Max Verstappen, Lando Norris reflect on F1 Austrian GP happening, as host of other drivers share their opinion on what transpired.

Even though it is the F1 British GP which kicked-off at Silverstone, the big talk remained about what happened in Austrian GP between Red Bull’s Verstappen and McLaren’s Norris. It was not just the two but majority of the paddock sharing their opinions.

Verstappen and Norris cleared their air, with the Dutchman insisting on focusing on his friendship with the Brit and how they are still okay to go flat out against each other. Both do not agree with their penalty or if they went too overboard with things.

They agreed that they could have been a bit smarter, while addressing about racing rules in general which gathered views from several other F1 drivers. Even Andrea Stella’s look back of 2021 topic was raised, where Norris agreed with his team boss at certain points.

Cleared the air –

Verstappen: “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. 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 were 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. For us everything is cleared and that’s the most important. So long as I’m OK with Lando that’s the only thing I’m concerned about.

“We agree with 99% of everything. And naturally, I always said to Lando, when you go for moves at the inside, the outside, you can trust me that I’m not there to try and crash you out of the way. It is the same the other way around, because we spoke about that as well. Naturally, there’s always a human reaction when someone dives on 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 grey areas here and there like with the car, and that’s the same how you race – because otherwise you will never be a top driver and you will never succeed in life anyway. 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.”

Norris: “Yeah, we did. Honestly, I don’t think he needed to apologise. I think some of the things I said in the pen after the race were just more just because I was frustrated at the time. A lot of adrenaline, a lot of just emotions. And I probably said some things I didn’t necessarily believe in, especially later on in the week. It was tough. It was a pretty pathetic incident in terms of what ended both our races. It wasn’t like a hit, it wasn’t like an obvious bit of contact. It was probably one of the smallest bits of contact you could have, but with a pretty terrible consequence for both of us, especially for myself. He didn’t doesn’t need to… I don’t expect an apology from him. I don’t think he should apologise. I thought it was as a review, good racing. At times, maybe very close to the edge but like we said we’ve spoken about it we’ve talked about it and we’re both happy to go racing again.”

Racing against each other, racing against Verstappen –

Verstappen: “With some you have a closer relationship than others. I get on really well with Lando. That’s why for me as well, we are fighting naturally for wins this year and I of course don’t want that to ruin the friendship off track as well, because that’s definitely not what it deserves. [The next time] we go at it flat out. That’s what we agreed to. Because that’s what we like to do. That’s what’s good for Formula 1 as well. Everyone knows that. Lando knows that, and I expect that as well, so that’s absolutely fine. Regarding underk braking, divebombs, you always speak for your own advantage. That’s what he did. That’s what I did. We all understand that.”

Norris: “Getting into the details. I think it’s clear. It’s not stuff I need to talk about. It’s clear how he races. It’s tough. It’s on the limit. And yeah, I think it’s what we love. You know, it’s what I love. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole fight I had with him. Of course, it was a shame things ended the way they did. But apart from that, things are clear from what you see on TV. And I think I’m excited to go race him again this weekend. I mean, I think it was still very clear that it was happening, but yeah, it’s a tricky one. You know, Max isn’t going to want to crash. He’s not going to want to ruin his own race and his own chances. So I think, yes, there are definitely things I need to do slightly differently. But in the end of it, I don’t think he’s going to change too much. I don’t think I need to change too much.

“So, yeah, could we have avoided the crash? Definitely, because it’s something I could have done. I easily could have used more kerb. But, yeah, there’s things on both sides that I’m sure we wanted to do better or in a slightly different way, but on the whole, I think avoiding an incident from moving under braking is probably the biggest part of it. There could very easily be an incident that comes from such a thing, and I think that’s the only thing we have to be very careful of is something that could happen. Yeah, so that’s just something for the future and something that the stewards FIA need to be aware of. that something could easily go wrong. So I think to a certain point, you’re defending, you’re being aggressive, and that’s okay. But there will be a point when there is a limit, and I think that just needs to be defined in a slightly better way.”

Hamilton: “Nothing, really. I didn’t think anything of it. I was more concerned about my race and enjoying the team’s win. Again, I don’t think I need to. They’ve raced each other for many years. That’s nothing to do with me.”

Russell: “No, I don’t think so, to be honest. You know Max is one of the best, and he’s a hard racer, and he’ll push the rules to the limit, as all of the top drivers do, to be honest. So, yeah, I think we all know what the rules are, what the rules are around moving under braking. You probably push that slightly beyond the limit. As for the incident, as Lando said, it was just kind of a very small thing with big consequences and part of racing. So, yeah, short answer is no.

Perez: “I agree with what George said. I think Max pushes every single bit to the limit, as many top drivers do, as many drivers in the grid do. And, you know, when you’re racing him, it’s going to be a hard, fair battle.”

Ocon: “I mean, I’m not racing Max at the moment. We are not in the same category. So, yeah, not for me to comment.”

Ricciardo: “Yeah, of course, you know that, you have to expect that. But I don’t even want to spotlight Max, I think when you’re fighting for a win, you fight for a win, are you going to fight harder than 15th place? Honestly, yes. Because it’s just how it is. I think it’s to be expected. And I’m not saying OK, whether everything was correct and by the book, yeah maybe some things were pushing it. They’re going to talk about it, because it’s for the win, and as I said, they’ll probably try and create some enemies out of two kids that get along. I think honestly, it’s good that there’s a hard battle for the lead. Unfortunately it ended that way for them, but that’s how it goes.  Look, no-one in this sport wants to be the one that gets bullied. You want to stand your ground against everyone. Obviously it’s your reputation as well.

“When people come up to you on-track, you don’t want them to think ‘oh this guy’s going to be an easy one for me’. So you always want to have your elbows out to an extent. We know Max from day one has always had his out, and I think just naturally his DNA, he just is a tough racer. It’s not something he has to really dig deep for. That’s just how he races. You know it’s kind of unconditional with him, that you’re going to get a tough battle. It doesn’t necessarily change the way you race him. You just know you’re going to have to pull off a really good move and make it stick, and I think Lando learned that on Saturday. He thought he probably had it done, and Max said no, not today. You live and you learn. Obviously then, Lando made some bold moves on Sunday, and had his elbows out too. Unfortunately, I think the outcome was what it was.

“That is the first time I hearing [about Stella comparing 2021 happening with 2024], obviously referencing something from some years ago…it sounds like people are probably hammering Max a bit. I don’t know if it… it sounds like it’s probably blown a little bit out of proportion. Like I say he’s unchanged, when I say he’s unchanged, I think it’s the way he goes racing. Obviously leaves it all out on the track, and that’s what a lot of fans have admired about him. But do I think he matured since the start of his career? Absolutely. It’s not like he’s finding himself in these positions all the time. I don’t think it needs any real addressing at the moment. Maybe the drivers’ briefing tomorrow, I’ll hear otherwise. As I said, you’re fighting for a win. It was unfortunate. I don’t think the incident they had was dangerous. It was fairly low speed, it wasn’t a Turn 9 situation here at Copse in ’21, that obviously had a lot bigger consequence. Look, if this goes on the next few races, and this is like ‘oh wow’, OK. I’m not sure if one race is enough to create a narrative of ‘oh, nothing’s changed’ kind of thing.”

Albon: “No, not at all. I think every driver would [race hard]. I don’t know any driver who would be in the chance to win a race, be Max or Lando, and kind of not put it on the line. We all are very similarly programmed. I think they’re both going for the win so it’s going to be emotional. And they’re in the moment, they’re fighting for victory. So I think it will play an impact to their relationship to some degree, especially as McLaren are going to be fighting more and more for that victory. So I think you’re gonna get the same action this weekend and for the rest of the year. So it’s just natural when two drivers keep finding themselves in the same positions, first and second, then they’re going to have more chances to bang wheels.”

Hulkenberg: “Yes. You’re right. You have to know that and be aware of that and take that kind of thing into your calculations or strategy and just be aware of that fact.”

Leclerc: “You get to know the drivers more and more. And with Max, he’s probably the driver that I know most on the grid as we have driven against each other from a very long time — since back in 2010, I think. You know more or less how each driver is going to react or fight or defend or attack you. However, I don’t fight them in different ways, any of them. I’ll always try and fight them in the same way. It mostly depends on the situation you are in, and of course if you are fighting for a P6 in the championship, and Max is 100 points ahead, you might not fight him as hard. But when a win is on the table, I will always go flat out with whoever I’m fighting with.”

Incident itself –

Verstappen: “It was such a silly small contact, I didn’t even know that it would pop a tyre off that quickly. It is always too look back at stuff, you can analyse a race or a thing that you do in your career, you always see that there are things that you can do better, that’s how it is, you are not a robot, programmed to do everything the same every single lap. That’s how it goes.”

Norris: “I mean, we’ve gone over things a few times. I learned many things. I think a lot of stuff I was anticipating, I knew about, but it’s still a different. You’re fighting against different people, you’re fighting in different ways at the top, compared to when you’re a bit further back, like we have done the last year or so, but at the same time, Max has a very different way of racing compared to a lot of others. And that’s some of the reasons of why he’s a champion. But all in all, yeah, I reviewed it and I’m excited to go again this weekend and try to do a better job.”

Albon: “It is aggressive racing but I think it is blown out of proportion in my opinion. It was questionable more the first move where Max moved under braking. I don’t think Max moved under braking where the one they made contact, I think that was more just he was kind of hitting more towards the straightline, just going more towards the left, yeah definitely more you guys enjoying. The reality of it was that it was just pure racing, hard racing.”

Tsunoda: “I was not there so, I mean I was not racing with them obviously, I wasn’t even close to them, so I can’t really say anything. To be honest, it wasn’t that obvious move under the braking, to me it was pretty normal, I have seen much worse than that. I can say both way, obviously the main thing is that they made contact. If they didn’t collide, I am sure the FIA stewards won’t give any penalty to Max and they would have still continued. Also, Lando wouldn’t have complained as long as they continued, but it is part of racing.”

Hulkenberg: “It was racing for me. It was next to no contact, it was the slightest of contact. I don’t think you could have less contact. It was just obviously quite bad how they hit, both rims broke from that. But usually you get away with that kind of contact. It felt it was all biffed up quite a bit and dramatic and for me it was just racing. To be honest, for me, Max wasn’t doing much. He was more or less driving a straight line, we have to leave a car width, which I think there was. There was still kerb on the left and not a wall. I think the stewards got involved quite a lot last weekend. It’s a personal opinion, personal views. Like I said for me, that was just racing. Like I said, last weekend the stewards got very involved and were very active handing out a lot of time penalties and things. I think there was a little bit of overreacting on some occasions.”

Racing rules –

Verstappen: “I think we have already way too many rules for everything in general. That will only make it more complicated.”

Ricciardo: “I think I am clear. I’ll be honest, I watched the incidents, lets say all the battle, but I haven’t seen anything of the aftermath in terms of what’s been said, what hasn’t been said but yeah, the moving under braking, I have an understanding of what I should do and shouldn’t do. I don’t know, I am assuming that probably blown it up because obviously it is a battle for the lead and ‘once friends, now enemies’ is probably that going on. I can only imagine. But I think it was all – if you look at it – yeah it is hard but you are also fighting for the win, so yeah you are not going to wave some by and the contact, that can happen probably 9 times out of 10 with no consequence. It was also…yeah, they were going on back and forth obviously, maybe the angle was bit awkward, they both send it and obviously Lando ended his race. So the outcome was bigger than probably what was actually happening on track. What I saw at least, nothing seemed over the top. Was it pushing the edge? Probably! But was there anything dangerous or reckless? At least from what I have seen, no.

“I think we all know, it is also…when you cut a super slow-mo everything down and this and that, you’ll always find that ‘you moved a bit there’. If I put myself in the situation, I look at me Japan, I look back and see I gave too much room on the inside and therefore there wasn’t too much room on the outside for Albon and then we crashed in Lap 1 and if I slow-mo it all down, I feel like ‘I should have left some more room, probably’. When it happens so quickly and you are in a battle and it is intense, there’s adrenaline and there is so much going on, yes we are paid to do this and we should be able to do – at most times – at very high level but it is so hard to be inch perfect when there is all these other factors, so naturally people will make mistakes, they will maybe push it a little more than they should, maybe try to get away with it but I think we all know that we are doing our best. I think we have enough trust in everyone, even if we say Max in this situation, we know is a tougher racer, it is not that we don’t trust going side-by-side with him, not at all. You are going to get that extra inch maybe…maybe someone will give you or you probably just won’t get that, you might get a centimeter but not an inch, but that’s okay.”

Albon: “I think they tried to say it’s consistent rulings, and they don’t take the incident as the penalty factor. But it clearly does, because there are a lot of instances where, by the letter of the rulebook, things are marginal or not legal. But, if there’s no contact being made, then it’s very often not talked about. And, if it is, it will be a warning, it won’t be an instant penalty. When I saw the actual incident itself, to me, it was just a racing incident. I think Lando went for that space on the outside. Max thought there was enough space for Lando to go. On paper there was, but the way that Lando attacked the outside line and went so aggressively to it, you can’t move that much in that position. You’re kind of stuck in a straight line just because, if you turn out of the way, you’ll end up locking up. Yeah, it’s a racing incident. Because they made contact, no, but if I was Max, I’d be upset by the penalty for that.”

Tsunoda: “There are already rules if someone move under the braking clearly, they will have quick penalty. I think Max moved under the braking but already Lando was next to him, so like…maybe it was an idea to give some pressure to the other car…to not let the other car an easy switch back to have a better exit for the next corner. And it sometimes happen, if you sometimes keep to much pressure, if rear tyres are having contact, I am sure even Max learned from that and he won’t do again with similar kind of thing. I wouldn’t say he just moved under the braking, it is just driving, everyone does it, to be honest.”

Magnussen: “I don’t know, I think it’s frustrating that it’s always going back and forth with the rules. I think maybe they just have to make it more free. At the end of the day Max paid, he got a penalty, which I guess was correct by the rules. But at the end of the day he got a natural penalty with his puncture. So it didn’t pay off for him to drive the way he did in that moment. I just think there is a natural sort of dynamic to racing. If you let the drivers race free they will race hard. But at the end of the day, you want to be finishing races, you want to be taking care of your car. And that kind of stuff stops the drivers from doing too crazy things.

“I think it’s better to be trusting each other based on everyone wanting to finish the race for themselves rather than relying on people to stick to the rules or whatever. I kind of had a little bit of that in Monaco where I have my car in the space that, by the rules, you shouldn’t lose that space. But I lost that space, and that didn’t pay off for me. If there had been not any rules regarding that…I’m not saying we should have no rules at all but if it had been less and more free, I don’t think you need to trust drivers to abide by the rules, if you just trust the drivers then you own up, I think that…is it better go to racing, I see it in IndyCar.

“I’ve raced in IndyCar myself and also in sports cars, and I think in the US they have this approach that they just let the drivers race and it works. It’s not like it’s going crazy over there because you go over there and you just you come back to how I was racing in karting back in the day where there wasn’t really all these specific rules about everything and it just kind of worked out naturally and the racing was great. Reacting to someone, I think you have to make your move before the other guy does, otherwise if someone’s slipstreaming you and you move just after he’s moved, that’s dangerous. You can’t do that. And under braking once you hit the brakes to change direction too much is also dangerous.”

Sainz: “In my view it is clear that you can move to defend and then come back, but always leave one car’s width to the white line so the other car fits. That’s the rule. I really struggle with the fact that we need to keep adding rules to the racing side of it. I think there’s so many already; if you read the rulebook about what you have to do if you overtake on the inside, what you need to do if you defend on the inside, what you need to do if you attack on the outside, what you need to do if you defend from the outside… It’s all a different set of regulations that is already super-detailed and specific, which I struggle to follow exactly when I’m driving a car at 300kph. Because you cannot think at that speed about all those rules. Let’s say I don’t want any further rules; the rules are clear enough. And there was a decision taken on the stewards’ side already. There is nothing much to talk about.”

Alonso: “You’re always racing, trusting the other drivers. You forget the rules for a moment when you are in the heat of a battle and you are fighting sometimes for points, sometimes for podiums and sometimes even for world championships. I’ve been fighting for world championships five times at the last race, in the last moments of the season. How can you think about the rules in that moment? You go for an overtake or you go for a defence and you try to be fair and you need to trust the other drivers. So that’s probably the way we always race.”

No penalty for Verstappen after gaining an advantage, but collision –

Norris: “I think Max could have made the corner, honestly. He didn’t try, which is probably the main fact of it. In this part of it, I didn’t squeeze him. It wasn’t like I was side by side and almost pushing him off, that kind of thing. He took a very easy route out of it. And again, it’s complicated. It’s not as simple as just saying this happened, that happened, and there should be a different outcome, but… I’d say almost out of the whole thing that was probably the little bit that I almost didn’t understand the most. And the gap he had out of the corner was bigger than what we had going in. So in the sense of him going off track and gaining advantage, he was actually the one that did it in that case, especially with the fact that I didn’t even push him off. Yeah, I think there just needs to be some clarification on things, and I think there needs to be consistency from this point onwards, because if that’s clear what we can do, then I think everyone’s happy, but it just can’t keep changing from one weekend to another.

“It’s tough. At the same time, like… The more I’ve thought about things, the more I’ve just thought a lot of it was just racing. Yes, I complained and said certain things on the radio and stuff like that, like every driver would. If they say they didn’t, they’re probably lying. But every driver would do it. Max was doing it. I did it. But yeah, at the same time, I just, I did come away from it just thinking it was, it was good racing. Like it was tough. And at times I thought maybe a bit too far, but at the same time, it was good. It’s what people want to see. And we wanted to do that all the way until the end. We want to do it until the last lap, you know, that’s what we love to do. So we don’t want to take away the fact of just racing and going wheel-to-wheel and have too many rules in this case. So I definitely think I probably overreacted in some way. But it’s like a new thing to me in many aspects too. So just clarity over certain things is what’s needed. Apart from that, I’m happy to go out and race hard and do what we did last weekend.

“Regarding Max continuing, it’s tough. I think sometimes we say it should be, sometimes we say it shouldn’t be, as drivers. Yeah, at times you don’t want the consequence to be taken into account. But also at times, I think it definitely should be taken into account. But it’s a very tough one, because our incident was so tiny. So for what it was, I don’t think it really should have been a big penalty at all, or even if a penalty, at the end of the day. But considering he put me out of the race and took me out of a chance of winning a race and that kind of thing, then it definitely adds a lot more to the facts. And if he had a big enough lead and he could still go on to win the race or something, Yeah, I do think it needs to be taken into account in some ways, but understanding how and how much and where that line is, again, I think is a complicated and difficult thing. So, yeah, something I’m sure we’ll have to speak about at FIA and drivers, but not an easy thing to have a role for.”

Verstappen: “I don’t need to bring it up because even if you get a penalty for these kinds of things, there have been way worse things happening under braking or leaving space to another car in the past. Naturally I don’t agree with a 10-second penalty. But again, for me, the only thing that was very important coming out of that weekend was just my relationship with Lando.”

Car now –

Norris: “Yes, everything’s okay. It’s more just like longer term stuff it’s impacted more than just this weekend. We have some spare floors that were already damaged before, which we’ve been able to repair and kind of get things ready for. The team have done an amazing job to get things ready. We knew with three races in a row, easily things can go wrong and you can easily have a lot of damage. It’s not hard to damage a floor in the first place. You can run over an exit kerb and it can be damaged quite easily. The team have done a good job to make sure we’ve had enough and we’ve got some more for this weekend and some repaired ones. Maybe not in a perfect place, but, like a sidepod and break ducts, all these kinds of things, they all add up. And when you’re in a tight fight for a championship and you’re pushing hard, you’re always trying to push the boundaries of everything, just like the racing is. With the budget cap and upgrades and CFD, all those types of things, you just want every bit of money possible. So, yeah, a bit of a shame, but the team have done a good job to make sure everything’s ready for this weekend.”

Outside noise, Stella –

Verstappen: “I don’t give a shit about that. I go home, I live my life. And the only thing that I care about is just my relationship to Lando.”

Norris: “I’m sure Lewis would agree with it two years ago or three years ago! 100%. I mean, there were definitely certain things. There were definitely a few moments, especially, but on the whole, yeah. I’m always going to stand up for what Andrea said. I think Andrea’s got a very good amount of sensibility with how he talks and things he talks about. So definitely, I think certain parts are true. And I do agree with Andrea, as a note. But yeah, certain things are always different, I think, when you’re a little bit in the moment itself. And I think just clarification of how he says things, because there’s always certain things with how you pronounce things and stuff that might change too. But on the whole, I agree with what Andrea says.”

Hamilton: “I don’t agree with that, no. I just don’t agree with it.”

Relation with Norris, different racing against him –

Verstappen: “I think it also depends on personalities, and I know of course, he’s a great guy. He’s a really nice person who loves Formula One. Of course he loves racing and he’s just very passionate about it… he’s fighting for a second potential win, I’m fighting for my 62nd win. Naturally your emotions are a little bit different. I know that from myself when I was fighting for these first wins in F1. But that’s fine. That’s why I said, let it cool off a bit and I’ll talk later. Every person is different, every person reacts a bit differently to things. I have a good relationship with Lando, so I know because how he is as well as a person. That’s what I’m focusing on, looking at the past is of no interest to me.

Here’s Andrea Stella, Christian Horner on the tangle

Here’s Max Verstappen, Lando Norris on their Austrian GP hit

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