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McLaren

McLaren explain additional factor that cost Spanish GP win

McLaren and Lando Norris came close to sealing another grand prix win but had to settle for second behind Max Verstappen.

Norris podium Spain
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has insisted being stuck behind George Russell after the start of the Spanish Grand Prix likely cost it a chance to win the race.

Pole-sitter Lando Norris dropped to third place on the opening lap, with Russell and Max Verstappen moving ahead.

Verstappen soon dispatched of Russell to take the lead while Norris was unable to follow suit, going longer into the race compared to his rivals before attacking on fresher tyres.

After securing second place, Norris conceded the opening lap was pivotal to the outcome of the race.

Stella admitted McLaren was not surprised to see Norris lose track position on the opening lap.

“It's the second time that the gap in qualifying is under 20 milliseconds,” Stella told media including RacingNews365

“Everything is getting extremely tight, which means the details become very important because you have no margin in which you can compensate any little imprecision.

“The main factor is that we couldn't defend the first position. In Barcelona, this is not necessarily a surprise because you have such a long run to corner one, the cars run high downforce.

“So as soon as you gain a bit of slipstream, it makes you so much faster than the car ahead, which meant that Lando was not in a condition to defend this pole position.”

McLaren rue Russell traffic jam

Norris' trip to the podium was his sixth of the year as he now moves to second place in the drivers' championship.

Stella admitted that his chances of victory would have been heavily boosted if it had only lost track position to Verstappen.

“I actually appreciate his wise approach whereby we stay out of trouble,” he said. “The race we know was going come to us. 

“But just the time lost behind Russell, it was too much. So I will say that a couple of positions lost at corner one and the time lost behind Russell, they are the two decisive factors.

“If we were in behind Verstappen at the start, I think we could have played our cards with good chances.“

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