- McLaren’s Lando Norris was close to tears after a last-minute failure caused him to miss out on his first F1 win.
- The young Brit was leading in Russia, but decided to stay on dry weather tires when it began to rain.
- Norris was unable to keep control of his car, spinning off and sacrificing a chance for a first win.
One of Formula One‘s rising stars was left devastated after a decision not to pit for a tire change ended up costing him his first win in the sport.
McLaren ‘s Lando Norris was bearing down on a maiden victory at the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday when rain hit the track, forcing all the drivers to consider a change to tires better suited for the wet conditions.
With Lewis Hamilton close behind him, Norris defied team orders to pit and change onto intermediate tires — which provide an option when conditions are slightly wet, but not torrential.
That decision proved his downfall as conditions worsened.
—Formula 1 (@F1) September 26, 2021
Hamilton, who had also initially gone against team orders and stayed out, decided to pit after being told by his team that heavier rain was on its way.
The Mercedes team was correct in its prediction and the rain did increase, making it almost impossible for Norris to keep the car on the track.
Despite coming out of the pits 25 seconds behind his fellow Brit, Hamilton was soon able to catch Norris whose speed had decreased dramatically in order to just stay on the track.
But staying on the track proved a task too difficult as Norris slipped off during lap 51, just two laps before the end of the race.
—Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) September 26, 2021
The 21-year-old would go on to finish seventh, claiming an extra point for completing the fastest lap, but said he was “devastated” with the result.
“I don’t know where to start. I’m unhappy, devastated in a way,” a visibly upset Norris told Sky Sports F1.
“We made a call to stay out and we stand by that. It was the wrong one at the end of the day but I made the decision just as much as the team. It was more that they thought I should box and I decided to stay out.
“It was my decision, I thought it was the way to go.”
Hamilton’s win was his 100th in the sport, nine more than any other driver.
The result also takes him back to the top of the driver standings, two points ahead of Max Verstappen who finished second having started at the back of the grid.
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