Lando Norris lamented the “difficult” decision not to pass teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the final round of the F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday night.
Ricciardo was told before the race not to pass Norris explicitly, and when Norris closed the gap with just a few laps to get to Ricciardo, he was instructed to do the same.
He told motorsport.com, “I could (pass him), I was in turn 1. And it was a really difficult decision.
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The papaya pair finished in the eighth and ninth lines. This was Ricciardo’s first point since the Australian Grand Prix.
Before the race, McLaren split their strategy into two cars – Ricciardo started on hard tires, while Norris started in the media.
Towards the end of his first term, Ricciardo got on Norris’ back and was told by his team to hold the station until Norris quickly beat him.
This weakened Ricciardo near Pierre Gasley’s charging Alfatouri.
A well-timed virtual safety car to clear the path of damage will allow Kevin Magnusen’s injured HAAS Ricciardo to make a cheap pit stop to jump Norris.
“I had a lap just before boxing that Daniel could have beaten me, and he didn’t. I think he (Pierre) was told to protect Gasley until I boxed, but I boxed on the next lap,” Norris said.
“So there was a lap he was behind me, and I guess the return grace for him just didn’t overtake me for me not to overtake him.”
Norris questioned Tim’s call on the radio, saying that Ricciardo’s decision to stay behind because of tactics was immediately understandable, prompting him to compromise on his possible termination position.
Ricciardo said he could have passed Norris “easily” if he had not been told to stay behind.
“In the early run I was in his DRS and I lifted, I didn’t pass when I could easily,” Ricciardo said.
“In the end I think he was in my DRS and he was probably the same. He could probably have carried me in one or two laps. So I guess it was just a favor returned.”
Despite the end of points, strong points from Pierre Gasley and Fernando Alonso meant that Ricardo dropped to 13th place in the championship with 15 points. Norris in seventh place with 50 points.
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