After a disappointing qualifying session, Norris and Ricciardo started in 11th and 12th with different tire strategies, trying to cover various scenarios in a bid to move up the order.
But a lack of top speed due to McLaren’s trailing car meant that neither driver made progress, and Fernando Alonso’s slippery Alpine proved impossible to pass.
In the opening period, Ricciardo informed the team that he had pace in his hand compared to his teammate, but was told to stay in position.
Ricciardo’s alternate strategy of starting on hard and then pitting for medium during a prolonged Virtual Safety Car allowed him to exit in front of Norris after his only pit stop.
So it was Norris who wanted to take a shot at the Australian in the closing stages, but again McLaren instructed their drivers to stay in position and come home eighth and ninth respectively.
Both drivers accepted the order, with Ricciardo saying the two different instructions canceled each other out when Norris returned the favor of staying behind the other, although Norris felt the two situations were not entirely comparable.
Seidl explained that the pressure from Esteban Ocon’s Alpine second behind them meant that letting their two drivers do battle didn’t make much sense, especially as neither seemed remotely capable of challenging Alonso up front.
“I think what we hear on the radio is what you would like to hear from every racing driver, to be ambitious and try to have the best possible race for himself,” Seidl said of Norris’s frustration at the time.
“That’s why there’s a team that makes sure we have the best possible result for the team without risking losing two cars on track by crashing into each other.”
“If Daniel had gone through Lando at the start of the race we would have ended up in a yo-yo as we have seen with other teams this year, both of them stuck behind Alonso and with the risk of Ocon actually going through at least one of these. cars.
“Our idea was to keep position for both cars behind Fernando, to make sure we kept Ocon under control, which we did.
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36
Photo by: Carl Bingham/Motorsport Images
Seidl added that his drivers are free to race in principle, but that circumstances dictated otherwise this time. Asked by Motorsport.com if the dangerous nature of the Baku street circuit played a role, Seidl said: “Yes, it always depends on the circumstances.”
“Our drivers are free to race, and we always try to give both of them the same opportunities to do well, because that’s our responsibility.”
“But if we’re on different strategies etc, obviously you have to make sure as a team that you maximize the result for the team.”
The team don’t think there was anything else he could have done to get ahead of Alonso, because going off the road would have caught him in traffic and he didn’t have the top speed to clear him.
“I think probably the only chance to get Fernando was if he had also pitted with Lando, maybe in the first virtual safety car on lap eight or nine, where several cars pitted,” Seidl explained.
“But with our lack of straight-line speed that we had all weekend, we knew if we did that and fell into traffic, we wouldn’t be able to clear this traffic quickly because of our straight-line deficit. Unlike [Pierre] Gasly, for example, we would have been completely out of the race.
“And that’s why it was the right thing to do to stay out and just stick with Fernando, seeing if there were any other opportunities by trying the overcut as well, for example making sure to keep his medium tires in the first stage in a happy place. which you can then push when the car in front boxes.
“But as the tires didn’t have much left, we had to settle into the position where we started with Lando. With everything I see at the moment, I think we maximized quite a bit of what we had. I think it just wasn’t like that.” possible to do more with the package we had here.