The McLaren driver lost some time during the Virtual Safety Car period at Suzuka due to the Sergio Perez incident. Lando Norris “shouted and swore” after an incident with Sergio Perez under the virtual safety car at the Japanese GP. After Perez hit Kevin Magnussen with a hairpin, VSC was called in to clear the debris.
Norris ran into second place, about five seconds behind race leader Max Verstappen. However, Norris encountered a slow Perez going around the Dunlop corner and asked race engineer Will Jospeh if passing the Red Bull would be possible.
Article 56.6d of the Laws of the Sport allows a driver to overtake another in VSC conditions, unless there is an obvious problem. Perez showed no outward signs of distress as Norris followed the RB19 through Degner and the hairpin until the VSC stopped when the two spoons snapped – but Perez moved on at that point after two near-collisions.
Norris finished second, some 19 seconds behind Verstappen, when Perez pitted, but the McLaren driver said he did not know what had happened as the team tried to work out whether he could pass Perez and not earn a penalty.
About the Norris Perez case “I have no idea. I don’t know what… [I thought] he must have had some kind of problem, right?”But the thing is, you can’t go under the VSC unless it’s obvious that the guy has a problem, and I don’t know what happened, I didn’t know if he had a problem, if he was just supporting me . . . “I didn’t know and I couldn’t risk passing him. He was going so slow and then when we got to the end of the flashing VSC line he went into first gear and then I was out.
He was going so slow and then he almost met me.” So I have no idea, I screamed in my helmet. I was swearing quite a bit, but I was so confused that I didn’t know what to do. “I wasted time on Max. I think the Ferrari guys were 1.4 seconds behind me, I think I was 12 or 13 seconds, so I lost 10 seconds.
I didn’t know what I could do at that time. If he has a problem, he should step back and explain that he has a problem. “He didn’t and so I couldn’t risk going under the VSC so I have no idea – I don’t think it would have changed the world, it just made me a little more stressed.
It would have been maybe a little better to push Max. I don’t think we would have gone far. “So yeah, frustrating time, maybe next time I’ll ask what you have to do, but I think I did the right thing, so it’s all good. “