Frustrated Norris says pit stop mistake cost McLaren race “we should have won”

Formula 1

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Lando Norris says he should have won the Canadian Grand Prix but missed an opportunity to pit when the Safety Car was first deployed.

The Safety Car was deployed while Norris was leading and appeared to join the track too late for him to immediately take advantage and make a low-cost pit stop. He lost time lapping behind it while the drivers behind him were able to pit right away, and by the time Norris eventually came in to change tyres he had lost so much time he rejoined the track in third place.

However Norris revealed there had been enough time for McLaren to bring him in when the Safety Car came out.

“We should have won the race today and we didn’t, so it’s frustrating,” he said. “We had the pace – probably not in the dry at the end but it turned out it didn’t really matter too much.

“But we should have won today, simple as that. We didn’t do a good enough job as a team to box when we should have done and not get stuck behind the Safety Car.”

Norris won the Miami Grand Prix last month when the Safety Car appeared on track in time for him to make his pit stop after leader Max Verstappen had, moving him into the lead. He lost victory yesterday to Verstappen, who said “it’s one-one now this year”, but Norris insisted the two situations were different.

“I don’t think it was a luck or unlucky kind of thing. I don’t think it was the same as Miami. This was just making a wrong call.

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“So it’s on me and it’s on the team and it’s something we’ll discuss after. We should have won today.”

Miami remains Norris’ only victory so far this year. He took his fourth other podium finish in Canada.

“I think we’re at a level now where we’re not satisfied with a second,” he said. “The target is to win and we didn’t do that.

“So it’s frustrating, but a tough race and still to end up in second when it could always finish and could be worse is still a good result.”

He regained some of his lost places later by delaying his switch from intermediate tyres to slicks. “It helped me have a chance against George [Russell],” Norris explained. “I overcut him.

“I didn’t do a good enough job afterwards, and he was clearly way quicker than us in the dry and even on the hard tyres. So that was completely the right call and a good decision from us to stay out. It gave me a lot of lap time.

“And it’s not the timing of the first Safety Car. I had enough time to box and we didn’t box. So this was a mistake on us as a team. And yeah, just something we didn’t do a good enough job with.”

Norris was investigated for gaining an advantage when he went off the track at one stage during the race, but the stewards ruled he had not benefited and did not penalise him.

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Keith Collantine
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17 comments on “Frustrated Norris says pit stop mistake cost McLaren race “we should have won””

  1. I couldn’t believe it when he stayed out. As I said elsewhere, their only conceivable excuse is that they were worried the race might be red flagged, but you can’t operate like that. A safety car was obviously coming within seconds. They throw safety cars for a car no matter how safely positioned off track it is. And, for today’s F1, this was the equivalent of a car being in the middle of the track. No excuse.

    1. An Sionnach
      10th June 2024, 10:06

      I’d love to get rid of safety cars entirely. Even if they could VSC one of the three sectors, that would be better as you could keep racing a little. If the track is covered in débris, then they can red flag it. For lesser things, waved yellows. Just no safety car, please!

      1. Absolutely, safety cars are a relic of a bygone era. VSC – even, and preferably, locally – is perfectly fine for all but the rarest of the incidents, in which case they can red flag the race and continue later. This business of resetting the race gaps and (often highly) disadvantaging or privileging some pitstop sequence or strategy based on nothing but sheer luck has nothing to do with a competition.

        1. That’s not really true, the SC bunches up the field and provides the race director an unbiased condition report of the track. A VSC doesn’t do either.

          The only reason they put out a safety car is to either bunch up the field to give the marshals a safe space to work in, or to get an unbiased condition report (drivers will always say whatever they think benefits them). The 2nd reason is why they always have the safety car going out when the race has been red flagged (to search for debris) or delayed due to the weather (condition report on slipperiness, but also to dry it up). Sure, the VSC can be tweaked to do the first thing, but if we do that, it still causes the same issues you have.

      2. F1 doesn’t want to get rid of their version of competition yellows. They also don’t want to race in rain, make the cars lighter or smaller, use common sense or anything else that would actually help.

        1. An Sionnach
          10th June 2024, 11:23

          They could make the cars lighter by issuing enough carbon fibre chairs for all but one driver. Then, they have to dance and find a chair when the stewards and race director switch off the music. Each time, whoever doesn’t find a chair is out. Repeat this until only one dancer remains. They can then parade them about on the back of a donkey for one lap of the circuit and follow this up with a huge party with loads music, variety entertainment and all sorts of noise (but not from a V10). Or, they could sod it all and become a travelling three ring circus.

      3. Safety cars are a marketing tool, they won’t get rid of it. And the Austin did sound better than the F1 cars

  2. There is an unknown delay between video and driver/race engineer communication but purely looking at the timing it is interesting to see that Piastri’s race engineer starts discussing making a pitstop if Safety Car comes 6 seconds before Safety Car is called yet Norris race engineer you only discussing pitstop 6 seconds after Safety car comes out.

    If Lando’s race engineer had done the same – Lando could (easily) have pitted as there was 3-4 seconds between SC signs showing and Norris taking the chicane.

    In fairness also Max’s & Russell’s race engineers you don’t hear before safety car came out – GP first starts discussion then half sentence says Box Box – Russell’s engineer immediately calls Box Box.

  3. Lando here is saying that the overcut was the right call to protect from Russel, and you can hardly argue. But wasn’t even the first place up for the taking if the overcut was 1 lap shorter?
    For me looks like 2 missed chances to seal the first place.

  4. Too right, Lando. I was screaming at the television. Your team handed that one to Max on a golden platter. Then they did it AGAIN on the second safety car. Unbelievable!

  5. It was a clear need to put – I see what they tried to do, but it was one lap too far.

  6. The race pace with newer tyres after the safety car would indicate otherwise Mr Norris.

  7. If you want to beat verstappen you dont let him lead the race.

    Once the track was dry and he was let loose, the race was lost.

    And mclaren gave him the lead without even putting a fight for it. Big mistake.

  8. The right pit call would have increased his chances to win but I still don’t find it likely. The speed of Max and Russell in the dry was making it more likely that a leading Norris would have been overtaken before the checkered flag. In the dry the mclaren didn’t seem quick enough for the win.

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  9. Could be another Jean Alesi in the making.

    1. Alesi’s only win came as a result of a problem for schumacher, who was miles ahead; by comparison, norris’ only win so far he was by far the fastest in the last stint, not to mention the many close calls.

      1. Alesi had a ton of close calls too, should’ve won double digit wins but didnt for a variety of reasons. He’s only win came in a race he wasnt even standing out.

        He definitely wasnt a Kovalainen.

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