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Stella believes McLaren were ‘greedy’ at Silverstone as he reflects on mistakes that cost chance of victory

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Lando Norris of the UK is driving the (4) McLaren F1 Team MCL38 Mercedes during the Formula 1 Qatar

McLaren boss Andrea Stella believes the team were “a little greedy” in some of their strategy calls at the British Grand Prix, which he feels ultimately cost both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri the chance to fight for the win.

It was a strong opening phase to the race for both drivers, with Norris overtaking Max Verstappen, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton to put himself in the lead, while Piastri followed to create a McLaren one-two at the front of the pack.

READ MORE: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Silverstone – Who excelled in a barnstorming British Grand Prix?

However, when the time came to switch to intermediate tyres amid increasing rainfall, Piastri was left out on track while Norris – like many of his competitors – made a pit stop. Though the team had been keen to avoid the time lost from a double stack, the tricky conditions meant that Piastri had to be cautious during his extra lap, meaning that he lost more time by staying out.

Norris then led for much of the event, but pitted a lap later than rivals Hamilton and Verstappen during the final stops to switch to the slick tyres. Like Hamilton, the Briton opted for the soft compound, while Verstappen had bolted on the hard tyres.

After a slightly slow stop, Norris emerged back on track behind Hamilton and was then overtaken by a charging Verstappen after the soft tyre struggled as the stint progressed. This left him in P3, while Piastri crossed the line just behind in P4.

2024 British Grand Prix: Hamilton re-takes the lead after pitting ahead of Norris

Reflecting back on the race, Stella admitted that a double stack during the first round of stops would have been the right thing to do in hindsight, but acknowledged that the squad were also keen to avoid losing too much time.

“I think we were a little greedy, that we didn’t want to accept that we would have lost time with the double stack,” the Team Principal said.

TECH WEEKLY: The important differences between the Mercedes and McLaren as they fought for Silverstone supremacy

“But effectively sometimes you just have to be patient and accept that you’re going to lose time but just do the right thing, rather than hoping that one lap more is not going to cost that much, especially when the rain was pretty steady, so it’s not like [he was] going to face easier conditions staying out one more lap.

“I think Oscar would have been in a really strong position, at least as strong as Lando in terms of opportunities to win the race.”

Similarly, with Norris’ last stop, Stella conceded: “I think with Lando, the right thing to do was definitely to pit at the same time [as Hamilton and Verstappen], but we wanted to have a very safe transition onto the dry tyres, and we lost a bit of time as well at the pit stops. We thought that with one lap more we could still keep the lead.”

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 06: McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella looks on from the pitwall

Stella acknowledges that McLaren did not get all of their strategy calls right at Silverstone

The Italian also recognised that the soft compound may not have been the best choice, adding: “Pitting one lap later gives you the possibility to observe what your competitors do, and I think that going on softs wasn’t the right call for us.

“In fact, with the graining of the tyres [it was] too much to be able to retain the position on Verstappen and Lewis. In fairness, Lewis did a really good job of making the soft tyres last the entire stint.”

MONDAY MORNING DEBRIEF: ‘We threw it away’ – How McLaren’s calls paved the way for Hamilton’s historic Silverstone win

In terms of why the medium tyre was not used, Stella said that the team wanted to check with Norris on what his preference was, with the concern being that the compound could be challenging to manage on the drying track.

“As a matter of fact, it wasn’t that tricky. Verstappen on a hard compound managed the transition onto the dry tyres without big issues,” the team boss continued.

“I think this one was a decision that we should have taken, like in stopping Oscar in the double stack, we should have taken the responsibility to say, ‘the medium is just the right tyre, we go for it’. I think in checking with Lando we kind of self-doubted, and this led us to following this direction which in hindsight wasn’t correct.”

However, Stella was keen to stress that the responsibility for such calls lies with the team and not solely with the driver.

Distraught Norris left speechless after ‘throwing away a win’

“Please don’t think that the decision to go on softs is because Lando [said], ‘we should go soft’,” he explained. “We have the possibility to make the call, we have more information, we have more people, so the responsibility of going on the soft rather than the medium – which would have been a better call – stands with the team.

“It’s 100% my responsibility and the people [in the team]. The driver gives his point of view, that is their point of view, and in that case it should have been the team call to say, ‘we go medium, because the soft may not make it to the end’.”

READ MORE: ‘I blame myself today’ – Norris rues ‘not making right decisions’ after missing out on Silverstone win

While the squad are set to review the errors in order to provide learnings to everyone involved, Stella is also taking the positives from the race. When asked if seeing both cars leave a Red Bull behind and overtake the Mercedes duo was encouraging, he responded: “100%.

“There’s this narrative around that McLaren have the best car – I think that we make good use of the car, so I would like to emphasise the good work of the people that prepared the car. We come to practice sessions and the car performs well, we build well through the weekend.

“As part of the positives, I think the team are working very well, and when you race for the front positions it just becomes much more visible when you still have some work to do.”

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