Norris: Second attack on Verstappen ‘not worth the risk’


Lando Norris reckoned that insisting on attacking Max Verstappen after his initial salvo in Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix "wasn’t worth the risk" of compromising his race.

Verstappen and Norris were in a league of their own in the opening stages of the race, after a second standing start that followed a red flag period.

After a strong launch off the grid, Norris had managed to hold on to the Dutchman and even mount an attack on his Red Bull rival on lap 7.

But as the pair barreled into the first corner, Verstappen succeeded in protecting his position although the McLaren was still snapping at his heels on the run into Turn 4 . But again, Verstappen fended off the Briton.

Norris felt that he could have hassled his rival one last time, but he ultimately opted to play it safe and prioritize his race and runner-up position.

"The opportunity to race against Max was only going to be for a few laps," Norris explained. "We weren't going to find all of a sudden the pace we needed to compete against him for a whole race.

"Fernando was behind me. We know that [Aston Martin's] race pace, especially when it's high deg, they can have very good race pace.

"Yesterday he didn't have clean air, but today he was going to be in an opportunity and in a position to potentially just achieve a lot more.

"I didn't want to compromise my own race by having one more attempt. At the same time, I was low on battery and if you overheat the tyres too much, too early, you can pay the price quite heavily.

"I tried, it wasn't worth a second attempt as much as I would have loved to. I think potentially could have done, it just wasn't worth the risk and potential consequence of being in the hands of Fernando and the people behind."

Norris had identified the spots around the track where Red Bull’s RB19 had the upper hand over the McLaren, but also the corners where Verstappen may have been a bit exposed.

But ultimately, he felt that none of the sections offered him a clear edge or positive risk/reward.

"We struggled too much in Turn 10, Turn 12, it's where the Red Bulls are extremely competitive and we have struggled all weekend - apart from when we were on new tyres,” he said.

"I thought if I was going to have one opportunity, it was going to be there and then. I used all my battery and DRS and then you start catching them very quickly.

"I had a good line in Turn 1, Turn 2, but Max also had a lot of grip. If it was maybe later on in the stint, his line in Turn 1, Turn 2 would have been a lot more compromised and a bigger penalty.

"But because the tyres were so fresh and provided a lot of grip, he had a good enough exit that I then only got alongside him just before the braking zone for Turn 4.

“A couple more metres would have been lovely!"

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