Lando Norris loves the Hamilton and Verstappen drama
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McLaren man Lando Norris has defended fellow British star Lewis Hamilton, after both were investigated by the FIA after the first round of qualifying at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Hamilton and Norris were put under investigation by the governing body for allegedly driving too slow.
The controversy arose in the final stages of Q1, after Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll crashed at turn two, forcing a late red flag. This resulted in a chaotic 15-car rush as those struggling at the wrong end of the field battled to secure a spot in Q2.
During the final moments, Norris found himself just behind Hamilton but didn’t take the opportunity to pass him. Following the chaos both Hamilton and Norris were summoned by the race stewards, due to their lack of pace during the final rush.
In the end both left the enquiry unpunished, but the McLaren man was less than impressed that he and his fellow Englishman were summoned in the first place. Defending Hamilton’s defensive move, Norris said: “It wasn’t unnecessary, it was necessary. He wanted a slipstream, I wanted a slipstream.
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“And I didn’t want to pass him because of it. So he did nothing wrong, it’s racing. It was like second gear or something.” Norris even alluded to the fact this wasn’t the first time he had seen this tactic unfold, after revealing his now teammate Daniel Ricciardo had also done it to him previously.
He continued: “Daniel did it to me a few years ago. Everyone knows it happens here at times. I don’t feel he did anything wrong. I probably would have done the same thing if I was in his boat.” Talking about danger on the track, the McLaren star felt that the huge rush coming out of the pits during Q1 was more of a threat to safety than Hamilton’s tactics.
“I think what’s a lot worse and more dangerous is when everyone goes out the pits at the end of Q1, and it’s just a free for all,” he added. “And you have people racing across the start/finish line. That’s more dangerous, because people actually take risks in doing things.
“Whereas when it’s like me and Lewis, Daniel was just a little bit behind and obviously Daniel didn’t want to go past either. But I don’t think anything’s fair game. I think just what he did was completely within reason, he was on the side, he wanted to let me past. I didn’t want to go past, there was no one around us on push laps.”
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