Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has said he doesn’t have a “major problem” with Lando Norris’ defensive move against Sergio Perez in the early phase of Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Perez was battling Norris for P2, but the Mexican lost several places after being pushed wide into the gravel trap by the young Brit at the exit of turn four when trying to overtake his McLaren.
Norris was subsequently handed a five-second time penalty for forcing another car off the track – and this ultimately cost him P2 in the grand prix, though he still managed to score yet another podium this season.
Speaking after the race at Spielberg, Horner said it was simply hard racing and he believes that by giving Norris a penalty, the stewards were forced to award Perez penalties when he forced Charles Leclerc off the track in a similar fashion on two separate occasions.
“I think I said in the commentary that I didn’t have a major problem with the Lando move,” Horner said.
“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,” he added.
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl also felt that the penalty was unfair, though he was trying to focus on the positives of the weekend.
“I also disagree with the penalty,” Seidl said in a post-race interview.
“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 [a] 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,” he concluded.
After yet another strong race in Austria, Norris is now fourth in the Drivers’ Standings, just three points adrift of third-placed Perez.
And after outscoring Ferrari once again, McLaren are currently third in the Constructors’ Standings with a 19-point cushion to the Scuderia.