Lando Norris lashes out at unfair Verstappen after Austria crash: He was desperate!

After a dramatic finale at the Austrian Grand Prix, George Russell was confirmed as a two-time Grand Prix winner. But the first Mercedes victory of the 2024 Formula 1 season almost turned into a sideshow. The much bigger scandal was the serious collision between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris shortly before the end of the race. The latter was visibly annoyed both in the cockpit and after the race, and lashed out at his actually good friend Verstappen.

Norris on Verstappen’s defense: He was desperate

“There are rules about what is allowed and what is not. He did things that were not allowed and was not penalized for it,” Norris said of Verstappen. “I expect a tough fight against Max. I know what to expect. I expect aggression and pushing the limits and things like that.”

“But three times he did things that could easily lead to an accident and in some ways that was a bit reckless. He seemed a bit desperate, that doesn’t have to be the case, he has a lot of wins, but he was a bit desperate because he didn’t want to let me past. I know he’s going to be aggressive so I’m not surprised but I just expected a tough, fair, respectful race and I don’t feel like I can say that,” Norris said.

After the race, the McLaren driver does not feel responsible for coming clean with Verstappen. “It’s not up to me, he has to do it,” said Norris, assuring that he did not want to change his driving style. “No, I don’t think I have to change anything about how I approach things. I mean, I was on the side of the track, I don’t know what else to do.” But what exactly happened that made Norris be so clear after the race?

Crash between Lando Norris (McLaren) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
Max Verstappen and Lando Norris gave each other no quarter in Spielberg, Photo: LAT Images

Battle of the giants: Crash between Verstappen and Norris shortly before the end

Actually, at first everything looked like another clear victory for Verstappen. The world champion had a lead of around seven seconds over his number one pursuer, Lando Norris. The latter was able to reduce the gap somewhat, but never came dangerously close to the Red Bull driver. But then it was time for a tire change on lap 52.

This went anything but optimally for Verstappen. The Dutchman had to stay in the pits for 6.5 seconds. His right rear wheel was stuck. Norris, who pitted for the same lap as in the first stint, managed a much better tire change and found himself in the world champion’s DRS area with a stationary Verstappen wheel later.

A spectacular duel for the lead developed, the likes of which Formula 1 had not seen for a long time. Norris repeatedly stabbed Verstappen on the inside of Turn 3, but was immediately countered or fended off beforehand. Verstappen defended himself with all means at his disposal and, according to Norris, did not use any legal techniques. Moving under braking, i.e. changing the line within the braking zones, was Norris’s accusation, both from the cockpit and after the race.

“The problem is that there will always be a bit of movement, but he reacted completely to what I did,” said Norris. “Once you brake so aggressively, you leave no room to react and leave a little more space in the middle of a braking zone. Once you brake, you brake. And when he moved, I was forced to move, and that’s why I blocked,” said Norris, describing Verstappen’s tackling.

I was fair: Norris puts all the blame on Verstappen

“So my moves were fair until I had to react to something he did in the middle of a braking zone. You’re not able to adjust and counter these kinds of things when you’re on the edge. And if I can’t move like I did before, there will be more collisions. As I said, it’s not up to me to decide. I’m happy with what I did. I wouldn’t change anything,” Norris defended.

The tension between the two friends increased noticeably lap by lap and so it happened as it had to. After a few duels later, in which Norris continued to complain about Verstappen on the radio, the crash finally happened seven laps before the end. Verstappen closed the door on the inside of turn 3, but then pushed Norris off the track – at the entrance and exit of the corner. Both suffered a puncture and Norris even had to abandon the race. During the race, the stewards identified Verstappen as the main culprit for the collision and gave him a 10-second time penalty. However, this had no effect on Verstappen’s position.

Crash between Lando Norris (McLaren) and Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
The decisive moment of the Austrian GP, ​​Photo: LAT Images

“To be honest, I don’t care about the race, it’s not my job to decide on penalties and things like that,” Norris declined to comment further on the punishment. “I feel like what he did was unfair in my opinion. Three times no warning was given, the last time he did it again and ruined both of our races, that’s all.”

A throwback to the old days? Norris on Verstappen: He was always like that

For Norris, the championship leader’s over-the-top driving was a throwback to the old days when Verstappen was often criticised for his aggressive driving style. “He’s always been a bit like that. I have a lot of respect for Max and what he can do and what he does every time on the track. Sometimes I think he goes a bit too far and if you look at today, it’s a bit like that,” said the McLaren driver.

Norris was particularly worried about the upcoming race in Silverstone. The damage he suffered in Austria could also come back to haunt him in just one week in Great Britain. “I’m disappointed that he ruined my race and destroyed my car because they are the best parts of the car. We don’t have many spare parts in this battle we’re in. In terms of upgrades, budget limits and things like that, my whole car is destroyed and those are all the parts we need for next week,” Norris lamented. “So it doesn’t just have an impact on what happened on the track, but on everything we now have to take with us to Silverstone and that puts us at a disadvantage.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *