Lando Norris asserts that McLaren has “lost too many points” this season through “bad” strategy choices amid another squandered opportunity at the Dutch Grand Prix.
The Briton appeared to be continuing McLaren’s mid-season resurgence when he wound up second in qualifying.
However, as the rain descended on the Zandvoort circuit, McLaren’s delay in pitting Norris for Intermediate tyres until the end of Lap 3 saw him plummet to the back.
While the Woking-based side was able to optimise the remaining crossover periods to salvage points on both sides of the garage, Norris rued losing considerable time at the start when McLaren got caught out.
“I’m not going to talk too much otherwise I’ll create a headline and I’m really bad at that,” he reflected.
“It’s clear we made the wrong decision, we made a bad decision, it’s something we’ll talk about and review, we’ve made a couple this season, we’ve lost too many positions and too many points with a couple of these things.
“The second part of the race we made the right decisions, one of the first to box, gained some time, a position on George [Russell], but the first one was… not great.”
The failure to be decisive in worsening weather conditions initiated comparisons with the 2021 Russian Grand Prix when Norris was denied his maiden race victory.
While Norris doesn’t believe the two situations are comparable, he concedes that McLaren must improve its reading of races when rain interrupts proceedings.
“It changes, I think there’s been plenty of times we made the right decision and the good decisions, and we’ve gained, but generally you remember more the ones that you lose on than you gain on, so I don’t think it’s really the same thing,” he argued.
“I think they’re quite different, and we’ve made some good progress with a lot of if, but days like today were evident we were a long way from where we needed to be.”
After another deluge and a crash for Zhou Guanyu in the closing stages prompted a lengthy stoppage, Norris and Russell enjoyed a hard-fought tussle once the race resumed.
However, Russell’s race was brought to an abrupt end when slight contact at Turn 12 saw his Mercedes pick up a puncture, leading Norris to criticise how easy it is to pick up damage with this generation of cars.
“Yeah just the cars are so sharp nowadays you touch a bit and you have four punctures all of a sudden, so, it was just good racing, we were close, wheel to wheel, I feel bad he came off that way but nothing I could have done differently,” he discussed.