Norris expects Verstappen to land penalty for Suzuka F1 Q3 near-miss

Lando Norris expects Max Verstappen to land a penalty for their near-miss at 130R in Formula 1 qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday, which is under investigation.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18

Red Bull driver Verstappen scored his fifth pole position of the 2022 season at Suzuka on Saturday, edging out Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc by one-hundredth of a second in Q3.

But Verstappen is due to meet with the stewards after qualifying over the incident with Norris ahead of the opening runs in Q3 approaching 130R.

Verstappen was going slowly and weaving to try and warm his tyres before starting his lap, but lit up the rears and had to catch the car to prevent a spin.

This coincided with McLaren driver Norris moving to pass Verstappen up the inside entering 130R, forcing him to put his car on the grass to avoid hitting the Red Bull ahead.

“I was just driving quite slow, and I went to accelerate but my tyres were quite cold, so I had a big moment,” Verstappen explained after qualifying.

“Then of course Lando was trying to pass me at the same time so he had to avoid me a little bit. But luckily nothing happened.”

The stewards will meet with Verstappen and Norris at 5pm local time over the incident, putting Verstappen’s pole position at risk for an alleged breach Article 33.4 of the sporting regulations, which states you cannot drive erratically.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

Norris felt it was “quite clear” that Verstappen was trying to stop him from getting past, saying it was “something that you cannot do.”

“People always overtake before the last corner, as much as everyone always agrees [not] to it, everyone does it,” Norris told Sky Sports after the session.

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“It doesn’t matter. He would have done the same if he was in my situation, but I wouldn’t have swerved at him if I was in his situation.”

Asked if he would expect a penalty for doing what Verstappen did, Norris replied: “Oh yeah, for sure.”

But Red Bull team principal Christian Horner did not believe Verstappen was trying to block Norris, saying they had “been following each other all the way around the circuit until that point.”

“I don’t think he’s trying to block Lando, I just don’t think he was expecting someone on an outlap at that point near the chicane,” said Horner on Sky Sports.

“He was warming his tyres up, getting ready to go and open his lap. You can see they start one by one through there.”

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