Lando Norris gives bold verdict on Max Verstappen’s controversial Lewis Hamilton overtake
McLaren’s Lando Norris has concluded he doesn’t think Max Verstappen completed the overtake for the lead of the race at the Bahrain Grand Prix by leaving the track to gain an advantage.
Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton were involved in an epic scrap for the lead in Bahrain – with the Dutchman on fresher tyres, reeling in the seven-time world champion in the closing stages of the race.
Verstappen eventually sent one past Hamilton with just a handful of laps remaining, but almost immediately slowed and allowed Hamilton back past after a request from race control.
Despite not having to comply, it would’ve been likely Verstappen would’ve faced a penalty, however whilst watching back the race on Twitch, Norris thought Verstappen actually got the job done much earlier in the lap.
“I don’t think Max should have had a penalty [if it was going to be enforced] because he did the overtake before [going off track],” Norris said.
Switching to a different angle, Norris added: “Look, he’s miles ahead of him. But Max then just has a big oversteer. If Max just lifts and doesn’t commit to full throttle, he could have stayed on the track.
“He has the oversteer when he is already ahead and then goes off the track. In my opinion, he doesn’t complete the overtake by going off the track.
During the feed, fans can send questions into Norris – with one suggesting Hamilton forced Verstappen wide.
Norris admitted after the race that it will probably be talked about at the next drivers briefing in a couple of weeks time.
Formula One steward and former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro was acting steward during the Bahrain Grand Prix and explained that Verstappen and Red Bull were not necessarily under strict instruction to give up first place.
“It was clear that both in the practice sessions and in qualifying, the driver who would come off the track at turn four would lose his lap time. That happened several times to several drivers,” Pirro told Corriere dello Sport
“Hamilton went over the track limits a little too often, creating a repeated advantage. That’s why [FIA race director Michael] Masi, the only one with the authority to talk to the teams, called Mercedes to warn them that if Hamilton did it more often he would get the black and white flag. That could eventually result in a punishment.”
He continued: “There can be no misunderstanding there, according to the sporting regulations paragraph 27.3 it is very clear: You cannot make an overtake where you go over the track limits.
“Verstappen did, although he didn’t do it on purpose, he simply went a bit wide. At that point Masi warned Red Bull and advised that Verstappen could give his position back.
“A race director will never oblige anything, because he is not allowed to, he can only suggest it. Verstappen gave the spot back and so we no longer had to deal with the case specifically.”