Jul.5 (GMM) As Max Verstappen and Lando Norris publicly reconciled their friendship ahead of the British GP, fellow Formula 1 drivers played down the duo’s crash in Austria less than a week ago.

Within hours of the media getting heated about triple world champion Verstappen’s racing style, McLaren’s Norris was actually getting in touch with his friend to take the heat out of their spat.

“After the race, I said there was no point discussing the incident at that point,” Verstappen said at Silverstone on Thursday. “The emotions were running high and all that.

“The next day I woke up quite early because I wanted to talk to Lando, but he had already sent me a message. I really respect that approach,” he added, after Norris immediately suggested that their friendship might now be over.

As for the media’s criticism, as well as a verbal attack by Norris’ boss Andrea Stella, Verstappen responded: “I don’t give a sh*t about the criticism.

“I go home, live my life, and – as I said – the only thing I cared about is my relationship with Lando,” he added. “That was the only thing that was really important to me about that weekend.”

Norris, 24, also said his friendship with Verstappen is now “business as usual” again, and he even backed away from his earlier claim that the Dutchman should apologise for how aggressively he defended his race lead in Austria.

“I don’t think he needed to apologise,” said the Briton. “I think some of the things I said in the pen after the race were more just because I was frustrated at the time. A lot of adrenaline, a lot of just emotions.

“I probably said some things I didn’t necessarily believe in,” added Norris.

Other current Formula 1 drivers also defended Verstappen.

“I don’t understand all the fuss,” said Daniel Ricciardo. “I mean – what do they expect from Max?

“If you’re fighting for victory, you can’t seriously believe that a guy like Max will politely wave his opponent past. Was it even dangerous? Reckless? Neither!

“It was a slight touch at low speed,” said Verstappen’s former Red Bull teammate. “I think Max versus Lewis Hamilton here in Copse in 2021 was a completely different story.”

Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg agreed: “For me, it was just racing. I mean, the cars could hardly have touched each other any less than they did. Normally, something like that ends pretty well.

“I thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion,” said the German.

F1 veteran Fernando Alonso even aimed fire at the FIA’s strict stewarding, arguing that over-policing incidents is “removing the incentive to try a move”.

“It will be a long driver briefing,” the Spaniard predicted, “but we have to sit down together and see how we can do better in the future.

“But it’s become too much,” he said of the way drivers are penalised for small incidents. “Formula 1 always manages to make things more complicated.”