, R switch, what do you think?
Norris Confirm. Yeah confirm, happy with that box to overtake.
Joseph Just remember to put the R switch in the right place.

McLaren didn’t keep Norris out much longer. He came in two laps after Alonso but fell six seconds behind the Alpine.

Meanwhile Ricciardo had closed right up to his tyre-troubled team mate again. He told McLaren he was capable of going quicker and was concerned about being passed by Gasly:

19 Joseph Okay mate bal minus one. This is the bit that makes our race. Stallard Okay Daniel, stay behind Lando one more straight. We need to see what pace he has in clear air.
Norris I’m still R3 rear. Stallard Daniel Let me know how much you’re being held up.
Joseph Okay strat six is okay for a few laps. Stallard Yeah I’ve got more pace.
Joseph Lando Alonso fell behind Bottas, who’s 18.2 doing a 51.1. Minor: White H4 four position three, white H4 position three. Stallard Keep you posted.
Stallard Okay. Alonso pitted into traffic. Lando’s trying to overcut him. We’d like to sit behind Lando to give Lando that opportunity.
20 Norris Does he have DRS? Stallard If I sit behind any longer I’m going to get eaten up by Gasly.
Joseph Yes. Stallard Copy.
Joseph Daniel’s using DRS to defend from Gasly, not for you. Stallard Okay Lando will box this lap. Then we go. Lando will box this lap.
Norris I’m R3, too much, the rears are going.
Joseph Suggest…
Norris R4.
Joseph Yep, we got it.
Norris R4.
Joseph Understood, mate. We’ll box this lap.
Joseph Lando we’re going to box his lap. Careful, Leclerc’s blown up on the pit entrance. Just be careful of him.
21 Joseph Launch map, launch map, launch map. Could be close to cars at exit. Will be Stroll who’s approaching turn one now, possibly Albon who’s behind him. Stallard Anti-overtake available.
Joseph Okay Lando we’re still in a good position. We’re the latest of the cars to stop. People stopped early on to the hard complaining already. Let’s take this step-by-step. Stallard Track is showing slippery turn 18 to the pit entry. That’s Leclerc had an engine failure, may have dropped oil. You went through it last lap though.
Norris What are they struggling with? The other cars on hard. Stallard Gasly 0.7.
(L to R): Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri; Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren; Baku Street Circuit, 2022
Gasly got past Ricciardo after Alonso pitted

Gasly immediately slipped by Ricciardo and drew away from him. Hamilton also caught and passed the McLaren:

22 Joseph We’re getting the info. Stallard Okay. I think you can stay with Gasly, I think you can stay with Gasly and his pace is alright compared to competitors.
Joseph Daniel felt a little bit of front-right graining. First stint some cars on hard struggled with a little bit of deg. Stallard Okay white H4 position three. H4, three.
Stallard The car behind is Hamilton. He pitted at the VSC, 2.3, hard tyres.
23 Joseph So Lando the three cars in front are Albon, who took the tyre under the VSC, then Stroll and Bottas who stayed out from the start. Stallard Turn seven, you just need to manage with brake pressure, turn seven manage with brake pressure. Brake balance is good.
Ricciardo Okay.
24 Joseph Okay Lando it’s time to try and start overtaking cars in front. Otherwise, the race falls away from us. Stallard The pace is still good Daniel. Pace is good. You’re building gaps to cars behind. We want plan A, plan A.
Stallard Hamilton 1.2.
25 Ricciardo Rears taking a bit of a hit now.
Stallard Copy.
Stallard Okay Hamilton 0.8. I don’t want to lose time with Hamilton. You’re trying to gap Bottas. Bottas doing 1’50.6.
Ricciardo Okay.
Stallard He’s 19.8 behind.
26 Stallard Okay you’re still gapping the cars we’re racing so keep with Hamilton as long as you can.
Ricciardo Understood.

Having come out of the pits on fresh tyres, Norris picked off Alexander Albon, Lance Stroll and Valtteri Bottas in quick succession. Soon he was close enough to Ricciardo that his team mate would fall behind him when he pitted, unless a VSC or Safety Car period occured:

27 Joseph Stroll next. He won’t have DRS. He’s on old tyres. Let’s get him. Ricciardo I think this pace summed up this lap. It’s representative. I could probably do this.
Stallard Okay, that’s good.
28 Joseph Okay Lando Daniel is 25 ahead. Stallard Good pace. Good pace.
Stallard The pace is still good Daniel, keep looking to extend.
Ricciardo Understood.
29 Stallard Still quicker than Bottas, his last lap 49.9.
30 Stallard Daniel tyres still going while we’re thinking target plus five, target plus five, if you can keep this pace.
Stallard Still quicker than Bottas.
Ricciardo Okay. Think I can just hang on to this pace. That should be okay.
31 Joseph Okay mate good job, Daniel within our window now. Cars in front are Magnussen, then Ocon. Ocon is out from the start, Magnussen stopped under the VSC. Magnussen 3.8. Stallard Suggest silver entry five to help brake release. Silver entry five.
Stallard Daniel We are in the Safety Car windows, Safety Car and Virtual Safety Car windows.
Ricciardo Okay.
32 Stallard Okay car call behind his Tsunoda, gap 1.6. We want to stay ahead of him.
Stallard That’s a good lap. Tsunoda 1.8.

On lap 33 Ricciardo got the break he needed. Kevin Magnussen’s Haas rolled to a stop, a VSC period was triggered, and he switched to medium tyres while staying in front of Norris:

33 Joseph And Virtual Safety Car deployed. Virtual Safety Car deployed. Stallard Virtual Safety Car, Daniel, Virtual Safety Car. Recharge on, drive to the delta.
Joseph Lando how are the tyres, how are the tyres? Ricciardo Do we think it will be long?
Norris Ah they’re fine, I think, obviously, I would love new, but they’re not too bad. Stallard Difficult to say, Magnussen is near an exit.
Joseph Okay. Understood. Under a VSC, we would stay out. We would stay out. The VSC is for Magnussen, who went straight on or retired the car at turn 15. Stallard Daniel, how’s the front wing?
Joseph Just stay close to your delta please. Ricciardo I think it’s okay. If the track’s cooling we can come up, but, yeah.
Joseph And keep close to your delta. Stallard The yellows are here, yellows ahead. Track temperature’s dropped five degrees since the start of the race.
Norris Stay out confirm. Stallard Daniel we’re box this lap, box this lap. Make sure the Delta is close to zero at pit entry.
Joseph Stay out. Ricciardo Understood. Let’s come up just a little bit, just a normal offset.
Stallard Copy. I’m doing the extra half-turn. Box now.
Ricciardo Yeah, box confirmed.
34 Joseph Lando an update. Daniel in front of us obviously benefited from the VSC. No one else did. So this will define the positions we will be racing to the end. Ricciardo Daniel pit lane.
Norris What position am I in? Ricciardo Can I go launch map off?
Joseph We think it’s 10. Still yellows in turn 15. Stallard Launch map off. And… Okay. So it’s still Virtual Safety Car, Daniel. So keep the Delta negative. Sorry, positive. Delta positive. Down three clicks brake balance, brake balance down three clicks. The car behind is Lando on hard. The car ahead is Alonso on hard. Gap to Alonso five, gap to Lando nine.
Joseph And VSC ending, VSC ending. Stallard Daniel, at the end of this lap, there are 17 laps to go. Obviously we’d like to pass Alonso if we can. Vettel is also ahead of Alonso, Vettel 11 seconds ahead of you. Lando did 20 laps on medium at the race start. He had some graining on right-hand side tyres for the last three or four laps of that stint.
Ricciardo Understood.
Stallard Suggest yellow diff two, yellow diff two.
Stallard Still yellows turn 15.
Stallard Virtual Safety Car ending, recharge off, recharge off. Top-left toggle for turn one, cold tyres.

Now Ricciardo was chasing Alonso, with Norris five-and-a-half seconds behind once the race resumed.

35 Joseph Okay Lando Tsunoda is in P5. He’s 15.2 ahead, holding up other cars. He’s out from the VSC. Ocon 9.4 behind. Stallard DRS enabled.
36 Stallard Okay Tsunoda struggling at the restart he’s eight seconds ahead that could be another opportunity.
Ricciardo Understood.
37 Joseph Lando, opportunity: Mind late entry speed, turn 16.
Joseph Turn 16 good that time.
38 Joseph Suggested Orange E5 orange E5 and left-hand toggle for turn five, turn six. Stallard Brake balance plus two clicks, protect the rears.
Joseph So Lando…
Norris Lap times is Fernando doing?
39 Joseph 48.8. Tsunoda has been given a black-and-orange flag. He has just pitted. Stallard And plus one brake balance again, plus one brake balance.
Joseph Fernando did a 48.6 last time. Stallard Consider orange torque five to calm rears, consider orange torque five for the rears.
Joseph Tsunoda had a very long stop, 29 behind.

Although Ricciardo was on new tyres he dropped back from Alonso at first. After lap 40 he began to close in but Norris was getting closer behind. The McLaren pit wall discussed what to do.

40 Joseph And Lando we’re happy with what you’re doing with your tyres at the moment. 11 laps remaining. Keep pushing up to Daniel. Stallard Suggest yellow diff one, go ahead.
Norris Daniel needs to push up more. If get stuck behind Daniel Ocon will catch me. Ricciardo Yeah I was just going to say not much in this at the moment.
Joseph I’m on it. Stallard Copy. Yellow diff one should help to release the brake.
41 Joseph Okay Lando last time Alonso did a 48.3, let’s see what we can do. Stallard That’s a better lap, Daniel, keep chipping away. Target 1’48.5, 1’48.6. Lando currently two seconds behind. We want to try and keep the 2.6, 2.5 second gap to Alonso as well.
42 Joseph Nine laps to go. Keep pushing up. I’m working on it. Stallard Time to find in turn eight, don’t attack the braking too much.
Stallard Good step in turn eight, well done. Just nine laps to go now. Nine more laps.

At first McLaren decided to give Ricciardo a crack at Alonso, then let Norris have a go, and be prepared to reinstate the previous positions. This was explained to Norris, who was asked if he was happy with the decision, while Ricciardo was encourages to attack the Alpine:

43 Joseph Okay. Lando, here’s the situation. If you can close up on Daniel and if Daniel can’t close up on Alonso, we will let you through. But if we can’t overtake Alonso, we will relinquish the position towards the end of the race. Happy? Stallard Blue Harvest five. Blue Harvest five.
Norris Yeah happy but tell him to push more. Stallard Gap to Alonso 1.7, we’re closer now, do you think you can attack Alonso?
Ricciardo I’ll keep you posted. I’ll see how close I can get. But they’re so fast on the straight.
44 Joseph Alonso has said this is all the place he’s got. Daniel’s trying his best. Stallard Okay. Alonso said this is his max pace. We really want to get stuck into him, Daniel. We want to get stuck into him. Gap to Lando is now 2.8.
45 Norris Yeah I’m maximum pace mate. Stallard Okay. Daniel, I know this is difficult with the speed of the Alpine. Hamilton was able to pass Ocon into turn three.
Stallard You’re doing a good job though DR let’s keep putting the pressure on him. He says he can’t go faster than this. Got six more laps.

While Ricciardo continued to apply pressure to Alonso, McLaren evidently decided the cause was lost, and elected not to swap their drivers after all:

46 Joseph Suggest left-hand toggle for turn five-six. Stallard Remember to use top-left toggle if you do get a chance to overtake. Top-left toggle for overtaking.
Stallard Okay Alonso is catching Latifi who’ll get a blue flag. We should be on Latifi sometime next lap. DR I appreciate it is difficult to keep close, could be difficult to pass, but we should just try to keep him under pressure for the last five laps. Keep Alonso under pressure for the last five laps so he can’t make any mistakes. If he makes a mistake, we’re on him.
47 Joseph Lando minor white H4 position one. White H4 position one. Ricciardo Yep. Yep, yep.

Norris was therefore told to hold back:

48 Joseph Car in front of Daniel is Latifi, backmarker. Stallard Three laps to go, Daniel. Three laps.
Joseph Okay Lando three laps to go. We think Alonso’s too fast. We’re going to hold position.
49 Norris Why hold position? Stallard Daniel Lando has been told to hold position. Lando has been told to hold position. Still want to keep pressure on Alonso, if you can.
Joseph We held positions, stint one. We’re returning the favour. Ricciardo Yeah I’m trying, just the rears struggle.
Norris Yeah but that was for the strategy. This is for the finishing position. Stallard Strat four. Strat four.
Joseph With two laps to go. We don’t think you’ll get him.

Over the final laps Norris was all over Ricciardo, who had dropped out of DRS range of Alonso. The two McLarens crossed the line separated by just three-tenths of a second, Ricciardo ahead:

50 Joseph Lando for pace, for two laps, strat four is best, but you would not have overtake. Strat four is okay. Stallard Okay brake balance plus one click, brake balance plus one click.
Joseph Okay Lando there is one lap to go, hold positions, good result for the team, appreciate it.
51 Norris All right, I’ll stay behind him. Stallard This is the last lap.

Both drivers were thanked for playing the team game on the victory lap:

VL Joseph Yellow flags turn one. Stallard Yellow flags at turn one. That’s the chequered flag. Yellow flags turn one. Recharge on. P8 Daniel. Well done. A good job from the P12 start. Well done today.
Joseph Okay dude, that’s P9. Ricciardo Okay. Understood. Cheers. Yeah, I just struggled with the rear on that medium. Alright, thanks guys.
Norris Well done everyone. Did what we planned to do which is get in the points with both cars. So have to be happy with that. Good job. Stallard Copy that. Daniel a lot of the other cars that fitted the medium at the end had similar degradation for that stint. So I don’t think it’s a million miles away. And obviously on both cars we played a team game today as well. And thank you for your part in that.
Joseph Exactly mate. It was the right thing to do for the team. I know you could have done it, well done. Ricciardo Understood. Thanks. Also, yeah, thanks for returning the favour. Cheers guys, thank you.
Joseph Normal reminder from me. Stallard Okay. Box this lap. And when you get to the FIA you need to turn the car fully off. So kill the engine, wait five seconds and then fully off.
Ricciardo Understood. All righty, I’ll go to power off.
Stallard Cheers, Daniel. Good job. Good job all weekend, good progress.

Norris’s comments afterwards showed he had not been aware (or had forgotten) that Ricciardo had been told to stay behind him over a period of laps at the start.

“There was one lap, just before I boxed, that Daniel could have overtaken me and didn’t,” he said. “I think he was told just to defend to Gasly pretty much until I boxed.

“But I boxed the next lap, so there was one lap he stayed behind me and I guess the return favour for him just not overtaking me was for me not to overtake him.”

However, as the radio messages showed, Ricciardo was also told more than once at the beginning of the first stint to stay behind his team mate.

McLaren’s strategy did not work out well for Norris. An earlier first pit stop could have got him ahead of Alonso, and missing the opportunity to pit under the first VSC played into Ricciardo’s hands during the later period.

It was clear Norris was the quicker of the two, as his pursuit of Ricciardo over the final laps showed. “I could have [passed him], I was alongside into turn one and it was a tough decision whether to really choose or not. But I went with what we decided as a team and I stuck with that.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Baku Street Circuit, 2022
Ricciardo came out ahead thanks to a VSC period
“So it’s tough, he just had the luck of the VSC pit stop and he came out on the medium at the end. I just would have thought he had a bit more pace and could attack Fernando much better. But my pace on the hard was quite a bit stronger.

“So I could have done but as a team I think we just did a good job today. We did what we wanted, which was to finish in the points.”

McLaren have used similar orders in the past, notably last year when Ricciardo was told to let Norris by at Imola. These situations are always likely to leave one driver frustrated, though McLaren communicated the situation clearly to both of them.

How accurately that comes across in the next series of Drive to Survive is another matter.

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Transcript: Why Norris reluctantly complied with McLaren’s Baku team orders”

  1. Whatever, he was more than OK when the roles were reversed in the same race.

    1. Yeah, this didn’t sit well with me at all. Crucially, when Ricciardo was held back by team orders it actually compromised him quite significantly. He got overtaken by Gasly and later failed to be close enough to Alonso to fight him. It was a mistake by Mclaren to hold Ricciardo back, especially on hard tyres. Enforcing team orders towards the end was the right thing to do out of fairness. But it was all dreadful strategy-wise.

      1. Agreed, the strategy of a faster ricciardo on hard staying behind a slower lando on mediums was detrimental for ricciardos chances.

  2. I think the requirement to use two different tyre compounds during a race should be reviewed. Teams should be allowed to use the tyres best suited to their needs to make them competitive.

    1. @johnrkh I disagree, I think it adds more to the race. Otherwise we’d just end up with everyone on the exact same tyre for the whole race as their almost always is a stand-out race tyre. The benefit of starting on a harder compound is that you know you’ll be quicker later in the race, with the removal of this rule, you’ll just see everyone running the same tyre (usually medium) for all the stints.

  3. I think Mclaren did the right thing in both situations, and this is important in terms of helping DR understand he’s still valued by the team. Mercedes have never let Lewis past George even though GR has massively benefitted from Safety Cars etc.

    @keithcollantine just a note, from Lap 13 for Norris the Speaker is constantly noted as Joseph, even when it’s Norris’ line.

    1. Sorry about that I’ll take a look at what’s gone wrong.

  4. Thanks for all the work put in to give us a full race overview of how this developed. It does show that the issue was mostly that neither McLaren was fast enough to get past Alonso!

    I was wondering a bit how Norris lost so many positions, but I guess it was just the tyres giving up as much as they did, maybe they should have pitted immediately with Alonso.

  5. Both drivers are McLaren employees and while they’re getting regular paychecks they must do as they’re instructed.

  6. Norris did not really comply did he? He was closing in all the time even after those radio messages and I think if there was one more lap left he would have launched an attack.

  7. Maclaren are too conservative when it comes to letting their drivers race for position.
    Team orders and driver coaching seems to be getting excessive across the board.

    1. F1 has been this way for at least 30 years.
      Since about 1989, probably….

  8. Mr Squiggle
    16th June 2022, 23:22

    In both instances, the McLaren immediately behind Alonso was on yellow tyres. Its great that both drivers complied with team orders, but the team orders should have been to let the faster car through.

    I think Daniel could have passed Nando in the first stint and I think Lando would have got past Nando in the second.

  9. No wonder Dan is slow, too busy chatting and being told how to drive!
    Didn’t they ban coaching?

    1. Nope, they tried but it was too controversial about what is driver assistance and what information is given for safety reasons.

      It was deemed the cars are too complicated to drive without pitwall assistance entirely so the rule was scrapped after just a few races iirc…

    2. Didn’t they ban coaching?

      They never did, and they never will. Unfortunately – for everyone except the team managers.

      1. What’s wrong with it? Every sport you have the players involved being coached through a game, why is it wrong if it’s the same in F1? Should football also ban coaches from giving any instructions to players?

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