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Norris jokes of Verstappen-style ‘brake test’ in Abu Dhabi

Norris jokes of Verstappen-style ‘brake test’ in Abu Dhabi

Norris jokes of Verstappen-style ‘brake test’ in Abu Dhabi

Norris jokes of Verstappen-style ‘brake test’ in Abu Dhabi

Lando Norris has joked he could brake test rival Charles Leclerc in Abu Dhabi if it helps him to secure fifth place in the championship as "it's only a 10-second penalty".

Max Verstappen was handed the time penalty after data seen by the stewards confirmed he had brake tested title rival Lewis Hamilton when trying to hand back the position in Saudi Arabia.

Trailing Leclerc by four points in the drivers' standings, and battling over fifth heading into the final race of the year, Norris was asked how he could overturn the difference.

“Erm, try brake testing him? It’s only a 10-second penalty!" joked the McLaren driver, sitting alongside Leclerc in the Thursday press briefing.

Norris added: “I don’t know, we were pretty good here last year, it was one of our better weekends, we were only two tenths off of pole [but] it doesn’t mean we are going to be even better than that this year.

“The track has changed quite a bit and also the cars, but this track has tended to be reasonably good for us so hopefully this weekend can be the same.”

Leclerc gained the advantage with a fifth-place finish in Saudi Arabia but he quickly responded to suggestions that his recent form and his points advantage mean the position has been secured.

He said: “No! It’s only four points. Everything will be down to this race, so hopefully, we will be competitive. The last three races have been good to us, we were a bit unlucky last weekend although the pace was very, very strong.”

Norris eager to try out track changes

The Abu Dhabi circuit has been altered for this season, with efforts made to increase the opportunities for overtaking, and Norris is confident that what he has seen so far should make things more “exciting.”

He said: “I walked the track this morning, I’ve also been on the simulator a fair amount as well, so I am looking forward to it. It’s something different, something exciting.

“It’s slightly higher speed than it has been in the last couple of years, so hopefully [there will be] some better racing, easier chances to follow and get past and so on, so [it should be] exciting.”

Leclerc has not yet had a look around but said it was “fun” when he tried out in the simulator and said: “It’s obviously quite different, especially the turn five and the other corner change.

“The last sector is quite a bit quicker with different types of corners that are easier to follow. Whether that will make us a bit more competitive or not, I have no idea.”

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