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McLaren to investigate Norris race-ruining wheel nut issue

McLaren to investigate Norris race-ruining wheel nut issue

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Sam Hall & Will Gray

McLaren has launched an investigation into why a wheel nut on Lando Norris’ car cross-threaded, potentially costing him a British Grand Prix podium.

Norris was running in third place in his home race at Silverstone on Sunday before pitting after 21 of the 52 laps.

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The wheel-nut problem, however, stretched the pit stop from two seconds to six, allowing MercedesValtteri Bottas to claim third, with Norris having to settle for fourth.

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said: “After a series of really good pit stops this year, unfortunately, we had an issue. There was a cross-threaded wheel nut and that delayed the pit stop to six seconds.

“It was the same crew as always and it was a hardware issue that we had, nothing to do with the performance of the crew, they have done great pit stops, especially in the last two months after we made a few steps forward.

“It’s something we haven’t seen for quite some time, so we need to analyse exactly what happened there, analyse the parts and see that we can make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“But let’s say thanks to all the training the crew did and the hardware improvements over the last couple of years also, it meant that it was a delayed pit stop but it was not a catastrophic pit stop like we have seen in the past.

“Of course, you don’t want it to happen but at least if it does it’s safe and it allowed us to stay in the race. In terms of the outcome of the race, that obviously finished the battle with Valtteri for Lando. If there was a chance to fight for P3 it is difficult to say.”

McLaren cautious on pace – Seidl

McLaren enjoyed one of its best races in recent times, with the previously off-form Daniel Ricciardo posting a fifth-place finish, the best position he has achieved since joining the team this year.

The team is in a close fight with Ferrari in the constructors’ championship, however, and the Italian team had the upper hand at Silverstone with Charles Leclerc leading until the closing laps when he was passed by Lewis Hamilton.

Seidl added: “With pace, we have to be realistic. Overall, for us [it was] obviously a very strong weekend, with P4 and P5 scoring important points in our battle for the constructors’ championship.

“In the end, we have to accept that with the cars that are in front of us at the end of the race, Charles in the Ferrari especially was very quick all weekend, but looking at ourselves a lot of positives.

“We see also the gap we had to Mercedes and Red Bull was again a lot smaller than last year, a good step forward again.

“It was also positive to see, for this race, that it looks like there’s a bit of a gap opening compared to the teams behind us and Ferrari, which shows the progress we are making with the car in the season.

“A very strong drive all weekend from Lando and what I am very happy with as well is that Daniel could make a really good step forward in qualifying on Friday and then manage to pull off two good races, which is great to see.”

F1

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July 20, 2021 at 10:36AM

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