Lando Norris left the British Grand Prix disappointed after missing an opportunity to battle for a home podium due to a slow pit stop.
The McLaren driver had risen to third place after the red flag restart at Silverstone on Sunday and kept Valtteri Bottas at bay throughout the first stint. With Lewis Hamilton facing a time penalty and Charles Leclerc leading, it even looked like there could be an outside chance of a win on the cards, but then Norris lost four seconds with a slow right rear and dropped behind the Finn, limiting him to fourth place.
“We had the chance to fight a little bit more,” Norris said. “I was able to hold off Bottas for the whole of the first stint. When he was behind me in the dirty air he slowed a bit. Obviously, they are a lot quicker. I would’ve had a chance to fight him for P3, but instead I came up behind him and couldn’t do anything.
“A little bit annoying that I could not do that, especially here. But P4 is still good, it is not a bad result. I just wanted a little bit more.
“I was there for longer than I wanted to be. I do not think the end result would’ve been too different because Bottas was still very fast. I think I would’ve come out from the pit stop still in third place and then able to fight and try to hold him off. But I did not get a chance.
“I’m still happy with fourth and Daniel (Ricciardo) fifth. So, good points for us, especially with Charles (Leclerc) in second place. I want that chance to fight and put on a good show, and I did not get that opportunity. So I am a little bit annoyed.”
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While understanding Norris’ frustration, team principal Andreas Seidl believes Mercedes would not have reacted by pitting instantly if McLaren had executed a clean stop, based on how hard Bottas had found it to overtake.
“In terms of the outcome of the race, I think obviously we didn’t finish the battle with Valtteri and Lando,” Seidl said. “If there was a chance we could fight for P3, it’s difficult to say as if we’d done a normal pit stop Valtteri would have gone long, long, long with his stint and then created a tire delta at the end of the race. So it’s difficult to say if that would have been a chance to keep him behind. To be realistic, he would have just gone by like he did with everyone else.
“But overall for us, a very strong weekend with P4 and P5. Scoring strong points in our fight in the constructors’ championship and then we have to accept the cars ahead of us at the end of the race, Charles especially in the Ferrari was very quick all weekend. But looking at ourselves, the positives, we see the gap we had to Mercedes and Red Bull was much smaller again than last year, a good step forward again.
“It was also good to see that there is a bit of a gap opening up compared to the teams behind, us and Ferrari which shows the progress we are making with the car also in the season.”