McLaren team principal Andrea Stella believes Max Verstappen had “no need to act so desperately”, echoing Lando Norris’ views on their late-race collision in Austria.

Verstappen and Norris diced for the lead in the closing stages at the Red Bull Ring, with the two making contact at Turn 3 and both getting punctures as a result – allowing Mercedes’ George Russell to sweep through for an unexpected victory on Sunday.

Andrea Stella on Max Verstappen’s ‘divebomb’ claims after Lando Norris contact

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

Norris gave a frustrated assessment of the contact after the race, though he said of Verstappen that “he ruined his race just as much as he ruined mine.”

Stella aired his annoyance, too, and said that Verstappen should expect to be patient in future if he is passed, because it is likely he will get the chance to re-overtake his rivals.

“We talked with Lando, I saw his comments,” Stella told media including after the race.

“I think he said the right things in saying ‘it’s a great battle, but there’s no need to act so desperately’.

“There’s no need to think that the world is going to finish if the overtaking manoeuvre by the car behind me is going to be completed. Max, you will have your own opportunity, it’s not going to finish the world now if he makes it, deserving to make it.

“That’s the kind of message, for us, we would like to hope that that’s the case in the future.”

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Verstappen had said Norris had been making late “divebombs” on him as he challenged for the lead in Austria, but the McLaren team boss explained that, if such a term did apply, he would not have been able to hold position in the way he did.

“I think Lando going for the inside, he goes in a gap that exists and if it’s not in a condition to make it, it will go long,” Stella responded when presented with Verstappen’s comments.

“If he’s really diving like a bomb, he’s not going to be able to hold the racing line. If he doesn’t have all the racing line, the car that is on the outside is going to have the inside, and he’s going to accelerate much faster, and he’s going to hold the position. So in itself, the car that is ahead and stays on the outside, he has the operating space to take advantage of the fact that allegedly, the car is bombing.

“If the car that is going on the inside is able to hold the racing line, then that’s not a bomb drop – that’s the car that explores the limit in a way that allows him to stay on the racing line.

“Crossing the lines, I think, is one of the most frequent manoeuvres in case of overtaking, we have to say that the layout of Corner 3 sort of induces drivers to attempt these kinds of manoeuvres.”

Verstappen was able to keep going after pitting with his puncture, while Norris retired from the race, with Stella confirming the cause of the issue.

“We assessed that the car was not in condition to continue because the bodywork was completely destroyed, unfortunately, not only the floor,” he said.

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