McLaren: Call to keep Norris on slicks in F1 Russian GP a team decision

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl says the decision for Lando Norris to remain on slicks in the wet final Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix laps was ultimately a team call.

McLaren: Call to keep Norris on slicks in F1 Russian GP a team decision

Norris led for much of Sunday’s race at Sochi, taking the lead on lap 14 from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and returning to the head of the pack following the pitstop phase.

The McLaren driver was fending off Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton when the rain began to worsen on lap 46 of 53, with Hamilton eventually boxing for intermediate tyres while Norris committed to the slicks – despite the team calling him into the pits.

Norris slid off the road at Turn 5 on lap 51 and gifted Hamilton the lead, before his eventual stop for intermediates dropped him to seventh.

Race Direction has confirmed Norris has been summoned to the Stewards' office for crossing the pitlane entry when he came in to ditch his slicks, which is likely to result in a penalty.

Seidl says the result was “part of the learning” Norris must still do in F1, but conceded McLaren could have been more assertive in its request for their driver to pit.

"He knows this is part of the game, part of the learning as well,” Seidl told Sky F1.

“But not just on his side, the team's side as well because I think there is always a chance to overrule him form the pit wall side from the information we were getting.

“But in the end, together we made this call to stay out.

“I think on Lewis' side we heard the discussions and it was pretty much the same ongoing and on Lewis' side he had the chance to wait for what we were doing and do the opposite because he was in P2 at this point and we didn't have this opportunity.

“We wanted to go for the win, that's why we decided together to stay out. That's why it didn't work out.”

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When asked if there was regret in the call, Seidl responded: “We finished P7, so we regret it at the moment!

“It’s a decision we made together with the team, with the driver and the pit wall. The result is we didn’t get it together today compared to some other teams.

“We will analyse it, learn from it and try to do better next time.”

Seidl went onto praise what Norris is achieving in his third year in F1 having put on a strong showing on Sunday until the closing laps and taking pole in changing conditions on Saturday.

“I think apart from the last two, three laps, what we've seen from the team again together with him from his side when he pulled off the pole and also today in the race, it's impressive what he's pulling off in his third year in Formula 1,” he said.

“And that's why of course we need to analyse together with him what we could have done better today, learn from it, that's always the first thing we do - it doesn't matter what the outcome of a race weekend is.

“But then at the same time it's important to see all the positives also from his side and come back stronger in Turkey.”

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