Lando Norris has said he was aiming to let Sergio Perez pass him before the two clashed in the later stages of the Abu Dhabi GP.
The pair made contact as the Red Bull attempted to go up the inside of Norris with Perez pushing for a podium spot, with the incident forcing the McLaren off the track and earning the Mexican a five-second time penalty.
While Norris eventually came over the line in fifth, the clash would prove more costly for Perez, who was demoted from second at the chequered flag to fourth because of the incident.
And despite both drivers blaming each other for the incident, Norris was clear were he felt the blame lay.
“He was ahead, I was trying to let him pass!” Norris said.
“I was on the right I tried to let him pass, I was like four car lengths away from the apex, and somehow he still crashed into me. So, impressive.
“I don’t know, I literally tried to let him past, and somehow he crashed into me.”
And Norris had a cheeky response when told that the incident proved fateful in the outcome of the tight battle for second place in the constructors’ championship, with Perez’s demotion helping Mercedes pip Ferrari at the end.
“Really? So Mercedes beat Ferrari? Well that’s good. I planned for all of it. I expected it,” Norris joked.
Struggle for pace
Despite encouraging early signs during the practice session, a snap of oversteer on his final flying lap meant Norris was unable to challenge for the front row of the grid, and in the race he couldn’t make up the time on pace alone.
“I think the places we were struggling were clear which was the very slow speed corners, so Turn 5, 6 and 7, Turn12, 13 and 14. The places we know we are not strong enough, which are the slow speed corners,” Norris said.
“To be honest we were expecting a little more, just with the cooler temperatures and things like that, we were expecting our race pace to be a bit stronger that we had today, we were definitely missing something.
“But because of the lack of pace I had to push very hard to keep up with the Mercedes and Ferrari, and when I did I destroyed the tyres, so I was in a tough battle to win, but I did what I could and tried as hard as I could, but it wasn’t enough.
“But we finished ahead of Aston Martin, which was our main target.”