Max Verstappen and Lando Norris were in the line of fire post the F1 Portuguese GP as they used the Emilia Romagna GP to clarify about certain topics.
Both Red Bull’s Verstappen and McLaren’s Norris clashed with Racing Point’s Lance Stroll during F1 Portuguese GP – where the former had it at Turn 1 in FP2, while the latter had at the corner, but it was during the all-important grand prix session.
They used colourful language on their radios, where Verstappen was caught out by words like ‘retard’ and ‘Mongol’ – the latter used as a discriminatory term for people who suffer from Down Syndrome. The Dutch speakers, though, felt it was not a troublesome word.
Red Bull, anyhow, did caution Verstappen as the Dutchman distanced himself from any controversy, while stating that he didn’t wish to offend anyone and has learned from it. Both he and Stroll did sort the matter at Algarve itself after the practice session was done.
“First of all, I never intended to offend anyone, that’s never what I want,” said Verstappen to media including Motorsport Network, Racefans.net, BBC, F1 Website and more. “It happened in the heat of the moment, when you are driving at such speeds, things like that can happen. I don’t say that the words I chose were the right ones.
“I know they are not correct. Once again, I never meant to offend anyone. I was swearing at Lance, but then I saw him straight away after and that’s what racing drivers are as well. We can be angry at each other, but in five minutes, when we talk to each other, look each other in the eyes, it’s forgotten.
“Sometimes things get a bit heated up. From the outside, I never meant to hurt anyone in particular. I don’t think they need to make it bigger than it is. I know that it was not correct. I cannot change it. Of course you learn from it. I will do better,” summed up Verstappen, as Christian Horner agreed that the Dutchman gets a bit heated up when fighting Esteban Ocon and or Stroll.
For Norris, it was not just about Stroll, but also he made comments about Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking achievement at Algarve. The Brit praised his fellow countryman but added that he currently only has to beat couple of F1 racers in a dominant car, which is expected to win every grand prix.
Reflecting on those statements, Norris thought he, perhaps, crossed a line with regards to Hamilton and so, he apologised not only to him via a text message but also on social media. With regards to Stroll, he only apologised for the colourful language, he used.
“The apology was more for the comments about Lewis, and him reaching his 92 wins, which I have a lot of respect for, and I didn’t choose the right words to put it into context,” said Norris. “I apologised, but I also apologised to Lewis himself, I messaged him. I don’t know if he knew at the time.
“I never mean to say something like that in a bad way or put a bad light on him. I respect what he has done. The way I put it was not the way I put it across. I said it. I apologised and I’ve just got to move on. It was all done off my own back. No one pressured me, it wasn’t something that anyone even said, it wasn’t something that many people even noticed.
“I woke up in the morning, looked on social media and there were a lot more bad comments than good comments. I never meant any of it to be put in that way, especially against Lewis. I saw how it was going down, and I felt bad, because it is not the person I am in any way, to put shame on anyone or not have the respect for such a driver.
“I made the decision to put out a tweet, issue my apology and message Lewis at the same time to set things straight. My first apology was more for the language I used more than anything. Not everything I said I apologised for but just the specific wording of what I said. It’s not easy, everything can get taken out of context in some way.
“Especially now in 2020 you have to be very careful with what you think. As much as I like voicing my own opinion, and that’s what I did in a lot of ways, I maybe just didn’t pick the right wording for everything I said. But I still have my opinions and some people are not going to like them, some people are, and that’s just the world we live in.
“At the same time there’s a lot of ways that no matter what you say, people can just take it into a bad context and publicise it in a way to make it look a lot worse than the way you meant it in the first place. It’s just how things are perceived nowadays can be taken both ways very easily and that’s just the world we live in in 2020.
“It’s not easy, you have to pick the right words, and that’s something I learned from last week. I probably will make a mistake at some point in the future and say the wrong thing again but I’ll try and do the right thing,” summed up Norris.
Here’s what happened between Lance Stroll and Lando Norris
Here’s what happened between Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll
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