Lando Norris wanted to turn the air blue following his accident with Lewis Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix – but stressed his compatriot did not do anything wrong.
Norris started third after a fine performance in qualifying, but his race was over inside two corners when he drove into the back of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Norris was forced to pit for a new front wing, relegating him to the back of the field. The 23-year-old Briton eventually took the chequered flag in 17th place. Hamilton continued without damage, finishing runner-up to Max Verstappen.
Hamilton and Norris make contact on the opening lap! 😱 pic.twitter.com/NuReDDVWuo
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) June 4, 2023
Asked what went through his mind following his first-lap prang, Norris said: “F***. Max [Verstappen] went off the track and a bit wide, so he had to bounce over the kerb at Turn 2. Everybody checked up and I was too close to Lewis to react and brake so it was just unlucky in my opinion, and a racing incident.
“Lewis didn’t do anything wrong. I touched his wheel, nothing happened to him, maybe it made him quicker today.”
Following a brief resurgence, McLaren are on something of a downward spiral. Norris has scored only a dozen points from the opening seven rounds, leaving him 11th in the standings.
And the highly-rated Briton, who is under contract with McLaren until the end of 2025, painted a gloomy picture for the remainder of the campaign.
“The pace was as expected as it was today which was bad,” he said. “I don’t think we expected anything else.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) June 4, 2023
“We were slow and we have been all year. Yesterday was a special day. Some of the good teams struggled and some of the worst teams did a better job. People made mistakes and we capitalised on that.
“But we are clearly nowhere near as quick as the top-five teams so there is no point thinking about finishing in the points because we are not quick enough.
“There are no new parts on the car. We had a upgrade in Baku and that was about it. It maybe brought us half-a-tenth to a tenth.
“A lot of teams have brought upgrades to the last few races and we haven’t. We are not expecting anything more than we are doing and if we get in the points it is an amazing day but the expectation is that we won’t.”