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‘I’m not there to crash you out’ – Verstappen shares details of post-Austria chat with Norris after ‘silly’ coming together

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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 22: Pole position qualifier Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren and

Max Verstappen has opened up on what was covered in his conversation with Lando Norris following a dramatic conclusion to last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix that saw the Red Bull and McLaren drivers collide.

Verstappen and Norris were fighting for the lead at the Red Bull Ring when they banged wheels in the closing laps, giving both drivers punctures and forcing the latter out of the race due to additional damage.

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After offering their immediate post-race thoughts to the media, the pair had a chat the following day when things “cooled down”, with Verstappen – who wound up fifth with a 10-second penalty – now sharing more details on what they discussed.

“To me, the only thing that I cared about is of course maintaining my relationship with Lando, because we are great friends,” Verstappen said, in the wake of Norris’s own comments at Silverstone.

“After the race I said we have to just let things cool down, because emotions run high. We immediately spoke on Monday and I think we came to the conclusion that we actually really enjoyed our battle.

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“We were both of course… We looked at the incident and it was such a silly, little touch that had of course great consequences for both of us, and naturally a bit more for Lando with how the puncture then evolved.

“But we like to race hard. We’ve done this for many years, not only in F1, even in online racing when we have a lot of fun together. These things have to carry on, because that’s what we like to do, and I think it’s great for F1 as well.”

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Pushed on how much he discussed with Norris, and how they both now look back on the clash, Verstappen continued: “We agree with 99% of everything, so I think that’s a lot already.

“Naturally, I always said to Lando, when you go for moves up the inside, outside, you can trust me that I’m not there to try and crash you out of the way, same the other way around, because we spoke about that as well.

“There’s always a human reaction when someone dives up the inside or outside that you have a bit of a reaction to it, but I felt everything that I did was nothing massively over the top.

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“Like how you design a car, you try to go to the edge of the rules, maybe you find some grey areas here and there as a car, and that’s the same how you race, otherwise you will never be a top driver and you will never succeed in life anyway.”

Verstappen was then asked if it is possible to stay friends with another driver when fighting for the ultimate prizes, to which he replied: “It depends a bit on your personalities.

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“I know Lando… He’s a great guy, he’s a really nice person who loves F1,” the Dutchman added. “Of course he loves racing, he’s very passionate about it.

“You also have to realise he’s fighting for his second potential win, I’m fighting for my 62nd. I think naturally your emotions are a little bit different. I know that from myself, when I was fighting for these first wins in F1, but that’s fine.”

As for the prospect of another battle with Norris at Silverstone this weekend, Verstappen signed off: “I still expect it to be very close. Last year here [McLaren] were flying, so they will be quick again.”

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