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Lando Norris Threw Away His 2nd Consecutive Race Victory at Imola GP, Explains F1 Expert

Mahim Suhalka

Lando Norris Threw Away His 2nd Consecutive Race Victory at Imola GP, Explains F1 Expert

Despite seeming like yet another straightforward win for Max Verstappen, the Imola GP served up a surprise in the last stint. Lando Norris made a late charge in the race to add to his race wins tally. The Brit closed down a massive gap to the runaway Dutchman on the hard compound tires. However, despite his best efforts, Norris finished runner-up, albeit with a mere 0.7-second gap. However, F1 expert Tim Hauraney believes Norris threw his race away with an aggressive start.

Hauraney explained how Red Bull did not seem to be the fastest car all weekend. It was either McLaren or Ferrari. He also pointed out that without a tow from Nico Hulkenberg, the Dutchman would not have gone fastest in qualifying.

However, Verstappen started the race brilliantly and made the most of clean air. This was something that Norris did not get and it hampered his stint on the medium tires.

So, despite a brilliant start, Hauraney talked about what Norris did wrong in the first 10 laps on the Nailing the Apex podcast. He said, Has a great start to the race too, but what is he doing wrong within that lap 1 to let’s say lap 10, right? He’s driving too much heat through the tire.”

“So, it’s more of like an overheating from the inside out and the tire just starts to deg immediately. And once you start that process, you cannot stop it. So the grip factor, it drops off significantly. And so that allows Max to open up that six, seven-second gap to Lando before we get the pit window.” , he added.

If Norris had not pushed from the get-go, he would have not increased the internal temperature of the tire. This would have allowed him to match Verstappen for pace. As a result, a 6-7 second gap wouldn’t have opened up during the first stint.

That would have kept Verstappen from going for a pit stop and still come out in front. Norris theoretically could have pitted first and become the race leader on hard compound tries. Coming out in front on fresh tires and free air, the 24-year-old might have won his second race similarly to his first.

Lando Norris tire management earns respect from the F1 expert

Every F1 race is full of ifs and buts and the 2024 Imola GP was Lando Norris’ missed chance. Although he showcased incredible race craft with his tire management on hards after the pit stop at the end of lap 22. Soon after the pit stop, he received a free run in clean air before he caught up to the back markers and the ones who had not pitted.

After a steady drive on hard tires, the #4 driver managed the tire temperature allowing for lower tire degradation. This enabled the recent race winner to extract MCL38’s true pace.

The McLaren car now seems closest to the front-running Red Bulls, which was made evident in Imola. If the Brit had a couple more laps, as Norris and Hauraney both claimed, he would’ve snatched the victory.

Imola will serve as a lesson for the future as the Papaya team continues to close the gap to Red Bull. The Miami upgrades seem to be working better for them compared to what both Red Bull and Ferrari introduced in Imola. McLaren could just be a little bit ahead of the curve in terms of development compared to its rivals.

Post Edited By:Aishwary Gaonkar

About the author

Mahim Suhalka

Mahim Suhalka

Mahim Suhalka is an F1 journalist at the SportsRush. With an ever-growing love for the sport since 2019, he became a part of the industry two years ago and since then has written over 2200 pieces. A Lewis Hamilton fan through and through and with Hamilton's loyalties shifting to Ferrari, so will his. Apart from F1, he is a Football fanatic having played the sport and represented his state in various tournaments as he still stays in touch with the sport. Always a sports enthusiast Mahim is now translating his passion into words.

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