Formula 1 Racing

Norris and Verstappen’s Austrian GP collision “blown out of proportion”

Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Red Bull Ring, 2024

Several of Max Verstappen’s rivals said his defensive moves against Lando Norris in the Austrian Grand Prix were no more than “hard racing” after McLaren complained about his actions.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella believes the stewards were too lenient on Verstappen, whom Norris accused of repeatedly moving under braking during their fight, and keeping his position by going off the track at one point.

However, Alexander Albon, a former team mate of Verstappen’s said “the reality of it was just pure racing, hard racing” between the two drivers.

“It’s aggressive racing but I think it’s blown out of proportion, in my opinion,” said the Williams driver.”

Norris came close to passing Verstappen on several occasions but repeatedly accused his rival of making illegal defensive moves. After he appeared to pass the Red Bull on lap 63, Verstappen stayed ahead by leaving the track at turn three.

The pair collided on the next lap as Norris attempted to pass the Red Bull driver one the outside. The stewards blamed Verstappen for the collision and handed him a 10-second time penalty.

“I think it was questionable more the first move where Max moved under the braking the first time. I don’t really think he moved under braking on the one where they made contact. I think that was more just kind of heading more towards a straight line, just going more towards the left.”

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After the race McLaren team principal Andrea Stella said Verstappen had been emboldened to make uncompromising moves on rivals because incidents he was involved in during 2021 were not punished severely enough. But Nico Hulkenberg also came to Verstappen’s defence.

“To be honest, for me Max wasn’t doing much. He was more or less driving in a straight line. We have to leave a car width which I think there was and there was still kerb on the left and not a wall and room, so no.

“I think the stewards got involved quite a lot last weekend, but it’s personal opinion, personal views, and like I say for me that was that was just racing.”

He felt the pair were unfortunate to sustain punctures when they made contact. “It was racing, for me,” said Hulkenberg. “There was next to no contact.

“There was the slightest of contact, I don’t think you could have less contact, it’s just obviously quite bad how they hit in that both rims kind of broke from that. But usually you get away with that kind of…

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