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Max Verstappen

Verstappen to say sorry? 'Hell will freeze over'

One former driver feels Lando Norris can forget receiving an apology from Max Verstappen.

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David Coulthard feels 'hell will freeze over' first before Max Verstappen apologises to Lando Norris for their Austrian Grand Prix collision.

So far, Verstappen has shown no remorse for the lap-64 clash which resulted in punctures on both cars, the stewards handing him a 10-second penalty for causing a collision and resulting in Norris being forced to retire his McLaren.

The penalty made no difference to Verstappen who finished fifth after limping back to the pits and taking on a fresh set of tyres that allowed him to also claim the additional point for setting the fastest lap.

Even after taking time to reflect, and reviewing the incidents that unfolded between himself and Norris, the three-time F1 champion felt that what unfolded was simply "a bit clumsy", and what preceded it was "hard racing".

Norris had expressed hope Verstappen would offer a degree of regret for him to maintain the respect he has for his friend, but former F1 race Coulthard has told his fellow Briton to forget that prospect.

"Hell freezing over is the expression," said Coulthard, when assessing, in his punditry role on Channel 4, the possibility of Verstappen apologising.

"Max is going to go, 'I was racing, it's hard racing'. This is the first time Lando is experiencing going wheel to wheel on a weekend in, weekend out basis.

"We know how it worked when it was Lewis [Hamilton] going wheel to wheel with Max [in their infamous 2021 title fight]. Max is one of the hardest racers. To beat him, you've got to match him."

Verstappen will say 'it was hard racing'

Coulthard, a 13-time grand prix winner, had no doubt, though, Verstappen was at fault and deserving of the penalty, even though it did not affect his result.

By the end of lap 51, Verstappen was cruising to the chequered flag as he was 7.5s clear of Norris when they both pitted to take on fresh rubber - the Red Bull driver on used mediums, the McLaren man on new.

A 6.5s stop for Verstappen, however, proved costly and allowed Norris to attack.

"Those new tyres that McLaren saved through qualifying allowed Lando to really close that gap, get the DRS, and go for a gap in Turn 3," said Verstappen, reviewing the initial attack on lap 55. "But [it was] blocked off by Max, and Lando was not happy about that. He was going, 'He moved after I showed I was coming up the inside'.

"Next time around [on lap 59] he does send it down the inside but runs off track; and then the next time [lap 63] , he pushes Max wide. Max claimed he had nowhere to go and stayed in front."

Looking at the footage of the collision itself, Coulthard assessed: "Then this is where the problems really start, that contact as they enter the corner, further contact once they'd gone through the apex, both of them with punctures and damage. Avoidable incidents from both, it's cost them both."

Looking at an additional slow-mo of the incident, he added: "This will be the thing Lando will complain about, just at that final part, off the entry into the corner, with Max continuing to come over to the left. He will claim, 'He squeezed me', and you're not allowed to do that under braking."

As to whether the stewards called it correctly, Coulthard said: "He's definitely crowded Lando across the track. If there'd been a barrier there then they both would have ricocheted off it.

"I completely get that Max will say, 'Well, hang on a minute. He could have gone further over the kerb'.

"But the stewards have looked at it, they've got more information, they've given a penalty to Max, and ultimately it doesn't make a difference to where he finished in the race."

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