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Imola’s Final Lap Frenzy: Could Norris Have Overtaken Verstappen? McLaren’s Stella Weighs In

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Clarified: Could Lando Norris Have Closed in on Max Verstappen?

McLaren's Andrea Stella Analyzes Lando Norris' Pursuit of Max Verstappen at the Imola Race

McLaren's team leader, Andrea Stella, is uncertain whether Lando Norris had the capability to overtake Max Verstappen and secure a victory at the F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Verstappen from Red Bull seemed on a smooth path to winning until he faced tyre issues in the last leg of the race, while Norris, fresh off a win in Miami, made a strong push late in the game to contest the victory.

Norris closed the gap to Verstappen to under a second during the last lap but couldn't quite manage to surpass the current world champion, leading to speculation that he was just a lap or two away from successfully overtaking him.

However, Stella believes that Norris surpassing Verstappen would not have been as straightforward as others have suggested.

"Indeed, completing 63 laps is quite a lot," Stella remarked to Sky Sports F1. "Often, you find yourself wishing for just one more lap.

"The situation is as it stands, and indeed, it involves Max Verstappen. I believe he faced some challenges, yet he succeeded in maximizing his potential, so kudos to Max and kudos to our drivers for securing second and fourth places."

Stella recognized that spending excessive time trailing Verstappen in the initial phase significantly impacted McLaren's performance. However, he commended Norris for his exceptional skill in managing tyre wear, referring to him as somewhat of an expert in that area.

"We ended up losing a significant amount of time during the initial phase trailing Max, primarily because we experienced excessive wear on the rear tires. It seemed our focus today was more on keeping an eye on those behind us rather than looking forward," he mentioned.

"Following a stint on the durable tyres, where we conserved their usage, as Leclerc and Oscar [Piastri] competed against one another, I believe this early strategy yielded benefits for Lando as the race neared its conclusion."

Handling the tire budget has been a crucial aspect, and it's worth noting that from this perspective, Lando has truly excelled.

Oscar faced repercussions for the problems we encountered during yesterday's qualifying round, which prevented him from joining us on the podium. Nonetheless, we're taking away the positives from this experience and looking ahead with a sense of optimism.

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