Lando Norris rips into Sergio Perez after Red Bull star left him shouting

Lando Norris has revealed how he was left shouting in the cockpit at the Japanese Grand Prix after losing ten seconds behind Red Bull driver Sergio Perez under virtual safety car conditions.

Checo endured a miserable outing at Suzuka, picking up two penalties and involving himself in three separate incidents before eventually retiring from the race. The Mexican driver eventually watched from the sidelines as his team-mate Max Verstappen took his 13th win of the season.

The incident in question happened after the second penalty incident for Checo. Already at the back of the field after an early stop, Perez lunged up the inside of Kevin Magnussen at the hairpin, sending the Haas driver into a spin.

Due to the resulting debris on the track, the stewards opted to call upon the virtual safety car, neutralising the race and giving the marshalls a chance to clear the way. Under this VSC, Norris and Perez nearly came together.

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Addressing what happened, Norris said: “I have no idea. I don’t know what… he must have had a problem, right? But the thing is you can’t overtake under the VSC unless it’s obvious the guy has a problem and I don’t know what was going on, I didn’t know if he had a problem, whether he was just backing me up.

“I didn’t know and I couldn’t take the risk of just overtaking him. He was going so slowly and then when we got the flashing dash for the VSC ending, he went into first gear and then I was on the outside of him because he was going so slowly, and then he almost crashed into me.

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“So I honestly have no idea. I was shouting in my helmet. I was swearing quite a bit, but just got… I was so confused, I didn’t know what I could do. I’m losing time to Max [Verstappen]. The Ferrari guys were, I think, 1.4 seconds behind me after being I think 12s or 13s, so I lost 10 seconds. And I didn’t know what I could do at the time.”

While this incident temporarily cost Norris second place, it cost him little when the chequered flag waved. The British driver closed back up to team-mate Oscar Piastri and took control of P2 once again, sealing a double podium for McLaren and the 23-year-old’s fourth of the season. 

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