Verstappen on Norris: ‘I think we came to the conclusion that we actually really enjoyed our battle’

Max Verstappen says his only focus after the clash with Lando Norris in Austria was protecting their relationship rather than who was in the right or wrong.

Norris was attempting to pass Verstappen for victory at the Red Bull Ring but faced a strong defense from the three-time world champion, before the pair touched and both picked up punctures. Norris said afterwards that he didn’t feel like he received a fair fight and expected an apology from Verstappen, while McLaren team principal Andrea Stella was outspoken about the way the Red Bull driver defended and has been allowed to race by the FIA.

“I don’t give a s**t about that,” Verstappen said of the criticism. “I go home, I live my life. Like I said, the only thing that I cared about was my relationship to Lando.”


On Thursday at the British Grand Prix, Norris admitted he no longer felt an apology was warranted from Verstappen, who said they discussed their battle as soon as the possible once the initial emotion had died down.

“I’m not going to compare drivers, because that doesn’t make any sense anyway. For me, the only thing that I cared about is maintaining my relationship with Lando, because we are great friends,” Verstappen said. “After the race, I said we have to just let things cool down because emotions run high.

“We immediately spoke on Monday, and I think we came to the conclusion that we actually really enjoyed our battle. We both looked at the incident — it was such a silly little touch that of course had great consequences for both of us, and a bit more for Lando with how the puncture then evolved.

“But we like to race hard. We’ve done this for many years — not only in Formula 1, even in online racing where we’ve had a lot of fun together — and these things, they have to carry on because that’s what we like to do, and I think it’s great for Formula 1 as well.

“I just said, ‘Let’s calm and let things cool off a bit, look at the footage.’ That’s what I did with Lando. That’s the only one that I care about, because whatever anyway else said, that’s not for me. Everyone can have an opinion. I only look at the relationship of things, and my relationship with Lando of course in that case.”

While Norris still feels there are aspects of Verstappen’s driving that need to be clarified by the FIA — backing Stella’s criticism of what he claims is a byproduct of a lack of action in the past — Verstappen says the pair were still largely on the same page when talking about the battle.

“We agreed with 99% of everything. That’s a lot I think already,” Verstappen said. “And naturally I said to Lando, ‘When you go for moves up the inside, outside, you can trust me that I’m not there to crash you out of the way.’ The same the other way around, because we spoke about that as well.

“Naturally there’s always a human reaction when someone dives up the inside or outside, that you have a bit of a reaction to it. But I felt everything that I did was nothing massively over the top.

“Of course, like how you design the car, you try to go to the edge of the rules. Maybe you find some gray areas here and there. And that’s the same how you race. Otherwise you will never be a top driver and you will never succeed in life anyway.”

Verstappen added that the pair have promised not to change their approaches to how they race each other in future.

“We go at it flat out! That’s what we agreed to,” he said. “Because that’s what we like to do and that’s what’s good for Formula 1 as well.”

Story originally appeared on Racer