Lando Norris has cheekily suggested that it was Max Verstappen’s fault that he accidentally broke the £35,000 winner’s trophy during the podium celebration at Formula 1’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
As the drivers began their traditional spraying of Ferrari sparkling wine, Norris performed his trademark tactic of getting the bubbling flowing by smashing the bottom of his bottle down on the ground.
He used the top step of the podium as his base but, as he made contact, the impact was enough to bounce Verstappen’s nearby winner’s trophy off and it hit the floor – breaking into pieces.
Norris quickly realised what he had done – letting out a shock expression – before resuming his celebration and then informing Verstappen of the bad news.
Speaking about what had happened in the post-race press conference, Norris smiled when he reckoned it was Verstappen’s fault for having left the trophy in a bad place.
“Max just placed it too close to the edge,” said Norris. “It fell over, I guess. Not my problem. It’s his!”
According to Hungarian F1 journalist Sandor Meszaros, the trophies handed out to the top three were not the work of the moment – and not cheap.
“The #HungarianGP trophies are made by Herendi Porcelanmanufaktura Zrt,” he wrote on Twitter. “All are handmade, production time is approximately six months and it costs ~ 40.000 euros.”
The trophy incident was the only blot on another great day for Norris and McLaren as it took its second consecutive podium finish with second place behind Verstappen.
And while Red Bull clearly looks out of touch at the moment, Norris welcomed a runner’s-up spot that he felt was punching above the team’s weight because he reckoned Mercedes was faster in Hungary.
“I think between us and Mercedes we’re pretty tied,” he said when asked if he felt McLaren now had the second-quickest car in F1. “If you look at tyre degradation, Mercedes are way, way better than we are. Always have been.
“Mercedes have always been very, very strong with tyre deg. If you look at qualifying, the Mercedes was quite a bit quicker with Lewis, so I'm going to be the guy that says, no. I believe that Mercedes are very close, but it's tight.
“I think, like I said, if Lewis stayed ahead in Turn 2, they would have beaten us today and I probably wouldn’t be on the podium at all. And then you'd be saying, ‘ah, Mercedes are quicker.'
"But just because I overtook him you think McLaren are quicker. So, it's tight. They're doing a good job. But also, McLaren. I'm very happy with them. They've done an excellent job.”
In the wake of the Verstappen trophy breakage, the Herendi company that made the cup has vowed to replace it.
Attila Simon, the company's CEO, told Hungary’s M4 Sport's channel: “The teams will decide who was to blame, but we will take on the joyful and heavy burden of making it again.”
Production on the cup has already started, with the six-month production process aiming to be shortened so Verstappen can be awarded it in the next few weeks.
Additional reporting by Köles István Ákos