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Seidl: McLaren team equally to blame for Norris tyre call

Andreas Seidl says Lando Norris’ decision not to pit for intermediate tyres in the closing stages of the Russian Grand Prix was the result of a collective fault that also involved the McLaren pitwall.

While leading Sunday’s race, Norris attempted to force the issue on the partially damp track, telling his team that he wanted to commit to remaining on his slick tyres amid the late shower to try and pull off a win.

The pressure on the Briton was momentarily relieved when Lewis Hamilton who had chased down the McLaren driver opted to stop for a set of intermediates.

Norris pressed on only to be caught out by the worsening conditions that destroyed his lead over Hamilton and ultimately forced him into a late stop for inters just two laps from the checkered flag.

After the race, the devastated 21-year-old, who finished P7 on the road, rued his decision to stay out but insisted it was made in the heat of the moment based on his assessment of the track conditions but also on the information he was being given by his team.

“From one lap one to the other, the whole thing changed,” Norris explained. “The game changed completely.

“That final lap when Lewis boxed the slick tyre was still the tyre to be on. On that lap they asked ‘do you want to go on to the inter?’ And for the lap I just did, I didn’t, because the slick tyre was easily the correct tyre.

“Of course, now that’s the wrong decision. But my feeling I had I didn’t know there was going to be a lot more rain and there’s no way of me knowing unless they told me there’s going to be a lot more rain, which they didn’t.”

  • Read also: ‘Devastated’ Norris admits to wrong call in Sochi finale

Ultimately, Seidl judged that team and driver were equally to blame for the botched call.

“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.”

Asked if in hindsight, he regretted the call not to pit earlier, Seidl said: “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.”

Despite the disappointment, Seidl praised Norris for his performance in Sochi and for nearly delivering a second remarkable win in succession to McLaren.

“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,” said the German.

“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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