Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

Controversial pass on Raikkonen was “not correct”, Verstappen admits

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says his pass on Kimi Raikkonen on the final lap of the United States Grand Prix was his best of the year despite the fact it earned him a penalty.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2017
Poll: Did Verstappen deserve a penalty?
The Red Bull driver had all four wheels off the track when he passed Raikkonen for third place at turn 17 and was given a five-second time penalty which relegated him behind the Ferrari driver.

However Verstappen told his official website it remained his favourite move of the year. “This year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes,” he said. “With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights. Which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.”

Verstappen strongly criticised the penalty at the time, blaming “one idiot steward up there who always makes the decision against me.” However he says he has now made his peace with the decision.

“Of course, at first your initial reaction is something like: ‘Why? It was a great move'” he said. “But when you look at the rules, it was not correct.”

“Nothing was by the book that whole weekend. Drivers were getting off track without being penalised for it.”

“But you always need to focus on the positives: it was still a nice race and everyone enjoyed the excitement all the way down to the final lap. It’s always nice to be on the podium, but to finish fourth after having started sixteenth, is still a great result. It wasn’t as painful as most people thought it was. In the end I made my peace with it.”

2017 United States 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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  • 40 comments on “Controversial pass on Raikkonen was “not correct”, Verstappen admits”

    1. Oh wow, didn’t take long time at all for Verstappen to understand that!
      /sarcasm

      1. Lets hope his father is also now able to do the same. They both led an ugly chorus against one particular Aussie steward. An apology to him might be nice. Show that Max is maturing, even if Jos isn’t!!

      2. The thing is drivers need to push their side 100% at any given time. Charlie and the stewards have proven to be pretty unreliable and unpredictable when it comes to penalties. Stick to your guns and it might swing your way. There is nothing to do lose by making a claim even you yourself don’t believe in (see vettel’s incident in baku). Even better if you get the less smart people in the internet to shout for you.

        F1 is a lot about money. A driver simply admitting fault can cost millions of dollars to their employer if you lose the points and have to start next race from the back. Your team may even need to hire a new driver which against costs money. Plus once you confess the guilt will always follow you because of the public nature of the sport. If there is unclarity people can choose to believe driver x would never do such thing. But if a driver admits it it will only hurt himself as there is no denial anymore at that point.

        The worst thing you can do is confess. The situation is least likely to go your way then and you may even get additional penalties. Imagine if vettel had confessed he hit hamilton on purpose. It would have been race ban. Even fia would have been forced to given a penalty then. But when both drivers say different thing charlie can just look at it and say there is no clear picture here and then charlie can sigh in relief because he doesn’t need to do anything. Fia has said they don’t want to interfere in the championship battle. Fia will out of their way to avoid giving a penalty no matter how clear the situation is. There were some occasions when hamilton blocked someone on qualifying lap. Only way hamilton gets a penalty is if he confesses he was in the way. Fia doesn’t want to give penalty.

        Driver confessing is the thing nobody wants to hear. If a driver really wants to confess they can do it at later time. Just like senna did with prost, just like schumacher did with hill or like verstappen did it now.

        1. Yeah, fight for every point at all costs – don’t need to make friends, etc. “Senna and Schumacher were ruthless too…..”

          But Max is so good that he can probably even afford to be a decent guy at this point.

          Considering how mature he is already, I’d say he can end up being a bit unique that he won’t need to pull any antics to be a 5x champion.

        2. @socksolid, even if we accept that Max was pushing the limits of the stewarding in order to try and gain an advantage, there is a difference between simply refuting the reason for getting a penalty and whipping up a hate campaign against someone, or abusing them by using derogatory terms for somebody who is mentally disabled (the quote above cut out the part where he called the steward a “mongoloid”, a derogatory term for somebody with Down Syndrome).

          1. Im pretty sure thats not what Verstappen ment but lets overreact to everything.

          2. He called him “mongool”, this is a pretty normal curse word in Holland.

            1. @anunaki, outside of the Netherlands, the term carries a much more negative and derogatory connotation than it may have to the Dutch.

              @rethla, from the context of what was being said in that interview, he was intentionally using the term to imply that Connelly was mentally disabled for penalising him. He did eventually withdraw that remark, but only after a Down Syndrome charity complained about his comments.

            2. @anon

              from the context of what was being said in that interview, he was intentionally using the term to imply that Connelly was mentally disabled for penalising him

              I do not concur. In the Netherlands the word “mongool” is just another insulting word similar to “lunatic” or “idiot”. Sure, it is also used as a disdainful word for a person with Down Syndrome, but when you use it as Verstappen did, you only use it as an insult. Nothing more, nothing less.

    2. Ilegal or not, it was a great pass.

      1. I’m sure many drivers could do a “great pass” if it was illegal. Just cut the corners:D But maybe most don’t do this because they know they will be penalised. One reason why I couldn’t personally call Verstappen’s pass great.

        1. @thegianthogweed To me it was a great pass, maybe even one of the best this season. It just really annoyed me that Verstappen couldn’t accept that he literally was out of bounds. You take a shot, you may fail. Accept it and try again next time.

        2. It was still a shame that he got called out for an illegal pass when others did not…

          1. None else did exactly the same thing at that same point though. And I don’t think it was clear during that race that anyone else got an overtake done by cutting a corner which actually ended up being an advantage.

          2. @maddme
            Nonsense. No one else overtook with all four wheels off the track.

            1. @nase…

              Really? No one else overtook with 4 wheels off the track? Are you certain about that?

            2. @maddme
              Yes. That race has been analysed to death, and it’s one of the definitive observations.
              The only other situation that saw a car leave the track while possibly gaining an advantage in a wheel to wheel fight involved Bottas and Ricciardo on lap 4. But there are two major differences to the Verstappen-Räikkönen incident:
              – Bottas didn’t leave the track on his own, he was forced off the track by Ricciardo;
              – Bottas didn’t overtake Ricciardo, he just managed to stay ahead

            3. @nase.. there’s supporting evidence for the situation where Kimi pushed Max of the track His sudden movement was something VER reacted on and left the track.. It was not an intentional cutting the corner!

        3. @thegianthogweed, a precedent had already been set a few years ago by Grosjean, where he went around the outside of another driver at the Hungarian GP at Turn 4 – it was a move that was visually impressive, but at the same time he could only make the move stick by going off the track at Turn 4 and completing the move across the run off area.

          The end result was that Grosjean received a penalty for passing another driver by cutting the track – and at the time most, if not pretty much everyone, begrudgingly accepted that, whilst it had been an impressive move, it was the correct decision.

        4. @Ben Rowe let me say this in a nice way; No not everyone had pull off such a great pass. Briljant, exceptionnel (athletes) drivers find solutions as this pass. That’s why they are briljant and that’s why we regonize those drivers as a driver who is above the rest. MV, in his young career, can edit a videotape with his greatest moves longer then most drivers after a full career. Moves were people are still talking about in 25 years (Spa, Brazil, Silverstone, China et etc etc)
          Ok he cross the lines but don’t say everybody had pull that off. Just enjoy the racecraft of a ones in a lifetime talent.
          And btw; i don’t give a ….. whether he becomes a WDC or not but he is the main reason why i turn the TV on for F1.

    3. How can a driver defend against a pass that breaks the rules? Ergo, not a great pass.

      1. It was masterfully done.

        1. Taking a shortcut is not doing anything ‘masterfully’. It was about as masterful as Sainz punting off Stroll in Bahrain.

          1. Dont put Stroll and masterful in the same sentence please.

      2. In 2015 that same driver won “FIA action of the year” award with an overtake on Nasr where he went with all 4 wheels off track.

        Although of course it was on the outside of the corner and everybody knows that when you go off track on the outside of a corner you don’t gain an advantage /s

        1. Only charlie whiting does!

    4. None of these guys got to be where they are by being good at staying inside white lines. They’ve gotten here by exploiting every last bit tarmac available better than others. Instances like this will keep happening as long as track boundaries are defined by arbitrary lines rather than by physical limits in one from or another.

      1. The track limits are defined by the white lines, if a driver cannot work that out they deserve to be penalised.
        Perhaps they should replace the white lines with tyre spikes.

        1. Or we could just be rational and try to think of plausible ways that things can be done better, especially since we’re talking about intense racing and painted lines as a limit are frankly a joke when drivers are fighting things out in the heat of the action. Tracks ought to be designed in such a way that going beyond what is the actual track makes you go slower. In any sport, the more you leave things to interpretation, the more controversy you’re inviting down the road and if we keep going with white lines we will probably end up one day with a championship being decided on replay by stewards checking whether a wheel was or was not a millimetre outside a line.

          1. Michael Brown (@)
            18th December 2017, 2:24

            The track limits regulations are actually pretty solid. The problem is the enforcement. Charlie Whiting is of the opinion that an advantage is gained when track limits are broken to shorten the distance of the lap. He’s fine with track extending, even if it results in a faster lap time.

            Arbitrary lines? In Hungary 2016 where they declared that the track limits were not in fact the white lines, but half a metre beyond them. That’s arbitrary.

            We can agree that going off the track needs to be punishing.

      2. Max did a pretty solid work at Interlagos in 2016, always inside the limits of the track. But he almost crashed just by touching the white lines. That’s a well designed track limits.

    5. I’ve watched this pass many times and no matter how many times I’ve seen it, I can only say, stewards were right, it was illegal. But man, was it exciting. Just have a look at it again. The whole thing was over in under half a second. He saw it, he took it, Bammm. I can remember, while watching live, I thought it was a brilliant move. Damn those all seeing camera’s.

    6. I personally think this pass isn’s at impressive as people make it out to be. It is quite possible that any driver could have done the same. But maybe they knew it could result if chopping to much of the corner off. I guess the penalty for doing this would only be tiny so if Verstappen had pulled ahead enough of Raikonnen, it will have worked out. But drivers still shouldn’t break the rules. I just can’t see an overtake which only happened due to driving off track and cutting the corner as impressive. Especially as a penalty was given.

    7. This is a telling remark:
      This year I actually didn’t have that many overtakes,” he said. “With this car you are actually only able to overtake on the straights. Which is really not that satisfying compared to last year.
      – Max Verstappen

    8. To Charlie’s assertion that he only enforces track cutting where it shortens the lap, why do they then paint white lines on the outside? Honestly, they could get away with painting half the white lines and call it F1’s latest cost-cutting measure. Or paint the outer lines green for a dual symbolism of F1 is now green (yay!) and green = good to cut.

      I don’t blame Max for his attempt – it also enlivened the finishing stages of the race – because the inconsistencies in stewarding means that you might get lucky at times due to it, leading to drivers pushing their luck.

    9. It’s certainly not as simple as ‘applying the rules’… in this certain case there’s more than just ‘cutting a corner’.
      The rule ‘gaining an advantage going outside track’ does apply, but in some way you could also apply ‘forcing a drive of track’ as Raikkonen did not ‘leave a cars width on the inside’.

      I do think the move itself was outside the rules, but if the stewards apply ‘gaining an advantage going outside track’ than according to this same rule both Wehrlein and Hamilton Q3 run should have been disqualified.. that includes the pole-lap! In the race many drivers went of track… especially Bottas fending off Ricciardo was worth a penalty, and Sainz on Perez was not legit either.

      But the stewards came with an explanation which, to my opinion, really lost all credibility…
      The stewards explained Verstappen had ‘cut the corner’ and that was ‘gaining an advantage’…. So when Hamilton took to much speeds and overshooting the next corner going outside of the trach was not gaining an advantage…?
      Bottas going very wide… like a detour, to keep Ricciardo behind wad not gaining an advantage…?

      It was the same as in Mexico 2016, Hamilton and Rosberg got away with doing the very same thing Verstappen did, the same steward judged the situation, I think Verstappen lost controle cause the stewards lost controle, which is francly quite logic.

      1. Matn: The stewards were lenient with gaining advantage when:
        – People wend wide
        – The advantage was in time or to hold position.

        Gaining advantage by overtaking someone when cutting a corner is a different matter. At least to the stewards and to me that makes sense.

        1. They only came with the “it’s OK to go wide” nonsense after that situation. Before drivers would get penalized just as much for going wide. They gain time by going wide too. It’s complete nonsense to pretend drivers go wide on purpose to lose time.

          Really, only Charlie Whiting is that dumb.

    10. Controversial? Not at all, he made it controversial, absolute textbook cutting track.

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