Norris admits Verstappen does not need to apologise for ‘pathetic’ collision | Lando Norris

Lando Norris has revealed he met Max Verstappen to clear the air after their angry clash at last week’s ­Austrian Grand Prix but while the British driver says the pair are still “great friends” the Dutchman has insisted he will not be changing his driving style.

Norris, who had to quit the race after being hit by Verstappen at the Red Bull Ring during a battle for the lead, was furious in the aftermath and accused Verstappen of being reckless and desperate, and demanded that the Dutchman apologise to him.

But speaking before this ­weekend’s British Grand Prix, Norris said he had spoken to Verstappen twice this week and felt his reaction had been in the heat of the moment.

“Some of the things I said after the race was because I was frustrated. There was a lot of adrenaline, lots of emotions and some of the things I said I don’t necessarily believe in,” he said. “He doesn’t need to ­apologise and I don’t expect an apology. It was good racing, at times close to the edge, but we have spoken about it and we are happy to go racing again.”

Verstappen, who was penalised but managed to continue to finish fifth, extending his lead over Norris by a further 10 points, made it clear that coming to a rapprochement with his friend had been of paramount importance.

“The only thing that I cared about is maintaining my relationship with Lando because we are great friends,” he said.

“After the race I said we had to let things cool down because ­emotions run high. We spoke on ­Monday and came to the conclusion that we really enjoyed our battle.”

Verstappen also said both drivers would welcome another close fight at Silverstone this weekend but that he would not temper his driving style.

“We go at it flat, that’s what we agreed to, that’s what we like to do and that’s what’s good for F1 as well,” he said. “Like how you design a car, you try to go to the edge of the rules, maybe find some grey areas here and there and that’s the same how you race. Otherwise you will never be a top driver.”

Norris did, however, agree with the comments made by his McLaren team principal, Andrea Stella, after the ­incident in Austria. Stella stated ­unequivocally he believed ­Verstappen had been emboldened to drive as he does because he had not been ­punished for it in the past.

“I think Andrea’s got a very good amount of sensibility with how he talks and the things he talks about, so definitely I think certain parts are true,” he said. “On the whole, I agree with what Andrea says.”

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Norris said he was disappointed that a relatively minor incident had cost him the race but noted that he knew he would have to adjust his style in future when going ­wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen.

“It was a pathetic incident in that it ended both of our races. It was a small bit of contact, but with ­terrible consequences for both of us,” he said. “There are things I need to do ­differently but he is not going to change too much.”

Lewis Hamilton, who was on the receiving end of some of ­Verstappen’s controversial manoeuvres ­during the pair’s battle for the 2021 world championship, declined to become involved in the debate over ­Verstappen’s driving style when asked about it at Silverstone.

Going into this weekend’s grand prix, the 12th round of the season Verstappen leads Norris by 81 points in the world championship.

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