Lando Norris, McLaren, Imola, 2020

Norris sent Hamilton message to apologise for post-race comments

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Lando Norris apologised directly to Lewis Hamilton in a message for his post-race comments following the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver said he also decided to issue a public apology in response to comments on his social media feed.

Speaking at the Autodromo do Algarve on Sunday, Norris said Hamilton’s record-breaking 92nd career win “doesn’t mean anything to me really”, that his rival is “in a car which should win every race” and only “has to beat one or two other drivers”. He later said his comments had been “stupid and careless”.

Norris also made other critical remarks about Lance Stroll at the same time, following their collision in the race. Speaking in response to a question from RaceFans, Norris said his apology addressed his comments about Hamilton.

“They were more the comments about Lewis and him reaching his 92 wins,” said Norris. “I have a lot of respect for [that] and I just didn’t choose that words to put it into context.”

As well as apologising publicly, Norris “also apologised to Lewis himself, I messaged him at the time.

“I don’t know if he knew about it at the time but I never mean to say something like that in a bad way or put any bad light on him at all. I respect everything he’s done to achieve what he’s done. It’s incredible no matter what.

“It’s just the way I put it was just not the way I wanted to put it across. I said what I said, I apologised and I’ve just got to move on.”

Norris denied he had been pressured by anyone to issue the apology. “It was all done off my own back,” he said. “No one pressured me, it wasn’t something that anyone even said, it wasn’t something that many people even noticed.

“I woke up in the morning and I looked on social media and there was a lot more bad comments than good about the things I said. I never mean any of it to be put in that way or taken out of context in a bad way, especially against Lewis.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“I saw how it was going down and I felt bad because it’s not the person I am to put shame on anyone or not have the respect for such a driver. So I made the decision in the morning to put out the tweet and just issue my apology and message Lewis also at the same time to set things straight.”

Before speaking to the media after the race in Portugal, Norris also apologised on his radio for swearing at Stroll following their collision.

“My first apology was more for the language I used more than anything,” he explained. “Not everything I said I apologised for but just the specific wording of what I said.”

Norris said he will try to take more care over his choice of words in future. “It’s not easy, everything can get taken out of context in some way,” he said. “Especially now in 2020 you have to be very careful with what you think.

“As much as I like voicing my own opinion, and that’s what I did in a lot of ways, I maybe just didn’t pick the right wording for everything I said. But I still have my opinions and some people are not going to like them, some people are, and that’s just the world we live in.

“At the same time there’s a lot of ways that no matter what you say, people can just take it into a bad context and publicise it in a way to make it look a lot worse than the way you meant it in the first place. It’s just how things are perceived nowadays can be taken both ways very easily and that’s just the world we live in in 2020.

“It’s not easy, you have to pick the right words, and that’s something I learned from last week. I probably will make a mistake at some point in the future and say the wrong thing again but I’ll try and do the right thing.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Browse all 2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

53 comments on “Norris sent Hamilton message to apologise for post-race comments”

  1. Apologising so profusely for expressing an honest opinion. I respect it, but come on lad, you really didn’t have to.

    I hope he doesn’t let himself get influenced too much by what internet comments say about him, that isn’t healthy, too many malicious trolls out for blood there.

    1. McLaren have a Mercedes engine incoming for 2021, can’t be too truthful.

      Norris forgot this for a second.

    2. Seems to me that he wanted to apologize, and his apologies are expressing his honest opinion about Lewis. The fact that he clearly didn’t take back what he thought about Stroll but only the way he formulated it means it all.

      1. He never wanted to say sorry he was made to because engine, and social media pressure but he ain’t half the driver Lewis is if ur a good driver the team’s will notice u jealousy doesn’t look good if he was driving a Mercedes there. Is Noway he’d be a regular championship winner like Lewis as his team mate is much better driver now so he ain’t nothing special or even near that Lewis worked hard to get where he is now Norris don’t even know if he’ll be driving in F1 in a couple of years

    3. LOL another jealous driver. HAM. Legend.

  2. Whether Lando was right or wrong is another topic, but what’s wrong with having your own opinion. Everything in this sport is becoming so sanitary and politically correct that even I who consider myself politically correct find this cringe-worthy as hell.

    1. I don’t get it either. Those comments were debatable, but by no means disrespectful towards Hamilton.

      1. They where incredibly disrespectful, what are you talking about?

        They gave the impression all of his 92 wins have been in a machine as good as this years. It completely disregards the very many qualifying sessions and races Hamilton has done when it wasn’t dominant, 2007 through to 2014, 2017 through to 2020 itself. They’ve all contributed to the 92 number.

        Worst of all is that Norris is having a hard time containing his teammate. As Lando said, all you’ve got to do is beat your teammate right? Well, get doing that instead of trying to belittle other people actually have done.

        1. No they didn’t. They gave the impression that he’s got the record 92 wins because he has a completely dominant car. If his car wasn’t as dominant, he’d have a lot of wins now but he wouldn’t have 92.

          1. Did you actually read any part of my post?

        2. A lot of people attribute Vettel’s 51 wins to starting from the front row of the grid, but only 34/51 were won that way.

          Hamilton at McLaren won 17 of his 21 wins from the front row of the grid.

          62 of his 69 hybrid era wins have been won from the front row of the grid.

          Hamilton has always had quick cars, and requires quick cars to win races, more so than a prime Vettel for instance.

          1. Your figures are incorrect again.
            Try Seb RB years for where his wins came from.
            To describe the 2009 Maclaren as anything other than a pig would be ridiculous. Certainly not race winning for 2/3 of the year and never race winning in his team mates hands.

            By the way how many have you won bimbo?

          2. What are the correct figures then?

            Kimi got a win in a worse car in 2009. Your point?

          3. LOL another jealous driver. HAM. Legend.

      2. I think they where disrespectful from a jealous little boy who just ain’t got it to be a legend as he’s been used to getting what he wants because he is privileged little boy he is very lucky he paid he’s way into McLaren if it was on talent he wouldn’t be there Perez is a much better driver than him and he’s team mate is much better driver so he wanted to disrespect Lewis. He will never get a fraction of success as Lewis I’d be so surprised if he even gets 1 championship in his time in f1

        1. Paid his way into McLaren? What the actual f are you talking about? Yeah his dad is rich, so are pretty much all of the other drivers bar a few. However McLaren are a massive team, and his dad doesn’t finance or even sponsor them. Stop being so offended when actually, Lando apologised for how his comment came across. Get over yourself.

    2. @jjlehto at least if you’re gonna brush off somebody else’s achievements make sure you’re also impressing against your teammate. He’s got Sainz who is not even a race winner and he is struggling. Lewis had 2 time champion in Alonso and we all know what happened there!

  3. Comment was bang on. Getting swayed to eat the truth is a whole different level of weak

    1. Maybe, just maybe, he made up his own mind? Sorry if that’s too much for you to consider. Sometimes reflection and apology is the stronger option.

      God I hate the way the world has become lately.

      1. @john-h So do I. Just a bunch of butt-kissing Hammy fans that cannot accept the fact that their racing deity has spent his entire career in literally the most opportune car AND spent the ENTIRETY of the latter part of his career in a car that is without question a car that 2/3 of the field could win a championship with.

        1. Jason, have you ever considered toning it down a bit? @jblank

          1. @john-h No, I call balls and strikes, I don’t tiptoe.

          2. I don’t know what that means @jblank, sorry.

        2. @jblank why are you so obsessed with Hamilton’s buttocks? Anyway speaking for myself I can assure you I am very happy with Hamilton’s equipment and the success it’s brought him. Believe me it’s not Hamilton’s fans who are moaning. All comments from you have been whiny to the extreme I think you’re the one who is bothered. But even as happy as I am I will from time to time roast these pretenders who think they can do better than Hamilton if they were his teammate in a Mercedes when they cant even deal with Sainz. Bottas would trounce him in the same car too, no doubt!

    2. Clearly he is desperate to disassociate himself from people like you. Can’t say I blame him.

      1. No he is desperate to get away from people like you. Rather give up on his truths.

  4. I believe him when he says he was not pressured by anybody. But he is a product of these current times that we have created. Obviously, this youngest generation is petrified of the possibility to be perceived as “politically incorrect” in any way way ever…

    1. It’s just called being polite and respectful. These are values we’ve had even before these decisive times. You patronise Norris as if he can’t think for himself.

    2. i agree with @john-h here, @gp-facts. While the comments about Lewis have some truth to them (yeah, no driver sets a record of winning without being in one of the leading cars more often than not), and i can understand that Norris did not feel much like commenting or even thinking about Lewis’ epic record of race wins right after the race – he clearly was still upset how the incident caused by Stroll messed up what could have been another very solid result for him – It perfectly fits what we have seen about who Norris is that he would see those comments in the morning in another light, just as viewers saw them coming and realised that is just rude and not showing the respect he feels for Hamilton.

      So he just did what a decent person does, and apologized both directly and to the wider world to correct that.

    3. Don’t get me wrong…I am all for courtesy and decency. But here I sense an implication that there was a reason (if not an obligation) for him to apologize…and I just don’t think that his comments were that severe. It was just something he said after the race, not at all scandalous, and it could have simply ended right there.

  5. He didn’t need to apologise quite so hard for having an opinion. He could have worded it better but nothing he said necessitated such a profound apology. Though if he feels better for the apologies, that’s all that matters.

    1. I disagree, i think he did need to apologise.

      Even if the comment was factually correct, that still doesn’t make it not disrespectful to say. Again, if its Hamiltons job to only beat his teammate, then that applies to Norris, if he and Sainz where in that Merc, he’d be finding out how tough it is to be in a strong car and have the constant pressure to perform, getting beat regularly by someone in the same equipment, pressure from his team, and pressure from the media. Hamiltons had to deal with the pressure to perform from Australia 2007 and has put in some incredible performances to get to 92. To brush it off the way Norris did was incredibly disrespectful.

      1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
        30th October 2020, 18:15

        Even if the comment was factually correct, that still doesn’t make it not disrespectful to say.

        So, stating facts is disrespectful now? Okay, then.

        To brush it off the way Norris did was incredibly disrespectful.

        Okay, let’s look at what Norris actually said. First of all, context matters: He made these comments in the heat of the moment after being asked directly by a reporter. Second, he was very clearly not talking about the years prior to the hybrid era. He was using the present tense, meaning he was referring the the situation in Formula 1 right now (and, possibly, in the very recent past). And the situation in Formula 1 right now is that Hamilton does, in fact, have the fastest car, and he does, in fact, only have to beat his teammate. How difficult is it, exactly, to beat Bottas? Impossible to be sure, since we don’t know how good Bottas really is compared to the other top drivers besides Hamilton.

        The current state of Formula 1 means that, unless you are driving for Mercedes or maybe Red Bull, you basically have no chance of winning, ever. (Yeah, yeah, I know – Pierre Gasly at Monza. Thing is, that was a freak result brought about by a long list of highly unusual circumstances.) I would imagine that this would probably be more than a little frustrating for the other 18 (or 16) drivers on the grid. And I would imagine that some of those frustrations probably seeped into Norris’ reply to the journalist’s question. Was that a-okay? No. But, given the context, it’s understandable. And it most definitely wasn’t “incredibly disrespectful” – unless one deliberately chooses to interpret his comment in bad faith.

        1. AllTheCoolNamesWereTaken
          30th October 2020, 18:26

          Should Norris have clarified what he did and didn’t mean? Possibly. But the way he is talking about this now, you would think he had used an actual slur, or run over Hamilton’s dog. It seems disproportionate. Worryingly so.

  6. Just as I thought. He was bullied by Hamilton fans on social media.

    1. I think Lando is strong enough to make his own decisions @balue, however I agree there are some worrying replies on Twitter saying that Norris was being somehow racist with his comments, which is obviously rubbish. I’d like to give him the benefit of doubt.

      It disappointed me greatly as a Hamilton fan to see these false accusations being thrown around on social media. Just because we criticise people, doesn’t mean we give one iota what the colour of their skin is.

    2. @balue I like Lando but he lost a bit of respect with this. If you’re gonna say something, SAY IT and stand by it. Everyone that isn’t a Hammy Butt Boy knows that what Lando said is 110% true, so he should have stuck by what he said.

      1. There is definitely some truth in it (17/18 season aside), I think the point is _when_ he said it on the day he took the record. Anyway, we all know where you stand. This used to be a respectable site without this kind of language. Shame.

        1. Saying Mercedes didn’t have a big advantage in 2017/18 is like saying RBR didn’t have a big advantage in 2011 — their most dominant year.

          2017 Mercedes had 12 wins to Ferrari’s 5.

          2018 Mercedes had 11 wins to Ferrari’s 6.

          2011 RBR had 12 wins to McLaren’s 6.

  7. Dear Leader …..

  8. ‘Especially now in 2020 you have to be very careful with what you think’. That’s a very worrying statement.

    I don’t think his comments were bad to be honest, I took him as referring to this year where Hamilton is having a (relatively) easy time as opposed to all his wins.

  9. Gosh, now Norris has snatched away the candy from all the Ham-bashers, it’s a sad moment (see above comments).

  10. Nothing to appologise for.

    1. Nothing to refuse an accept of revenge for.

  11. Mercedes have had 80 front row lockouts in the hybrid era.

    Ferrari had 15 front row lockouts from 2000-04.

    1. As if this point matter anymore.

      1. Even Nico Rosberg in his three years at Mercedes during the hybrid era got 26 poles and 20 wins.

  12. Also, Lando might want to fish for a seat in a Merc sometime soon so best not to burn any bridges

  13. Pushovers like you get no respect, ever

    1. Too harsh but there’s something to this. It will be hard to see him standing in a tough championship fight if he will roll over for trolls on social media this easily.

    2. You sound like that you can’t accept revenge for McLaren losing 2-1 to Racing Point and Pérez celebrating in front of Norris.
      Just look at what Lukas Podolski bothered Nuri Sahin about.

  14. Lando “angry team radio angry team radio angry team radio” Norris

  15. McLaren-Racing Point: Norris insults Stroll, resulting in a big fist fight. Both get sent off. Ends in a draw.
    Racing Point-McLaren: Perez scores the winning goal in the 90th minute and then celebrates in front of Norris as an act of revenge.
    That’s my mockery of his angry team radio.

Comments are closed.