Norris expected Verstappen penalty for Q3 incident

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Norris expected Verstappen penalty for Q3 incident

Formula 1

Norris expected Verstappen penalty for Q3 incident


Max Verstappen’s pole position at the Japanese Grand Prix is at risk as he is under investigation for forcing Lando Norris off track in qualifying.

The two drivers were waiting to start their flying laps at the start of Q3 when Norris accelerated through 130R and went to overtake Verstappen on the run to the final chicane. As Norris approached, Verstappen appeared to turn left at the same time as he tried to warm his tires and lost traction, causing him to swerve left and forcing Norris to take to the grass in order to avoid contact.

The pair have been summoned to the stewards at 5pm local time – one hour after the end of qualifying – and Norris believes the Red Bull driver was trying to stop him from overtaking.

“It was quite clear he tried to do that (block), yeah,” Norris told Sky Sports. “There’s no rule on what you can do (before the chicane), but doing what he did is something that you cannot do. People always overtake before the last corner, as much as everyone always agrees to it, everyone always does it, so it doesn’t matter.

“He probably would have done the same if he was in my situation, but I wouldn’t have swerved at him if I was in his situation.”

Asked if he expects Verstappen to receive a penalty for the incident, Norris replied: “Oh yeah, for sure.”

However, Verstappen says the situation was created by a lack of respect from Norris.

“We were on our out-lap and we were all lining up to create a gap to everyone and then somehow he still wanted to get me into the chicane, but I was on the point of accelerating and I was on very cold tires, so I had a little moment and that’s why he had to drive around me,” Verstappen said.

“But if you are just a bit more respectful, because everyone is anyway lining up and I don’t think anyone is trying to pass into that last chicane, so by trying to pass me you create that kind of thing.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner also believes Norris broke an agreement not to overtake at that point of the track and should have stayed behind Verstappen.

“They’re both on out laps and there’s a gentleman’s agreement between the drivers that when you get to that part of the circuit you hold position and they file through the last chicane one-by-one,” Horner said. “Lando’s obviously decided he wants to jump the queue as they head up to that final chicane. They’ve been following each other all round the circuit up to that point.

“I don’t think he was trying to block, I just don’t think he was expecting on an out lap, somebody at that point near the chicane to be coming. I think he was just warming his tires up, getting ready to go and open his lap, because you can see they start one-by-one through there.”

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