Lando Norris dismisses claims of racing Max Verstappen differently due to friendship

"The chance of keeping Max behind was basically zero."- Norris said.

by Sead Dedovic
Lando Norris dismisses claims of racing Max Verstappen differently due to friendship
© Clive Rose / Getty Images Sport

Lando Norris denied suggestions that his friendship with Max Verstappen affects how he races against the F1 champion. Last year, he was criticized for reportedly letting Verstappen pass too easily in the United States Grand Prix. Norris then intensly contested Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes for second place, though he couldn't secure it. Lando Norris explained his approach in an interview for Motorsport and emphasized that such rumors are meaningless. Norris believes that he realistically assessed both situations and made the best decision he could at that moment.

“I think one of those areas where I’ve done a good job this year is by reading the situations that I’m in, knowing who I’m racing against and who I’m not,” Norris said.

“I know it’s a race at the end of the day, but the likelihood of losing a position to Max in Austin, and how I raced Lewis versus how I raced Max, in the end I kind of knew I was going to lose positions to both of them.

That’s not a bad attitude, that’s just being realistic and honest about the situations I’m in. 

The chance of keeping Max behind was basically zero. He was way too quick, his tyre degradation - I don’t know if anyone saw this year - was way better than everyone.”

Lando Norris explains his decision

Norris explained that it doesn't make sense to risk your entire race battling someone with a much faster car and a high probability of winning. When Lewis passed him in Austin, there were only a few laps left, and Hamilton had fresher tires.

Lando Norris, Max Verstappen
Lando Norris, Max Verstappen© Clive Rose / Getty Images

Norris admitted that while it might not have been the smartest move to fight against Hamilton, there was a slightly better chance of holding him back compared to Max Verstappen.

Norris is a great driver, which he confirmed in the season behind us. Many believe that he is the profile of a driver who would never allow such things. From the first day of his career, he gave his best and never thought of doing such things.

Lando Norris Max Verstappen