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Norris critical of stewards decisions


Disappointed after finishing third, and facing a race ban, Lando Norris has hit out at the Red Bull Ring stewards for penalising him following his early encounter with Sergio Perez.

On a day the stewards appeared to be working harder than the teams, often imposing penalties just moments after an offence had been committed, a portent of what was to follow came as early as Lap 4, when Lando Norris was handed a 5s penalty for forcing Sergio Perez off track.

"At the entry of Turn 4, Perez and Norris were side by side," read the stewards statement. "Then on the exit Norris was judged not to give Perez enough room and Perez was forced off the track."

Handing Norris a 5s penalty, more worrying were the 2 penalty points which bring his 12 month total up to 10, just two away from a one-race ban.

In the eyes of most, including Mr Norris, it was a racing incident.

"I'm disappointed because it should've been second place," said the McLaren driver. "I thought that Lap 1 was just racing really," he added, referring to the fact that the incident happened on the first lap after the safety car period that followed Esteban Ocon's off.

"He tried to go around the outside, which was a bit stupid, and he just ran off the track himself, I didn't even push him," insisted the Briton. "I'm frustrated but I'm also happy with P3. We had very good pace."

"It's his risk to go round the outside, he knows there's gravel there," he subsequently explained to reporters. "You watch every other junior series and any time someone tries to go round the outside and doesn't commit to it they end up in the gravel. I didn't even squeeze him off," he insisted. "You understeer around the corner anyway, he should have expected he wasn't going to get it.

"I'm just annoyed, it cost us P2. We had the pace... Hamilton had a problem but we had the pace to be ahead of Bottas, at least, especially in the second stint.

"(I) would have loved to have been second, not third... just cementing myself a bit more.

"Just a bit annoyed by that... it's Lap 1, people are racing, he's tried something that hasn't worked."

As the stewards summoned over half the field to their offices for various offences, facing a potential race ban, Norris said that penalty points should only be handed out for things like dangerous driving.

"My approach of the incident in Baku with the red flag and not boxing when I should have done, I didn't put anyone in harm's way, in fact the opposite and I did everything safely," he said. "Why should I deserve penalty points for that?

"Why should I deserve penalty points today for someone going into the gravel?" he continued, "nothing I've done is dangerous.

"I feel like maybe in some cases you deserve an on-track penalty because you've done something bad in terms of racing and you just made a mistake, but then you have things that people do every now and then which is purely dangerous.

"So, if you do generally overtake in a yellow flag and do something that's just clearly a rule, that will put people in danger, then I understand penalty points for a driver. And if that adds up, you'll get a race ban.

"But for little things like this it's just stupid, in my opinion. It's not what Formula 1 should be and I would expect and hope that other people would back me up on this kind of opinion."

Indeed, sitting beside the youngster, former 'bad boy' Max Verstappen fully agreed.

"How many do you get, two? So if you would have six of these incidents, I don't think you deserve a ban for what he did today. It's just not correct," said the championship leader.

"I've been there myself," he added, "I've been at nine or ten points myself. It's how it goes.

"But I don't think with the things he got the penalty points for, let's say you would get to twelve, you don't deserve a ban for that.

"I said it before myself I think two years ago, we should look into that."

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1. Posted by Mad Matt, 11/07/2021 16:17

"I'm not so convinced. Firstly, it seemed to me that Perez was only in the position to threaten Lando because he'd gone off track at a previous corner and picked up speed there... which seemed to me as gaining a lasting advantage.

That aside I think he has to expect the door to close in that situation, as far as I can see Lando didn't turn into him. I think it warranted looking at but it looked to me that Lando was carried to that part of the track by the speed he took into the corner so I don't think he had much, if any, scope to tighten the line. I think what clinched it for me was when Christian Horner called it a racing incident... he's not one say that kind of thing easily and it was his driver in the gravel."

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2. Posted by Pavlo, 05/07/2021 22:06

"I agree with @kenji. The decisions from stewards were as good as they possibly can.
From one side, the penalties were very mild, suggesting these are "tactical fouls". In both occasions, the penalized driver stayed in front of the offended, whereas (at least with Perez vs. Norris for sure) overtaking driver could just easily drive away.
From another side it's necessary to give some penalty, so that this is not counted as "allowed defense". If such defense would be legal, Leclerc would never even attempt it, knowing he will be pushed to gravel for sure. As a result, we will have usual processions with same DRS overtaking. For me this is not "good racing" at all.
regarding "good racing" - the attack by Leclerc in Rauch without DRS was really a "good racing". Pity that it was spoiled by clumsy defense, would be way "better racing" if Perez would let pass, and then try to attack himself the next lap."

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3. Posted by 12sparkplugs, 05/07/2021 19:46

"Stewards mucking up good racing, get shut off them."

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4. Posted by kenji, 05/07/2021 8:19

"It appears that the stewards can't win with a lot of people , incorrectly blaming them for the penalty handed to Norris. People are still blaming Masi as well...? What do people expect? Most people like to see some 'wheel to wheel'...I do. What we observed in this particular instance was one driver forcing the other off the track and that can have disastrous outcomes. If they turn a blind eye and say that it's all ok what would be the ongoing result? Drivers would no doubt abuse that and then we'll really see chaos. I do not believe that this incident was unfair at all. Yes, the ever popular Norris was caned but he needs to understand that when you get your elbows out there can be repercussions!! The major question is...where do they set the limit? Whilst I have disagreed many times with Steward's decisions I must admit that most times they get it right."

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