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Source: Racer Magazine

McLaren 'maximized what was available' despite missed Norris win - Stella

by Chris Medland | June 11th, 2024

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella says Lando Norris was simply unlucky due to multiple timing factors that cost him a chance of victory in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Norris was leading by over 11 seconds when a safety car was deployed due to Logan Sargeant's crash at Turn 4, having been comfortably the quickest car on track at the time and pulling rapidly away from Max Verstappen behind. However, McLaren failed to call Norris into the pits immediately, and Verstappen and George Russell were both able to stop and emerge ahead of Norris when he came in a lap later, but Stella said there were multiple factors that didn't make the decision a straightforward one.

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"We took a look and he was 1.5 seconds from the time when you need to either turn or go straight," Stella said. "In hindsight we could have told the driver that in case of safety car, pit, so he would have just reacted instinctively, but we were monitoring the intensity of the rain, and this intensity in the last few minutes was reducing.

"So we didn't want to pit unnecessarily for a new set of inters when this set of inters could have been very good enough in case of very light rain. I think it was much easier for the car behind to do the opposite, for instance, of Lando.

"So I think that is a little bit unlucky, not only with when the safety car was deployed with respect to Lando's position on track, but also the time of the safety car in the race, because by that time Lando was by far the fastest car on track."

With Norris then unable to beat Verstappen but still managing to regain second place ahead of Russell, Stella says the Mercedes was a quicker car and McLaren should be proud of how it handled the situation after the first safety car interruption.

"Not later in the race. I think what happened later in the race unfolded ... actually I think Mercedes should have finished ahead of Lando," said Stella. "If anything we maximized what was available after the safety car.

"Without the safety car, Lando could have accumulated such a large advantage that then we could have tried to make it to the end on the dry tires, but I think Mercedes could have caught up, because they were a few tenths of a second faster. So we really needed a decent advantage to make it safely to the end.

"But obviously this is a little bit academic, because in a race like this with two or three safety cars, you have to assume that will happen and the weather was around, so we knew it was going to be a race decided by different scenarios."