You can trust me – Max Verstappen calm over Lando Norris collision

Max Verstappen has told Lando Norris “you can trust me” and vowed to protect his friendship with his British rival.

Verstappen and Norris collided on lap 64 of 71 at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix. Norris was forced to retire after he sustained damage from the accident while Verstappen – despite being hit with a 10-second penalty by the stewards – finished fifth to extend his title lead to 81 points ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.

Norris, 24, called Verstappen, two years his senior, “reckless, stupid and desperate” but, at Silverstone on Thursday, he withdrew his demand for an apology from the Dutch driver.

McLaren's Lando Norris arrives in the pits with a damaged right rear tyre during the Austrian Grand Prix
Lando Norris’ race was ended by damage to his right rear tyre after a collision with Max Verstappen at the Austrian Grand Prix (Christian Bruna/Pool/AP)

“I didn’t agree with the 10-second penalty,” said Verstappen, who held clear-the-air talks with Norris on Monday. “The only thing that was very important coming out of that weekend was my relationship with Lando.

“We agreed with 99 per cent of everything so that’s I think a lot already. I always say to Lando when you go for moves up the inside, the outside, you can trust me, I’m not there to try and crash you out of the way.

“And that’s the same the other way around, because we spoke about that, too. There’s always a human reaction, but I didn’t feel as though anything I did was massively over the top.”

The flashpoint put Verstappen’s driving back in the spotlight following a number of run-ins with Lewis Hamilton when they duelled for the world title in 2021.

But when asked about the criticism, he replied: “I don’t give a s*** about that. I go home and live my life. Like I said, the only thing that I cared about is just my relationship to Lando.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, right, leads from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen into the Fairmont Hairpin during the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix
Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have often done battle (David Davies/PA)

“Lando’s a great guy. He’s a really nice person who loves Formula One. Of course he loves racing and he’s just very passionate about it.

“He’s fighting for a second potential win, I’m fighting for my 62nd win. Naturally your emotions are a little bit different.

“I know that from myself when I fought for those first wins in F1. But that’s fine. That’s why I also said let it cool off a bit and we’ll talk tomorrow.”