Chris Evans says Max Verstappen needs to 'be a bit nicer'
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Red Bull star Max Verstappen could not help but crack up laughing at Lando Norris’ self-deprecating McLaren joke after he finished seventh at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The Dutchman was in good spirits after notching the first win of his world title defence following a superb battle with Charles Leclerc.
Verstappen could only muster the fourth fastest lap on Saturday as the two Ferrari’s once again showed formidable pace around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. His Red Bull team-mate, Sergio Perez, had to find the lap of his life to pip both of them to pole position which took most by surprise.
The Mexican might have had more of a say on Sunday but for an unfortunate safety car incident which saw him tumble down the pecking order. As it happened, Verstappen and Leclerc eventually found themselves jousting for the lead to build on notions that they could contest the world title this year.
In a close-fought battle, all was settled in the final 10 laps and Verstappen found a way past the Ferrari man’s ‘smart tricks’ to take the chequered flag. It was the first win and the first points of his title defence after being forced to retire in Bahrain.
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McLaren and Norris also had a Bahrain weekend to forget as he and Daniel Ricciardo wound up 15th and 14th respectively. Although the latter had to retire in Jeddah, Norris surprised a few by executing a quick turnaround and putting points on the board by finishing in P7.
“After last week you would say [finishing P7] is a surprise,” the youngster told F1 Nation, “This week our pace has been much better but I’m happy with it. I feel bad that I have to be happy with a P7.
“The car is in exactly the same position as Bahrain, that’s the problem. If we went back there we’d still be out in Q1 and fighting for 16th and 17th like we were. This track suits our car a lot more but the car is exactly the same.
“We’re a very, very long way off at the minute. I’m celebrating a P7 more than Max is celebrating a P1 at the moment.” Verstappen was then passing through and began to engage with the interview: “You finished P7?” he asked Norris, “That’s actually a good result.”
Norris jokingly responded: “It’s like a win for me, right?” before the pair cracked up laughing and Verstappen sympathetically apologised.
As the teams packed up on Sunday they faced a useful two-week period in which crucial changes could be made before the action resumes in Melbourne on April 10. Mercedes will be keener than most to get cracking amid more frustration from Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
The former stuttered to 10th in Saudi Arabia having struggled to work his way through the pack after a dismal qualifying performance. The latter fared much better and came home fifth, but refuses to budge on his stance that the Silver Arrows are a long way off their key competitors.
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