Seidl rues “unlucky” puncture as Norris loses P5 in F1 championship

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl was left to rue an “unlucky” puncture for Lando Norris at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which cost him the chance of finishing fifth in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship.
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL35M makes a pit stop.
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL35M makes a pit stop.

Norris was on course to finish fifth at the season finale in Abu Dhabi until a slow puncture forced him into the pit lane.

The McLaren driver was set to secure fifth in the championship and ‘best of the rest’ spot behind Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez.

With Sainz finishing on the podium and Norris only managing seventh, the Spaniard secured P5 in the championship.

“We were in a good position to score this P5 in the drivers’ championship today because we are close enough to Carlos and there was no need to also try more because it was a tricky race in terms of tyre management as well,” Seidl explained. 

“Charles was losing more than four points to Lando and therefore we were in a good position. He had the unlucky puncture, there was nothing that we could do - that’s why we stayed in P6 in the drivers’ championship, so we could overtake Charles but not Carlos because had the big result. So unlucky.”

Explaining the cause of the puncture at the Yas Marina Circuit, Seidl said: “In Qatar, it was a structural failure of the tyre due to the loads, with the kerbs in Qatar, so completely different issue compared to what we have seen today. 

“Today we have seen a slow puncture where we need to see now when we do the analysis with Pirelli where it was from. Was it from running over some debris or something like that - it’s not a structural issue. Just bad luck.”

Despite struggling for results in the latter part of the season, McLaren has enjoyed its best campaign since 2012, scoring a 1-2 finish at the Italian Grand Prix.

Reflecting on the season as a whole, Seidl was pleased with McLaren’s level of performance.

“We wanted to finish the season with a good result but didn’t manage today,” Seidl added. “I look at the entire season and that’s how I spoke to the team after the race, just wanted to thank every single member of the team for the great season that we’ve had. 

“We made again in every single area of the team back home and out here at the track together with Lando and Daniel a big step forward again and that’s great to see because that’s key for me in order to get back to the front more often in the future and therefore I am very happy with how the season went despite the bad luck from time to time in the second half of the season but there are things that we could have done better, that we have to learn from.”

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