Lando Norris said he had no issues with Alex Albon's lunge up the inside at Suzuka's chicane despite the move resulting in a contact and lost time for the McLaren driver.
Norris found himself ahead of the Red Bull charger shortly after the start following the latter's relatively poor launch off the grid.
But on lap 4, Albon ran deep into the final chicane on the inside of a surprised Norris. The McLaren driver reacted early enough to avoid a heavy contact but there was still a light hit between the two rivals and a move from Norris across the run-off area.
"He made a decent move, must've been from quite a long way back," Norris explained.
"It was a bit of a risk from him because he would've got past sooner or later, he was much quicker. But I guess that's racing. He didn't get a penalty, did he? Good.
"I saw him in time. I had to box that lap anyway, so it kind of screwed me as I had to slow down even more and come into the pits.
"He sent it down the inside, he made a move, fair play to the guy. He was the quicker car at the time anyway so he would have gotten me eventually."
Norris' urgency to pit so early in the race had come about as a result of his brake temperatures soaring following debris from Leclerc's Ferrari getting stuck in the McLaren's brake duct.
"I got really unfortunate then in having some debris from one of the cars stuck in my brake duct, which meant I had to box otherwise it was going to catch on fire and something would have happened.
"I had to pit really early on like Lap 5 or something and didn’t have a big enough delta then to catch back up and make some moves and make use of the alternative strategy - I was just kinda stuck in no man’s land."
Norris said that Albon's late move into the chicane "could've turned into something a lot worse". And the Red Bull rookie admitted that it had been a risky maneuver.
"When you do those moves you hope the other guy sees you basically," said Albon after the race.
"Lando gave me space, the move was on and he left the door open. Then I was like, 'Ooh, he’s turning in here', so banged wheels, but got away with it."