Lando Norris admits McLaren made costly strategy mistake at Canadian GP after losing to Max Verstappen in Montreal | F1 News

Lando Norris said McLaren “should have won” the Canadian Grand Prix but “didn’t do a good job as a team” in the way they handled the first Safety Car phase of the race in the rain.

The Briton ultimately finished Sunday’s rain-and-scramble race in second place behind Max Verstappen, but the 24-year-old believes he himself could and should have finished on the top step of the podium.

Having qualified third on the grid, Norris overtook first Verstappen and then George Russell on consecutive laps to lead the Montreal race on lap 21 with his McLaren enjoying the intermediate tire conditions.

Such was Norris’ speed at that stage of the race that, once in the lead, he opened up a lead of around 11 seconds in the space of four laps before Logan Sargeant crashed his Williams at turn five.

When Race Control made the decision to call the Safety Car a short time later, Norris was in the final corner of the track, which contains the pit entrance.

The McLaren continued on the track for a further lap, but the gap to Verstappen and Russell meant their respective teams had enough time before reaching the pit entrance to decide to enter. While his rivals were in the pits, Norris was losing time. He tracked after being picked up by the safety car and, although he pitted the next time, he re-entered the track behind the Red Bull and Mercedes.

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Lando Norris overtakes George Russell and Max Verstappen to claim lead at Canadian Grand Prix

speaking to Sky Sports F1 Immediately after the race, Norris said that while McLaren “didn’t have enough time to make the decision” to pit immediately, he admitted that “realistically, we should have had the decision planned beforehand, and we didn’t.”

He then became more explicit about his opinion of what happened at the post-race press conference.

“We should have won the race today and we didn’t, very frustrating,” Norris said. “We had the pace. Probably not in the dry at the end. Turns out it didn’t really matter too much.”

“But yeah, we should have won today. It’s that simple. I think we didn’t do a good job, a good enough job as a team to box when we should have and not get stuck behind the Safety Car. So I don’t think it was a matter of luck or bad luck.”

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Max Verstappen and Lando Norris hilariously react to their battle outside the pits at the Canadian Grand Prix

Norris benefited from the Safety Car moment when he won for the first time in F1 ahead of Verstappen at last month’s Miami GP, but the Briton said of the situation on Sunday: “I don’t think it was the same as in Miami. This was simply making the wrong decision.

“So, it’s up to me and the team and it’s something we’ll discuss later. We should have won today. I think we’re at a level now where we’re not satisfied with one second, like the goal was to win and we didn’t. It was Frustrating, but a tough race and still finishing second when you always could finish and it could be worse, it’s still a good result.”

Norris, who now has three second places and a win in 2024, then jumped ahead of Russell when McLaren managed to “overcut” the Mercedes by delaying their stop for slick tires by two laps.

He ultimately finished four seconds behind Verstappen, although he considered polesitter Mercedes to have the fastest car on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

“It’s good to see where Mercedes will be, because they’ve clearly improved a lot,” added Norris.

“Like the last two weekends, they were pretty close to probably being the fastest car. This weekend, they were the fastest all weekend. So I think that was positive. We finished ahead of them, because they have been the fastest team. So always beating a faster car and team is something nice.

“But if they are also faster in the next races and have joined the fight of Ferrari, Red Bull and us, then I think our life will be more exciting.”

Should McLaren have won? Stella reflects on “marginal gains”

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella also admitted they “could have won” but said the bigger picture was one of further encouragement for the ever-improving team.

In one weekend, Ferrari scored zero points, McLaren moved within 40 points of the Italian team for second place in the Constructors’ Championship. Norris is also now just seven points behind Charles Leclerc for second place in the Drivers’ Championship.

“It worked in our favor in Miami, this time the safety car, in any case, didn’t help when the race came, when Lando was like two seconds faster than the others,” Stella said. Sky Sports F1.

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Highlights from the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal

“At the same time, it was so late before the pit stop that we were left out and this meant we needed to make a pit stop on the next lap and we lost positions.

“They are marginal gains. The most important thing is another podium. We are there to compete for a podium in all conditions. With dry tires today we were not necessarily the fastest car.”

“So another good result gives us optimism for the future and also a good amount of points.”

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