Russia disappointment will make Norris and McLaren stronger
By Mat Coch
Tuesday 28th September, 2021 - 2:00pm
The disappointment of losing out on victory in the Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix will see Lando Norris come back even stronger according to McLaren boss Andreas Seidl.
Norris came within three laps of winning in Sochi only for a gamble on slick tyres to backfire and see him slide to seventh in the final standings.
Up to that point, the Brit looked to have the race under control, managing the gap to second placed Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages.
“It will make him and the team stronger because it’s these moments where you learn most as a team,” Seidl said.
“At the moment like [Sunday] is a big disappointment and opportunity to learn in order to do it better as a team together with Lando, next time around.
“He’s long enough in that sport, and it’s no different than in the junior categories where you know that’s part of the sport that things like today happen, the disappointments, especially when you are so close to something really big.
“But I think he has enough experience and the team as well in order to come back out of this even stronger.”
McLaren’s near miss in Russia came off the back of an unexpected one-two at the Italian Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo claimed victory for the team, its first in nine years, with Norris following him to the flag.
Speaking in Russia of that result, the 21-year-old described it as the most downbeat second place he’d experienced.
However, he bounced back and claimed pole position in drying conditions during qualifying on Saturday.
Final result aside, McLaren’s performances in recent races have seen it begin to threaten the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes at the front of the Formula 1 field.
Seidl though suggests it’s not yet job done, and there is still more needed to make the team a regular contender.
“I see us simply being in the middle of a journey, getting back to the front-end Formula One,” Seidl explained.
“We have a clear plan in place of what we need to make in terms of steps on infrastructure side, the organisational side, the cultural side in order to make these next steps in order to battle the teams in front of us at each race weekend.
“Part of this journey is also that you have to accept that it doesn’t always go onwards and upwards.
“It’s a normal part of the sport that you have days like [in Russia], which was a big disappointment.
“But it’s also an opportunity to stay humble, to stay with both feet on the ground, which is important in this sport to keep the respect up for all the competitors as well, to simply keep learning.
“With everything that I’m seeing [with] the team I’m very happy and very confident that once we have everything in place that we need on our journey we will be in a position to fight Red Bull and Mercedes again regularly,” he added.
“Obviously it’s great to see that already now occasionally, depending on the tracks as well, we are actually in position to fight for pole positions or for a race win.”
McLaren remains third in the constructors’ championship after 15 races, 17.5 points clear of Ferrari in third but 130.5 down on second-placed Red Bull.
The sport heads to Istanbul Park next for the Turkish Grand Prix on October 8-10.