Lando Norris felt he was denied second position at the Austrian Grand Prix by the penalty handed to him after an early on-track fight with Sergio Perez.
Norris was defending from Red Bull’s Perez at Turn 4 when the Mexican driver ran wide across the gravel. The stewards said Norris had forced Perez off the track, although there was no contact, and gave him a five-second time penalty which dropped him behind Valtteri Bottas at the pit stops.
Norris finished third, behind Bottas and race winner Max Verstappen, but was left wondering what might have been.
Speaking after the race, Norris, who finished on the podium in third, said: “I’m disappointed because it should’ve been second place. I thought that Lap 1 was just racing really. 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.
“I’m frustrated but I’m also happy with P3. We had very good pace.”
Norris was also given two penalty points on his superlicence, leaving him 10 for the rolling 12-month period. Drivers get a ban if they ever have 12 points over that time period, although Norris will lose two of those penalty points before the British Grand Prix in two weeks.
Norris explained his frustrations with Perez’s move in the TV media pen.
“It’s his risk to go round the outside, he knows there’s gravel there. 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. 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 [Valtteri] Bottas, at least, especially in the second stint. 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.”
Norris was able to keep pace with the Mercedes drivers throughout the race and he said that sets McLaren in good stead going forward.
“We had good pace and I could keep up with him a lot, even in dirty air, but not enough to get into the DRS,” he said. “As soon as I got within or close to a second, I started struggling too much.
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda in the end. It’s nice to know that we can be there and we can race them, it was the first race in many years of actually racing the Mercedes and the Red Bulls. Hopefully we can keep it up next time.”