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
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021
The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds Prime

The human cost to replacing Formula 1's cancelled rounds

OPINION: With the global pandemic still lingering, Singapore's grand prix has been cancelled for 2021, with more looking likely to follow. Although Formula 1 has TV deals and profits to chase, retaining a 23-race calendar could be most harmful to those who sacrifice the most for the championship.

Formula 1
Jun 8, 2021
Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Azerbaijan Grand Prix Driver Ratings

An eventful weekend in Baku full of incident and drama lent the race result an unusual feel, as three drivers scored their first podiums of the year. But it wasn't the eventual race winner who scored top marks in our driver ratings

Formula 1
Jun 7, 2021