Christian Horner: Max Verstappen penalty “a bit harsh” | Lando Norris got “his elbows out”

Christian Horner gives his view on Max Verstappen's clash with Lando Norris at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal on the grid. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 11, Austrian Grand
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal on the grid. Formula…

Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner believes it was “inevitable” that Max Verstappen and Lando Norris would collide at the Austrian Grand Prix.

After an intense scrap for the lead, the pair eventually came together on Lap 64 at the Red Bull Ring.

Verstappen moved slightly to the left under braking at Turn 3, resulting in contact.

Both drivers picked up punctures as Norris was forced out of the race due to the damage he sustained.

Verstappen was able to continue but only finished fifth.

Speaking to select media including in Austria, Horner gave his view on the clash.

“I think it’s inevitable they were, how close they’ve been racing the last few weeks. It’s a shame,” he said. “Lando was already on four strikes. I think he was probably going to get a five-second penalty anyway. And I would say it was a racing incident.

“I thought it was a bit harsh that Max got a 10-second penalty. Thankfully it didn’t affect, his race had already been damaged by the puncture that he picked up.

“So very frustrating. But on a day that neither of his main opponents scored, we still took home 10 points in the drivers’, 16 in the constructors’, and I think McLaren only gained two points on us.”

Things were slowly bubbling away between Verstappen and Norris, particularly with the McLaren driver’s late lunges.

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL38, both with punctures after colliding.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB20 leads Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren…

However, Horner refused to criticise Norris harshly for his driving.

“He was getting his elbows out. It’s two tough racers,” he added. “It’s probably a bit of a hangover from yesterday. Max passed him without DRS into Turn 4. And then he got mugged by his teammate, so there was probably a little bit of a hangover of that.

“It was a shame, because we had everything under control today. I think the final pit stop put Lando back into contention, and then with the advantage on tyre that he had, that was enough to get him into the DRS.”

Horner conceded it’s likely that there friendship will be “put under pressure” as their rivalry grows.

“I think Max is a hard racer, and they know that,” he explained. “I think Lando was trying to make up for yesterday. It was inevitable that you could see this building perhaps for a couple of races. At some point, there was going to be something close between the two of them.

“Maybe they won’t play padel tomorrow, but I’m sure they’ll talk about it. They’re two hard racers, they’ll talk about things openly, I’ve got no doubt about that.

“Relationships between drivers vary up and down the grid. Ultimately there’s a respect, that’s the most important thing. Inevitably friendships are put under pressure when you’re competing hard.”

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