April 23, 2024

In 2023, Lando Norris had numerous on-track confrontations with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Lando Norris had previously disputed that his connection with Max Verstappen had influenced him to drive the defending world champion more lightly than Lewis Hamilton did last season. With his defense at the United States Grand Prix in Texas, the McLaren driver was accused of letting the Red Bull driver an easy pass.
When Verstappen sailed past him to grab the race lead, the 24-year-old put up little resistance, but when Hamilton tried to follow the Dutchman through in the closing stages, Norris shoved him hard to the inside in an attempt to keep the position.

 

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Regardless, Hamilton used his knowledge to pass Norris, jolting to a wide outside line before switching back on the McLaren driver, who was battling to match the pace of the two frontrunners on his older tyres.

 

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Unfortunately for Hamilton, his efforts were in vain on this occasion, as the No.44 vehicle was disqualified after the race following a random inspection of his W14’s plank. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc met the same fate. These decisions elevated Norris to second place in the standings, while Verstappen secured victory.
Norris explained his decision to Motorsport.com: “I know it’s a race at the end of the day, but the likelihood of losing a position to Max in Austin, and how I raced Lewis versus how I raced Max, in the end, I kind of knew I was going to lose positions to both of them.”

Concerning the significance of friendship, Norris stated, “Would I have loved to have been more forceful and put up a better defense?” Absolutely. Like, why wouldn’t I? I enjoy racing and want to pursue it. I never want to give up a position to anyone! “Certainly not Max!”Outsiders are too ready to criticize why I would not [race Verstappen aggressively]. ‘Ah, it’s because he’s buddies with Max,’ they say, and all that. Which has absolutely nothing to do with it. If anything, being friends with someone makes me want to bash them up more than not.”

Verstappen and Hamilton will almost certainly be racing against Norris more frequently in 2024. Despite starting the season with the slowest car, the 24-year-old rebounded to sixth in the Drivers’ Championship standings, scoring seven podium places in the final 13 events.

 

 

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