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Norris questions FIA call on Leclerc clash penalty at Brazilian GP

Lando Norris has questioned the penalty he received for his clash with Charles Leclerc following the first safety car restart in the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, collide, resulting in a spin

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, collide, resulting in a spin

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The McLaren driver also suggested the FIA should use more ex-F1 drivers as stewards in order to increase the overall level of understanding of incidents.

Norris tipped Leclerc into a spin at Turn 6 when the Ferrari driver tried to go around the outside of him. Leclerc hit the barrier with the nose of his car, but was able to get back the pits and resume the race after fitting a replacement. He eventually recovered to fourth place.

Norris received a five-second penalty and two penalty points, and later retired from the race with an electrical problem, but afterwards he was adamant that it was a racing incident.

“He tried going around the outside, and it’s racing,” Norris said of the contact. “If anyone says try and go a bit tighter, then they should try driving a car.”

Asked if stewards are perhaps too keen to apportion blame these days he said: “Sometimes.

“I think it’s so difficult for them to put themselves in my shoes, say in this instance. Charles took a risk of going around the outside.

“The first thing you learn in racing is normally not to go around the outside, and if you do, you need to leave a lot of space. We were in the quickest corner on the track, so he was the one in the risky position, not me.

“I did everything I could, it’s not like I tried to run him off or do anything, that’s just stupid, I don’t want to ruin my own race.

“If someone was in my shoes, if Charles was in my shoes, he would have done exactly the same. If any good driver was in my shoes, they would have done exactly the same.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, collide, resulting in a spin

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, collide, resulting in a spin

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Norris suggested that there should be more driver stewards, although in fact there were two ex-F1 racers on the panel in Brazil, with Derek Warwick in the driver role joined by Roberto Moreno as the local representative.

“Do they just look at the incident from an outboard camera and say he's caused the crash or do they actually understand, has he done everything to avoid a crash and so on?” Norris said.

“So there should be more drivers, there needs to be more drivers, who can understand what it’s like to be in my position, or Charles’ position.”

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Norris suggested that it’s hard to treat two different incidents in the same way: “It’s impossible to have a binary thing in racing, because nothing is ever the same.

“Nothing against the stewards we have, but there’s too many times when I don’t think they understand the position it is to be in in the car, driving the car at the speeds we do around some of the corners that we have to drive around.”

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