Lando Norris admits he’ll ‘create controversy’ as he demands Max Verstappen penalty

Lando Norris has insisted that Max Verstappen is deserving of a penalty, and called for change.

McLaren’s Lando Norris has raised concerns about the lack of penalties for drivers who impede others during races and qualifying sessions, calling for stricter measures to address this issue. 

Norris’s comments come in the wake of a controversial decision by the stewards in Singapore, where Max Verstappen avoided severe penalties for questionable manoeuvres during qualifying.

At the Marina Bay circuit, Max Verstappen faced scrutiny for two separate incidents during the Saturday evening session. 

The first involved Verstappen blocking Yuki Tsunoda on the track, while the second incident entered on Verstappen waiting at the end of the pit lane, impeding a queue of cars trying to join the track. 

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Surprisingly, the stewards issued only a reprimand to Verstappen for these incidents, citing the Red Bull pitwall’s failure to inform the driver of Tsunoda’s presence as a contributing factor.

Several drivers expressed their surprise and dissatisfaction with the stewards’ decisions, highlighting the ongoing issue of consistency in Formula 1 officiating. 

Lando Norris cautiously commented, “I don’t want to say too much, because I’ll just create controversy, but I think the blocking one on track was the one that should have been a penalty. 

“He blocked someone. It’s not just down to the team. 

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“I know the team got the fine in the end of the day, but it should be down to the driver as well to look at his mirrors, and see if someone’s there.”

Norris advocated for harsher penalties to deter drivers from impeding their competitors, emphasising the disruptive impact such actions have on races and qualifying sessions. 

He expressed frustration, saying, “I think there should just be harsher penalties for blocking people because so many people do it… 

“Just no one seems to care enough.”

While Norris called for stricter sanctions, he also urged his fellow drivers to take more responsibility in preventing impeding situations. 

He pointed out that drivers have ample time to check their mirrors during laps and suggested that this essential practice is often neglected in the sport.

Norris’s concerns were echoed by other prominent Formula 1 drivers, including Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc. 

Hamilton emphasised the importance of ongoing dialogue between drivers and the FIA to achieve consistency in officiating, stating, “We always push and work as closely as we can with the FIA to have consistency.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc expressed surprise at the stewards’ leniency towards Verstappen and stressed the need for open discussions with the FIA to clarify drivers’ perspectives and enhance officiating.

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As for Max Verstappen, the championship leader, he defended his actions and explained that every instance is unique. 

He stated, “And the only thing I can say about Singapore is that I explained what happened when I was sitting in the car, and the information that was given to me, and that’s the only thing I can do. 

“And then it’s up to the stewards to make that call.”