McLaren set its sights on winning the Brazilian Grand Prix with Lando Norris but fell short as Red Bulls secured its 19th victory of the campaign while Norris had to settle for second place in Sao Paulo.
McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella has explained how the team chucked everything it had at Max Verstappen after the Sao Paulo Grand Prix restart through Lando Norris.
Norris started the race from sixth on the grid but had a strong start to move into second place, passing Fernando Alonso in the space second-place starter Charles Leclerc should have been before his formation lap crash.
The red flags were then thrown for the Alex Albon, Kevin Magnussen incident at Turn 1, with Norris taking the standing restart second on the grid, fending off a challenge from Lewis Hamilton.
Although he got near to Verstappen during the early stages, the Red Bull driver easily pulled away, going on to win by eight seconds as Norris scooped a fourth second place in the last six races.
Reflecting on the result, Stella explained how the team went for broke at the restart to try and challenge Verstappen, a winner of 17 of 20 Grands Prix this season.
McLaren ‘tried hard’ to catch Verstappen through first stint
“I think certainly in terms of our approach, especially after the red flag, we wanted to win it,” Stella told media including RacingNews365.
“So we put, at the start, our best set of Softs on, we decided to start on a new set so that we could try and take the lead.
“From there, [we hoped to maybe] put Verstappen in an unusual position and see what we could do, maybe we can just cover any time he pits, and so on.
“We couldn’t take the lead at the start, we went very close to doing that on track [but could not].”
Stella confirmed that McLaren tried all it could to reel in the Red Bull driver later in the race but was forced to concede defeat.
“After that, our tyres started to overheat,” Stella said.
“We needed to make sure we achieved our target lap because [Fernando] Alonso wasn’t that far [behind].
“It seemed like he could stay with us, but certainly, we tried hard in the first stint.
“I think after that Verstappen had enough of a lead to actually manage the situation.
“Any time we tried to go to get a little closer, even there were a few laps in which the second stint in which we seemed like to go [fast], he put together a couple of mega laps.
“After the first stint that wasn’t very much that we could do.”