Stella: It's Max Verstappen!

Stella: It’s Max Verstappen!

Stella: It's Max Verstappen!

Andrea Stella, McLaren Team Principal, refused to give excuses as to why Lando Norris couldn’t pass Max Verstappen for the win at the 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Reigning Formula 1 Champion Verstappen, managed to fend off a late-race attack from Norris, keeping the latter out of the DRS as the final lap started, and crossing the line just 0.725s ahead of the McLaren.

As a result Norris was second, and Oscar Piastri who started the race from fifth (he received a three-place grid penalty for impeding in qualifying) was fourth.

Had there been more laps, Norris would’ve had a chance to attack Verstappen with DRS – something the Briton highlighted in his post race interview – but Stella would not rely on ifs and buts to explain results, and admitted Norris was up against a formidable rival in Verstappen.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Stella was asked if a few more laps would’ve handed Norris his second F1 win, he responded: “63 laps is already many laps.

“Many times you can say ‘one lap more’. Also, it’s Max Verstappen. I’m sure he was a bit in trouble but he managed to get the most out of what he had.

“Well done to Max and well done to our two drivers. Oscar [Piastri] paid for the issue we had yesterday, otherwise, he would have been on the podium as well. We take this positive and look forward with some optimism now,” he added.

Stella: Norris a bit of a tyre master

Stella hailed Norris for his tyre management during the race at Imola on Sunday, he explained: “The tyres were interesting, definitely not as easy as we anticipated.

“We lost too much time in the first stint. We had too much rear degradation and we thought today it was more about watching the mirrors than watching ahead of us.

“With the Hards, after we initially saved the tyres, when [Charles] Leclerc and Oscar were fighting each other, I think this initial investment paid dividend towards the end of the race.

“Lando had the best conditions of the tyres. In addition to the outright car pace, managing the tyres was an important factor.

“We have to say, Lando from this point of view has become a bit of a master,” the Italian maintained.

McLaren the highest-scoring team at Imola

Afterwards in McLaren’s race report, Stella summed up his team’s Emilia Romagna weekend, he said: “A positive day at Imola and the first time in 2024 McLaren have emerged as the highest-scoring team.

“P4 for Oscar came from good strategy and good pace, allowing him to gain a place on a day when it was not easy to. P2 for Lando was a very strong result.

“It was a surprise to be in contention for the victory at the end of the race,” he admitted. “It came about as a consequence of how sensitive the tyres were today. In the first stint, Max did a better job of managing the Medium and after the stops, Lando did a very good job of managing the Hard, resisting the temptation to overdo it when Leclerc was catching up. It paid off at the end with strong pace and being in the hunt for the victory.

“Everyone at McLaren has worked very hard to make these results possible, and they have my thanks for the upgrades that have arrived over the last few weeks, but also for the commitment, the hard work, and the quality of that work.

“We need to keep improving the car. If we can do that, we’re going to be in a good position for the future,” Stella concluded.