Lando Norris admits crucial McLaren error that cost him victory over Max Verstappen at Imola

Lando Norris missed out on his second F1 victory by just 0.7 seconds to Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP


Lando Norris admitted McLaren set up his MCL38 for a colder race than the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix turned out to be as he missed out on victory by an agonising 0.7 seconds to the Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

With around 15 laps to go Verstappen lost all the pace in his hard tyres but Norris couldn’t quite get close enough to attempt an overtake a fortnight after taking his maiden grand prix victory in Miami.

On a beautiful spring day east of Bologna, Norris came under fire from Charles Leclerc in his second stint and though he eventually broke free of the Ferrari to chase down Verstappen, that period of defence may well have cost him at the death.

“I’d would probably take out like four holes of front wing,” Norris told select members of the press, including¬† “Once your tyres are where they are you can’t actually do a lot.

“We were expecting it to be a little bit colder today than it was so we set up the car more for colder conditions than hot and I think I paid the price in general, I had to do so much like of an introduction to the tyres and kind of bring them up so gently and look after them.

“If I didn’t, I just would’ve fallen off a cliff like the others did so my only chance was to drive my race and that meant being under pressure from Charles for more laps than I would’ve liked.”

Norris: I just needed one more lap

Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Emilia Romagna GP at Imola | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Even Verstappen admitted that the chequered flag couldn’t come soon enough as he dragged his RB20 to the finish, and Norris believed he would’ve at least challenged the Dutchman wheel to wheel had the race been a lap longer.

A mistake on the penultimate lap denied Norris the chance at DRS down the main straight to start his final circumnavigation of Imola and he wasn’t able to attempt an overtake before running out of road, but still hailed a successful weekend and his third consecutive finish in the top two of a grand prix.

“As soon as I cleared the traffic and got back into my own rhythm then I felt good with the car, the tyres came back to me and I could push,” Norris added. “From then on the pace was amazing and it’s a good sign, good race pace is always a good thing to have.

“As soon as you get within two seconds you start to lose downforce and grip, the tyres start to overheat again so I kind of struggled for a couple laps, but once I understood how I had to drive again, I managed to get there.

“Like one more lap at least he would’ve had to defend into turn one and maybe something could have come from that but one lap too late.¬†Maybe we could have prepared for a little bit more but nevertheless, I’m happy with the outcome.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for and in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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