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Max Verstappen

Verstappen 'clumsy' but points finger at Red Bull

Max Verstappen held firm on his position long after the race ended.

Verstappen Austria
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen feels his controversial collision with Lando Norris was nothing more than 'a bit of clumsiness' which could have been avoided but for better race execution from Red Bull.

Verstappen and Norris tested the limits of their friendship with a battle for the lead of the Austrian Grand Prix that culminated in lap-64 collision and the puncturing of tyres on both cars.

Three-time F1 champion Verstappen managed to limp back to the pits in his Red Bull and take on a fresh set of tyres that allowed him to finish fifth behind race-winner George Russell, whilst Norris retired due to additional damage sustained to his McLaren.

In the immediate aftermath, Norris accused Verstappen of being "reckless", "desperate", and "aggressive". For his part, the 26-year-old Dutchman refused to concede he had done anything wrong.

That was still the case hours after the race when Verstappen spoke in a post on Red Bull Racing's Instagram channel.

Reflecting on the incident, for which he received a 10-second penalty for causing a collision, Verstappen said: "Of course, it's just really unfortunate that it happened.

"I've had a bit more time to look at stuff. I think in the beginning, the first few moves [from Norris], they were from quite far, so whatever happened happened.

"When we touched, honestly, it just felt like it was a bit clumsy.

"When you are in the car initially you think, 'Have I done something wrong?', 'Did I leave enough space?', a half-a-car width, or whatever.

"Of course you can always judge or argue about what is a car's width. I honestly think I did leave a car's width on the white line.

"And naturally you race hard. I'm not there to give two car's width because then I know he's going to get me on the exit.

"You race hard for a race win. That's how it should be. As a friend, you never want to touch, you never want to crash. It happened.

"At the end of the day it's part of racing as well, even though it's not nice. Of course, we're both disappointed with the outcome."

Red Bull 'did stuff wrong' - Verstappen

Verstappen was cruising to victory up until the second pit stop at the end of lap 51 when he held a 7.5s lead over Norris as they both took on fresh tyres.

But that lead was almost completely wiped out by a 6.5s stop for Verstappen due to a struggle to remove the left-rear wheel.

That allowed Norris to close in and attack Verstappen into Turn 3 on a couple of previous occasions, culminating in off-track moments for both before they ultimately collided.

Verstappen was far from happy overall with both the feel of his car after the first stop, and with both stops in general.

"From our side we have to look at the whole race because I think we did a lot of stuff wrong," added Verstappen.

"We had two very poor pit stops which basically put us back, and that's why we were fighting to the end because we had a very healthy lead.

"We could definitely have had a different race if we'd executed the race a lot better, so there's definitely a few things to look at and do better for next week [at the British Grand Prix].

"Also from the car side, I felt something went wrong after the first stint where I was quite comfortable and suddenly the car balance definitely changed a lot, so a few things to look at for next week."

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