Alexander Albon, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2019

Norris: Albon incident could have been “something a lot worse”

2019 Japanese Grand Prix

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Lando Norris said his collision with Alexander Albon could have turned out worse but he didn’t think his rival should have had a penalty.

Albon made a late attempt to pass Norris on the inside at the chicane. His move came moments after Norris had been told to pit because his brakes were overheating.

“I saw him fricking late,” said Norris. “I can’t actually remember exactly what happened but it was a long race.

“I started to turn in. I was on the brakes but they just weren’t slowing down properly. I think he must have committed before and I was kind of almost getting to the apex at which point I saw him. So as soon as you see me start to turn left was pretty much the point I saw him.

“It quite easily could have turned into something a lot worse. It was a bit of a risk from him because he would’ve got past sooner or later, he was much quicker. So it was a bit of a risk but I guess that’s racing.”

However Norris said he was glad Albon didn’t get a penalty for the incident.

“He kind of forced me off but I think that’s racing,” he said. “That’s how it should be. He sent it up the inside, he made a move, fair play to the guy.”

McLaren team principal Andrea Seidl agreed it was a “racing incident”, and that the time lost bringing Norris into the pits to remove debris from Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari from his brake duct meant his race was already ruined.

“The car was in addition damaged, so that was hitting key performance as well. But the race was done anyway after that stop.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
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20 comments on “Norris: Albon incident could have been “something a lot worse””

  1. He needs to toughen up and stop trying to be everyone’s friend.

    Saw a video after the racing and Albon was basically laughing when Lando tried to explain he had punted him off.

    He has alot of potential but is getting bullied off track from time to time. Hopefully he can work on that for year 2.

  2. Leclerc learned that fast when Verstappen gave him the ropes. Now he’s the one doing the bullying.

    It’s all out war there thanks to “improve the show” and “let them race”. Which is all good, but nice guys really will take the shorter end of the straw.

  3. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    14th October 2019, 9:14

    I don’t understand why so many people on this site feel Albon should have gotten a penalty. What I saw is that Albon sent it up the inside, was significantly alongside at the point of turn in, and Norris didn’t see him and squeezed him on the apex. Albon was literally half on the kerb when contact was made. If anyone has a different opinion, please tell me why, because I don’t think I’ve seen any replays, so maybe I’ve missed something.

    1. I think Albon was at fault, @leonardodicappucino.
      From the replays (I think they showed them during the main race) it apears that Albon was just a tad too late with his late brake manoeuvre; he only got alongside Norris when Norris had already committed going for the apex.
      But it’s a thin line between great late braking and too late braking; this was IMO just a bit over that line.

      1. But this wasn’t too late braking.. He was able to turn in and did not overshoot the corner.. And Albon did this without using Norris as a brake.

        Very rough, but absolutely fair move.

        1. He was able to turn in and did not overshoot the corner.. And Albon did this without using Norris as a brake.

          Did he really? Not only did he overshoot the corner with two wheels, he used Norris as a brake.

          1. For me it’s almost identical to Kvyat – Raikkonen in Singapore.

          2. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
            14th October 2019, 13:18

            @matthijs Sure, he went reasonably deep into the corner, but stayed on the track with two wheels (which is ultimately all that matters). He also bounced over the highest part of the kerb trying to avoid contact, and the contact was side-to-side, which wouldn’t have slowed in down much, he would have made the corner had Norris not been there. So, in fact, Albon didn’t overshoot the corner and didn’t use Norris as a brake.

          3. @leonardodicappucino

            So, in fact, Albon didn’t overshoot the corner and didn’t use Norris as a brake.

            About the contact, we make assumptions so I wouldn’t use the word ‘fact’ here. The only fact is that Albon didn’t get a penalty, which both of us think is fair. It’s just that I don’t like the ‘yield or we crash’ kind of overtakes that we see so often from Red Bull drivers now and in the past. Maybe it has something to do with the brakes on that car.

          4. @leonardodicappucino Sorry I see your second reply now. I think we agree on this incident.

        2. He literally just pushed Norris off the circuit and left no room at all. It wasn’t a fair move in the slightest but I don’t think this was Mclaren’s fight anyway hence they made no big drama. It’s fair enough to call stuff a racing incident from time to time but this was very marginal imo.
          There was the small matter that LeClerc’s actions of spraying carbon fibre across the track effectively ruined his race already with having to stop to clear the brake duct.

      2. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
        14th October 2019, 13:21

        Looking at it again, with replays from Albon’s POV (which I hadn’t seen before), he does come late and from very far back, although sadly I couldn’t find a replay from Norris’s POV, so I find it hard to say whether or not he was alongside when Norris turned in. I agree with you that it’s definitely very close to the line, whether it’s just over or not.

  4. It’s starting to become an usual thing for Norris to qualify strong, start the race well and then something in the race happens to him that takes him outside the points.

    This season he’s had it all:
    – Suzuka: debris into his brake ducts while in P6 + got hit by Albon, finished outside the points
    – Belgium: engine died on last lap while being in P5
    – Hungary: wheelgun malfunction kept him 14 seconds in the pits, lost 3 positions.
    – France: overtook on the outside of the track and then forced off-line by RIC – from P7 to P10 in the last lap
    – Germany: technical DNF
    – Canada: technical DNF
    – Spain: got hit by Stroll, DNF
    – China: got hit and was sent airborne by Kviat, retired later on.

    Poor kid, he’s almost always on the receiving end of misfortune. Norris has lots of potential and great talent, but his bad luck drags him down, and I’d hate to see him not reach his full potential because of this.

    1. Wow, when it’s all laid out like that he does have some poor luck! I knew he had some bum races which were kinda out of his control but that is pretty unfortunate. I think this is good when teams commit to drivers early. This sort of form could have really become a demon for him and make him worry about being retained next season which could lead to erratic and ill-thought-out manoeuvres on track

    2. He’ll get there. Good racer, just needs a little run of reliability. He’ll know to close the door at that corner & others like it in future.

    3. Imagine how many points he’d have if not for that. Probably pushing 65 or so pushing 70, he wouldn’t be so far behind Sainz. Feel bad for him, it looks like Sainz is absolutely destroying him, but that isn’t true.

  5. I like both Norris and Albon, in fact I’d say the pair of them have become among my favourites. Though I don’t see Albon did much wrong here – there was a gap the Red Bull could use, presumably as it’s better at late braking than the McLaren so he tried to have a go and did it. I think Norris left a little too much room there. It was a bit harsh, yes – and could have ended badly for both of them but kinda glad on Albon for taking the chance.

  6. @rocketpanda I don’t mind Albon not getting a penalty, but I disagree with the ‘there was a gap’. When you create a gap by braking it open, it’s not a gap. I really dislike Senna’s popular quote ‘when you no longer go for a gap…” to justify busting your way through.

  7. This explains what actually happened. Brakes overheating and on radio to pit.
    Norris has played this season smart and avoided having a lot of rookie mistakes so far. That almost 5th at Spa was pretty solid. Maybe after McLaren sew up 4th in Constructors he can experiment with racing a little harder…

  8. Are those 2 in a relationship?

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