Norris calls Verstappen ‘a little bit desperate’ and questions fairness

Lando Norris accused Max Verstappen of being “a little bit desperate” and lacking respect in their battle for the lead in the Austrian Grand Prix that ended in contact.

Verstappen’s comfortable lead disappeared towards the end of the second stint of the race, with Norris taking advantage of a slow pit stop from Red Bull to get within DRS range and trying to overtake. Multiple attempts down the inside of Turn 3 saw Norris fail to get the move done — once running wide himself and another seeing Verstappen go wide and rejoin ahead — before Verstappen was penalized for causing a collision with Norris on the outside approaching the corner.

“I expect a tough battle against Max,” Norris said. “I know what to expect, I expect aggression and pushing the limits and that kind of thing, but all three times he’s doing stuff that can easily cause an incident, and in [a way that’s] a bit reckless.


“It seemed like a little bit desperate from his side. It doesn’t need to be; he’s got plenty of wins, but a bit desperate to do what he could to not let me past. I know he’s going to be aggressive so I’m in a way not surprised… I jut expected a tough, fair, respectful, on-the-edge bit of racing, and I don’t feel like that’s what I got.”

Verstappen was handed a 10s time penalty for the incident that ended Norris’ race, but the McLaren driver says his issue is Verstappen’s approach.

“I do what I can, try and drive a good, fair race, and just…not what I got in return from his side. I don’t care about the rest honestly, it’s not for me to decide the penalties and things like that. I feel like what he did was unfair. Three of the times, no warning was issued, he did it again a final time and ruined both of our races.”

There was criticism of Norris’ overtaking attempts from Verstappen — who called them “dive-bombs” — but the McLaren driver says he was in control of his own overtaking moves until Verstappen reacted.

“The thing is, a little bit of movement is going to happen, but he’s completely reacting to what I was doing. Once you’ve committed so aggressively on the brakes you don’t leave room for getting off and allowing a bit more space in the braking zone.

“Once you’ve committed, you’ve committed. He moved, which forced me to move, and therefore I would lock up or do something, but every point before he moved I was not locked up or out of control.

“My moves were fair, until I had to react to something he did in the middle of the braking zone, and you don’t have grip, you’re not able to…adjust and counter these kinds of things [when you’re on the edge]. At the same time, if I’m not able to move like I was, then you’re going to have more collisions. I’m happy with what I did; [I] wouldn’t change anything.”

Story originally appeared on Racer