Norris bruised but ready to race after Spa crash

21-year-old slammed into the barriers during the final pole-position shootout phase and taken to the medical centre


REUTERS August 29, 2021

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS:

Briton Lando Norris said he was bruised but ready to race after walking away from a heavy crash at rain-soacked Spa-Francorchamps in qualifying for the Beglian Formula One Grand Prix on Saturday. 

The 21-year-old, whose McLaren snapped out of control through the uphill sweep of the fast Eau Rouge corner, slammed into the barriers during the final pole-position shootout phase, with the crash prompting a 42-minute stoppage.

He was taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks before being given the all-clear.

“I’ve been better but I’m good,” said Norris, who posted a picture on social media with his left arm in a sling giving a thumbs-up sign.

“A bit bruised... it’s quite a big impact and my body’s just been thrown around a little bit. I’m ready to race for tomorrow.”

Norris, who had led the first two phases of qualifying and felt he had a shot at pole position, was the first driver to attempt a flying lap during the pole position shootout, which got under way just as the rain came down harder.

Sebastian Vettel had called for the session to be halted.

Norris, who was classified 10th but could be hit with penalties or even start from the pitlane because of the extent of repairs required to his McLaren, also complained about the conditions.

“It was just a difficult situation to be in,” said Norris.

“I think it’s a combination of pushing a bit too much for the weather at that point (and) aquaplaning a little bit in the middle of Eau Rouge...”

More scrutiny

The incident intensified scrutiny surrounding the Raidillon-Eau Rouge sequence of corners after six drivers from the all-female W Series escaped injury in a pile up there on Friday.

Frenchman Anthoine Hubert lost his life in an F2 crash at the same corner two years ago, while Williams F1 reserve Jack Aitken suffered a broken collarbone after crashing there in the Spa 24 Hours race in July.

“Of course we love keeping things the same, we love the historic part of Spa,” said Norris.

“But in terms of a safety point there’s been so many crashes lately and over the past few years which have led to many bad things happening which we obviously don’t want.”

Safety improvements to the corner are planned with the drivers shown illustrations on Friday.

“Racing is never going to be fully safe,” said Red Bull pole-sitter Max Verstappen.

“But of course there are a few things around that corner which can be helped and they are doing that, so I think it’s going to be a lot better.”

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