Norris Backs Verstappen Over Hamilton Overtake: “He’s Miles Ahead of Him”

Published 04/01/2021, 4:06 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed


Max Verstappen almost had the perfect weekend before he missed out on winning the Bahrain Grand Prix. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong end of a stewarding decision which shot down his chances of winning the season-opener. McLaren driver Lando Norris is also of the opinion that the move Verstappen pulled off on Lewis Hamilton was perfectly legal.

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The incident happened on Lap 53 of the race at the now-famous Turn 4 at the circuit. The Dutchman passed Hamilton to take control of the lead. However, while completing the move, he, unfortunately, went outside the track limits at that corner. This was deemed to have given him an unfair advantage according to the Race Director. Thus, he was ordered to give back the lead to Lewis.

This resulted in a lot of controversy following the race, with people debating whether Verstappen was robbed of the victory.

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Norris points out that the Max Verstappen move was perfectly legal

In a video, Lando Norris pointed out that in his opinion, Verstappen shouldn’t have been penalized for his pass on Hamilton at Turn 4. He said, “I don’t know. I don’t think he should have got a penalty because he did the overtake before. It’s tricky.”

The Brit pointed to footage of the official F1 race highlights and stated that the Dutchman completed the move before going off the track. He said, “Look he’s miles ahead of him. Max [Verstappen] just has a big oversteer here. But, Max is ahead here, easy, and if Max doesn’t commit to full throttle, he could have stayed on track. Not easy because he didn’t.

“He could have stayed on the track and completed the overtake. But he has this one oversteer and he’s already ahead and goes off the track. But, in my opinion, he doesn’t complete the overtake by going off the track.”

The McLaren driver also contrasted this with a similar situation he was in with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and pointed out the differences.

“If it was like me and Charles [Leclerc], basically Charles has control over me as he’s slightly ahead. So here, I’m like committing to the outside, and he has the control over it, I need a lift-off in a way. But, I don’t lift off because there’s space there and then, I’m able to stay on the track.

“So, if I have a better momentum here ahead of him, then that’s unfair.”

Should the Dutchman have been penalized?

This situation brought back one thing from the F1 lexicon and that is ‘What are track limits?

Average fans of the sport are not aware of this, and so, it is pretty understandable for fans to think that Max Verstappen was robbed.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 28, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

What would frustrate everyone is the inconsistency in the implementation of the track limits over the weekend. It was strictly policed during Free Practice and Qualifying, where infringing this limit resulted in a driver’s lap time getting deleted.

However, this was laid aside for the race. If the offense was such a big deal, it should have been implemented during the race; wherein if you overshoot Turn 4 a certain amount of times, you’re given a set time penalty.

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Hamilton, himself had overshot the turn on a number of occasions throughout the race. This could have given him that lasting advantage lap by lap, which Verstappen was supposed to have gained.

So, what FIA could do is eliminate the ambiguity over a weekend and keep track limits set for all three days. This would take away any unnecessary controversy and would shine the light on quality driving.

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.

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Ashish Thomas

211 articles

Ashish Thomas is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having followed motorsports since age 5, Ashish holds an enviable knowledge of F1 history. Ashish holds extensive experience in sports writing, having previously worked for SportsQuest and Fansided.

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