Lando Norris jokingly suggested he could be in line for a bonus from Mercedes, with his battle with Sergio Perez resulting in a five-second penalty for the Red Bull driver in Abu Dhabi.
Perez made a lunge down the inside of Norris at the Turn 6 hairpin at Yas Marina on Sunday, making contact with the McLaren driver that gave Perez a five-second penalty come the end of the race.
While he crossed the line second, he dropped to fourth when the penalty was applied – which had a by-product of promoting George Russell back to the podium places, and keeping Mercedes ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ standings.
Lando Norris jokingly asks for Mercedes bonus after Sergio Perez battle
Both drivers blamed the other for how that battle panned out, with the FIA finding Perez predominantly to blame while the Red Bull driver felt it was a “50/50” from both drivers.
Perez was unable to get five seconds clear of Russell come the chequered flag, which would have promoted Ferrari to second in the Constructors’ standings – but Norris, who runs with Mercedes power in the back of his McLaren, joked that the Silver Arrows owe him a little bit of money for inadvertently helping their cause at the weekend.
“I don’t think it changed our outcome,” Norris told Channel 4 when asked about the contact with Perez and how it affected his race.
“Actually, it helped Mercedes to P2 in the championship, which they can thank me for, so they can give me a little bonus!
“I did what I could, I left him a load of space and hit me so he got a penalty. He deserved it, simple as that.”
McLaren bounced back from what Norris admitted was a start of 2023 that went “horribly” for the team, but he lauded their recovery throughout the year.
He believes they made more strides than any other team on the grid, and reserved special thanks for the team around him who will now have a well-earned break over winter.
“I just want to be very happy with the whole team, with how much progress we made, more than Mercedes, more than Ferrari, more than everyone – so, very proud,” Norris stated.
“Would I have wanted that little bit more this weekend just to finish on a bit more of a high? Absolutely. But for some reason, we just didn’t have the pace today, and we lost out a little bit on the pitstop too, but it happens.
“I can’t fault the mechanics. They’ve done an awesome job all year, so I’m thankful for that.
“It’s gone fast, I would say. I think it’s been very stressful for everyone, like especially Vegas [and] here.
“The last month I think has really taken it out of everyone but as we know, the mechanics and the engineers are the bearers of it because they’re the ones here before us and here after us every single weekend.
“So I thank them. They’re the ones who are tired and, as drivers, we get to live the privileged life, turning up later and going home earlier.
“I thank all of them, so they get a nice rest now and they get to spend some time at home and so forth, but I do too.
“It’s nice, I get to forget about Formula 1 for a little while before we come back and start focusing on next year again.”