Lando Norris has revealed he shouted and swore at Sergio Perez during the Japanese Grand Prix, claiming the Red Bull driver cost him around ten seconds during the Virtual Safety Car (VSC).
The incident occurred after Perez was involved in a collision with Kevin Magnussen that resulted in both cars needing to pit. When Perez returned from the pits, team-mate and race leader Max Verstappen quickly overtook him before the VSC began.
Norris was then left stuck behind Perez in second as he drove much slower than the reduced speed limit, leaving the Brit unsure as to whether his car was still affected by the Magnussen incident or he was deliberately “backing me up”. When asked about it after the race, Norris replied: “He must have had a problem, right?
“But the thing is, you can’t overtake under VSC and it’s obvious the guy has a problem and I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t know if he had a problem, whether he was just backing me up, I didn’t know and I couldn’t take the risk of just overtaking him.
“He was going so slow and then when we get the flashing dash for VSC ending, he like went into first gear and then I was on the outside of him because he was going so slow and then almost crashed into me. So honestly, I’ve no idea.
“I was shouting in my helmet. I was swearing quite a bit, but I just got so confused. I didn’t know what I could do. I’m losing time to Max, the Ferrari guys I think 1.4 seconds behind me after being I think 12 or 13.
“So I lost 10 seconds. And it’s just I didn’t know what I could do at the time. If he has a problem he should pull over and make it obvious that he has a problem. So he didn’t and therefore I couldn’t take the risk of passing under VSC.
“I don’t think it would have changed the world, just made me stress a little bit more. But it would have been maybe just a bit better to put Max under a little bit of pressure at least after that.
“I didn’t think we would have been quite as far behind, so yeah, frustrating time. Maybe I’ll ask next time what you’re allowed to do. But I think I did the right thing, so all okay.” Despite finishing 19 seconds behind Verstappen, McLaren were delighted with their performance in Japan with Oscar Piastri earning his first podium finish alongside Norris.
“This week in Japan we’ve reached an important milestone in our journey at McLaren,” team principal Andrea Stella said. “For the first time this season, we finished with both cars on the podium. It’s also the first podium for Oscar in Formula 1. That’s a phenomenal achievement in his rookie season.” – Mirror Sport.