Formula 1 Racing

Why Norris gained so much time behind the Safety Car · RaceFans

Safety Car

Lando Norris was disappointed when he narrowly missed the opportunity to pit immediately after a Virtual Safety Car period was triggered in the Chinese Grand Prix two weeks ago.

It seemed his chance to make a low-cost pit stop while the race was neutralised had got away from him. But fortune was on his side: The VSC continued for much than a lap and he made it into the pits after all, losing no time to his rivals.

In Miami last weekend a similar situation played out but this time Norris was even more fortune. He narrowly missed catching the Safety Car at the worst possible time, which ended up winning the race for him.

Norris’ race engineer Will Joseph warned him the Safety Car could appear at any moment as he hammered down the back straight towards turn 16 on lap 28. Logan Sargeant and Kevin Magnussen had tangled at turn three moments earlier, leaving a bent Williams in a barrier.

It seemed to be a repeat of China all over again when Norris accelerated past the pit lane entrance only to be told seconds later the race was being neutralised. But this time the physical rather than virtual Safety Car was making an appearance.

Although Norris had to immediately obey the delta time which comes into force as soon as the Safety Car is deployed, the Mercedes AMG GT did not emerge from the pit lane ahead of him as he passed by. The rules state the Safety Car will join the track “regardless of where the leader is”, and so McLaren’s relief Bernd Maylander narrowly failed to join the track in time to pick up Norris.

There was just 20 metres in it – and that proved crucial:

Lap: 27/57 NOR: 1’32.162
Norris Yeah all good. Pace is strong. Let’s just… pace is good, so let’s keep this up, mate. Let’s get the Ferrari.
Lap: 28/57 NOR: 1’32.042
Joseph Okay mate free air, let’s go.
Joseph Lando Safety Car windows, both Safety Car windows are open. Sergeant stopped turn three.
Norris Confirm.
Lap: 29/57 NOR: 2’13.364
Norris The Safety Car is deployed seconds after Norris passes the pit lane entrance
Joseph I know, twice! Safety Car deployed, Safety Car deployed, it’s for a car at turn three. And you’re ahead of the Safety Car, good job on the delta. Lando check your radio please.
Norris Yeah, all good.

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