Lando Norris expected Max Verstappen penalty after Suzuka near-miss

Sam Cooper
Lando Norris puts his hands over his ears. Baku, June 2022.

McLaren's Lando Norris wearing a cap and putting his hands over his ears. Baku, June 2022.

Lando Norris expected Max Verstappen to receive a penalty after the two almost hit each other during Japanese Grand Prix qualifying.

The pair were on out-laps through 130R at Suzuka when Norris was approaching Verstappen. The Red Bull man, unaware the McLaren driver was going for an overtake, went to warm his tyres but got a snap and almost came into contact with Norris.

The Briton was forced to dive onto the grass and then back onto the track in order to avoid making contact with Verstappen.

The Dutchman went on to take pole in the qualifying session, but not before it had been announced he would be investigated by the stewards following the session.

The stewards said Verstappen was being investigated for an alleged breach of Article 33.4 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations which states “at no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person”.

Verstappen and Norris were summoned to meet the stewards at 17:00 track time (09:00 BST) but it was announced that the Red Bull driver would receive a reprimand, his first of the season.

Speaking after he had qualified P10, Norris was pretty adamant a penalty should be coming Verstappen’s way.

“It’s quite clear he tried to do that [try to defend],” Norris told Sky Sports F1. “There’s no rule on doing what you can do. But doing what he did is something 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.”

Norris was then asked if he expects a penalty to come for Verstappen and replied: “Oh yeah, for sure.”

Verstappen explained the incident as himself attempting to warm his tyres just as Norris was moving to overtake.

“I was just driving quite slow and I wanted to accelerate but my tyres were quite cold,” he said. “So then I had a big moment.

“Then of course Lando was trying to pass me at the same time so he had to avoid me a little bit, but luckily nothing happened.”

Red Bull‘s Christian Horner suggested similar and said Verstappen was not expecting someone to be coming through there at that time.

“It’s not that he was trying to block, I just don’t think he was expecting on an out-lap that somebody at that point near the chicane to be going through.

“I think he was just obviously warming his tyres up, getting ready to go and open his lap because you can see they start one by one through there.”

Read more: Stewards to investigate 130R incident between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris