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Norris slates FIA stewards over "bad decision" and "unfair penalty"

Norris slates FIA stewards over "bad decision" and "unfair penalty"

F1 News

Norris slates FIA stewards over "bad decision" and "unfair penalty"

Norris slates FIA stewards over "bad decision" and "unfair penalty"

McLaren driver Lando Norris has hit back at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix stewards by describing his punishment for a red-flag infraction as "a bad decision or just an unfair penalty".

Norris qualified sixth but will start ninth after being handed a three-place penalty for what the stewards deemed was a failure to observe red-flag regulations.

The stewards, however, were lenient as the correct sanction for Norris' infraction of not entering the pitlane immediately when the red flags were shown should have been a five-place grid drop. He was also handed three points on his licence.

"It’s not my place to really comment because it’s the rule but for certain situations, they [the stewards] should think what it is like to be in the driver’s seat for a second and what they have to react to, the speed they are doing and the time you have to react to things and so on," said Norris.

“A reprimand or something is the right thing but to have a bit more understanding in some areas and be able to have a bit of a rethink on what is actually really fair for the driver or the team that went wrong.

“I didn’t put anyone in harm's way. If anything, I took the safer option out of not boxing and that makes it even worse. I don’t deserve three points on my licence for this.

“I didn’t do anything dangerous. I didn’t do anything because I didn’t know and I was clueless or anything, it was nothing to do with that.

“I know what the rules are so it’s not like I’ve got a lack of understanding or anything like that.

“But in some situations they should rethink what is going on, has a driver done something wrong and so on. Not so much in this situation but can you put the team to blame and things like that and it shouldn’t ruin my race for having to make this kind of decision.

“It shouldn’t ruin my Sunday for such a thing. As I said, it is, in my opinion, a bad decision or just an unfair penalty, an unfair ruling but it is the way it is. I can’t do anything about it.”

Norris "gutted"

Of his decision not to enter the pit lane, Norris explained he made the safest decision as in the time available he had no way of confirming it was safe to enter the pits at such speed.

“Obviously, I’m a bit gutted," added Norris. "In my opinion, I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong.

“It’s a tough one because going at the speeds we do, you have to make such a quick decision on what is the best thing and the safest thing to do and I feel like what I did was exactly the safest thing to do.

“For all I know, the pit lane could have been blocked and you’re not allowed to enter the pit lane and then it could have been a different story – ‘Why did you enter the pit lane? You shouldn’t have done that.’ So it was a tough one.

“I didn’t have time to talk to my engineer and say ‘Should I box, should I not?’ So I did everything I thought I should have done but it sucks because I guess, in the end, there is a rule.

"But you also hope sometimes there is some more leniency to certain situations when the driver has still done the best thing that is possible to do in that situation.

“I’m a bit gutted because it’s three places back and it’s going to make our life a lot more difficult tomorrow. I don’t feel like it’s a fair decision but it is what it is.”

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