McLaren driver Lando Norris has said he believes Max Verstappen’s overtake on Sir Lewis Hamilton for the lead of the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix was legal and he shouldn’t have given the seven-time World Champion the position back.
Specifically, the young Brit argued that, as Verstappen was already “miles ahead” of the Mercedes of Hamilton before he ran wide and breached the contentious track limits at turn four, he didn’t need to yield the position.
“I don’t think Max should have had a penalty [if he didn’t yield the position] because he did the overtake before [going off the circuit],” Norris said.
“Look, he’s miles ahead of him. But Max then just has a big oversteer. If Max just lifts and doesn’t commit to full throttle, he could have stayed on the track.
“He has the oversteer when he is already ahead and then goes off the track. In my opinion, he doesn’t complete the overtake by going off the track.”
Following the season-opener, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he was confused as to whether or not drivers were allowed to run wide at turn four – as Hamilton did 29 times during the race – and called for more clarity in the rules.
“I’m equally confused like you. At the beginning of the race it was said track limits in turn four wouldn’t be sanctioned,” Wolff told reporters in Sakhir.
“And then in the race suddenly we heard that if you continued to run wide, it would be seen as an advantage and could cause a potential penalty.
“We debated with the Race Director but there’s nothing we could have done.
“But then at the end that decision actually made us win the race. Max [Verstappen] ran wide in the definition of the Race Director, gaining an advantage. He had to give back the position and that saved our victory.”
Continuing, Wolff said the rules regarding track limits “need to be clear, they need to be sacred and not a Shakespeare novel that leaves interpretation.
“We need to be consistent in which messages are being given… I think the learning of this is it needs to be simple, so everybody can understand it and they don’t need to carry the document in the car to read it and remind themselves what actually is allowed and what not.”