Max Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel, Suzuka, 2018

Verstappen: Vettel’s Suzuka pass attempt was impossible

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says Sebastian Vettel’s overtaking moves at Suzuka’s Spoon Curve only worked on Ferrari-powered drivers who let him pass.

The pair tangled when Vettel tried to dive down the inside of the Red Bull driver at the quick double left-hander. Verstappen said he tried to allow Vettel extra space but giving him any more would have meant driving off the track.

“He had more horsepower than me so of course he arrives faster [at the corner]. But I was braking at the same point and doing exactly the same, even leaving a little bit more space because I could see in the mirror he was diving on the inside.

“I knew it was going to go wrong because that corner as soon as you go on the inside and you try to overtake someone, what should the other person do, run off the track? So I tried to leave him space but of course when you have such a narrow angle into the corner with such high speed you’re always going to understeer.”

Vettel had already overtaken Romain Grosjean heading into the corner earlier in the race, but Verstappen believes the Haas driver backed down.

“All the Ferrari-powered cars moved out of the way for him. But I’m not moving out of the way, we were fighting for position. He did overtake afterwards but all those guys just let him go by and it was way earlier.

“He wanted to go next to me when I was always braking into the corner. And of course he arrives a lot faster because I was clipping and a lot slower. But you can’t pass, especially us, we have the fastest car through the corners, so it’s not possible.”

Vettel said he intended to speak to Verstappen privately about the collision. “I’ll probably speak to him at one point,” said Verstappen. “It’s not really necessary in one way because from my side it was quite clear.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 55 comments on “Verstappen: Vettel’s Suzuka pass attempt was impossible”

    1. Bright thoughts and clear mind to handle the meeting between them to disolve this dispuut.

      1. @macleod well, we’ve seen plenty of overtakes in spoon. This just happened to be a rather clumsy maneuver, so in that sense I agree.
        Although, I think Max overselling that point. What he did say that I thought sting harder was how other Ferrari drivers let him by. It was pathetic. No the first time they’ve done that this season either.

      2. thought vettel was mature and know how to sort out issues on track like men do :) like a boss in baku 2017

    2. Vettel had already overtaken Romain Grosjean heading into the corner earlier in the race, but Vettel believes the Haas driver backed down.

      should be Verstappen?

      Did he say the same at the time, what is the point of asking him again the same question? The season for RBR is over, better start asking question for 19

    3. Sebastian always has brainfarts at critical moments of championship and he certainly seems to love those brainfarts. Just another case of shortsighted decisions and naive thinking like every other midfield driver Verstappen will just move over to let her royal highness of castrated horses pass.

      1. You mean like in 2009 to 2013? Not like for instance Lewis in 07, 08 and 10 at critical moments.

        1. Such a poor defence to mention other drivers @kpcart

          What’s Vettel having poor moments got to do with Hamilton ? But of course you can’t seem to defend Vettel without trying to bring another driver down… Why not try defend Vettel on his good points instead of trying to justify his mistakes by saying other drivers make mistakes too ? Pathetic discussion skills.

        2. How does this comment advance the discussion…?

        3. OK I’ll bite: ’07 was his rookie season and that was as much a team mistake as driver error, ’08 he still won, so he lost nothing and in ’10 it was only due to Red Bull unreliability and Vettel driving into other people that Hamilton was in the championship fight in the first place. Seb should have walked away with it that year but still almost lost it.

          On the other hand, Seb cost himself a shot in ’09 and has fluffed his lines for the past two years in the Ferrari. Time and again it seems that when Seb is put under pressure, he cracks. Even for someone who isn’t a multiple WDC, he has had far, far too many comings together over the past two seasons. Contrast that with Lewis who has tempered his more reckless tendencies from earlier in his career and seems to take a more championship-minded view when considering these low-percentage moves or fighting those with no stake in the title.

          1. TomD11 – thanks for the bite – logical and without being vindictive…

    4. and you try to overtake someone, what should the other person do, run off the track?

      That was his reasoning for the incident with Bottas in Monza, that he should have gone off the track. Verstappen’s petulence and stubbornness are far beyond grating at this point.

      1. Bottas wasn’t defending, he was attacking.
        Verstappen rhetorically asks what the ‘defender’ should do!

        If you want to argue ‘petulence’ (SIC) or ‘stubbornness’, then at least pick a correct example :P

        1. In wheel to wheel it is the same, and verstappen didn’t need to run off the track, but rather give 30cm more space. Verstappen is the king of blocking at high speed, one day it will be his downfall, he will get seriously injured because he thinks he can fo whatever he wants on the track. His arrogance stinks

          1. F1 is not slotcar racing.

          2. kpcart – this comment at least explains the equally useless comment you made above… lol.

          3. Vettel could never make the corner by staying in the inside all the time so 30cm wouldn’t make any difference. Max also has to turn in to make the corner on very high speed.

          4. I don’t know if Max’s style of driving will be his downfall, but everyone on the grid knows what Max is like. So why pick a fight when you’re driving to keep your WDC hopes alive?

      2. Jeroen Scholte
        19th October 2018, 14:22

        No, that was not his argument in Monza. His argument was het left Bottas enough space.

    5. I doubt the drivers of the Ferrari PU-customer teams let him go. At least, it didn’t look like that, but they weren’t the only drivers Seb overtook into Spoon. He passed Mercedes-customer team drivers as well as the STRs.

      1. They didn’t let him go, grosjean said vettel didn’t need to fo his risky pass where he did.

        1. So… are you anti-VER or VET – it’s difficult to follow your line of reasoning with these brief retorts…

          1. @BlackJackFan I can tell I’m going to get along fine with you lol.

    6. I’m with Max on his take on the incident.

      1. @robbie 100% right on this incident, including the Ferrari-powered drivers backing down. 100% wrong about his (mild) penalty for driving back on track and into Raikkonen.

      2. I’m no Max fan, but I agree with him too. Foolish attempt by Vettel.

      3. Montoya overtook Barichello at spoon in 2003

    7. If I were Vettel, I would raise the following points:
      – Is it that the other drivers made it too easy for Vettel? or Is it that Max made it too difficult? I can’t say
      – According to Max there were two options: clash or run off. He chose clash. I think is riskier
      – The other drivers did not run off the track while at the same time being overtaken

      1. I would word it differently. SV could ask himself if that was the best time and place to attempt that pass, since it resulted in a clash. As the guy coming from behind, SV was more in control of the situation and didn’t have to take the risk he did, nor should he have assumed that the leading driver was just going to accommodate whatever he (SV) did. The leading driver has his mirrors, but the trailing driver has full view of the situation. Of course SV’s main motivation was that LH was running away from him, but he should also know by now that Max is never going to make it easy, and nor should he. Max didn’t just have the two options to clash or run off. He chose the third option to stay the course on the line he had already committed to, and SV understeered into him.

        1. The pass was on, any race driver including verstappen would try it. Verstappen pinched him too hard in the apex, he’s the dirtiest defender in f1, and one day someone is going to get hurt (hopefully max to teach his arrogance a lesson). Seriously you don’t pinch other drivers at apex that huge speed! At low speed yes, but not at that speed. No respect for other drivers in the race as usual.

          1. You hope Max will get hurt? Please take a chill pill, because you are getting very sebvet now. As much as I dislike some drivers, they still all deserve at least my respect and I hope none of them ever gets hurt.
            It would be funny if Vettel brakes his index finger though.

          2. So, kpfart – are you saying it’s all right to do this at low speed…? Or just not all right when VER does it.
            Or are you just a troll – seems to be going either way at the moment… lol.

          3. If you are really hoping ver hurts himself you have no place on this forum. We all have our likes and dislikes but we don’t wish harm on people. I grew up around race tracks and saw some terrible things. Senna made me cry. Be as annoyed as you want but that’s one too far

        2. Vettel did not understeer into Verstappen. At the moment of contact he is off the track on the inside because Verstappen didn’t leave racing room:

          https://i.imgur.com/MLLnDu9.jpg

          1. Spot on – thank you for the picture, @pedrocr

        3. I agree it was a bad call from Vettel knowing how hard Max defends.
          My points were meant to reply the Max’s arguments in this article.
          I don’t think Vettel understeered.
          I think the third option you mention is the same as the clash option, ie. Max can not ignore there is car alongside trying to overtake.

    8. I’ve watched it many times, and it was not impossible, it was just that verstappen only gave one car width, and then a bit less at apex. Show a bit more respect in wheel to wheel max, you both could have made it through if you gave one foot more space, and max could have kept the place. Verstappen has serious double standards. What did Senna say? If you don’t go for a gap, then you are no longer a racing driver, vettel fairly went for a gap but verstappen closed off the apex too much, I think verstappen deserved to be punted out of the race right there, but he managed to keep going.

      1. Obviously biased, and that’s ok, that’s part of fandom. SV in your mind has no responsibility to keep it ‘respectful’ as evidenced by his overcooking it and understeering into Max, and to you that is up to Max to accommodate. Max was in control of his car and was leading into that corner and SV was not, as too much speed had him understeering.

        1. kpfart – I doubt Senna was referring to gaps that were highly likely to close at any moment… ;)

        2. Vettel did not overcook anything and understeer. At the point of contact he was outside the track on the inside:

          https://i.imgur.com/MLLnDu9.jpg

      2. You mean what Senna said when questioned about deliberately crashing out Prost? I’m not sure that should stand as gospel for racing conduct.

        1. @philipgb Thank you! It’s a source of perpetual frustration to me when people misuse that quote to try and justify a particular driver attempting a low-percentage move that doesn’t come off.

    9. There’s also the point made by Peter Windsor (whose YouTube site I’ve just discovered, love it) that Verstappen has his own unique driving style and drifts a bit wide at the corner to angle back in. As he says, Vettel should know that and take it into account, as much for his own sake. Likewise the fact that Verstappen doesn’t give any quarter. He (Vettel) could have tried a pass later in the lap. Just bad decision making and too desperate, even accepting that he thought he had to chase down Hamilton and Bottas as quickly as possible. I don’t think Verstappen did anything wrong.

      And that Senna quote plain annoys me. Aside from being virtually worthless as every talentless driver in every series uses it as an excuse, it’s also fundamentally flawed by the example of the great man himself. Any racing driver worth his salt will equally defend an attempted pass like Vettel’s robustly. Can you imagine Senna giving way to Vettel at that corner? Of course not!

      1. (sorry, response to kpcart)

        1. But good response, though…

      2. Verstappen didn’t leave racing room at the apex to an attacker that was more than half-way alongside. If you think he’s entitled to do that then we will be getting these accidents forever. The general accepted practice is that he needs to give racing room in these situations and so Vettel knowing he drives differently is irrelevant. At that point Vettel has forced Vertsappen’s hand and caused a situation where Verstappen has to deviate from his ideal line. That’s the whole point of overtaking manoeuvrers. I’ve yet to see an argument for why Verstappen not being penalized for this, let alone this being Vettel’s fault.

        1. A Ferrari can not pass a Redbull in spoon. It is physically impossible and Vettel should have known that.

          1. Do you have any actual reason why that’s the case? We didn’t get to see it play out because Verstappen crashed into Vettel before we could know what would happen. Maybe Vettel would have actually understeered later and not be able to make the move stick but I doubt it. The move seemed practically done when Verstappen decided to try and close the door too late and crashed.

    10. Again? Do we have to stir this up again? We know Max his opinion, we know Seb his opinion and we’ve read about a thousand opinions of other people. This happened two weeks ago, what more is there to say about it?

      1. Probably nothing. It’s seems people just want to have an argument today

        1. It seems some people just want everyone to agree with them, instead of attempting to have a debate… ;)
          You notice how these provocative people rarely return to defend their sententious pontification… :)

    11. The only way that pass was on was if the guy ahead backed down. The driver ahead was Verstappen.

      I know he’s relatively new but don’t F1 drivers learn the characters of their rivals and adapt their attacks if necessary? You’d maybe, if you were very desperate, try that move from that position on a driver you had identified as a laid-back defender, but never in a million years would you try it on Verstappen…

      1. True that, verstappen is always a risk whether he tries to overtake you or you do, especially atm, he has nothing to lose and is only on it for wins and podiums since red bull’s engine isn’t good enough to be a real title contending car.

    12. Max is too young to think he might be at the same position/pressure Vettel currently has ..someday he needs Vettel to get out of the way and karma is bitch.

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