McLaren F1 wheelgun failure behind slow Norris Hungarian GP pitstop
|By Jonathan Noble||Monday, August 5th 2019, 13:41 GMT|
The McLaren Formula 1 team has revealed a wheelgun failure caused the slow pitstop that cost Lando Norris a likely sixth place in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Norris was overtaken by Carlos Sainz Jr at the start of the race, but was on course to finish behind his team-mate, who was fifth - which would have sealed McLaren's best result since the 2014 Russian Grand Prix, in which Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen finished fourth and fifth.
However, a problem changing his McLaren's left-rear wheel at his only pitstop cost Norris places to Red Bull's Pierre Gasly and the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen.
The delay also dropped Norris into the clutches of the recovering Valtteri Bottas, who managed to overtake him and snatch eighth with eight laps remaining.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl apologised to Norris, and said an unexpected failure was to blame for the slow stop.
"Unfortunately we had an issue with the left-rear wheelgun which caused a delay in the tyre change," said Seidl.
"In the end that lost him two positions, plus allowed Bottas to get close to him in the race and get him as well.
"Sorry from our side to Lando that he was unlucky, because in terms of driving he pulled off a great performance.
"But these things happen in racing."
Norris said he was slightly disappointed by the result, but added he took encouragement from the car's performance at a track where the team had not expected to lead the midfield.
"We had good pace, so it's glass half full, let's say," said Norris.
"There was good potential, the car got a good result, so there's a lot of positives and just one negative.
"It happens sometimes and it's just that the pitstop wasn't great on my car. Generally the team have done a very good job, and I have to give them a lot of credit.
"They've done a very good job all season, especially compared to last season, where they were struggling a bit more in the pitstops.
"So we still made good progress, just today was a one-off."