Lando Norris believes Sergio Perez was “stupid” to try and overtake him around the outside early in the Austrian Grand Prix and that the resulting penalty cost him second place.
The McLaren driver started second and was fighting to hold off Perez after an early safety car restart, with the Mexican attempting a pass around the outside of Turn 4. Perez was fully alongside Norris but was forced off the road at the corner exit, with the stewards handing Norris a five-second time penalty that saw him drop behind Valtteri Bottas during the pit stops and finish third, two seconds behind the Finn.
“I’m disappointed because it should’ve been second place,” Norris said. “I thought that lap one was just racing, really. He tried to go around the outside, which was a bit stupid, and he just ran off the track himself, I didn’t even push him. I’m frustrated but I’m also happy with P3.
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“We had good pace and I could keep up with (Bottas) a lot, even in dirty air, but not enough to get into the DRS. As soon as I got within or close to a second, I started struggling too much. Shoulda, woulda, coulda in the end.
“It’s nice to know that we can be there and we can race them — it was the first race in many years of actually racing the Mercedes and the Red Bulls. Hopefully we can keep it up next time.”
Expanding on the penalty incident, Norris says Perez didn’t commit to the move in the way he should have done if he wanted to avoid being forced off track.
“From my point of view, if I want to compare it to anything it’s the same as Max (Verstappen) and Lewis (Hamilton) in Imola. It’s a restart, I expect Sergio knows there’s gravel on the exit of that corner, it’s downhill, easy to run wide and that’s just what happens. If you watch Formula 2 or Formula 3 or any category, people who go round the outside there and don’t commit to it end up in the gravel. That’s just the way that corner runs.
“So he took the risk and not me. He didn’t commit to his overtake the way he should have done and he put himself in the gravel. So I don’t feel like it was my mistake, but I don’t make the penalties.”
And despite being so competitive, Norris says the fact that he feels he could have finished even higher is what leaves him so frustrated about the final result.
“They (his podiums) are all just as special because they’ve all meant something different — we’ve always achieved them in a different way. Obviously number one is number one, so that’s probably the most special one I’m going to have. But then you have Monaco, you have Imola which was more of a fightback and this one is the first one where we were more just there because of our pace and we were there on merit. We were fighting third and second for the whole race, even until Lap 71.
“It was a lot of fun and I don’t know where this stacks up — they’re all at a similar level. I’m just a bit disappointed, I could have been second and not ‘just’ third, so maybe this is the worst one!”