Lando Norris fights tears and admits he got it wrong as McLaren miss out on Russian GP win
George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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McLaren’s Lando Norris was left fighting off tears in the aftermath of the Russian Grand Prix after missing out on his maiden Formula One victory at Sochi because of rain disrupting the last few laps of the race.
After battling it out to hold off the reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, Norris had a handful of laps remaining of the race before rain began dropping in the pitlane.
Mercedes were on the radio to tell Hamilton there was a threat of heavier rain, which was due to increase before the end of the race with just eight laps remaining of the race.
With Hamilton less than a second behind Norris, the 21-year-old was seen slipping in the McLaren, holding on to the top spot as the track became slippery with the dry weather tyres.
Initially, Hamilton was told to pit, but with Norris choosing to stay out too, the seven-time world champion followed suit.
The rain however turned from a few spots to a downpour and Hamilton was forced to switch to the intermediate tyres with Mercedes adamant there was more rain coming.
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Crucially, however, Norris remained out, but could barely control the McLaren with the gap dropping second by second and spun off to allow Hamilton to take the lead of the race.
Norris limped back to the pits with Hamilton blasting past him to take his 100th win at Sochi, with Max Verstappen coming home in second after starting P20.
But Norris was left fighting tears after. “I don’t know where to start. I’m unhappy, devastated in a way,” an emotional Norris said speaking to 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. I don’t think it changes too much.
“I had the confidence beforehand that I was capable of doing it (leading a race) and I’ve felt capable of doing that for a while. So I don’t think that’s really changed. It’s just a bit of heartbreak.
“I felt like I did everything I could, even when it got a bit tricky at the end. I made a couple of mistakes but still kept Lewis behind and managed to pull away a little bit.
“A bit of luck like the laps I was out before Lewis boxed was perfectly fine for the tyres I was on and I got told the rain was going to stay the same amount.
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“Had it stayed the same amount we had the right decision, but it obviously got a lot wetter than we as a team expected.
“When it’s only two laps to go, when there are 20 to go you’re maybe not as aggressive with decisions. We did what we thought was right, which I’m happy with.
“It was wrong at the end of the day but everything until then the guys did an excellent job. I’m happy with everything apart from that one decision which we’ll review and try not to make again.”
Hamilton now leads the way over Verstappen by two points heading to Turkey with seven races remaining of the season.
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