Max Verstappen calls for ‘more respectful’ driving after Lando Norris incident

Thomas Maher
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka, October 2022.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka, October 2022.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen believes Lando Norris could have been more respectful of out-lap etiquette during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Verstappen and Norris were both preparing to start a flying lap during qualifying at Suzuka when the McLaren driver chose to assume full speed heading into the 130R corner.

Verstappen, ahead on track, accelerated as Norris came around the corner and appeared to briefly lose control of the rear of his Red Bull as he slewed sideways across the gap Norris was aiming for.

The moment resulted in Norris being forced onto the grass to take avoiding action, Verstappen apparently apologising to the British driver as they drove alongside each other on their in-laps.

Having wrapped up pole position by just a hundredth of a second over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Verstappen explained the dramatic moment from his perspective as he spoke to media after qualifying.

“We were all on our out-lap,” he said.

“We were all lining up to try and create a gap to everyone and somehow he still wanted to get me into the chicane.

Lando Norris, McLaren, and Max Verstappen, Red Bull, nearly collide. Japan, October 2022.

“But I was at the point of accelerating on very cold tyres, so I had a little moment. That’s why he had to drive around me.

“But if you’re just a bit more respectful, then everyone’s anyway already lining up. I don’t think anyone is trying to pass into that last chicane so basically, by trying to pass me, you create that kind of problem.”

Lando Norris not happy with Max Verstappen’s driving

The incident went before the Japanese GP race stewards at 5pm local time, with potential penalties ranging from no action being taken all the way to a possible grid penalty.

The stewards ultimately decided a reprimand was sufficient punishment, so Verstappen keeps pole position.

He was deemed to have been in breach of the Sporting Regulations, due to Article 33.4 stating: “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.”

Norris, speaking to Sky F1, believed Verstappen should have been given a penalty as he said: “It’s quite clear he tried to do that [try to defend]. 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.”

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