Lando Norris wants McLaren F1 talks after nasty Japanese Grand Prix ‘surprise’

Despite starting third on the grid, Lando Norris finished fifth in the Japanese Grand Prix after failing to keep up with the Ferraris driven by Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc in his McLaren.

During a challenging Japanese Grand Prix, Lando Norris found himself “fighting a losing battle” and “surprised” by McLaren’s pit strategy.

After finishing third in the grid for Sunday’s race, the British driver was optimistic about earning podium finishes twice. However, he could not withstand the onslaught of the Ferraris trailing him.

After the two Red Bull drivers, Carlos Sainz, who started on the second row alongside Norris, finished in third place. Ferrari also perfectly executed Charles Leclerc’s strategy, which allowed him to move up from eighth place on the grid to fourth place.

Speaking after the race, Norris looked defeated and stated he wanted to discuss his team’s performance with them. “It was a difficult race; I believe that in comparison to those guys who had better pace, it was just not enough,” he remarked.

It’s unfortunate, but I believe that everything sort of went back to normal in terms of Red Bull, Ferrari, and us. When you start third and kind of fade away and feel like you’re fighting a losing battle against these guys because they’re just so much more skilled, it’s not a nice feeling.

They are able to travel farther and have a much larger tire delta. Fighting on a track like this is challenging, but we tried our best and did our best. All we could do is have the maximum number of points, excluding these two teams at the top.

“To be honest with you, I’m kind of surprised we boxed as early as we did because that just put it in line with what Ferrari did, and Charles did a good job going that far on one set of tires. We also covered George Russell, which I just didn’t think we might need to do.

We are going to talk about this at the briefing. Perhaps we should talk about how we could have handled P4 better. Making those choices at the moment is never easy; we had no idea he would end up in the pit.”

In defense of the strategy call, team principal Andrea Stella stated that McLaren was “a little out of options” at that particular moment. The Italian driver said, “We kind of knew that Ferrari were ready to go to undercut us when we stopped Lando at the start.” Thus, we aimed to take preventative measures. We could stop early because we had two sets of hard, and by stopping early, we wanted to see if we could reach the podium.

“We even attempted to see if we could defeat [Sergio] Perez. I felt there was value in giving that a try. In the end, this may have put us in a race that was not entirely preferred in terms of overall timing, but I believe it was well worth trying. Therefore, Lando’s team is pleased that we attempted to place on the podium.”

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