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

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

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

The Briton eventually finished Sunday’s topsy-turvy rain-hit race in second place to Max Verstappen, but the 24-year-old believes he could, and should, have finished on the podium’s top step himself.

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

Such was Norris’ speed at that stage of the race that, once in the lead, he opened an advantage in the region of 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 while later, Norris was at the track’s final corner, which contains the entry to the pits.

The McLaren continued on track for another lap yet the gap back to Verstappen and Russell meant that their respective teams had sufficiently more time before they reached the pit entry to decide to come in. While his rivals were in the pits, Norris was dropping time on track after being picked up by the Safety Car and, although he pitted next time around, he re-emerged onto the track back behind both the Red Bull and Mercedes.

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Lando Norris eases past both George Russell and Max Verstappen to claim the lead at the 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 did admit that “realistically, we should have had the decision pre-planned, and we didn’t”.

He was then more explicit about his views on what had happened in the post-race press conference.

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

“But yeah, we should have won today. Simple as that. We didn’t do a good job, I think, a good enough job as a team to box when we should have done and not get stuck behind the Safety Car. So I don’t think it was a luck or unlucky kind of thing.”

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

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Norris benefitted from the timing of the Safety Car 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 Miami. This was just making a wrong call.

“So, it’s on me and it’s on the team and it’s something we’ll discuss after. We should have won today. I think we’re at a level now where we’re not satisfied with a second, like the target is to win. And we didn’t do that. So, 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.”

Norris, who now has three second places and one win in 2024, later jumped back ahead of Russell when McLaren successfully ‘overcut’ the Mercedes by delaying his stop for slick tyres by two laps.

He eventually finished four seconds behind Verstappen, although felt that it was polesitters Mercedes who had possessed the quickest car around the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

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

“Like the last two weekends, they’ve been pretty close to probably being the quickest car. This weekend, they’ve been the quickest all weekend. So I think it was a positive. we finished ahead of them, because they’ve been the quicker team. So to always beat a quicker car and a quicker team is a nice thing. It’s a rewarding thing.

“But if they’re quicker in the next few races, too, and they’ve kind of joined the fight of Ferrari, Red Bull, and us, then it’s only going to make our life, I think, more exciting.

Should McLaren have won? Stella reflects on ‘marginal gains’

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

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

“It played to our hands in Miami, this time the Safety Car, if anything, didn’t help for when it came in the race when Lando was like two seconds faster than anybody else,” Stella told Sky Sports F1.

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Highlights from the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal

“At the same time, it came so late before the pit entry that we stayed out and this then meant that we needed to take the pit stop at the next lap and we lost the positions.

“It’s marginal gains. The much more important thing is another podium. We are there to compete for a podium in all conditions. In dry tyres today not necessarily we were the fastest car.

“So another strong result, it gives us optimism for the future and also a good haul of points.”

Formula 1 heads back to Europe as the championship moves on to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix. Watch every session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from June 21-23 live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership – No contract, cancel anytime

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