Verstappen two-thirds of the way towards ban

2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen moved on to eight penalty points at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix leaving him just four shy of a one-race ban.

The Toro Rosso driver was penalised twice in the race. He received a five-second time penalty and one point for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when battling with Jenson Button.

The second was for ignoring blue flags while Lewis Hamilton was trying to lap him. The stewards ruled Verstappen completed a full lap without heeding them, handing him two penalty points plus a drive-through penalty which was turned into a 20-second time penalty after the race.

Verstappen said Hamilton wasn’t “close enough at the time” when he was shown the blue flags. “But they’re always very strict on the blue flags”.

Penalty points remain on a driver’s licence for 12 months. Verstappen will deduct his first two on May 24th next year.

2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    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...

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    61 comments on “Verstappen two-thirds of the way towards ban”

    1. I’m not surprised. Max Verstappen is a brilliant young driver, but his attitude today was disgusting in my opinion.

      1. Disgusting, really? That’s kind or hard on him. The battle with Button was purely a race incident, happens all the time. His lock up that caused him to pit early didn’t harm anybody, so the only thing you could blame him for is not letting Hamilton past quick enough. That said this wasn’t his finest race, but honestly that can be said of a couple of drivers..

        1. Exactly, he was very rookie-esque today, but the only driver who suffered from that is Hamilton. He didn’t crash into somebody else or put another driver in danger. The two penalty points seems really harsh.

      2. I wouldn’t call it disgusting but today the rookie shined thru. But it’s not totally out of character. The stunt in Japan and blocking under blue flags or moving very very close to the breaking point are things he needs to stop asap.

      3. @ultimateuzair Agree with the first part, don’t agree with the 2nd. The FIA has been trying to down Max ever since he made his debut. I’m not mentioning the ban on under 18, I know that the sport doesn’t want F1 to be seen as game for kids. They want it to look like an arena for men.

      4. Disgusting? It wasn’t Maldonaldo-style to crash into cars without braking, sometimes couple of races in row. It’s just some lack of knowing how to behave in some situations on track. More experienced driver(at Verstappen position) would just give back place. But Verstappen has just finishied his first F1 as the youngest driver in history.

        BTW. English is not my native language but to call a situation on track(no matter which kind) disgusting? :P

      5. Disgusting? He made some judgement errors, that’s all. He didn’t put anyone in danger.

      6. Disgusting? Wow….i mean….Verstappen is a pure blood racer…and this is racing.

        You lot watched F1 far to long in his current state….i quess you never saw the likes of Mansell or Senna…..

        This is F1….and F1 means entertainment, racing to the limit…..and not waving your arms around like Hamilton did. Hamilton was 50 meters behind Verstappen…when he started waving his hands in the air….for Verstappen to move out of his way….just unbelievable

    2. Yes because real racing should be penalised..

      I dont think all points were fair, but I think this is because Max is still very young! This is a good thing, because his driving is brilliant. But maybe a bit more risk sometimes would be oke ;-)

    3. This is a joke right? What investigating did the stewards have to do on the Button move? It was clear from the onset he gained an advantage. Incompetence on their part puts him 6 seconds down the road already when they decide to sort it out. They should have asked him to give the place up right then. If he was that fast anyways he would have passed Button on the next lap.

      But no. Lets put the guy who has arguably been the most exciting driver of the season in jeopardy of a race ban.

      1. Yup, completely agree. Why not ask him to swap places immediately? Doesn’t make much sense.

        I won’t argue with the 20 second penalty for ignoring blue flags: that’s completely justified and we’ve seen the same happen in the past (Sutil at Canada two years ago I believe, Hamilton was also the victim of that).

        Versappen may have made a lot of errors today, he also made the only two interesting overtakes of the day.

      2. I don’t think it’s the job of the stewards to tell him to swap places. Max should have known he had an advantage and should have asked the team if he should give the place back right away. That and the blue flag were rookie mistakes, cause he was in no mans land.

    4. The stewards made a disgraceful mess today.

      Drive through for a start incident where Alonso got tagged behind, only five seconds for colliding with another car in the pit lane, an unnecessary penalty point for overtaking off the circuit, and a drive through and two points just for getting in somebody’s way.

      I thought they were getting better but that is a very poor show by them today.

      1. a drive through and two points just for getting in somebody’s way

        Are you saying a driver shouldn’t be penalised for breaking the rules?

        1. @raceprouk
          Certainly someone should be penalised for breaking the rules. But why is the penalty for disobeying blue flags so much more severe than an unsafe release (Bottas)? Does not make sense to me.

      2. @strontium I completely agree. I want to add that the stewards couldn’t have had a worse season. The stewards are getting embroiled in the mess of the rulebook and then act upon bias. We are getting back to when Montoya would get penalties for getting hit by Michael. I’m a Ferrari fan but that’s not how you protect your main star.

    5. How does it work in the event a ban is inflicted?
      Does the team run a single car or can they give it to another driver?

      1. @stefanauss I guess we’d see a debut for Gasly at Toro Rosso, unless they want to give the Red Bull reserve driver another go (Buemi?) and keep Gasly in his GP2 race.

        1. @stefanauss Yeah, the ban is given to the driver, not the team. So (as happened when Lotus had to run a different driver in Italy 2012) the team would use a 3rd / reserve driver for that car.

    6. Welcome to F1, where you can push drivers out of the track.

      1. @casjo

        And get the other driver a penalty in the process.

        1. I, and I alone am the Baron!

          1. Stop talking to yourself.

            Or is it ourselves?…

      2. @casjo and Baron. Looking back at the season it should be Jenson two thirds of the way towards a ban. Hit Maldonado in China, hit Maldonado in Singapore, hit Alonso in GB, in short he has been meddling with cars on the back of the grid. Jenson has been the sloppiest driver this season. I think Jenson is likeable but not as he’s behaving now, he’s been unprofessional, moody on the press, sloppy on track and in the end the stewards have only award him serious penalties on the start of the season, as he’s gotten in more accidents, the stewards have spared him. In the end if Jenson was quick it would really be a shame that he’s driving a bad car also if he was in Ricciardo’s or Hulk’s or Romain’s stage of the career, I would understand, on top of that though, Jenson has been impossible to deal with, he’s been more fiery than Alonso. Melodramatic, the whole season.

        1. @peartree Please tell me you are trolling here…..

          1. @sward28 Obviously not. I took him of my favourite drivers list on my F1F profile. I think the attitude and the radio chatter is funny for a while and then it gets infuriating. First lap incidents, being on the wrong end of a Pastor battle and having being beaten by Alonso right after Fernando came back is shameful. JB did had some good qualifying laps and some good races but these are hard to judge with such an unreliable package.

    7. I don’t know how an illegal move (for some) deserves a point in your license.

      Shouldin’t points be handed for serious mistakes, crashes, speeding in the pits, ignoring flags? gaining an advantage isn’t something you should penalize with points on your license…

      Not only that, but the move wasn’t dangerous nor it was full responsability from Max, I believe. A very similar move that ended in a crash served no penalty points (Bottas on Kimi at Mexico) yet this one, which was tough but fair between both drivers, no harm done, gets 1 point? consistency much?

      1. @fer-no65
        It’s probably because he’s a rookie. I seem to remember the FIA stating they would be harsher on rookies since Grosjean came into F1.

        The only problem; Verstappen is one of the very few reasons to watch F1 at the moment so the FIA are shooting themselves in the foot if they ban him for a race.

      2. @fer-no65 At the end of the day, surely an illegal move is an illegal move, regardless of the context?

        1. @optimaximal yeah but don’t you think an illegal move like this one could well be sorted with a time penalty or giving back the position?

          Penalty points should act like the next step if a time penalty or grid penalty isn’t enough. It should noy be given for harmless moves like these that are just part of racing. Yeah, maybe someone crossed the line, but it’s one thing is gaining an advantage outside the track and another one is crashing someone in front of the whole field at the start, brake testing someone, speeding in pits or not slowing down on yellow flags.

    8. In before Keith starts using this as an excuse for why Sainz has done a better job this year.

      1. C’mon. Sainz is no longer the “sleeper” driver, everyone knows he’s been unlucky, and that Q was 10-9 in Sainz’s favour. This was the first time Verstappen ruined his race with a flat tyre but in the end the underlining fact is that once again Max’s race pace was much superior, he had caught up to the hot starter Sainz by the end of the first stint.

      2. Beat me to it!

      3. I’m not following – why would I want to?

        1. I don’t know. Maybe you too are of the opinion that 17/18 years is far too young for F1 and badly wanted Sainz to trash Verstappen to prove a point. Maybe you just don’t like Verstappen. Or maybe there’s some other reason why you continue to place Sainz above Verstappen.

          I’m just going off the trend I’ve spotted that, after every race, you talk down Verstappens performance implying Sainz would have done the exact same thing if not for excuse a, b, c or d…. Or e.

          Well, this race was surely a big opportunity for Sainz to prove he could do what Verstappen has been doing for most of the season. And he had a magnificant start, it had has to be said.
          But as quickly as he gained those places he lost them too. And for the rest of the race he was nowhere.
          And once again, Verstappen had better pace which made the team switch them round to give Verstappen track position. Because they also knew Verstappen was more likely to score good points than Sainz at that point.

          1. Baron you are absolutely spot on.
            Not having the chance to prove their worth is not the same as automatically beat someone if they have the chance. Sainz is a saturday driver, desperately after the headlights, Australia was a great example of the trend that would ensue for the rest of the season. In Aus, Max caught Sainz on the mediums early on the race when the softs were still going fast.

          2. talk down Verstappens performance implying Sainz would have done the exact same thing

            That could also be interpreted as him talking Sainz up.

    9. Fantastic rookie season and he did drive pretty well this race, but I think a deserved penalty.

      Knowing the performance loss caused to a following car, and the caution a driver will be exhibiting when attempting to lap a backmarker just saying ‘he wasn’t close enough’ isn’t enough justification for holding a car behind for an entire lap. Especially when that car is one in contention for the win and you aren’t even battling for points.

    10. well today it looked like the rest of the grid adapted to his style and that’s the consequence.

      1. @antoine-de-paris

        The rest of the grid? So Button and Verstappen are the only two out there?

        1. Yes.

    11. Do all the fans that think Hamilton was robbed a victory in Spa 2008, think Verstappen’s penalty for gaining advantage by going off track was unfair? It’s the same thing.

      Personally I think both penalties were fair (2008 and 2015).

      1. Sorry, obviously it isn’t the same thing, because Hamilton gave the place back in 2008 but he still gained advantage (in time) by going off track.

    12. Just a couple of months ago Warwick made it very clear he is very close with Button and the rest of the British drivers. Simply put, he is obviously biased when accidents involve a British driver or team…

      Source BBC 5-12-2014–
      Warwick, chairman of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, said it was a “difficult situation” for McLaren because Magnussen had risen through the ranks and had impressed the team in his debut season in 2014,
      “They’ve invested heavily in Kevin Magnussen,” Warwick told BBC Radio 5 live. “He’s obviously someone for the future, so I think it’s a difficult situation for them.”
      He added that Button’s continued presence at McLaren was important for the British Racing Drivers’ Club, which owns Silverstone.”Our fingers are crossed for Jenson because he brings a lot of people to the British Grand Prix,” said Warwick. “That’s important for us.”

      So no surprise he penalised Verstappen to help out his close friend, disgusting…
      Even more disgusting a talent like Magnussen just cannot move up the ranks…

      1. Massa just made a comment on the Brazilian radio about Verstappen…
        “He is the most penalised driver on the grid, I have always said he is too young for F1…”

        What a looser, just cannot cope with the talent of Verstappen and the awareness that he himself has become mediocre…
        I have met him once at the HQ of Shell in 2007 in London when he was preparing for a demo with Ferrari close to the HQ. His attitude and his comments about other drivers are fully aligned with what I noticed on that day , a shy little man without any confidence at all…

      2. Button draws crowds to the British GP, so that means Warwick is best mates with him? I guess, if you’re willing to leap a Grand-Canyon-esque logic gap, it could be true…


      Link to the Button moment. If that was Button being Raikkonen on Bottas, in Russia, he would have been given a penalty. Max decides to evade his wild lunge and gets penalised for it. Pathetic.
      That said, poor race from Max, blue flags issue a poor piece of judgement.

      1. I’m not 100% clear on the rules, but what is clear is that the front wing of Button sits at the wheel of Verstappen. So he was in front at that moment.

      2. I like how the video you link to in support of your point actually leaves a smoking crater where your point used to be :)

    14. To continue the issue of Sainz (just for the sake of it): Sainz has zero points on his licence. After countless incidents of speeding in the pitlances, a DSQ in qualifying for ignoring a weighbridge, multiple crashes and hitting a pit bollard. Tell me these moments aren’t largely as deserving of a penalty?

      1. I think FIA was trying to make a statement with Max. I don’t think Verstappen will be on their radar next year so I doubt he will collect another 4 points. Unless he does something really stupid.

      2. speeding in the pitlanes

        Which no driver has earned penalty points for.

        DSQ in qualifying for ignoring a weighbridge

        Penalty points are issued for bad driving; this is clearly not bad driving.

        multiple crashes

        Was he at fault for any of them? Did they involve any other drivers?

        hitting a pit bollard

        Is a nothing mistake.

    15. I agree with Max. Lewis was way behind. To let him pass, Max should have parked his car on one of the straights. It’s racing, people. Hamilton should have pushed to show he was seriously faster, but instead he was behind at least 1 second. That’s just not close enough. Lewis just mustn’t expect everyone to leave the track once he’s approaching. It’s still a race so he can show some effort, as long as he doesn’t get bloxked on purpose.

      In the situation with Button, Max left the track to prevent them from colliding, not for gainig advantage. Max was faster so he would have passed Button anyway.

      Getting penalty points for such situations ruines an already rather dull sport… Such passes as on Button should be encouraged, as should leaders as Hamilton get challenged more to push harder to pass slower cars.

      But they just don’t seem to get why everybody find F1 one of the most lacklustre racing disciplines…

      1. @CharlesJF

        I fully agree on this. This is racing…and racing means you fight for points and places.
        Hamilton is in a Mercedes, the fastest car on the grid while Verstappen runs a Renault, the slowest one on the grid…why is Lewis waving his hands about 50 meters behind Verstappen??

        Max was right….but i quess alot of people are the same like the FIA…Max is young and should be penalised because, lets face it, it is Hamiltong we are talking about, and everyone should make way for him…blabla

      2. Yes, Verstappen went off-track to avoid a collision. Thing is, he also gained an advantage. He may not have intended to, but it still happened.

    16. multiple crashes

      Alright let’s not start just making things up now.

    17. ColdFly F1 (@)
      30th November 2015, 7:36

      Ridiculous! Feels more like a patronising decision by the old guys (Warwick I believe).

      First incident wasn’t even a real incident IMHO, but if it is than a typical racing incident.
      I would’ve preferred an immediate ‘give the place back’ but 5sec should be tge max (pun intended) if the stewards deemed him to be at fault.
      I did not see the blue flag incident. He was fairly quick on the options towards the end, and then overtaking can take a bit longer. However if blue flags are waved then he should move over. Penalty OK. But penalty points? Get real. It’s not like he has built a name this year of ignoring blue flags.

      Maybe he should target Baku as his preferred race ban, and go to Le Mans.

    18. He has been over-aggressive this year and i gaurantee that he will not end next year without missing a race or two!

      He reminds me alot about pastor maldonado, in a way that the two of them make stupid mistakes without thinking and crash and take other people out!

      Mark my word Vestappen will get ATLEAST 1 race ban next year or maybe even 2?

      1. Verstappen has only caused one accident with his overtaking, and that was in Monaco, when he was caught out by an unexpectedly slow Lotus. How that compares with Maldonado punting Saubers into spins and rolls, binning it in places no-one ever crashes, and just generally stripping cars of their appendages is beyond me.

      2. Over aggressive this year? He reminds you alot about Maldonado? I quess you saw a different season then most of us. Max avoided a collision with Button yesterday….instead Button and Maldonado saw a little to much of eachother this season. Max doesnt crash into other people like Pastor, Button, Alonso, Kimi and some others….Max is the smart one here

    19. Good driver suffering from a bit of youthful exuberance. With this year behind him, I’m sure he will mature a lot over the winter break. Looking forward to seeing him race in 2016.

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