Norris: Leclerc should have passed Verstappen at Imola restart

McLaren Formula 1 driver Lando Norris reckons Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc should have passed Max Verstappen during the eventual 2021 Imola race winner’s brief off-track moment at the red flag restart.

Norris: Leclerc should have passed Verstappen at Imola restart

Verstappen was preparing to take the pack back up to racing speed after the Emilia Romagna event had been suspended to clear up the wreckage from George Russell and Valtteri Bottas crashing heavily, when the Red Bull driver lost control at the final corners.

He speared left over the kerbs of the first Rivazza turn, appearing to briefly put all four wheels across the white line at the track's edge – although footage from Leclerc's car is unclear that this happened.

Had Leclerc opted to press on, Verstappen would have been entitled to try and repass before the first safety car line (the lap was considered to be in effect another formation lap despite the lack of standing start), but the Ferrari driver also would have been permitted to race to the line as he would have had taken over as head of the queue.

In any case, Leclerc felt Verstappen "always had one wheel on the track" and so did not attack, but Norris, who was running behind the two leaders at the time of the incident, believes the Ferrari driver should have gambled on getting ahead and arguing his case later.

"I had a great view of it," said Norris. "Quite funny actually. I think Charles could have gone past him, in my opinion.

"At that stage Max was out of control and going left and Charles kind-of just hit the brakes and slowed down and stopped.

"At some point he has to go past Max because he was facing the barrier for a lot of the corner.

"I don't know. We have to maybe ask the guys in charge what the exact ruling is for going off, as off-track, all four wheels off the track and example of [qualifying, where Norris lost his final Q3 time for running too wide at Piratella].

"But at the same time Max was going very slow, so it was like Charles could have driven past him at the point. I'm not sure.

"I think if I was in P2, I would have gone for it, because you have a chance at winning then. It's a risk [that's] worth it."

Read Also:

Norris quickly passed Leclerc after the Ferrari driver fell back from the rear of Verstappen's car when the Red Bull driver eventually instigated the restart, but later lost second place to the resurgent Lewis Hamilton.

Explaining how he approached the final stint, Norris, who defied Hamilton's advances for five laps, said: "I pretty much started saving the tyres from lap one after the restart, knowing that the last couple of laps were going to be pretty tough [with Norris on the soft tyres compared to the mediums Hamilton, Verstappen and Leclerc were running].

"And they were. Especially with Lewis at the end. A lot of focus was the last couple of corners, getting the deployment right, using the battery in the right way.

"I was trying to save up as much as possible. In the end, I didn't have enough rear tyre out of the last two corners and the chicane to hold him behind, but I tried.

"It was a nice little battle. It's nice to be racing unusual cars, I guess for us – a Red Bull, a Mercedes, and Ferraris and things like that.

"It's nice to be going up against them. Hopefully we can have some more of that in the future."

shares
comments

Related video

Knife-edge F1 battle risks Red Bull/Mercedes development war
Previous article

Knife-edge F1 battle risks Red Bull/Mercedes development war

Next article

Russell insists Bottas crash won’t harm Mercedes relationship

Russell insists Bottas crash won’t harm Mercedes relationship
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Prime

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Motorsport.com's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer Tim Wright explains.

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021