A fierce battle between Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen and McLaren’s Lando Norris resulted in tears as a clash ruined both drivers’ races. But Christian Horner saw this coming.

“I think it’s inevitable, how close they’ve been racing the last few weeks,” Red Bull’s Horner told PlanetF1.com and other F1 media outlets after the Austrian Grand Prix collision. “You could see this building for perhaps a couple of races.”

Verstappen v Norris clash was ‘inevitable’

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Speaking about the coming together of Verstappen and Norris, Horner felt that a clash would inevitably happen this season.

“I think Max is a hard racer, and they know that,” he said. “I think Lando was trying to make up for yesterday.

“You could see this building for perhaps a couple of races.

“At some point, there was going to be something close between the two of them.”

That’s not to say Horner found any fault with either racer, however. Upon looking at the replay, he concluded, “it looks like six of one, half a dozen of the other, with both racing hard.”

A slow final pit stop and a lock-up left Verstappen defending against Norris’ McLaren as the final 15 laps of the race wound down. Norris made several fruitless attempts to pass Verstappen before the close action left the two drivers making contact.

“It’s a shame,” Horner concluded. “Lando was already on four strikes, I think he was probably going to get a five-second penalty anyway.

“It was a racing incident.

“I thought it was a bit harsh that Max got a 10-second penalty, but thankfully that didn’t affect his [outcome]; his race had already been damaged by a puncture that he picked up.”

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Friendship under pressure — but not the Championship

Reflecting on the weekend, Christian Horner appeared to look on the bright side, saying that “despite not getting a win, it’s not been totally disastrous.”

“On a day where neither of [Verstappen’s] main opponents scored, we took home 10 points in the drivers’ [championship], 16 in the constructors’,” Horner said.

“I think McLaren only gained two points on us.”

That leaves both Red Bull Racing and Verstappen comfortably leading their respective Formula 1 championships.

But where does the clash leave Max Verstappen and Lando Norris’ friendship? Horner is confident they’ll make amends.

“Maybe they won’t play padel tomorrow,” he joked, “but I’m sure they’ll talk about [it]. “They’re two hard racers, they’ll talk about things openly, I’ve got no doubt about that.”

Horner also believes that the two men will retain respect for each other.

“Relationships between drivers vary up and down the grid,” he said. “I think ultimately there’s a respect, that’s the most important thing.

“Inevitably friendships are put under pressure when you’re competing hard.”

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