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
Listen to this article

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
Grading F1's 2022 drivers at half-term Prime

Grading F1's 2022 drivers at half-term

Over the first 13 races of Formula 1's new ground effects era, Max Verstappen has surged into the lead in the world championship over Charles Leclerc. But as the 2022 season prepares to roar back into life, who stacks up as the top of the class, and who must do better? We graded every driver based on their performances so far

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season Prime

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season

It’s 13 down, nine to go as the Formula 1 teams pause for breath in the summer break. But what can we expect to happen over the next three months from Belgium to Abu Dhabi? Here's the key storylines to keep an eye out for the rest of the 2022 season

Formula 1
Aug 18, 2022
Nicholas Latifi: The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Prime

Nicholas Latifi: The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate and devoid of the usual racing driver airs and graces, Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Prime

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Prime

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Prime

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time F1 champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24. And now it’s happening again at his current team

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future Prime

Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior.

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Prime

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022