FIA believes Grosjean crash led to 'instinct' action of marshal that 'panicked' Norris

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The dramatic scene following Romain Grosjean's crash likely led to a marshal's decision to run across the track in front of Lando Norris late on in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

That is the view of FIA race director Michael Masi after the marshal reacted to a fire at the back of Sergio Perez's Racing Point following an engine failure with less than three laps to go, spooking the McLaren driver in the process.

“I panicked because it was the last thing I was expecting. The guy didn’t look left or right both ways before he crossed the road,” Norris said post-race.

“It was a double yellow and I was going slow enough because there was no point in risking anything at all.

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“I mean, he wasn’t the most visible guy because at that point I’m looking to the sky, he is wearing pretty much black and blue, and it wasn’t that easy to see.

“All I kind of saw was a bouncing extinguisher, red extinguisher, it wasn’t lucky but it was just a bit of a crazy moment. The guy had some balls on him so fair play, but I guess that was just one of the things that happened in quite an eventful race.”

Masi admitted the fire marshal crossed the track without permission but believes it was a spontaneous reaction.

“There was obviously another fire with Sergio Perez’s car and a fire marshal reacted on his own instinct without any instruction and just saw fire,” he explained.

“I would have said, particularly under the circumstances of what happened earlier, the priority was to put the fire out.”

On a happier note, P4 for Norris and P5 for Carlos Sainz, who started 15th, moved McLaren into a commanding position in the fight for third in the Constructors' standings, 17 points ahead of Racing Point with two races to go.

“A much better Sunday than we were expecting coming into today, I guess not just for myself but for us as a team,” Norris admitted.

“We both, between Carlos and myself, gained lots of positions off the line and we had very good starts. We put a lot of focus on that because it’s a place where you can easily gain two or three positions.

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“We both did that and from the beginning, and both starts that we did, obviously I was a bit lucky after the first one with the contact and avoiding almost being out of the race at Turn 2, but starting P7 from the second restart and gaining again another position and so on.

“It was a good race, good strategy, good pace in the car, made up for my mistake yesterday and to end with a fourth and a fifth for us as a team was definitely not what we were expecting, so I think we can be very happy.”