British teenager Lando Norris laid the blame for his crash with Lance Stroll firmly at the Canadian’s door.
The 19-year-old McLaren driver collided with the Racing Point on lap 45 of Sunday’s 66-lap Spanish Grand Prix, sending Stroll into a gravel trap at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya.
Norris was forced to stop on track with damage to his car, and although the rookie apologised to his team over the radio, he later clarified he did not feel responsible for the accident.
“I was saying sorry to my guys, definitely not to him,” said Norris.
“It was his fault. He left me space for turn one, so he knew I was there. I don’t know if he thought I had disappeared but he just cut across the front of my car at the next turn and took us both out of the race.
“I let the team down because I didn’t finish. Sometimes I am too apologetic but I feel bad because everyone puts so much into the car and by not putting myself in a better position because of earlier mistakes, I ended up not being in the points and out of the race, so that is why I said sorry.”
Norris and Stroll, whose career has been bankrolled by his fashion billionaire father Lawrence, now the owner of his son’s team, were both hauled in front of the stewards.
But no further action was taken after the stewards determined neither driver was “wholly or predominantly to blame” in their battle for 14th.
On Saturday, Max Verstappen launched a foul-mouthed tirade against Stroll, labelling him a “d***” for what he deemed as poor driving from the 20-year-old in practice.
Asked if there was a growing feeling among the drivers that Stroll is becoming a liability, Norris replied: “I haven’t raced him for long enough.
“This was my first time on track against him, so I don’t want to comment on that. He didn’t leave me enough room. I will wait to hear what he says.”
Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer felt Norris’ move on Stroll was “over-optimistic” and that his driver “was taken out of the race”.
Defending himself, Stroll said: “I braked on the inside while he was on the outside and then I had to turn in to make the left-hand corner.
“Unfortunately, there is not enough space for two cars and there was not much I could do. I felt contact on my rear and I was sent into the gravel.
“It was a tough weekend for the team so we just need to put it behind us and focus on bouncing back in Monaco.”