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Norris: If Verstappen says he did nothing wrong, I lose respect

Norris: If Verstappen says he did nothing wrong, I lose respect

Norris: If Verstappen says he did nothing wrong, I lose respect

McLaren’s Lando Norris said he would lose respect for Max Verstappen if the Red Bull driver did not apologise for a collision that wrecked their Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The pair are friends off-track but fierce rivals on Formula 1 race weekends and that boiled over at Spielberg’s Red Bull Ring as they fought for the lead.

Stewards ruled triple F1 World Champion Verstappen was predominantly at fault for causing the collision and handed him a 10 second penalty, which had no impact on his result, as well as two penalty points.

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Verstappen, who dropped from first to fifth but now leads Norris by 81 points after 11 races, declared the penalty ridiculous and was backed up by Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

“He (Norris) didn’t behave correctly there Max. Desperately unlucky, especially here, but you did your very best,” he said over the team radio.

A disappointed Norris, who retired with a puncture and car damage, said it was a tough one to take and accused Verstappen of being reckless and desperate in his driving.

“It depends what he says. If he says he did nothing wrong, then I lose a lot of respect for that,” he told Sky Sports television when asked if their relationship would change.

McLaren boss Andrea Stella suggested Verstappen’s behaviour, and moving while braking, was the result of the sport’s rules being inadequately enforced years ago.

“The problem behind it is that if you don’t address these things honestly, they will come back,” the Italian said.

“They have come back today because they were not addressed properly in the past when there was some fights with Lewis (Hamilton in 2021) that needed to be punished in a harsher way.

“We have so much respect for Red Bull, so much respect for Max, they don’t need to do this. It’s a way to almost compromise your reputation. Why would you do that?,” added Stella.

“The regulations must be enforced in a way that is effective, because when a car is out of the race as a consequence of this accident the punishment needs to be proportionate to the outcome,” he concluded. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)