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Stella admits McLaren’s self-doubt over British GP decisions

McLaren doubted itself when it had tough decisions to make in the British Grand Prix and the drivers should not take a significant share of the blame, according to team principal Andrea Stella.

Lando Norris was leading when the final round of pit stops to swap intermediate tires for slicks was made, and came in a lap after Lewis Hamilton had fitted softs and Max Verstappen hards. McLaren asked Norris for his preference and ended up also fitting a soft tire despite having a brand-new medium available, and it proved to be the wrong call as he suffered from high levels of degradation and dropped to third place.

“In those conditions we wanted to check also with Lando what his preference was, what we should be going after, and one aspect was also ,‘Do you think it will be tricky?’” Stella said. “This we didn’t ask.

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“The sense of deciding with Lando was will it be tricky going on a C2 compound in these conditions? But in fairness, as a matter of fact it wasn’t that tricky, because Verstappen on a hard compound managed the transition to the dry tires without big issues.

“So I think this one was a decision that we should have taken once again — like in stopping Oscar [Piastri] in the double stack — we should have taken the responsibility to say the medium is just the right tire; we go for it. I think in checking with Lando, we kind of self-doubted and this led us to follow this direction, which in hindsight wasn’t correct.”

The Piastri situation had occurred earlier in the race, when McLaren was running one-two and intensifying rain meant the team needed to stop both drivers for intermediate tires. In order to avoid time lost in the pits, Norris made his stop first but Piastri lost huge amounts of time completing one further lap.

“I think we were a little greedy that we didn’t want to accept that we would have lost time with the double stack, but effectively sometimes you just have to be patient and accept that you’re going to lose time — 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’s 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.”

Story originally appeared on Racer