Lando Norris blasts F1 stewards after punishment for Leclerc incident

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Lando Norris has criticised the F1 stewards after he was punished following an incident with Charles Leclerc in Brazil. The McLaren driver collided with the 25-year-old while fighting for third place at the Interlagos circuit, shortly after the first safety car restart.

The officials concluded that Norris “touched the kerb at the apex and understeered into the car of Leclerc”. The Brit was handed a five-second time penalty in the race, along with two penalty points – his first collision-related penalty of the season.

Although the penalty had no impact on Norris’ finish as he retired before the end of the race due to an electrical problem, the young F1 star was not happy with his punishment. “I think it’s so difficult for them to put themselves in my shoes in this instance,” Norris said after the race.

“Charles went around the outside, the first thing you learn in racing is normally not to go around the outside and normally people need to leave a lot of space. We’re in one of the quickest parts of the track, he’s in a risky position, not me.

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“But I did everything I could. It’s not like I tried to run him off or do anything that’s just stupid, I don’t want to ruin my own race.” Leclerc was attempting to sweep around the outside of the Briton at the long turn five as Norris defended valiantly.

However, the McLaren star clipped the inside kerb which flicked his car to the outside and into the path of the Ferrari. Norris’ front left wheel slammed into the side of Leclerc’s car which sent him into the tyre barrier. 

Onboard footage shows Leclerc fighting the car as it spins around but he was unable to regain control.  After the incident, Leclerc’s race engineer asked the Monegasque if he was okay. But, a frustrated Leclerc simply replied: “He is a d***”.

Norris on the other hand, claimed Leclerc would have tried something similar if the roles were reversed. “So if someone was in my shoes – if Charles was in my shoes – he would have done exactly the same. If any good driver was in my shoes they would have done exactly the same,” he added.

“Do they just look at the incident from an outboard camera and say, ‘He’s caused the crash’ or do they actually understand, ‘Have they done everything to avoid a crash?’ and so on. There needs to be more drivers that can understand what it’s like to be in my position or Charles’ position or something.”

Leclerc went on to finish fourth despite the contact and remained second in the driver standings, level on points with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez.

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