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Lando Norris hits out at ‘reckless’ Max Verstappen after F1 Austrian GP
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Lando Norris hits out at ‘reckless’ Max Verstappen after F1 Austrian GP

McLaren’s Lando Norris has condemned Max Verstappen’s driving as desperate and reckless after the pair clashed while vying for the lead at the Austrian Grand Prix, knocking Norris out of the race and leaving Verstappen able to claim only fifth. George Russell took advantage of the collision to triumph for Mercedes at the Red Bull Ring.

The pair had been competing hard against one another and on lap 64 of the 71-lap race, the third time Norris had tried to pass, they hit one another as the 24-year-old British driver attempted to go round the outside of turn three and both suffered punctures.

Afterwards Norris was blunt in his assessment of what had happened. “I expect a tough battle against Max, I know what to expect, I expect aggression and pushing the limits,” he said. “But all three times he’s doing stuff that can easily cause an incident, and in a way it’s just a bit reckless, it seemed like a little bit desperate from his side.”

The pair have been good friends for some time but there was exasperation from Norris who is the leading challenger to Verstappen in the title race, 81 points behind the Dutchman. “I don’t think I need to change anything I’m doing, I was on the edge of the track, I don’t know what else I’m able to do, he’s always a bit like that,” Norris said. “There’s times where I think he goes a little bit too far.”

The McLaren team principal, Andrea Stella, was equally damning in his view of what happened, making reference to when Verstappen was accused of equally questionable driving when competing with Lewis Hamilton in the 2021 championship.

“The entire population of the world knows who was responsible,” he said. “If you don’t address these things honestly, they will come back. They weren’t addressed properly in the past when there were fights with Lewis that needed to be punished in a harsher way.”

Verstappen admitted that he would have to discuss it with the British driver but not in the immediate aftermath of the race, insisting Norris had been over eager in trying to make the pass and that it was a racing incident. “We’ll talk about it, not now, it’s not the right time,” he said.

“I know fairly well what to do in these kinds of scenarios and a few of those were really late divebombs, so it’s a bit of a just send them up the inside and hope that the other guy steers out of it, which is not always how you race.”

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Russell’s win was Mercedes’ first since the 2022 Brazilian GP.

Source: theguardian.com