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Verstappen and Norris Renew Rivalry at British GP

Verstappen and Norris Renew Rivalry at British GPillustration

Max Verstappen and Lando Norris will face off again at this week's British Grand Prix, with Norris benefiting from the support of his home fans.

The upcoming race follows their incident at last weekend's Austrian GP, the home race for Verstappen's Red Bull team. The crash impacted both drivers' chances of and dashed Norris' hopes for a second win following the Miami GP.

Norris retired his McLaren, feeling aggrieved by Verstappen's move under braking. After discussions, the two drivers have resolved their issues.

“I don't think he should apologize. I thought it was good racing, at times very close to the edge, but we've spoken about it and we're both happy to go racing again,” Norris said. “Some of the things I said in the (TV) pen after the race were more just because I was frustrated at the time. A lot of adrenaline, a lot of emotions.”

Verstappen emphasized the importance of their friendship.

“He's a great guy. Of course he loves racing, he's very passionate,” Verstappen said. “You also have to realize he's fighting for his second win, I'm fighting for my 62nd. Naturally, your emotions are a little bit different.”

Verstappen boasts 106 podium finishes compared to Norris' 19, and leads in pole positions 40-2.

Verstappen suggested that Norris may have been overly cautious.

“I always said to Lando, when you go for moves up the inside, outside, you can trust me that I'm not there to try and crash you out,” Verstappen said. “I felt everything that I did was nothing massively over the top.”

Another incident at Silverstone could bring back memories of the 2021 British GP, where Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided heavily on Lap 1. Verstappen went to the hospital, and Hamilton won the race, sparking a feud that lasted until the controversial lap of the season in Abu Dhabi, where Verstappen won his first world title.

Observers have compared Silverstone 2021 to Austria 2024, with Verstappen facing criticism that his former teammate Daniel Ricciardo considers unfair.

“People are probably hammering Max a bit,” said Ricciardo, who races for Red Bull. He defended Verstappen as a tough competitor, recalling their time racing together from 2016-18, including a collision at the Azerbaijan GP.

Ricciardo downplayed the late incident at the Red Bull Ring, where Verstappen finished fifth and extended his championship lead over Norris to 81 points.

“It was hard, but you're also fighting for a win. So you're not going to just wave someone by,” Ricciardo said. “The outcome was bigger than what was actually happening on the track. Was it pushing the edge? Probably. But was it anything dangerous or reckless? From what I've seen, no.”

Mercedes driver George Russell, who won in Austria after the crash, echoed similar sentiments.

“Max is one of the best and he's a hard racer,” Russell said. “He'll push the rules to the limit, as all the top drivers do.”

British Hopes

Home fans might have something to cheer for with three British drivers — Norris, Russell, and Hamilton — potentially in contention.

This season has seen five different race winners in 11 races, compared to just three in 22 last year, with Verstappen winning 19.

Verstappen has seven wins this year, while Ferrari's Carlos Jr. and Charles Leclerc have one win each.

Although Hamilton holds the record with eight wins at Silverstone, he hasn't won a race since the penultimate round of the 2021 season.

Despite a few podium finishes, including third place at the Spanish GP last month, Hamilton is seeking a record-extending 104th F1 win as he prepares to leave Mercedes for Ferrari next season.

Fading Results

Sergio Perez's new contract with Red Bull through 2026 has coincided with a dip in form. In three races since signing the deal, Perez has failed to finish one and has not placed higher than seventh in the other two.

Earlier this season, there was speculation about Perez being replaced next year, and these rumors could resurface if his performance doesn't improve, despite the new contract.

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