McLaren reveal crucial factor behind missed Imola win

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McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has revealed the crucial factor that hampered his squad’s quest for victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Norris narrowly missed out on his second victory in a row on Sunday, crossing the line just seven-tenths of a second behind race-winner Max Verstappen.

McLaren entered the race weekend on the back of its victory from Miami last time out, where Norris achieved his first career win.

With margins between Red Bull and McLaren so close throughout the weekend from Imola, Stella highlighted that little factors went a long way towards making the difference.

“The execution of the weekend is always a key factor,” he told media including RacingNews365.

“I think the first three cars in qualifying were within one-tenth or something, then clearly operations, the way you drive the tyres, the way you execute the race can become the dominant factor.

“Between McLaren and Red Bull today, there wasn’t much to pick and some of these factors that made the difference.”

Dirty air factor

Norris started the race from second on the grid, having been promoted up a spot after team-mate Oscar Piastri received a grid drop for impeding during qualifying.

The Briton was unable to challenge Verstappen into the first corner at the start of the race, which Stella suggested was a crucial factor in the final result.

“The other thing I can say today is that being in the dirty air seemed to play a big factor,” Stella said.

“So anytime you had backmarkers, you were losing pace. So I think certainly having the pole position, being ahead in the first corner gives you the free air that allows you to manage the tyres in a certain way and manage your own pace.

“So from this point of view, Max did a good job yesterday.

“He did pole position and was first at the first corner and I think this paid off today in managing the tyres.”

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