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Horner: Verstappen’s ‘Harsh’ Penalty Unjustified

30/06/2024

Horner criticises Verstappen’s penalty, defending that Norris had sufficient space, amidst Red Bull’s refusal of any driver error.

Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, concedes that the team was on course for victory before a botched pit stop for Max Verstappen allowed Lando Norris back into the fray for the win.

“We thought we had everything under control; we were leading by eight seconds and matching what Lando was doing. As temperatures dropped, the medium tyres seemed the better choice, so we switched, but the delay in the pit stop closed the gap,” Horner noted. “After that, Lando exceeded track limits four times; he was set for a penalty and overreached, which is frustrating.”

Like Verstappen, Horner denies any fault on his driver’s part, asserting that he left enough space and that Norris was already penalised. He is baffled by the 10-second penalty imposed on Verstappen.

“It seemed there was ample room for Lando, and he had already made four desperate attempts. He had already breached the track limit four times, but it’s one of those things. We’ll bounce back next weekend.”

“You’ve got tough drivers, and I think Lando was throwing his elbows around, and there had already been contact between them before, but ultimately, it cost them both. I thought Max’s penalty was harsh, but sometimes that’s racing.”

Horner even hints that Norris was frustrated by his defeat in yesterday’s Sprint: “It’s probably a bit of a hangover from yesterday. Max overtook him without DRS at turn 4. And then he was aggressed by his teammate, so there’s probably a bit of a hangover.”

Verstappen’s reputation is well known

He sees a clash as inevitable, although Norris is known for being involved in fewer incidents, unlike Verstappen, who is notorious for it when in battle. To say his driver is notoriously aggressive on the track would mean his rivals need to be cautious, which is hard to accept.

“I think Max is a tough driver, and they know it. I think Lando was trying to make up for yesterday. It was inevitable to see this situation developing over a few races. At some point, there was going to be something close between the two.”

Horner isn’t worried about the relationship between the two rivals: “Maybe they won’t play padel tomorrow, but I’m sure they’ll talk it over. They’re both fierce competitors; they’ll openly discuss things, I have no doubt.”

Finally, he praises George Russell and draws a positive conclusion from the weekend: “Kudos to George, who inherited the victory, and even with today’s frustration, we managed to extend our lead in the championship.”

“The car’s pace was very strong this weekend, we secured two poles, Max led every lap but the last nine, and then the Sprint win yesterday, so it wasn’t a total disaster, but yes, it’s always frustrating; we really would have liked the win, but that’s racing.”

Red Bull Defends Verstappen, Denies Fault

Red Bull Defends Verstappen, Denies Fault. Red Bull Defends Verstappen, Denies Fault

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