Lando Norris takes swipe at McLaren over Canadian GP strategy failure

The 24-year-old had to settle for second place in Canada after McLaren failed to take advantage of a key moment in the race.

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Lando Norris criticised the McLaren’s strategic decisions during Formula 1 2024 Canadian Grand Prix and insisted they should have won Sunday’s race in Montreal.

The Briton came home in second behind race winner Max Verstappen, but the 24-year-old felt it was a missed opportunity having been leading the race on Lap 25 when the first safety car was deployed. While Verstappen, George Russell and Oscar Piastri all pitted behind him, McLaren opted to keep Norris out for another lap.

With a 21-second lead, Norris was in front of the Red Bull driver at the pit exit, but he struggled for grip on the wet part of the racetrack on slick tyres and conceded the lead to Verstappen. That was crucial as the Dutchman was able to stretch out a lead, even with another safety car restart in the latter stages, leaving Norris to rue the team’s strategic failure.

“We should have won the race today and we didn’t, so [it’s] frustrating. We had the pace [when it was] pretty much in the dry at the end,” Norris told the media in Canada, including Total-Motorsport.com. “It turns out didn’t really matter too much, but we should have won today. Simple as that.

Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris of McLaren during the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“We didn’t do a good job as a team to box when we should have done and not get stuck behind the safety cars, so I don’t think it was a luck or unlucky kind of thing. I don’t think it was the same as Miami, this was just making a wrong call,” Norris added.

“So it’s on me and on the team, and it’s something we’ll discuss after, but we should have won today. I think we’re at a level now where we’re not satisfied with second [place], the target is to win and we didn’t do it.”

Norris refuses to blame safety car

Norris‘ podium finish, his fourth of the season, means he has closed the gap on Charles Leclerc in the drivers’ championship after the Ferrari driver was forced to retire with power unit issues.

But the chance to record a second win of the season, following his safety car-aided success in Miami, left him with a bittersweet feeling – especially after he had led the race.

Unlike that race, Norris explained it wasn’t simply a case of good or bad fortune with the safety car, and instead placed the blame firmly at the feet of his strategists whilst criticising his own performance.

“Staying out on the intermediate helped me have a chance against George, so I over-cut him. I didn’t do a good enough job afterwards and he was clearly way quicker than us on in the dry and on even on the hard tyres,” Norris added.

“So no, that was completely the right call, a good decision for us to stay on [the intermediates]. It gave me a lot of lap time. But it’s not the timing of a safety car… I had enough time to box, we didn’t box, so this was a mistake on us as a team.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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