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Lando Norris highlights Max Verstappen ‘aggression’ as drivers agree on need for ‘clarity’

Max Verstappen was embroiled in an tense battle for the lead with Charles Leclerc in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, before the world champion was forced to retire

Max Verstappen had a podium and 18 points cruelly snatched away by a mechanical fault
Max Verstappen had a podium and 18 points cruelly snatched away by a mechanical fault

The topic of Max Verstappen’s aggression has again risen to the surface in F1 following Sunday’s eventful Bahrain Grand Prix.

The world champion became the youngest ever debutant in the sport with Toro Rosso in 2015 when aged just 17, and immediately caught the eye with his daring style. Indeed, his willingness to race wheel to wheel was the cause of frequent debate during his maiden title winning season in 2021.

No less so than in Saudi Arabia, where the Dutchman frequently diced with danger as he tried to overhaul Lewis Hamilton, and after getting in front was eventually ordered to relinquish the race lead. Even then, he damaged Hamilton’s wing mirror by refusing to allow him adequate room to pass.

And in the opening Grand Prix to the 2022 campaign, there was no shortage of drama as the Red Bull man tried to hunt down Ferrari driver Leclerc. In a thrilling duel, the pair swapped places five times in two laps before Leclerc moved ahead.

The Monegasque driver seemed to have averted the danger though in the closing stages, with Verstappen poised to take second, before disaster struck. The 24-year-old lost battery power and was forced to retire, shortly before teammate Sergio Perez also span out.

It meant a famous one-two for the Scuderia, with Carlos Sainz following Leclerc to the line, whilst Lewis Hamilton was third. But the topic of Verstappen’s driving style was on the table in Bahrain before the race even began, thanks to McLaren man Norris.

Lando Norris has spoken out on Verstappen’s driving style


Federico Basile/IPA /

“It’s a different battle because of how Max races,” he told the BBC, before claiming the issue needed clarity. “It’s a different breed of drivers. You saw how he drove and changed when it came down to those final races [last season], with aggression.”

“It’s maybe something you don’t experience so much in the midfield because you’re not going for a World Championship, or some of the drivers don’t have that mentality of risking everything.”

Norris’ own hopes of launching a title challenge in 2022 took an early blow as McLaren desperately struggled for pace in Bahrain, finishing down in 15th. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo was 14th.

And he was asked by the reporters whether his own style would change if he found himself in contention for the title. “It’s difficult,” he responded.

“You would try and play smart as much as you can. There are things you would definitely try and outsmart your team-mate on.

“But I’m also a fair racer and, I don’t know, maybe don’t push the limits quite as much in certain areas.” The next Grand Prix takes place this Sunday at the scene of Verstappen’s controversial 2021 drive, Saudi Arabia.

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