Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2016

No evidence Verstappen brake-tested Vettel

2016 Mexican Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen did not brake-test Sebastian Vettel as the pair fought over third place in the Mexican Grand Prix, contrary to the Ferrari drivers’ claims.

Start Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2016
2016 Mexican Grand Prix in pictures
Vettel accused his rival of “brake-testing” him on the radio in the final laps of the race. However an FIA source confirmed to F1 Fanatic no direct evidence of any brake testing was observed.

Ferrari did not lodge a complaint about Verstappen’s driving and so no further investigation took place.

Verstappen left the track at turn one on lap 68, prompting a complaint from Vettel that the Red Bull driver had only kept his position by cutting the corner. He later directed a volley of abuse at race director Charlie Whiting as Verstappen held his position.

Vettel said Verstappen’s driving led to him coming under attack from the other Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo. The pair lost time as they tangled on lap 70:

“I knew that when I saw my exit out of turn three which wasn’t great because I was fighting Max into the first two corners and yeah, he obviously tried to trick me a bit,” said Vettel after the race.

“Maybe I could have done better to have a better exit, braking testing me a bit into turn one and then turn two, but nevertheless I didn’t get the best exit so I knew it would be tight with Daniel.”

Vettel revealed he was wary about dicing with his former team mate following their run-in at the Spanish Grand Prix.

“I know Daniel in these situations,” said Vettel. “He’s jumping into the gap even if he doesn’t make the rest of the corner. I think I knew exactly the situation – or in my head – the situation in Barcelona came up where he dived down the inside last minute.”

2016 Mexican Grand Prix

    Browse all Mexican Grand Prix articles

    Author information

    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...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    60 comments on “No evidence Verstappen brake-tested Vettel”

    1. brake test without the brakes, admittedly I do it at times, though not that I care for Vettels unraveling

      1. Keith’s stories are really going downhill rapidly as they become ever-more partisan.

        “No evidence Verstappen brake-tested Vettel”, screams the headline, paired with a lede that claims that “Max Verstappen did not brake-test Sebastian Vettel … contrary to the Ferrari drivers’ claims.”… and then the article provides absolutely zero proof to back this up.

        The anonymous source briefly hinted at in the second para isn’t confirmed, and its veracity unknown. It also says there was “no direct evidence … observed”, leaving open the possibility that either a) no evidence was looked for because Charlie couldn’t be bothered to investigate and Ferrari didn’t force them to with a protest, or that b) there was evidence, but only of an indirect nature.

        And the entire remainder of the article, bar this one single sentence, is basically fluff. None of it confirms or refutes the lack of evidence, it’s just hearsay. Pretty pathetic, but Keith has clearly got a gigantic man-crush on Verstappen; he’s been chomping at the bit to tell us why it was all Vettel’s fault from day one, and why poor little Max is just so terribly hard done-by.

        *rolls eyes*

        1. I totally agree with you this article is plain drivel. According to @keithcollantine Verstappen hasn’t put a foot wrong all year. Race after race he defends anything he does. For all I know I can start a website and claim the exact opposite due to a anonymous source, pathetic.

          1. Snif snif boehoe, just like Vettel all season!!!

          2. I see some very biased entrys here, but Keith seems rather neutral. If you do not like the outcome of a piece, do not shoot the messenger.
            If you have prove he (Keith) was wrong, place it here!

            1. No I don’t need to place any proof since I didn’t make any claims. He (Keith) did and the only piece of proof is an anonymous source. Get your facts straight.

            2. well Kim at least a source.. in your case it probably are just hormones.

        2. VET himself said it during the race

          1. VET planned to hit someone to.

      2. I’m wondering why a graph with relative values is used to illustrate the article instead of one with absolutes.

        The reason why after lap 68 the gap to race leader shrinks may have nothing to do with the speed of cars fighting for third place, and there’s no way to know from the information the graph presents.

    2. Would have loved to see some more data on this, because I doubt Verstappen would be dumb enough to actually brake infront of another car. It seemed as though he was going really slow through the corners with the Ferrari behind. We all know how difficult it is to actually get into the situation to overtake someone, even if you hauled in several seconds the laps before once you get into the dirty air of the car infront. Yet Ricciardo managed that pretty quickly.

      However, without additional data/telemtry, that’s just a bunch of assumptions.

      1. I think that since Vettel had been catching Verstappen quite comfortably, Verstappen can well have suffered even more lack of grip from going off track that he just had to brake earlier to make corners @dennis.

    3. Another false claim of the disgusting rant from the frustrated Seb..should of got a race ban for that tantrum.

      1. I’m surprised that they even investigated it. It was kind of obvious that Sebastian was just crying out loud for any excuse to blame Max. It was funny to see Seb throw so many toys out of his pram when things aren’t going his way.. lol

    4. I believe this equates as…

      Aggrieved, pressurized racing driver + overdue podium opportunity + bombastic young driver with enviable career trajectory = Loss of composure + allegations of [insert generic driving misdemeanor here]

      The maths don’t look great for Vettel at the moment…

      1. @william-brierty Verstappen has a massive amount of talent, but let’s wait until he has four titles to his name. With all the talents we have had over the past 66 years still only four managed to do it. Alonso is surely on the same level and look where he is.

        1. The amount of titles a driver holds is not exactly a perfect ladder of skill.

          1. @Arahones – You make a fair point, though I do not think @xtwl was trying to say that. Many talented drivers have 2, 1, or no WDC titles to their name. However, look at the drivers with 4 WDC titles and point out the ones with limited talent or ability. I dare say it cannot be done, which I think was @xwtl ‘s point.

            The number of WDC titles a driver has is not a one-for-one accounting of talent, as you noted, but the further up the list you go, the fewer you can honestly describe as lucky rather than talented.

            1. @hobo I agree titles does not equal talent but the further you go up the more it indicates the presence of an enormous amount of it.

              More so, what I was trying to say is Vettel has no reason to envy Verstappen. Vettel has four titles to his name, he has achieved what only three men before him did. Surely there have been others with equal talent of Vettel and Verstappen yet they don’t all have four titles. As much as it is part talent it remains part opportunity, that’s why I pointed out Alonso who remains stuck on two whilst many believe he deserves more.

              How somber it may seem but with the current lay-out of Formula One it might very well be Verstappen will get his first shot at a title in only ten years if the cards are dealt against him.

            2. @xtwll – My apologies, as I did not mean to speak for you. I should have said that was how I read your prior comment and then the rest was my reaction to it–agreeing but a different angle.

              I think we are saying roughly the same thing, that while everyone does not have WDC titles in accordance with their talent (due to opportunity, luck, etc.), that by the time you get up the list to those with 4 titles, their talent is hard to deny. Anyway, cheers!

            3. hobo – But is it an indicator of who got to drive in the best car of the era – say an Aidrian Newey car?

        2. We have to wait for a driver to win 4 titles !? Why 4, oh I see what you are doing. SO Senna, excuse me, shutup till you beat Fangio eh? kids eh cuh

          1. I’m not going to reply to your comment as it is pointless and completely besides the question but what does ‘kids eh cuh’ mean?

            1. Kids eh cuh


              As a native English speaker for many years I can see how this might confuse. It’s an expression more normally vocalised that written, and the inflection and accompanying headshake (which you can’t put on the page) adds enormously to the comprehension.

              Roughly translated, I interpret it to mean “Kids! I find it hard to believe that they could be so lucky nowadays, and yet still they remain unappreciative of the extent of their good fortune! What can we older people do to impress on them just how blessed they are?”

              As I said, it’s a rough translation…

        3. Arnoud van Houwelingen
          4th November 2016, 16:36

          I don’t know what 4 WDC titles have to do with what William said. I think everyone agrees that Vettel is a great driver that is not what William is trying to say here. He is just explaining why Vettel is frustated at the moment.

        4. Porsche ,Vettel rode the perfect wave with RB in vastly dom car, he has not won a WC in another team like the the greats in F1… Ric slapped Vets arse in 2014 and seb keep complaining about the car until Marko told him to shut up and learn to drive it, once again his team HAS in so many words has told him to lift his game..l think the only highlight of Sebs career l will remember is his win before his “ego” in the Torro in Monza in the wet with a ‘superb controlled drive’ ..kinda like Senna’s run in the toleman in Monaco…

    5. Whatever! It was still one of the best battles we’ve had this season. Good smart racing by all concerned, even if some ‘rules’ were stretched in the process.

      1. Good smart racing …. I mean, really?

    6. I think there is probably an element of truth to both sides of the story. We hear ‘brake test’ and we picture that tool that stamps on their brakes in front of us for no reason than to provoke a dangerous situation.

      What was probably more likely happening here was Verstappen was slowing down for the corners more than he needed to knowing how hard it is to pass regardless of how much extra pace you have as we saw with Perez who just couldn’t find any way past Massa. Verstappen was no doubt backing Vettel into Ricciardo knowing he could take the pressure off himself.

      And frankly, that’s a perfectly valid tactic. The gripe here is Verstappen keeping a position by leaving the track which he was handed a penalty for. Vettel then being classified behind him by moving under braking was his own doing.

      1. Yeah. Agreed. Very reasonable response here guys.

      2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        4th November 2016, 16:53


      3. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        4th November 2016, 16:57

        @philipgb Now I can agree with you on something. If Verstappen hadn’t cut the track, “brake testing” or taking an earlier braking point would have been a very valid way to help your teammate (I still remember Alonso passing Massa and Webber in Brazil 2012), but hell broke loose when Vettel’s engineer misinformed him, telling him that Race Control had already told Max to move aside.
        BTW, I don’t know if this is one of the real reasons for Vettel’s late “bad” performances (not bad, just not as they should be to be honest) is because his engineer can barely speak English!!!

        1. You do realize that’s the same engineer as he had last year when he won 3 races AND in 2008 when he won his first Italian GP.

    7. Consider that a F1 car slows down at about the rate a regular car can manage at a full blown emergency stop (about one g or 9,81 m/s^2) just by taking the foot of the gas due to the aerodynamic drag and you’ll understand that there is no need to actually touch the brakes in order to create some serious decceleration.

      If you take the speed and the closeness of the driving into account you’ll realize that there is just no margin in terms of reaction time for “real brake testing” in formula one – braking at an unexpectet moment would guarantee the car follwoing you to crash into you.

      That beings sad it is absolutely sufficient to just slightly take the foot of the gas a little earlier to surprise / disrupt the driver behind you and i have absolutely no doubt that’s something a driver like MV would know how to use to his advantage ;).

      1. Doesn’t the back light of an f1 start to blink when you lift as a warning?

        1. You say that as if it gives enough time to react in the perfect way in an unexpected place when you’re just meters behind at high speeds. But yeah, the light comes on in certain situations….

          1. Come on.. they are Formula1 racers.. Not granddad on the freeway.

    8. Who’s the cucumber now?

    9. By the way, going slowly through the corners, slower than necessary is a known tactic for an effective defense. It is NOT brake testing, which is very dangerous.

      1. It was a defence. The stewards have deemed it isn’t any longer. That is the only explanation I can see for Vettel getting a 10 second penalty when Ricciardo braked late and was off the racing line, and then bumped into Vettel, so the stewards decided Vettel was at fault for being on the racing line, braking at the right time, and was going at the right speed for that corner.

        1. Vettel was nowhere near the racing line when he scythed across the track to run into Ricciardo in the braking zone no less.

          1. Ric knowingly dived and wouldn never make that corner 1) without crashing into vettel properly, 2) without going out of the track!
            with that much speed and heavy breaking he barely made the corner while touching vettel! did you see it objectively? he was gonna make contact def! if vettel turned in normal (wide), in the least chance of a case if he made the corner, he would just park the car in midway like a bus stop!

            he didnt just touched bcoz vet did turn into corner in breaking zone… he had two cars space to side of him… they crashed bcoz of ric knowingly carried way too much speed (hence the smoking tyres and brakes), with that much brake he managed to slow down the car mid corner by then made contact!

    10. Antoon van Gemert
      4th November 2016, 14:23

      It’s just great to see how Max Verstappen forces already established F1-drivers to race hard. They just not used to it anymore and fail in attempting to pass him. Former worldchampion Kimi Raikkonen failed, three-times and still reigning worldchampion Lewis Hamilton failed, Nico Rosberg failed and four-times worldchampion Sebastian Vettel failed and turned into a hysteric drama-queen! Racing hard is what Max does since he stepped in his mini-kart so many years ago! And that will never change!
      It’s just unbelievable that a 18/19 year old kid must show what real racing is all about. The already established drivers should be ashamed of them self for having no answer than just criticizing him at every opportunity they can find to hide their own cowardice or incompetence to realy race hard on the track!

      Bernie Ecclestone: “Max is racing and that is what he supposed to do! The drivers in F1 are supposed to race each other”

      1. You’re right on the racing hard, but I hope we don’t see Max losing points or more due to his aggressiveness, if / when he’s fighting for a championship. He’s talented, but forgets too often that to “finish first” you need to “finish” first. Currently the competition isn’t playing as hard, because they need to re-learn it, but when they do, Max will end races prematurely. His defensive move on Kimi in Spa for instance could’ve meant a DNF for both, and a person heavily harmed… Hamilton backed of / took the escape route because the points for the championship were more important than the race-result, but if the cards were stacked the other way around, he would’ve tried to make the corner.

        1. [quote] He’s talented, but forgets too often that to “finish first” you need to “finish” first. [/qoute]
          Monaco he did al by himself and Austin was a gearbox failure. So till now he is quite good in finishing.

        2. Antoon van Gemert
          5th November 2016, 12:24

          Let’s hope Max will be in a position next year to fight for the championship and that the reign of Mercedes comes to an end! In that case he enters a new fase in his racing-career and your probable right that he has to consider the risks when fighting hard for the championship. But with cautious driving you can’t win it! Remember the championship fights of 1989/1990, between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna? The move of Prost in 1989 would now be considered ‘moving under braking’ and in 1990 Senna just did go for it, no matter the consequences and became Worldchampion. I fear that if Red Bull can fight for the championship next year, the battles between Verstappen en Ricciardo will be very hard and will effect their relationship as teammates. So, I think we have plenty to talk about next year. Just leave it to Max!

    11. I used to have a lot of respect for Vettel was a loong time fan of Ferrari. In just a few races it’s completely gone. I’m sure Vettel will behave in the remaining two races this season. I’m looking forward to see Max and Daniel in Sao Paulo!

    12. OH what we all forget.

      First L Hamilton straight lines turn one thru the grass. BIG advantage. This should be a 20 sec. penalty! No one says BOO!

      MAX, spoils the turn, goes slow, blocking/racing and allows his teammate to catch Vettle. Then Vettle and Daniel have a great run and the most artful dance under breaking. Vettle leaves the required room for Daniel. But no, Max can screw up and got less then deserved. Hamilton can cheat and all the focus is on Vettle. Who raced hard and gets 20 sec. for playing by the rules…

      I might as well be discussing HRClintons emails with the Justice department. The focus is misplaced.

      F1 Spec. Car Racing SUCKS the politics, massive rules and interference is killing the sport.

      1. VET got 10 seconds.
        5 seconds for VES is a normal penalty for gaining advantage. Nothing wrong there..

      2. To sum it up:
        Hamilton cheated and the only reason he dodged a penalty is to give him a chance to win the championship as he is the “face” of F1 according to Bernie. The last think Bernie and his cronies want to see is ROS winning a WDC. They don’t think he deserves it because HAM had bad luck while not acknowledging that if he hadn’t screwed up several starts he still would have a lead.

        Vestappen should have been penalized for both the start and holding up Vettel. F1 is giving him the keys as they think he will bring disgruntled fans back! He will be the next “face” of F1.

        Vettel got screwed. Ricciardo made a not so smart move and of course Vettel defended his position. If it were the other way around, it would have been perfectly fine. VET should have been penalized monetarily for his foul language but not for blocking.

        F1 is a microcosm of the EU.

        1. F1 is a microcosm of the EU.

          Ahh. that was HAMs Brexit then ;)

    13. Keith, you might want to remove this poster – turns out that the link that fastfred has put for his user profile is directing people towards a kitchen design store, indicating that he is a potential spammer.

    14. “no direct evidence of any brake testing was observed”
      What does that mean? There was indirect evidence? Or was there direct evidence but they didn’t observered it?

      1. The car Telemetry would show up such a behavior. Looking at the timesheet his times only dropped in the last round. So there is no evidence he did something other than defending his position. After the failed try Vettel lost it completely and his team even needed to point out not to lose to much time behind VES to avoid missing a potential 5 seconds penalty for VES by creating a to big gap.

        1. Btw brake testing ( hobby of FA) is i.e. when you brake earlier, on a unexpected place, harder than necessary with the aim to slow down the car behind you.
          These kind of actions will immediately show up in telemetry.

    15. What specifically is a “brake-test”?

      1. @deadchicken If a chicken crosses the road and you run it over, you failed the brake-test, however if the chicken survives you “brake-tested” it.

      2. Brake testing is an act where a front running driver deliberately lifts or brakes a fraction earlier than usual to upset an attacking driver. See Coulthard vs. Alonso on the Nurburgring in 2003 i.e.

    Comments are closed.