Norris was forced to return to the pits with eight laps to go after his tire “exploded”, ending the race as one of four drivers to suffer a puncture.
Valtteri Bottas, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi were also forced to stop due to front left punctures, but Norris was the only member of the quartet to score points, finishing the race ninth. He was fourth before his late pit stop.
Speaking to the written media in the Qatar paddock after the race, Norris said that although he had heard that front left problems were expected, “I guess you don’t expect the tire to explode, especially not on the hard tire ”.
Norris added, “We weren’t even that far in the relay, 20 laps or something, and the tire should go a lot more than 20 laps.
“On each track you take care of the tires because the tires wear out a bit, but you don’t expect him to let go completely suddenly.
“[it was] quite dangerous for a lot of people today. It shouldn’t happen.
Norris said he had not been warned that a flat tire was imminent and it was “obvious” what the cause was “but I just can’t tell”.
When asked if he thinks Pirelli should change something with the tire to warn the riders, Norris replied, “No, that just shouldn’t happen. If there was a wall there or something, it could have been a lot more dangerous.
“They should improve the tires. It is dangerous for us as drivers. We risk a lot every time and if we can’t just drive a Formula 1 on the track what can you do?
“I didn’t even do a very long stint, 20 laps, 25 laps, whatever. I should still be able to drive the circuit.
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Bottas was the first driver to suffer a puncture, ending his hopes of a possible podium after being forced to stop.
He gave up the points and eventually dropped out of the race due to damage to his car.
“I don’t really know what happened,” Bottas said.
“There was no warning, no vibration, [the] the pace was always constant. The handling was correct. It just happened.
“At first I thought the wind was getting stronger in the main straight because I felt the car was on the side.
“Then it was a puncture in the first corner, and obviously also in the most unlucky point, just after exiting the pits.”
George Russell, Williams FW43B, Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21
Photo By: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Williams driver Russell also didn’t warn that a puncture was imminent, but said Williams noticed before the race that the front left tires could become a problem if pushed too hard.
“No warning, but we had it planned before the race,” said Russell.
“It was literally just the outside shoulder of that left front that was a limitation, probably 10cm outside of the left front, and it would literally be okay at some point if we kept pushing him.
“The reason is that we didn’t have enough pace today. The high speed corners where you have to manage, the corners leading to the straights and the guys were already right behind me on the high speed corners so if I was more successful they would have just passed me anyway.
Russell added, “These Formula 1 cars are so fast the tires wear out. You go through those right turns, you’re almost full in seventh gear, I don’t know what the exact speed is, it’s probably 270, 280 km / h, it’s going to happen.
Driver Williams Latifi suffered a puncture on the last corner, forcing him to complete a full lap of the Qatar circuit before returning to the pits.
Like Norris, Latifi said his failure was “quite surprising” and his tire “felt good” before seeing Russell slow down in front of him due to a problem.
“When I heard it was the tire, I was like OK, mine feels good, I don’t even feel limited to the front left,” said Latifi.
“I felt more limited at the left-back because I felt like I had taken care of it. But obviously the last laps, just pushing hard to keep the Alfas behind.
“I think we had nothing to lose trying to make this strategy work, especially with the Alfas behind us. They were our race and that just wasn’t the case.