Norris was one of only four drivers who opted to gain track position by not stopping when Lance Stroll’s crash triggered a safety car period early in the Saudi Arabian GP.

Having started sixth, Norris was left in the lead at the restart, and he managed to stay in front of Max Verstappen for two laps. Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc also subsequently got by him.

As with fellow non-stoppers Lewis Hamilton, Nico Hulkenberg and Zhou Guanyu, the hope was that a later safety car or virtual safety car period would allow him to make a cheap pit stop.

However, the race ran interrupted to the chequered flag, and in fact, Norris was obliged to make an earlier stop than the team had planned in order to cover Hamilton, who switched to softs in the closing laps. He eventually finished eighth, two places down on his grid position.

"You never know at the time, and we wanted to try something different, and not just stay behind,” said Norris when asked by Autosport/Motorsport.com about the call to remain on track and not pit.

“We could have gained a lot of points, or we could have lost a few. And in the end, we lost a few. But that's just the way it is sometimes. So it was a good try, and I think it was the correct call to make.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38

“Sometimes I feel like we're a little bit safe. And it's nice to be a little bit more aggressive, and try something different. So I'm happy with our decision.

"It wasn't the best one, or let's say the correct one. But that's in hindsight. So I'm still happy with how we tried to execute it all."

Norris confirmed that he was obliged to follow Hamilton’s strategy by switching to soft tyres a lap after the Mercedes driver stopped.

"I had to, if I went on the hards, he would have got me,” he said. “The hards just take a couple more laps to come in. And he was very close to getting me anyway. So I think I would have chosen to go onto the softs.

“I could have gone to the chequered flag on the medium, I was very happy with that. Obviously, the pace was not great compared to the guys around. But I probably still would have finished higher than where I did if I didn't box.

“But I had to, and the softs were I think the correct thing, but five laps later. I don't think we did the best strategy. But I had to cover Lewis, so that kind of had us over a little bit. But I think we gave it the best effort we could.”

The switch to softs gave Norris a chance to catch Ferrari rookie Oliver Bearman ahead, but he just came up short, while successfully staying ahead of Hamilton.

“I think he drove a good race,” Norris said of the teenager. “And the softs were good for two laps, and then they peaked, and they went off. So maybe a hard would have been good in hindsight again. But like I said, I couldn't do that because of Lewis.

"Clearly, the Ferrari is a very strong car. So for [Bearman] to jump in and to get so much out of the car on his first weekend is pretty impressive. So fair play to him."

Norris was fortunate to escape a penalty for moving and then stopping before the start lights went out.

The incident was not caught by the transponder system on which the FIA stewards rely for such calls.