Norris’ harsh self-criticism over F1 errors “certainly deserves some attention” — Stella

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Andrea Stella has revealed that Lando Norris probably wouldn’t have taken pole position in qualifying for Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following a mistake at turn 13 on his final Q3 run.

On his first Q3 run, Norris had got within 0.371s of Max Verstappen’s benchmark — it was impressive as the Brit was on used tyres versus new for the three-time World Champion.

With Verstappen failing to improve on the second run, it opened the door for Norris to get much closer at the very least. But a huge snap of oversteer out of turn 13 cost him dearly.

Speaking post-qualifying, Stella stated he was still behind Verstappen when he reached turn 13. Norris had just been over a tenth off after sector 2 and tended to shade the RB19 in the last sector through the first two parts of qualifying.

McLaren’s lack of DRS effectiveness on the straights and their relatively poor slow speed performance left them on the back foot heading into the last sector.

“Based on the GPS data, we see that Verstappen was still ahead of Lando, so realistically that could have been close to pole position — but very likely not sufficient.”

Norris’ error left him down in P5 at the end of the session as another good opportunity to put the car on the front row was blown by a driving mistake. Qatar, Mexico, Brazil and Las Vegas have been other qualifying sessions recently where either the driver or team got it wrong.

The British younger berrated himself post-qualifying, saying he did a s*** job and there’s no point turning up for qualifying.

He did the same post-qualifying in Qatar, calling himself stupid. The 24-year-old would go on to say he lacked talent following a great recovery in the race, too.

Stella was asked about this and gave a lengthy answer on whether he gets involved to try and help Norris.

“I think there are two things here.

“One is about the language and the reporting, which in itself could almost be cosmetic. It’s about how you judge situations, it’s about how you talk about situations, about how you interpret yourself. This one certainly deserves some attention.

“And the other one is how we can just sometimes say that a 99.99% lap is good enough. What are you up against? The 100% or consistency?”

The Italian team principal used tennis as an example of how athletes have a group of people around them to be there to help them maximise their performance.

He reaffirmed his stance that Norris’ harsh criticism of his qualifying mistakes is something he will look into.

“So I think there are two opportunities we can look into. When you look into opportunities with drivers, with athletes at this level, you do it as a group. You do it 360 degrees around the driver.

“You can see it in other sports. You can see it in tennis. The players have an entourage around them, which is to support this incredible performance to actually deliver to the best of their potential.

“I think even the way he addresses his own performance deserves attention because he just seems very harsh on himself.”

Fernando Alonso’s former race engineer says focusing on the positives of Norris’ performance until his final lap in Q3 needs to be a focus for the team and the driver.

Considering the race pace Norris has shown throughout the season, a podium is still a very strong possibility.

“Yeah, you look at the situation in which he had a problem, but I also look at the incredibly strong performance he has delivered throughout the weekend.

“Sometimes we need to focus on the positives. He is in a very good position for tomorrow to capitalise on a podium finish.

“I think there are quite a lot of positives, and we need to make sure that we look into that.

“And we the negatives in a way be functional to perform, not simply to punish yourself.”

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing