Seidl: Russian GP bust will make Norris and McLaren stronger

McLaren boss Andreas Seidl says both team and driver will learn from Lando Norris’ missed opportunity in Russia to score his maiden F1 win.

After clinching a remarkable pole on Saturday, Norris took over the lead in the Russian Grand Prix from Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz after 13 laps and looked set to deliver a second glorious win in succession to McLaren.

But a rain shower late in the race threw a spanner into the driver’s works, with Norris opting to remain on his slick tyres while his pursuer Lewis Hamilton made a timely switch to the intermediate tyres.

As conditions worsened, Hamilton caught up with his rival who was left with no other choice but to head for the pits, leaving the Mercedes to conquer his 100th F1 win, while Norris concluded his afternoon a lowly P7.

When all was said and done, Norris’ heartbreak was palpable, as was his entire team’s agony. But a supportive Seidl preferred to see the unlucky turn of fortune as a fortifying moment for team and driver.

©McLaren

“I think it will we make him and the team stronger because it’s these moments where you learn the most as a team,” said Seidl.

“It’s always easier if everything goes to plan. A moment like this is a big disappointment, but an opportunity to learn and to do better as a team together with Lando next time around.

“It’s part of the sport. It’s no different from junior categories where things like this happen and there are big disappointments – especially when he was 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.”

    Read also: Norris likely feeling ‘very guilty’ but he’ll learn – Leclerc

Although Hamilton was hunting down Norris ahead of the rain induced disruption, the McLaren driver looked set to fend off the seven-time world champion attacks in the final five laps of the race.

But a pragmatic Seidl brushed aside any might-have-beens.

“I’m a guy that is not wasting energy with could have, should have,” he said.

“You have to look at the facts, and you have to do an analysis on what we could have done better, and then you reset and go again.

“I’m not wasting any time thinking about what’s possible, for example, to win his first race.

“He’s disappointed, we’re disappointed with the outcome of the race, with the last three laps. But frustration, disappointment, that doesn’t move you forward.”

Setting aside the disappointment, the McLaren F1 boss took away from the team’s Russian Grand Prix weekend another marker validating its progress, insisting the Woking-based outfit remains on course to bridge the gap with F1’s main front-runners.

“With everything that I’m seeing from the team, I’m very, very happy and very confident that once we have everything in place that we need in our journey, we will be in a position to fight Red Bull and Mercedes again regularly,” he said.

“And obviously it’s great to see that already now occasionally, depending on the tracks as well, we are actually in a position to fight for pole positions or for a race win.”

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