McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has revealed to being far from confident the gamble to put both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo on soft tyres for the red-flag restart at Imola would pay off.
Following a heavy crash between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell on lap 32 of the 63-lap Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, McLaren elected to take the restart on the softest of the F1 tyre compounds available.
Only Red Bull's Sergio Perez, Yuki Tsunoda in his AlphaTauri - both of whom crashed soon after the restart - and Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel echoed this decision.
“I asked my strategy guys, [and] they were pretty confident that it would work out," said Seidl. "I wasn’t that confident, to be honest.
"But these guys, with the detailed analysis from everything they had seen from the weekend, with the long runs we did on Friday, they had a good conversation with the drivers during the red-flag period and in the end, they were confident, with the drivers, that it would work.
“Clearly, we wanted to get in a position to score a podium and therefore this approach was taken from the team’s side together with the drivers.”
The gamble paid off for McLaren, with Norris jumping Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc at the restart before eventually scoring a second podium finish of his F1 career in taking third, despite the 21-year-old complaining about tyre wear in the latter stages.
Explaining further the thoughts behind the decision to fit the softs rather than the more popular medium compound, Seidl added: "We wanted to make up positions.
"The discussion the drivers had together with the team was about trying to go for that, trying to go for the softs in order to have a good warm-up of the tyres after the restart in order to try to jump one car, which worked out for Lando getting Charles. This was key to scoring the podium.
“The second reason we put the softs on was that it wasn’t clear if it would have been a standing start and then I think the benefit would have been even bigger compared to the medium starters.”
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