McLaren’s Blame-Game With Norris Reminds Hill of Infamous 2007 Hamilton F1 Episode

Published 09/28/2021, 7:58 AM EDT
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – OCTOBER 18: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes appears at the drivers press conference during previews prior to the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Interlagos on October 18, 2007 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


The turning point in the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi was when McLaren’s Lando Norris spun due to the rain, ultimately missing out his maiden race win in the sport. Looking at the incident, many remember when Lewis Hamilton went off onto the gravel back in 2007, an incident that cost him his first-ever championship.

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The 2007 race in China and the recent race in Sochi had similar conditions. McLaren had blamed Lewis for not coming as instructed, but haven’t yet blamed Lando for not following team orders.

Damon Hill compares Lando Norris’ race to Hamilton’s 2007 Chinese GP

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The then-McLaren driver was on his way to claiming his first-ever title in Formula One. Unfortunately, a crucial error saw him lose out. Similarly, as Norris was zipping around Sochi trying to get his first win, he stayed out instead of going to the pits to fit on intermediate tires. This decision cost him his first win.

Speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, Hill said, “I mean if you go back to when Lewis nearly won in China, and stayed out and ended up in the gravel because he hadn’t got any tread left on his rear tires.”

Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 28, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris during qualifying REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Hill replied, “Basically similar situations, same team and they blamed Lewis for staying out too long. Well, actually the team really should have given him more guidance cause his experience was low then.

And then on the other foot, you have or completely similar situations. You got Lando Norris going for his first win in very similar conditions, and overriding the instructions from the engineer who said, ‘come in,’ said, ‘Shut up.’ If only, he will be thinking that, he will going da*n,” he concluded.

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A disappointing weekend for Norris

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After achieving pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session, Norris was optimistic for his first win in the sport. Things were falling into place for the Brit, right up until the conditions around Sochi worsened.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 26, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris is seen before the race REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Norris decided to stay out instead of pitting for better tires. This decision made him lose the lead to Lewis Hamilton as he spun out. In the end, Lando had to settle for seventh place. However, he is going to keep his head up and have faith in himself that he will bounce back.

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What did you think of Norris’s race in Sochi? Let us know in the comments below.

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Arpit Gomes

945 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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