McLaren’s Lando Norris downplayed his run-in with Alexander Albon during the Japanese Grand Prix, saying the Red Bull driver “made a decent move” despite initially appearing to complain about the aggressive overtake.

Albon dived down the inside of Norris heading into the Casio Triangle while fighting for fifth place, causing the two cars to make light contact. Norris took evasive action, cutting across the corner, but lost the position.

Norris would ultimately go on to finish outside of the points in 13th after debris from Charles Leclerc’s damaged Ferrari left his car with a race-long braking problem.

Asked by Crash.net if the clash with Albon had compromised his race, Norris said: “Everyone thinks there was a clash, there was no clash. In my eyes there was no contact. He made a decent move. It must have been from quite a long way back.

“My brakes were overheating completely because of the debris, which meant that I locked up the front right a little bit. I was under-rotating. He sent it from a long way back, fair play to him anyway. But just in time I managed to avoid it. It could have been a crash or something worse, but I avoided it and came into the pits because I had to, and that was pretty much it, I couldn’t do much more.

“I didn’t have enough of a tyre advantage from boxing so early on to come back through as much as I wanted to. I was always missing one or two tenths, and that was pretty much it. I couldn’t make the most of a two-stop strategy.”

While Norris acknowledged it was a risky move from Albon, he was happy to see hard racing.

“It quite easily could have turned into something a lot worse. So it was a bit of a risk from him because he would have got past sooner or later, he was much quicker,” Norris said.

“It was a bit of a risk, but I guess that’s racing. No-one got a penalty. He kind of forced me off. That’s racing, that’s how it should be.

“He sent it up the inside, he made a move, fair play to the guy. That’s about it.”

 

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