Lando Norris: Max Verstappen need not apologise for F1 collision in Austria

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Lando Norris believes Max Verstappen has no need to apologise for their collision last weekend during a battle for victory in the Austrian GP. He revealed they are “both happy to be back racing” after speaking about the incident twice.

Norris and Verstappen collided in the closing stages of Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring, damaging both cars.

Norris was forced to retire from the race, while Verstappen finished fifth despite having to pit for repairs and receiving a time penalty for the incident. The contact allowed George Russell to secure victory for Mercedes.

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George Russell wins Austrian GP after Verstappen and Norris collide

After the race, Norris described Verstappen’s actions as “reckless” and “desperate” and said it was up to the Red Bull driver to get in touch to discuss what had happened.

But Norris tempered his feelings on Thursday ahead of the British Grand Prix, admitting his comments after the race in Austria were “more a matter of me being frustrated at the time” and that he “probably said things that I didn’t necessarily believe in”.

Norris even called the side-by-side contact ‘pretty pathetic’, given the consequences for both races, and made it clear he didn’t need an apology from Verstappen.

“I don’t expect an apology from him,” Norris said. “I don’t think he needs to apologize. I thought it was a good race. Sometimes maybe very close to the border, but like I said, we talked about it, we talked about it and we’re both happy to get back racing.”

Norris said he had spoken to Verstappen twice since Austria. “As for what we talked about, that’s between us,” Norris said. “But yeah, (it’s) business as usual between us.”

Norris admitted that “the more I thought about things, the more I thought it was just a race” between him and Verstappen and that he “probably overreacted”. But he refused to comment on whether Verstappen deserved the penalty for causing the incident.

Max Verstappen speaks to media in the paddock during previews for the British Grand Prix. (Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

A few hours later, Verstappen said: “The only thing I cared about was maintaining my relationship with Lando, because we are good friends.”

He said they ultimately agreed that they “really enjoyed our fight” and echoed Norris’ thoughts on the incident, saying it was a “stupid little touch”.

“We agreed on 99 percent of everything,” Verstappen said. “That’s already a lot. And of course I said to Lando: if you go in or out, you can trust that I’m not there to drive you out of the way. It’s the other way around too, because we talked about that too.”

The stewards ruled that Verstappen was primarily responsible for the incident in Austria, as he swerved to the left when Norris steered his car to the outside of the corner.

Verstappen said there was “always a human reaction when someone dives in from the inside or the outside,” and he felt “everything I did was not hugely exaggerated.”

Both drivers appeared to have put the incident behind them this week. (HOCH ZWEI/Sipa USA)

The clash between Norris and Verstappen fueled debate over what is acceptable in a driver battle, with McLaren team boss Andrea Stella suggesting the FIA ​​should introduce stricter rules.

“The way you design the car, you try to push the boundaries of the rules,” Verstappen said. “Maybe you find some grey areas here and there. And that’s the same (as) how you race. Otherwise you will never be a top driver and you will never be successful in life anyway.”

Norris has been Verstappen’s biggest threat in Formula 1 since 2021, when the Dutchman became embroiled in a fierce, incident-filled battle for the world championship with Lewis Hamilton.

But Verstappen was confident his friendship with Norris would survive their on-track battles, saying the McLaren driver was “a great guy” and “a really nice person who loves Formula 1, and of course he loves racing.”

This weekend, Verstappen and Norris will resume their battle in Norris’ home race at Silverstone, which he will be aiming to win for the first time.

Verstappen said he wasn’t worried about negative reactions from British fans at Silverstone, and he wasn’t worried about being booed by the crowd either. “I’ve had that before, you know?” Verstappen said. “I’m just focused on the performance. Everything is sorted, which is the most important thing for me, and we’ll move on.”

He also said that he and Norris would keep their approach the same the next time they competed on the track.

“We’re going for it!” Verstappen said. “That’s what we agreed on. Because we like doing it and because it’s also good for Formula 1.”

Top photo of Lando Norris and Max Verstappen: Sipa USA, David Davies/PA Images/Alamy Images/Sipa USA

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