For a long time it looked like Lando Norris would win in the Russian GP. But the Briton made the wrong decision in the end. After the disappointing 7th place there were also encouraging words from GP veteran Mika Hakkinen.
It was the great opportunity that Lando Norris wanted to use for his first GP victory: In difficult conditions, the McLaren star secured pole for the Russian GP, which he mostly led. In the end, it was Lewis Hamilton who crossed the finish line first. The defending champion achieved his 100th GP victory, while Norris had to settle for seventh place. Because when the rain came on the final laps of the race, he decided not to turn into the pits – and paid a high price for it.
GP veteran Mika Hakkinen said of the young Briton’s appearance in his latest column for the bookmaker “Unibet”: “I was sorry for Norris, he was incredibly strong all weekend, took pole position under difficult circumstances and dominated the race until the Rain came. After finishing second behind his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in Italy, you could really feel his determination to take victory in Sochi. ”
And the two-time world champion emphasizes: «Nobody should blame him for choosing to stay on the track and stay in the lead when the rain came. It’s always easy to be critical. But when you’re trying to get your first win, you often have to make tough decisions. In this case, the decision to pit felt more difficult. Lando is very good at keeping the car under control, especially in the wet. So in the end it was all about how much self-confidence he had and how much risk he wanted to take. ”
“Regardless of what the team thinks, the driver is the one who knows how much grip he has. You can feel it with your hands on the steering wheel, with your feet on the pedals and your back. When the grip decreases, only the drivers know which parts of the track are still dry enough, and Lando had the feeling that he could get the car to the finish – especially when Lewis Hamilton made his pit stop, ”explains Hakkinen.
“But the moment the rain got heavier, Lando had no chance,” added the 20-time GP winner. “It’s like walking on ice in normal shoes! It was a risk, and when you see how disappointed he, Daniel and the McLaren team were to finish in fourth and seventh place, it becomes clear how ambitious they are at the moment. I also have no doubt that Lando Norris’ first win is not far away. He should definitely be proud of his performance on race Sunday in Sochi.”