Christian Horner says the Austrian GP stewards were wrong to penalise Lando Norris as it sets a worrying precedent.
Norris was the first of several drivers penalised at Sunday’s second race at the Red Bull Ring, the McLaren driver hit with a five-second time penalty for clashing with Sergio Perez.
The Red Bull driver attempted to pass Norris around the outside at Turn 4 with the Brit refusing to give an inch.
Rather than back down, Perez continued with the move, ran wide and off the track.
Norris was deemed responsible by the stewards and hit with a time penalty.
Surprisingly Red Bull team boss Horner was one of the first to say it was the wrong call.
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“I think I said in the commentary that I didn’t have a major problem with the Lando move,” Horner told Sky F1.
“It was racing. It was hard racing. It was wheel-to-wheel, so then to get a penalty for that, I guess they gave themselves no choice when he had the same with Charles.
“But that’s racing. Otherwise, you’re going to get drivers just chucking themselves off the circuit and claiming penalties.
“So it’s a bit disappointing. For me, that’s hard racing.”
His own driver Perez was later slapped with the same penalty, twice, as he twice pushed Charles Leclerc off the track.
As for McLaren, team boss Andreas Seidl agrees with Horner that the penalty, which also came with two penalty points on Norris’ licence, wasn’t right.
“I also disagree with the penalty,” he said. “It is at the beginning of the race and, in Michael Masi’s words, you learn in karting already that if you go there you will end up in the gravel.
“I think with the cars being side by side, I don’t think that is a penalty.
“But let’s focus on the positives: it was sensational race and weekend from the team and Lando, and a sensational recovery from Daniel [Ricciardo]. I want to say a big thanks to everyone here at the track and at home.”
Norris finished the grand prix in third place, his third podium of this year’s championship.