Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2016

Alonso ‘should’ve backed off’ in Hulkenberg clash

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In the round-up: Force India’s deputy team principal says Fernando Alonso risked causing a dangerous collision in the pit lane at Spa.

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A cool addition to yesterday’s Stats and Facts from @Girts:

After the first lap of the Belgian Grand Prix, Nico Rosberg was leading the race by 4.111 seconds.

That is the biggest advantage that the leader of the race has had after the first lap since the 2007 European Grand Prix when Kimi Raikkonen had a lead of 5.335 seconds over his team mate Felipe Massa. That happened only because Raikkonen went wide and missed the pit lane entry so he was forced to do another lap, while most drivers (including Massa) pitted for wet weather tyres.

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  • 46 comments on “Alonso ‘should’ve backed off’ in Hulkenberg clash”

    1. The Alonso/Hulkenberg ”incident” is a complete non-story. It was just a bit of good racing out of the pits. Only a bit of contact but nothing serious. Alonso didn’t need to back off, they were both giving each other room. Good driving from both there.
      And Max, you should be ashamed of yourself for behaving like a complete fool. What the hell did Raikkonen do to you huh? Nothing. I hope you enjoyed your 11th place, it was well earned!

      1. My heart sank when I saw it happen. I thought for sure McLaren would get a penalty for an unsafe release, and 5sec at that stage would have killed Alonso’s race. I spent two laps waiting for ‘under investigation’ to appear, but luckily, nothing.

        I’m wondering if the race even had any stewards. Not that I’m complaining. It sure livened up the race.

        1. I personally don’t think that it was an unsafe release. When I saw it live I did not even think about that, and instead thought about who was going to get out of the pitlane first. Regarding stewarding, I thought that they were pretty shocking. No investigating for turn 1 and any of Verstappen’s antics, and all they did was give a 5 second penalty to a Sauber for running wide.

          1. @ultimateuzair, in the report by the stewards, the reason for giving Nasr a penalty was the decision that Nasr passed another driver (Verstappen, it turns out) by going off the track.

        2. All with you there, for a moment I expected to see an investigation jump up and sighed @selbbin. I guess we have to thank a good team of stewards (two ex racers and a professional judge who does is the chief steward for DTM) not afraid to NOT intervene and let the racing take its course if possible.

          Sure enough Verstappen will have a tough time in the next driver briefings, and deservedly so. I think on track behaviour is something the drivers should talk out between them.

      2. But, did Max know it was actually Vettel’s fault? Maybe all he saw was Kimi squeezing and then hitting him, therefore in his mind Kimi was the bad guy and no quarter will be given.

        1. @w-k, it would seem that, during the red flag session, Horner was showing him the replays of the start on the monitor on the pit wall and explaining to him what happened. It seems that Max just decided to take it out on Kimi instead because he was the only one of the two he could get at.

          1. I think that he blame the entire Ferrari team, as they are supposed to work together….

          2. Exactly. If he blamed Raikkonen and Vettel for the incident after not seeing the replay, then I would have let him off for this as he did not see the whole incident. However, he was shown the incident during the red flag ad still blames both Ferraris? And tells them to be ashamed? They are both WDC winners with 20+ wins. Max only has 1 race victory, so I think that he needs to keep his dirty mouth shut.

    2. The Hype is going to Max’s head. His speed isn’t in question but his smarts are. I can respect hard racing, but he is going to need the respect of his fellow drivers, slating Vettel and Kimi (reportedly respected by their peers) just isn’t smart.

      I don’t see him as being at fault for turn 1 at start of the race, but I didn’t read anything where he was blamed either by SV or KR, so why beat it to death? His antics with KR were unacceptable and the block on the straight was extremely dangerous. Sadly until he has a big shunt, he won’t respect the need for give and take from his peers or respect the danger of the sport. Has he had one in his limited car racing career?

      Waiting for the stewards might take forever based on their inconsistency and I can’t believe the blocks haven’t been penalized.

      1. I wonder how Montoya would have reacted to Max if he were still racing in F1 today!..haha..that would have been fun.

        I was livid on Sunday, I was extremely annoyed with Max. He’s been pulling this stunt for a while now, what tipped it for me was his attitude after the race. But anyway, now that I’ve calmed down, I’m not blaming Max for how he’s turning out.

        Hear me out. Has there ever been a driver in F1 history who has been bred to be a racer like Max has? Sure, most drivers go through the motions with a goal of getting to F1, some do, but some dont. With Max, I get the feeling that he has been conditioned to be an F1 driver since he could hold the steering wheel on his Cozy Coupe. So, here you have an 18 year old kid, driving for one of the best teams on the grid, who’s probably been brainwashed to believe he is the best thing since sliced bread and that he will be, by “birthright”, become a multiple world champion. How else do you expect him to react when people tell him he isnt driving in a proper manner?

        So I blame Joos and Helmut Marko. They should be pulling Max aside to have a chat about his antics, but something tells me they wont.

        1. Completely valid point, and likely the heart of the matter. Whether it comes from Jos (unlikely because he is the root cause), Dr Marko, or the drivers, someone has to say something.

          He truly is a talent to be reckoned with, but I fear his attitude and lack of respect will cost him at some point.

          1. I actually think Jos would have given Max a tough time. He knows what he did wrong in his career

        2. spafrancorchamps
          31st August 2016, 23:24

          Comment of the day!

      2. @johnnyrye – Monaco 2015 was fairly substantial.

        1. True @bullmello, forgot about that. Not wishing for another one but fear that’s what it’ll take if nothing is said

          1. @johnnyrye – My hope is that it won’t take something drastic like that.

            I’ve been a Verstappen fan and supporter from the beginning and thought that most of the time he has acted and driven with maturity beyond his years. Obviously there have been a few previous lapses along the way. Pretty much everything yesterday on and off the track had me wishing that he would take a crash course (pun not entirely unintended) from the Jim Clark school of racing and dignity. Sadly, that may not be the direction he is headed.

      3. I’d like to know how this was different to Bottas’ ludicrous attack on Hamilton at Bahrain into the first corner, for which he was (rightly) penalised? Other than there being another car, it looked like a carbon copy.

        1. Completely different.

    3. Rosberg drove well this weekend, and deserved pole and the win, but once Max and the Ferrari drivers came together it quickly became obvious Dan’s Red Bull didn’t have the pace to catch him, and it was his race to lose.
      You can’t take anything away from his performance, and he did everything right, but you’re never going to get the same kind of recognition as you would if you were in a close race against one or more other drivers.

    4. Re: Gerald Donaldson tweet about Hunt… think it’s already something title-contending drivers would consider.

      There’s a guy in GP2 at the moment (anyone who’s been watching for a while will know what I mean), Sergio Canamasas. Bit of a lunatic sometimes, defends every position like his life depends on it and seems quite happy to crash rather than give a rival an easy time.

      And it’s really, really obvious that the other drivers treat him differently. If a title contender ever ends up behind him they don’t usually go for risky moves, try to keep their distance and only go for it when they know it’s absolutely safe.

      It’s not a good reputation to have, but thinking about it, it’s a really powerful tool when you’re defending. But only if you have nothing to lose.

    5. Three drivers involved in an incident, two from “team X” and the other from “team Y”. 99 times out of 100 the team-mates will gang up and blame the other guy.

      1. @mtlracer – So this is the one time out of one hundred?

        Seriously, while Kimi was on the racing ling through the corner as Vettel came down towards him, had Max not made an impossible dive underneath him with all 4 wheels off the track, Kimi may have had an option to go a bit deeper into the apex except Max removed that option with his outside the track move. All Kimi could do was wait to find out which car might hit him first as he held the racing line through the turn.

        So you could say one driver from team X was ganged up on the track by a driver from team X and from team Y.

        I think most of Kimi’s complaints post race were about the later move by Max on the Kemmel straight.

        1. He’s talking about blame. Not what actually happened.

    6. I think the whole Max situation may well turn out to be a storm in a teacup. Or I hope so at least.

      Whilst he seems completely unrepentant, I suspect after he’s examined the video, and had a quiet chat from Dr Marko, he’ll realise that there’s a fine line that he just got too close to on Sunday.

      The result, and the thing that should make him a little more careful was that he came away without points, that will hurt more (for him) than people getting upset about his actions.

      He seems to be a very fast learner – the next couple of races will show whether he has learned. My guess, he won’t repeat what he did, and by Singapore everyone will be singing his praises again.

      1. My guess is that in Singapore we will have massive crash if someone get’s chance to be close and tries to overtake Ves.

        1. You repeat yourself !

          1. Parrotting Kimi, you mean… ;-)

    7. It really was amazing to see Magnusson out of the car so soon after his crash! A testament to the safety of the cars and barriers they have these days. It would be quite remarkable if he was ready to race again just one week later.

      If he can’t race in Monza I wouldn’t be surprised though. Who might Renault pick; A chance for their development driver Carmen Jorda perhaps?

    8. Strange to hear Bob Fearnley say that, particularly as Hulkenberg himself said he had no issue with Alonso’s driving after the race. Nico thought it was all just good, hard racing (which it was).

    9. Just because of one bad race Max Verstappen doesn’t deserve to be crucified like this by fans. Everybody is forgetting that this is the guy who showed the world his skill by making daring overtakes at 17 years of age, or the youngest race winner in Formula One winning in his first race for Red Bull or the guy who cooly thrashed Ricciardo in qualifying yesterday. Everybody is using your only as good as your last race on Max, and there is a reason for the steward’s not penalising him. For those comparing him to Maldonado and saying that he deserves a race ban are completely wrong, because he is a talented racer and a future world champion who had one bad race which many greats have come through. I’m sure Max will prove the haters wrong and get back to his usual best come Monza

      1. There’s having one ‘bad’ race, and then there is putting people’s health at risk. Remember the incident in Hungary with Schumacher and Barrichello? This was like that, there’s defending your position, and then there is flat out cutting out another driver, with no regard for their safety.

        He has previous with this as well, and whilst he isn’t anywhere near Maldonado levels, there is a danger that his usual self will end up being this dangerous self.

        Rightfully criticising a driver for being reckless doesn’t make anyone a hater, but people trying to defend his driving on Sunday are just plain wrong.

      2. Have you been watching the same season as everyone else …. constantly moving in the braking zone, repeatedly forcing other drivers off the track ……. and that was before we got to Spa.

        The guy is a great talent but he needs to learn quickly where the line is before himself or somebody else gets hurt.

        And yes he is a future WDC … if he grows up.

        1. Correct me if I’m wrong but the only occasion where he has been too agressive was in Hungary, but the stewards adjusted he wasn’t at fault. There has been constant abuse for Max on F1 Fanatic and on places like Youtube, just for a single race. His driving on Sunday was immature and not at the level he has set himself but the stewards decided not to penalise him and they have all the telemetry they want. The only race so far this season he has been mental was Spa, so I think it is too quick to go all out on him after one race.

        2. Michael Brown (@)
          31st August 2016, 23:42

          Constant moving if you’ve only watched Hungary and Spa

    10. Just because of one bad race Max Verstappen doesn’t deserve to be crucified like this by fans. Everybody is forgetting that this is the guy who showed the world his skill by making daring overtakes at 17 years of age, or the youngest race winner in Formula One winning in his first race for Red Bull or the guy who cooly thrashed Ricciardo in qualifying yesterday. Everybody is using your only as good as your last race on Max, and there is a reason for the steward’s not penalising him. For those comparing him to Maldonado and saying that he deserves a race ban are completely wrong, because he is a talented racer and a future world champion who had one bad race which many greats have come through. I’m sure Max will prove the haters wrong and get back to his usual best come Monza

    11. The only person that should be ashamed is verstappen for his disgraceful and childish behaviour both on and off the track.

    12. Thanks very much for the COTD, I truly appreciate that. I had to dig through some data myself and it was fun!

      Meanwhile, I have found out that Rubens Barrichello had an even bigger advantage at the end of the first lap of the 2004 Italian Grand Prix (6.943 seconds). It also happened on a damp circuit and the tyre compounds (intermediates vs dry) played a huge role here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNaAxAiNDOs

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        30th August 2016, 13:41

        Well deserved COTD @girts.
        I always love the statistical review of the weekend, with the quirky additions by true F1 Fanatics.

    13. Max’s article shows just how much of a boy he is. Spoiled in a world that dad shaped him in. This has made him into a arrogant child that shows no respect and can’t admit wrong going.

      He clearly was trying to recover from his slow start by taking a desperate dive into the first corner. And for that he blames Ferraris drivers.

      And to top it off he can’t let it go, as he states they ruined his race so he was out for revenge. A complete arrogant attitude.

      Thing that gets me is I don’t see Ferrari complaining other then it’s drivers. Where was the challenge from ferrsri for investigation? Is it possible they want him that bad they turned a blind eye? Seriously!

      1. Is Verstappen more arrogant than the other drivers? They all think they are the best and the rest is just a hindrance. Especially when they are behind the wheel and the media training goes out the door.

        For instance Vettel didn’t even bother to leave space for his teammate when he knew they needed the point from both cars being ahead of the Red Bulls. He also rammed off Webber on more than one occasion when he didn’t like what was happening.

        They all have at least a bit of that in them.

        1. Michael Brown (@)
          31st August 2016, 23:44

          When did Vettel crash into Webber intentionally?

    14. Max, what a tantrum! I think he should cool off or either risk getting Romain’s reputation or worse Maldonado’s.

    15. Max was brilliant. He didn’t make any illegal moves, just questionnable ones. Exploring the boundaries of the rules and in the meantime make other drivers fear him. That will play to his advantage in the races to come. He just needs to tune it down a bit and he will be on the sweet spot with a psychological advantage. See the bigger plan here..

      1. @mayrton You’re on the right track with the bigger plan. Unfortunately it’s Max that needs to see the bigger plan, which ultimately would be race wins/championships. Having the maturity to accept the fact he had a bad start and not trying to force the issue in turn one would have made all the difference in his race. The second he tried to win in the first corner he lost all hope for a podium finish.

        There’s a lot of potential there for him, but there’s a lot to learn if he’s going to make a career out of it. Part of that will be the respect of his fellow drivers, not fear.

        1. I partly agree. Two lessions for VES this race: 1. You don’t win a race in the first corner. 2. If you hold a grudge over an incident earlier in the race it distracts you from your goal. Having said that I do think setting the tone on agressive defending will give you a long term psychological advantage. I remember lots of drivers saying ‘if you saw that yellow helmet coming in your mirrors you would think twice’. If a driver has such feelings with you, you will always be psychological ahead inany battle. Especially when you establish it within the FIA rules

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