What should have been a win for Lando Norris at the British Grand Prix became a third-place finish in a race filled with stumbling blocks for McLaren — and team boss Andrea Stella has admitted the team offered Norris a choice, doubting their own strategy call.

The fatal error came as conditions dried up and it came time to swap from intermediate to soft tires: McLaren offered Lando Norris a choice, unfortunately, the British racer made the wrong call. It was one of several issues Stella pinpoints the team as making.

Stella: ‘We kind of self doubted’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

In asking Lando Norris for his opinion on the slick tire compound he wanted to use as opposed to simply instructing him to use the tire the team felt was best, Andrea Stella says McLaren doubted itself. That doubt “led us to follow [Norris’] direction, which in hindsight wasn’t perfect.

In essence, McLaren knew that the medium-compound tire would be the best choice for Norris heading into the final stint of the race. However, rather than simply tell Norris he’d be swapping to mediums, McLaren offered him a choice of compounds.

Norris opted for soft compounds, which degraded quickly and opened him up for a pass by Max Verstappen.

“In those conditions, we wanted to check also with Lando, what his preference was, what you should be going after,” Stella told media at the British Grand Prix, including PlanetF1.com.

“And one aspect was also ‘do you think it will be tricky’ — this we didn’t ask.

“But the sense of asking with Lando or deciding with Lando was, will it be tricky going on C2 compound in these conditions?”

Stella admitted that Verstappen showed that harder compounds could actually be utilized effectively in pursuing greater pace — but that the team didn’t want to make that decision for Norris. Rather, the team chose to consult its driver.

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“I think this one was a decision that […] we should have taken,” Stella said.

He compared it to the team’s decision not to doublestack its drivers. McLaren pitted Norris and not Oscar Piastri, leaving Piastri to struggle around the track and lose valuable time. It was, Stella said, an opportunity for the team to decisively make a choice for its drivers.

“We should have taken the responsibility to say ‘the medium is just the right tire, we go for it,’” Stella said.

“I think in checking with Lando, we kind of self-doubted and this led us to follow his direction which in hindsight wasn’t perfect.”

At the end of the day, a third place for Norris and a fourth for Piastri isn’t terrible; however, it can be quite frustrating McLaren is clearly quick and capable of winning races.

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