Formula 1

Lando Norris on Charles Leclerc Clash: “I thought it was a racing incident”

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Credit: McLaren Marketing

Lando Norris believed that his contact with Charles Leclerc early on during Sunday’s São Paulo Grand Prix was a racing incident, although the stewards did not see it that way and handed him a five-second time penalty.

The McLaren F1 Team driver collided with the Scuderia Ferrari driver at turn six on the first lap after the early safety car, with Leclerc spinning into the barriers as a result. Stewards felt Norris was primarily responsible for the clash and handed him a time penalty for the incident.

“My start today was good, but it was a disappointing Sunday for us,” said Norris.  “Regarding the contact with Charles, I thought it was a racing incident.

“Of course, I didn’t want contact, and I held my line as much as possible. Maybe I could have given him 5cm more and he could have given me 5cm more but it’s just a shame what happened.”

Norris believed the car was not as strong as he was hoping for it to be after the incident with Leclerc, with the Briton feeling he had taken some damage from the contact. 

However, it was not to be Norris’ day, with a mechanical issue forcing him to retire late in the afternoon to end his chance of a top ten finish on a weekend where a bout of food poisoning had compromised his fitness.

“For the rest of the race, we were off the pace,” Norris said.  “I’d like to believe there was a little bit of damage because we were too slow today. I’m not sure why we stopped, the team will investigate.

“I’ve not been very well this weekend, but I’ve had a lot of support from the team, and we’re now focusing on finishing strongly in Abu Dhabi.” 

“It was such a small touch, but it had massive consequences” – Daniel Ricciardo

Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was forced out on the opening lap on Sunday, with the Australian taking the blame for an incident with Kevin Magnussen that eliminated both drivers at turn eight.

Ricciardo tapped Magnussen as the two entered the corner, with the Haas F1 Team driver spinning as a result of the contact, and the two then collided again as the Australian was unable to avoid the back of the Dane’s car.

Ricciardo, racing for the penultimate time with McLaren before he leaves at the end of the season, was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend by the stewards, although he did not expect the light touch the two cars had to have such a massive consequence.

“Firstly, I’m disappointed as it’s always difficult when your race is over so quickly,” said Ricciardo. “I touched the back of Kevin and it’s a shame.

“I think the biggest disappointment is that it was such a small touch, but it had massive consequences. I didn’t expect him to spin, I guess that was just the angle that we touched and it just unloaded his rear.

“I feel most times, a small touch like that, you can get away with it. So it was pretty unfortunate for both of us. It was an eventful race, so, it’s a shame not to have been out there.

“Apologies to the team here and back at home but we will reset and go one more time in Abu Dhabi.” 

Daniel Ricciardo crashed out on lap one after contact with Kevin Magnussen – Credit: Sam Bloxham/LAT Images/McLaren Marketing
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