Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Interlagos, 2018

Verstappen’s ruined masterpiece becomes Hamilton’s latest triumph

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix review

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Basking in the glory of his 10th victory of 2018, and a fifth consecutive constructors’ championship for his team, Lewis Hamilton referred to this final laps of the Brazilian Grand Prix as “how racing should be.”

It’s easy to feel positive about a race you’ve just won of course. Max Verstappen, sitting to Hamilton’s right in the post-race press conference, no doubt saw it differently.

The Red Bull driver had dazzled the Interlagos crowd two years earlier with his overtaking prowess in the rain. This time on a dry track he arguably outstripped that, passing all four of the rivals who started ahead of him and taking what looked like a commanding lead in the race.

But a lap 44 collision with a backmarker – his F3 and karting rival Esteban Ocon – turned the race on its head in dramatic fashion.

Verstappen swiftly takes second

On paper, the biggest threat to Hamilton’s pole-sitting Mercedes in the race should have come from Ferrari. But they were on the back foot even before the race began. A sensor fault was diagnosed on Sebastian Vettel’s car, and the driver who started second on the grid had to grapple with balance problems for the rest of the afternoon.

Start, Interlagos, 2018
Mercedes played the team game at the start
Nor was Vettel second for long. The Mercedes drivers have choreographed their starts brilliantly this year and this was no exception. “I was pretty happy with my start then I had nowhere to go,” said Vettel. “Lewis was quite early to help Valtteri [Bottas] on the outside.”

Unlike the Mercedes and Red Bulls, both Ferraris started on the soft compound tyres and therefore were slower away from the line. Verstappen also got around the outside of Kimi Raikkonen for fourth place but Raikkonen saw it coming and lined Verstappen up perfectly for a re-pass down the Reta Oposta he was well alongside as they reached Subido do Lago and Verstappen ceded the place as they rounded the left-hander.

So as lap two began it seemed Hamilton had his team mate as a useful buffer against the Ferraris, whose harder tyres surely made them the greater long-term threat to his hopes of winning. Thanks to Verstappen, that wasn’t how it turned out at all.

At the end of the lap – before DRS was enabled, Verstappen got a good enough run up the hill towards the start/finish area to prompt Raikkonen into covering the inside line. Around the outside the Red Bull went, up into fourth place.

The next time around Vettel did the other Ferrari. Both drivers had DRS activated – Vettel running close behind Bottas – but Verstappen braked deep on the inside, clambered all over the kerb at turn one, and the Ferrari made way.

Was this the Ferrari drivers struggling on their soft tyres and falling prey to Verstappen’s opportunism? For a while that seemed to be the case, as he settled in behind Bottas. Meanwhile Vettel ran wide at Subido do Lago, allowing Raikkonen into fourth.

Within a few laps Bottas’s super-softs were beginning to fade. Verstappen stalked him and the still-quicker Ferraris were there too. As lap 10 began Verstappen sniffed out the inside line for turn one again: three down, one to go, and Hamilton was less than two seconds up the road.

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Verstappen out-lasts the Ferraris

Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Interlagos, 2018
Verstappen fought his way to the front
Back in third, Bottas defended his position more firmly from Raikkonen than he had from Verstappen. Clearly, Mercedes’ objective was to keep Ferrari behind and clinch the teams’ championship. having seen off an initial threat from Raikkonen by lap 14, Bottas managed his pace but fell to seven seconds behind Hamilton by the 17th lap.

During this time Daniel Ricciardo appeared at the tail of the queue. He had started 11th on used super-softs and picked off one rival per lap until he reached sixth.

On lap 18 Ferrari were in the pits but no one came in. Next time around Bottas dived in for a set of medium tyres, the intention being he would run to the end. But his lack of pace in the first stint was highlighted by the fact he came out behind Charles Leclerc and the Haas drivers in ninth place.

Hamilton came in on the next lap, his front-left tyre’s inside shoulder looking angry. He also hadn’t built up quite enough of a lead to clear the midfield and had to pass Grosjean and Leclerc as he brought his medium compound rubber up to temperature.

The first to react to the Mercedes drivers’ pit stops was… no one. Ferrari had to keep their soft tyres going to make their strategy work. And Verstappen, as in Austin and Mexico City, was getting excellent life from his tyres.

Verstappen took his super-soft tyres to half distance, his pace more than a pace for the Ferrari pair, who gave up on their harder rubber before he came in. Vettel pitted first, followed by Raikkonen four laps later. This meant Vettel leapfrogged his team mate, but they traded places again on lap 35 after Jock Clear came on the radio and told Vettel it was “critical” to let his team mate by.

Verstappen came in at the end of that lap. He hadn’t quite managed to ‘overcut’ Hamilton, but the two-and-a-half seconds between them when he rejoined was quickly reduced to nothing. Hamilton’s struggles were rooted in an exhaust problem, at one stage, Mercedes feared was about to cause a terminal failure.

With fresher tyres and DRS, Verstappen nosed ahead of Hamilton as they began lap 40. Before the weekend began Verstappen had flatly rejected the possibility of Red Bull challenging for victory on a dry track. “This was much better than expected to be honest,” he said afterwards. “I expected to be good in the race but not this good.” But it was all about to go wrong.

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“Every now and then it bites you”

Esteban Ocon, Max Verstappen, Interlagos, 2018
Ocon went for a gap…
While Verstappen had been passing Raikkonen on lap one, Ocon went into the first corner last after a gearbox change penalty and a sluggish start. He set about passing Stoffel Vandoorne, the Williams pair and Brendon Hartley, then gained four more places from others who pitted.

Nico Hulkenberg’s lap 32 demise with a power unit problem made Ocon an outside contender for points. But having stretched his first set of soft tyres to 40 laps – longer than anyone bar Kevin Magnussen – he was in need of fresh rubber.

Ocon rejoined the track a lap down with the race leader in sight. But Verstappen was nursing his tyres to the end of the race while Ocon was pressing on with his super-softs, needing to cement his advantage over Hartley and Carlos Sainz Jnr, who were due to stop again. On his 42nd lap he was half a second quicker than Verstappen.

Force India urged him to get by the race leader so he wouldn’t lose time. On the next lap Ocon was close enough to Verstappen to open his DRS.

This put Verstappen, who had already acknowledge on the radio that Ocon was getting close, in something of a quandary. Should he let Ocon through and risk being held up later by a car which was only likely to be quicker than him for a few laps? Or should he try to keep Ocon behind?

Esteban Ocon, Max Verstappen, Interlagos, 2018
…which disappeared
Verstappen chose the latter, and covered off the inside line as they approached turn one. Ocon clung to his outside and the F3 rivals of 2014 were briefly reunited in a tussle for position. Except they really weren’t: As race director Charlie Whiting made clear afterwards, Ocon was not supposed to be “fighting” Verstappen.

That made a collision which, had they been racing for position, might have been viewed as a 50-50 racing incident, into one of those ‘what was he thinking?’ moments. Verstappen was apoplectic. Hamilton, who cruised back into the lead, saw it differently.

“He passed us like we were a sitting duck at one stage, but obviously they made a mistake and that brought us back into contention.” Hamilton, who had his own run-in with the uncompromising Verstappen in Bahrain, said he would have handled Ocon differently.

“I saw them racing but they weren’t racing for the same position. I would have been in a different frame of mind. Fortunately he was able to keep going, no one got hurt, it’s a racing incident I guess. Max is that go-getter guy and every now and then it bites you.”

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Mercedes clinch constructors’ championship

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2018
Mercedes staved off engine failure to seal their fifth title
Bottas and Vettel both succumbed to second stops: the former having been passed by Raikkonen, the latter after losing an entertaining scrap for fifth with Ricciardo. Ferrari needed to take points off Mercedes to stay in the championship hunt, but with Hamilton winning, the constructors’ title stayed in Brackley for a fifth year.

While Ericsson succumbed to the effects of first-lap contact with Magnussen, Leclerc claimed a ‘best of the rest’ victory for Sauber in seventh. That all-but ended Haas’s hopes of beating Renault to fourth in the constructors’ championship, as eighth and ninth for Grosjean and Magnussen leaves them 24 points shy of their rivals.

Sergio Perez came in a lapped 10th after a quiet end to his race. This was because Gasly, on a well-used set of mediums, held his rivals back for many laps. This included his team mate, despite Toro Rosso repeatedly telling Gasly to wave him by.

They lost so much time they were almost caught by Vandoorne and Ocon. Both received penalties: Ocon served his 10-second stop-go in the race for hitting Verstappen, while Vandoorne’s post-race five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags dropped him to 15th behind the Force India.

Fernando Alonso received the same penalty as his team mate in a desperate penultimate grand prix. A plan to switch to the medium compound tyres early was ruined by a slow pit stop.

“How racing should be, really”

Verstappen pressed on in pursuit of Hamilton over the final laps despite heavy damage to his car. “The cut-outs you have on the side of the floor, that whole area was completely gone so it was pretty bad. I lost a lot of downforce.

“I had to lock a lot of tools on the steering wheel but that was still not enough. But still the car was quick. We could have been much faster, for sure.”

Hamilton still had engine problems of his own, but he had just enough in hand to stablilise a slim, 1.4 second lead over Verstappen with three laps to go. “I was constantly talking to the car, ‘come on, keep going, keep going’, because we had this engine problem and I knew I could see Max just in my mirrors.

“I was doing qualifying laps every lap to keep him behind, which is how racing should be, really, anyway. Unfortunately that’s not the case a lot of the time this year.”

After Mexico it was a welcome outbreak of genuine racing. Had it not been for what happened after the chequered flag, it would have been a great advert for Formula 1.

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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...

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91 comments on “Verstappen’s ruined masterpiece becomes Hamilton’s latest triumph”

  1. Max needs to be given some lesson or penalty as his behaviour is continuing to get worse both on and off track.

    On track he is developing a Maldonado-like reputation where he is fast but very accident prone. Numerous times he clashed this season alone, ruining other’s races and pretty much got away without any penalities.

    If we have 20 Max on the track, i imagine there would be carnage every race. With only 2 or 3 finishihg the race.

    Its quite visible that even the top drivers like Lewis and Vettel, think twice when racing Max, because he is maldonado-like and take too many risks which the top drivers dont take. I doubt he would be winning championships if he goes on like this.

    In Singapore Lewis lost 4 seconds getting by the backmarker coz he didn’t want to take unnecessary risks. Its the leader who has the most to lose in this situation and as Lewis said post race to Max, that he should have just given him a bit more space and none of this would have happened.

    Hope MAXimum VERSTubborn learns from this.

    1. Did you just copy and paste the same message you posted on the opinions article into this one? What’re you playing at? You’re obviously seeking attention, and rest assured Max isn’t going to see your comment.

      1. im glad he did. i didnt see the other one

    2. Lewis = G.O.D. and for Max we come up with different chlidish nicknames… after that we label HIM as immature.
      Nearly all these Lewis fan posts are the same…and it’s getting pretty boring…

      F1 is losing fans due to boring races, Mercedes has been the most dominant team throughout history, Hamilton won 4, Rosberg 1 title… losing that one title kind of takes away the G.O.D. status for me… he is beatable and he pretty well knows there’s a driver on the grid capable of it…. given equal machinery. Until then Max needs to take risk… people don;t seem to understand you’ll finish 4th (Ricciardo) if you don;t take risks being in the 5/6th best car on the grid.

      Being in that 5/6th best car, Max scored the most points after Lewis since Monaco… yet the Hamilton fans keep insisting he does not have what it takes…and they are right, at this given moment in time Max lack’s that competitve car.

      1. if 1 is losing fans due to boring races than you dont penalize drivers for being on different strategies at different points in the race, and you make sure that the guy who wants MORE RACING, doesn’t ask for LESS RACING when it comes to his win with a dominant car.

      2. 5/6th best car… almost emptied my stomach! lol… a car that can overtake a mercedes car in a straight is now a bad car… yes they had so much lagging behind before, but come on, their engine is not lacking so much as before… these comments trying to make max look good in a bad car to raise him as a hero is more comical then mercedes saying they had so much problem… most of redbull dnfs were not entirely PU related, yet they always portray renault as the weak link… lets see this super max/redbull next year with a honda pu… before ric announced his plan, he was clearly and easily overcoming this super max, yet lately he only gets a dnf… or half engine power… ric is overall a better package then max will ever be… not saying he is not talented, he is just too damn stubborn and reckless! Now he is one step more in to a new territory of behaviour!

        1. Plscdude stop making a comllete tool out of yourself

          1. Oh look JI, you’re saying exactly the same thing to @mysticus now, only with worse spelling!

            I agree entirely with Matn that it’s necessary to take risks to win (and I’m guessing 5/6th best car translates as 3rd best car on the grid, out of 10 not 20?). But there’s only a point in taking risks if it advances your race. Risking a collision with a back marker was not a necessary risk to take. mysticus is right about Red Bull now being on the pace in recent races. In fact they’ve had sporadic chances all year. I’m a Max fan but he’s still far from the complete package and – just to provoke some ire – I’d say Hamilton arrived more fully formed, as proven by his near win of the championship in 2007 and win in his second year. Max has had 4 years and still looks a rookie. Just young still? I don’t know, Leclerc isn’t far off and seems far more mature. More a question of his style and attitude. I’m also not entirely convinced Verstappen’s spatial awareness is the same level as Hamilton’s. Certainly his speed and car control is up there.

      3. Amen. You hit yhr nail onis head. Only on this board and reddlt pee accuse the racelaeder when the was takennlut by a backmarker. If this was Lewis, WW3 with another Normandie invasion would start with all Lewis his fanboys coming out of the boats firts. Hypocrite if you ask me

      4. Ill bet if this was Lewis, WW3 would have started with his fandudes starting to siege Normandie

  2. I hope Verstappen has learnt, albeit the hard way that it’s better to lose a corner and win the race than the other way around even when you have the “right” to that corner. And no one would think of him any less because of it.

    With potentially better Honda engine next season, he needs that maturity.

    1. Knowing its Horner and Marko mentoring Max, he wont learn. Also the penalty is just too linient for an arrogant person to learn from mistakes. This year alone when he has been penalised his statements to this penalties have quite telling of the arrogance he has bred inside him.

      1. helmuts remarks today clearly show that this could likely be the case. How Helmut straight up lies about ocons tires and his pace is frustrating. I really wanted to not dislike Helmut. I bet he is playing the sort of cynical politics that rely on the f1 fan to forget or forgive his actions. And im sure most of us will forget them, only to be reminded.

        1. To be fair, RBR are doing their part to make F1 more ‘Road Relevant’ – with their Red Bully Road Rage.

        2. It just wasn’t Marko but during a post race interview Horner said: Esteban was lucky to get away with a push, to be honest with you. Emotions are running high. So I guess both Team Principal and Consultant of RBR are quite bad at mentoring their young drivers. It’s not just Max but also their previous protégé – Vettel(and Buemi RBR young driver program so more under Marko than Horner) presenting similar arrogant behaviour both behind the wheel and outside the car when it came to handling other drivers, FIA official and press..

    2. even when you have the “right” to that corner

      Ocon was much too far alongside Max for Max to be able to claim right to the corner. Max did what he always seemingly does, squeezed another car too hard and tangled with them. As long as his attitude stays the same he we keep losing points this way.

    3. Only on tis sub people blame the raceleader who was taken out by a backmarker lol

      1. This is not Reddit and there are no subs. If you actually bothered to read what I said then you’ll realize that being a race leader is more of an incentive to be extra cautious and not take any chances with a back marker. It’s NOT about whose corner it is, but about who’ll lose most if you blindly assume that the other driver, back marker or not, will always brake and back off.

      2. I have said before that I am not a big Max fan but he is a great talent and a future world champion but unfortunately there are times when he needs to see the big picture, giving Ocon a bit more space would have avoided the contact and Max would have gone on to a well deserved win, no he did not make a mistake but I think he did make an error of judgement.

        To compound matters he post race actions were unacceptable and to make it worse they were premeditated judging by his comments on the cool down lap.

        I really want to like the guy but he needs to grow up and like others on here I don’t think that will happen while he is under Marko’s wing.

        1. well…..the stewards seem to disagree with you….

          1. I hope he hasn’t learned a thing. Keep closing the door on passing cars, max. It’s working so well for you up to now. And keep pushing people. Charlie Whiting must be around there somewhere.

          2. If Charlie’s reasons are the ones the stewards used to make the decision, then it is binding but invalid. That is because the reasons cited by Charlie aren’t in the regulations and therefore are not a legitimate reason to challenge an action. (It is possible the stewards may have a better reasoning, but as I haven’t seen the official release on the topic, I cannot comment on this).

            Quite apart from inadvertently indicating that drivers are now allowed to drive as carelessly as they like so long as one of them is a “big name” driver and the other is not (a can of worms that will take some rounding up), it makes Max feel entitled to behave as he likes, and I believe that is to his detriment as a driver and a man.

  3. Really.

    Mazepin beat up Ilott because Ilott got in the way during a free practice run, spoiling a fast run. Ilott had cuts in his face, a black eye and a swollen jaw. Mazepin got a race ban, and rightly so.

    But “After Mexico it was a welcome outbreak of genuine racing. Had it not been for what happened after the chequered flag, it would have been a great advert for Formula 1.”.
    Oh my, those 3 open hand pushes spoiled a great day?

    Hmm. I can do without this. Bye.

    1. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

      1. Don’t let Ocon hit him on his way out* :P

    2. mazepan should be in jail.

    3. Hmm. I can do without this. Bye.

      Well thank god you’re off, place will be better without you :)

  4. It was an entertaining race to watch. It would’ve been a great victory for Verstappen, I can’t remember the last time in a dry race where a driver made as many on track passes to take the lead.

    As for the incident itself I think Ocon was in the wrong and deserved his penalty, yes he has the right to unlap himself but my view is if you’ve already been lapped you shouldn’t be aggressive around the other driver. I’m surprised Ocon wasn’t more aware Max was likely to cut across him into turn 2, he should’ve backed out. Having said that I do think it was interesting to see Hamilton’s comments about how he would’ve been bit more circumspect in the same situation, I wonder of the Lewis of 2008 would’ve thought the same?

    My big concern with Max is that he could potentially undermine his undeniable talent and maybe not achieve his full potential if he can’t find a better balance with his aggression on track, he has plenty of time and I still think he’ll go on to win several championships. I can’t help also be reminded of 2011 when Hamilton had a very messy season and was clearly frustrated with an under performing McLaren, a lot of people questioned whether he might ever win a championship again and live up to his potential. I think we’re seeing a very similar scenario with Max now, and he could do worse than look at Lewis as an example of how to combine his speed with some nous to became a more complete driver.

    The incident after the race I don’t think there is really too much in it, yes it was bit aggressive and unnecessary from Max but he didn’t hit Ocon or cause him any injuries, so I think the punishment was about right (although surprised there wasn’t a suspended race penalty if it happened again). I don’t agree with @Keith Collantine’s column suggesting Max should’ve received a race ban. It read to me that Keith was suggesting that he needs a severe punishment because

    he comes from a background with a troubling reputation for violence

    , I feel that would be punishing him for the sins of his father. If Max had actually punched Ocon or caused him some injury, then it’s a very different issue.

    As someone who has done karting a bit, I know how wound up you can get inside that helmet if someone takes you out and screws up your race. It’s hard to work out that anger during race itself, as if you let it boil over on track you just over drive, lose yourself more time, and possibly get yourself in more incidents so you try and keep a lid on it. By time you cross the finish line you’re really pumped up, angry, full of adrenaline and ready to blow your top. I can only imagine how much that gets multiplied by intensity of F1.

    1. All due respect, it’s so simple and cheap these days to get effective management for that behaviour, that there is no excuse at any level in the sport – I’m not talking about people with genuine anger management issues caused by mental illness or medication, who need a great deal of complicated help and ongoing support to manage it – I’m talking about 99.99999% of people who if they get angry, it’s because they chose to get angry.

      1. * Simple and cheap even if your parent’s didn’t bother to teach you how to not act out

    2. I’ve karted, and have seen and felt anger at competitors for unjust behaviour. The general idea is to let it out, one way or another, before you exit the kart without damaging any equipment* (be that through good mind management during the race or – if that proves insufficient – letting it out after parking up but before leaving the kart). Then, the helmet means one is less likely to be overheard and thus less likely to be put in an embarrassing situation.

      That’s about as simple and free a management technique as it gets. Perhaps the fact that shouting at a competitor – let alone striking them – would have resulted in being fined, booted from the competition and permanently banned from the circuit might have helped some people apply it.

      I get the feeling Max isn’t being helped to apply such a technique because he’s professionally expected to be an inch away from fury at all times by his team. This is underlined by Christian Horner saying Ocon was lucky only to get struck (an implied condoning of violence), which led to having to backtrack the implication by press release. Vettel was willing to attempt the balancing act too, but he was unusually level-headed before that point, which kept the explosions of anger more in line with the quantity expected from a then-current title contender. (Whatever happened after he went to Ferrari is nothing to do with Red Bull’s professional expectations). Most other Red Bull/Toro Rosso candidates have not, and with the exception of Daniel Riccardo, it seems to have impacted their careers. One other exception that comes to mind is Scott Speed. Also capable of summoning vast amounts of aggression on the track when he believed this to be beneficial to his race, also had the “rugged”, tough personality type Red Bull likes so much to see in its drivers. Alas, he fell off the balance beam more thoroughly than Max ever has (if the word about him clouting his own team boss is true and not simply a believable exaggeration). The verified stand-up argument Scott had with his boss on the occasion of his last F1 race would probably have been too much aggression, even for a team long appreciative of applied aggression.

      For the first 40 laps of the race, Max looked like a latter-day Sebastian Vettel. Afterwards, he looked like a latter-day Scott Speed.

      * – Because apart from anything else, damaging equipment is likely to make you slower in subsequent races…

  5. I have so much confidence in Max that it borders on embarrassment.
    But he has to learn control.
    Drive the car Max. If some fool gets in the way and screws it all up then tell him he is a fool. Don’t go picking fights.

    Deep breaths Max … deep breaths.

    1. max was in a race not a procession. max got in his and ocons way.

  6. Agree we’re all armchair critics and heat of the moment while racing/afterwards is easy to reflect on in hindsight. Do I condone Max’s behavior after the race? No. But I think it seems to being blown out of perspective. It was a couple of pushes. We’ve perhaps all seen the numerous events where drivers have vented their dissatisfaction at something. Whether aimed at another person/punching a wall etc.

    However, what I take issue with is this jump to projecting Jos’s behavior on to Max’s. We all should take accountability for what we do and look at that. This is a racing site not a psychological analysis site by armchair psychiatrists without font know the full facts of all of those referred to situations.

    Let’s get back to racing commentary…

    1. Wrong post, and it was his opinion. And the site is his. He can wright what he wants.
      It was a great article, maybe now the air will be fresher here.

    2. Sure “the heat of the moment” is a thing but theres a glaring lack of apology from Verstappen.
      The parts about Jos etc. is ofc rubbish.

  7. Shall we talk about the race and not what happened afterwards. There’s a special topic available.

    Lewis was gifted the win (his second this year) .
    Its a frist for Lewis, the first time he wins a race after he clinched the WDC for 5 times on a row. So it seems he has his concentration back.
    Probably the best season ever for Lewis!

  8. “Had it not been for what happened after the chequered flag, it would have been a great advert for Formula 1.”

    Above that “gem” of a line is a picture of Max with three wheels of the tarmac, “suffering” a lot more impact from the backmarker that he gave a few pushes afterwards.
    The backmarker taking out the race leader is part of the great advert.

    It was Ocon who recieved a severe penalty for an action that costed Max a victory and very much likely even a position in the final championship standings.

    But a few fluffy heat-of-the-moment-pushes ruined the advert?

    Keith I have a lot of respect for your work but your take on this is just wrong.

  9. That was indeed a great race.
    And that in Sao Paolo without rain.

  10. More details on Merc’s exhaust problem on Hamilton’s car? Get the feeling we’re reaching the top end of the potential of the Merc PU, and the rest of the field is fast approaching their benchmark.

  11. Daniel (@collettdumbletonhall)
    12th November 2018, 19:38

    When watching live I thought this was Esteban’s fault but I’ve seen a new angle of the incident and I can’t get my head around what Max was thinking. Why defend from a lapped car who is so much faster down the straight with DRS? Why then leave him no space when you’ve forced him to the outside?
    If Max has a car good enough to fight for titles next year he will lose it with stupid mistakes like this unless he learns fast.

    1. You are right, Max should have let him through as he had more to lose but Ocon was in the wrong here hence the penalty. Max wasn’t obligated to leave space but Ocon was obligated to abort the move by braking and letting go of the corner as he wasn’t ahead.

      Max will be a better driver after this imo and this is a blessing in disguise.

      1. Nope. One can unlap himself but only if he doesn’t interfere, in any possible way, with the driver who is one or even more laps in front.

        It simply means that the leader, at no circumstance at all, can’t ever be the one who has to think about a backmarkers line, not ever! The backmarker needs to back up at all times, always! The only way to unlap oneself is by none interfering with the leader, none, zero!!!

        All you armchairs experts should get your act together instead of parrotting lines from the telly.

        1. The regulations do not have any special rules of engagement for drivers racing each other when no blue flags are being waved in that exact segment, regardless of the number of laps that are or are not between the drivers. If it’s permitted between two drivers racing for position, it’s permitted between two drivers on different laps – provided the backmarker’s not being blue-flagged at that point. (If they are, then obviously they must back out before passing their third blue flag for that particular leader).

  12. Can’t wait for the team radio transcript:
    Max: “I hope I don’t see him in the paddock”
    Engineer: Box Box

    1. well played!

  13. I don’t really understand why Jock Clear said it was critical that Vettel allowed Raikonnen to pass him. Can anyone explain please? I didn’t see the race, so I’m relying on the reports.

    1. @nickwyatt Because RAI had more chance of getting past Bottas and earning some vital constructors points? Not that it would make much difference if Lewis finished ahead which he did.

      1. @david-br But why would RAI have more chance passing BOT than VET?

        1. (@nickwyatt) Vettels car was playing up, it had issues with balance so he was slower than Raikkonen.

          1. Aha! Got it, thank @johnrkh and @david-br

        2. @nickwyatt Because Vettels car wasn’t behaving like it should

  14. Why are there so many comments putting blame on Verstappen even though the stewards penalised Ocon on this matter? The online Verstappen hate is laughable at this point.

    When Max was retiring from races he was breaking his car, when Ric is retiring from races its Horner sabotaging his car. Why do people have a bone to pick with Max no matter the situation?

    Ocon has tangled with his team mate numerous times but no one mentions this.

    If anything this incident might just have been the final nail in Ocon’s reputation. His collisions with Perez got him dropped from FI and I wouldn’t be surprised if he never gets a F1 drive again to be honest.

    Even though Ver should have been the bigger man and let Ocon through he gained another edge in the psychological battle on the grid.

    Backmarkers will now get out of his way even sooner and his direct rivals will not want to tangle with him (can’t wait for Leclerc vs Ver next year), exceptions being Ric, Vet and maybe K-Mag.

    1. Agreed, a well managed post.

    2. It’s not hate, it’s valid criticism.

      I personally like Max and most of his driving (not the weaving or sudden moves close to braking zones), I also agree that in corner 2, Ocon’s car was positioned illegally.

      That said, the collision was – once Ocon had positioned his car illegally – in Max’s power to avoid, and not Ocons. Ocon’s illegal positioning was on the racing line, and as such, Max knew exactly where he would be through the corner. Max caused the collision, and threw away his own win. Needlessly. It wasn’t his penalty, but, so what – that’s hardly relevant, because it lost him the race. Had he backed off, he would have lapped Ocon again within three or four laps and won the race handily.

      People are always going to put the stars of the sport under a microscope, that’s the nature of being a star. It’s not hate, and I don’t understand why you think it is. Surely you understand that people are most critical of the things they love.

      1. I disagree that it was up to Max to leave room for someone that shouldn’t have been there and that he had every reason to expect would back out of the situation. Max was simply not expecting a fight of that degree from a backmarker. Had he actually been racing with someone I’m sure Max would have expected the other car to do something such as a dive bomb, and would have left more room, but that was not the case. I’m sure Max will not make that assumption again, but it is an assumption that the pundits who immediately blamed Ocon for the incident, supported by the penalty to him, would have made too. This was not just another case of Max not leaving room, or taking an unnecessary risk. This was a unique situation and the fault has been put squarely on Ocon. The only lesson Max can learn from this is that when passing a backmarker, once in a rare blue moon the driver might actually have brain fade and try to race him and put himself in penalty mode, desperately risking the leader’s race. Hopefully the penalty to Ocon will be a reminder to other drivers about the etiquette when it comes to how to challenge a race leader when trying to unlap oneself.

        I don’t buy the rhetoric that Max’s behaviour on or off the track is getting worse. What I do buy is that Max has a long career ahead of him with many wins and Championships in his future, even if he has a few warts as we all do and as have all F1 Champions. We saw Max have an amazing race last weekend. He’ll be absolutely formidable when he has a WCC level car, as we have seen when they are at venues that equalize the pu’s somewhat.

        1. He didn’t _have_ to leave room because Ocon _was_ there illegally. But, he did have a crash because he didn’t. Disagree all you want, I know which result I would have preferred if I were Max. I don’t buy that he didn’t know Ocon was there, he squeezed him pure and simple, he just didn’t expect Ocon to not budge.

          And I’ve always maintained that Max is improving leaps and bounds. He is world championship material, and will be as soon as he gets into a competitive car. I personally think he will have the measure of any driver on the grid in equal machinery. However, so would Vettel.

          1. @sleepywill Wake up!! Just kidding. We agree to disagree but we agree on many more things than we disagree on no doubt. I firmly believe Max would have treated things differently had he had the same expectation of a duel as if it was for the win with another podium contender and not with a car trying to unlap itself. There is an etiquette in place for the scenario they were in, as per the penalty to Ocon which enforces that, and so had Max had a normal expectation of it being a normal duel, as I say like between two podium contenders, things likely would have been different. Max likely would have left room because he would have expected the possibility of a dive bomb or any other maneuver that can occur when two drivers are racing fair and square. In this case he had no reason to expect such aggression.

          2. Well I apologise, English is not my first language and I so often miss humour, much as I try to catch it and use British humour myself!

        2. It’s not getting worse. It has never changed. He will not let a passing car by with out clashing. I will list all of the times for you if you wish. At some point he has to decide, crash or not. Totally his call in ALL of these bumps and crashes. Crash or win, your call Max.

    3. It doesn’t help that Charlie Whiting gave reasons for the decision that are not supported by the regulations that F1 uses. Unless the stewards used different reasons, then their decision is incompatible with the rules, and therefore not a valid component of considering the rights and wrongs of the drivers’ actions.

  15. Don’t worry too much, Max will get better after this incident. After his early season problems he improved immensely and this will spur him on to iron out the remaining kinks

  16. After Mexico it was a welcome outbreak of genuine racing. Had it not been for what happened after the chequered flag, it would have been a great advert for Formula 1.

    It’s a great advert for Formula 1. Nowadays we complain about lack of characters in Formula 1 and big rivalries which is why less and less people watch F1.
    Now that we have one we are still complaining about it.
    Make up your mind!

  17. I personally rank Max very highly. Raw pace wise In the top 3.

    In my opinion he should have won 3 more races this season which he lost due to his mistakes (crashed in Monaco, crashed again in China both races won by Ric and clashed with a backmarker in Brazil). He was lucky in Brazil that it was not a race ending contact unlike he suffered in Bahrain where he made yet another mistake.

    Lets see what happens if he gets a championship winning car. He certainly got the raw pace and is an exciting driver but has to cut the mistakes and so far i dont think he is learning enough.

    1. He has got his act together after the mid season break and scored extremely well. The lost 1e place does not lessen that prestation.
      Noboby expected a win in Brazil.

  18. Oh well…
    This article is terribly wrong…
    He should be banned but not for the reasons mentioned.. The incident happened on lap 43. the race had 71 laps.. meaning that some 40 minutes after the incident he was still “furious”. After the race ended, Horner’s Radio message was telling him “I don’t know what to say to you Max..” and his reply was “I better not see him in the Pitlane..” 40 minutes after the incident…. And then, he goes looking for him and gets physical with him… As I see it he is dangerous.. Because not only does he seek revenge for what other people do to him, not only does he not respect the rules of the sport he is at, not only does he not realise that this is a just a sport that millions of people watch and thousands of kids have him as an idol (as he had others as idols) but he also plans his moves based to the “I am always right” attitude and “when I am right I can do whatever the hell I want”. THIS IS WRONG.. Terribly wrong. I really don’t remember Max almost ever admitting his own mistakes.. And this is sad.. It shows he is not willing to learn. and I am sorry to say , but , he will not succeed much in F1 if he is not willing to learn..

    And to be clear. Facts are facts… Ocon was wrong on track. This is the race leader, you pass him without racing him IF you can or if he lets you.
    Max was wrong on track as well… Just give him room and make sure that if he is stupid he will not ruin your race.. He is a Playstation and PC simulation kid… I come from Crete, Greece. Racing is non-existent here so all my “racing” is being done on PC. At the age of 12 on Grand Prix (Microprose) I learned that “backmarkers are stupid and dangerous when lapped. Be extra careful. You have the Race to lose.” When I saw him racing the backmarker I instantly thought of that.. instantly . He really did some amazing things today , but it’s more often than not that he does some really stupid things as well.. and it’s a shame. Because he is really talented and fast and has everything in his favor to be a champion .. I really hope he starts learning soon, at least all those things that he could have done better to avoid other people’s mistakes..

    1. You seem to lack the Cretan temperament.

  19. The reality is if you have swap Ocon for Stroll, and Verstappen for Hamilton, everyone would be asking what the hell is Stroll doing risking a collision with the race leader, he’s not fit to be in F1.

    If Ocon was so much faster I don’t know why he didn’t wait to blast by in the next DRS zone rather than pick a fight with a guy one lap ahead of him.

  20. His team should have advised him, “Max, Ocon coming up behind you on fresher tyres. You are not racing him. Let him through.”

    1. Von Smallhausen (@engelbertvonsmallhausen)
      13th November 2018, 9:53

      Why? Ocon was not even 3 tenths faster the lap before. Maybe after 2 or 3 laps they should have told Max that after Ocon had showed he was a constantly faster.

  21. One thing I did notice about this race was how close the different teams were in the race. It seemed to me this was the closest the teams have been all year. I think it was something like 5 seconds covered the top 4 drivers after several laps of the race.
    I’m not sure why this should be, but I did wonder if it was somehow related to the recent ruling by Charlie regarding the use of flexible fuel line connections.

    1. I wondered where the RedBull pace has come from in the last two races. And then realised they had had so many new power units (and got the relative penalties) that they are probably on much fresher units while Ferrari and Mercedes are on old ones. Mercedes have said Hamilton’s car was set to explode at one point and think they were lucky to get him to the line. The Ferraris must be in the same condition.

      So if this is the result of the three engine rule, is it a good thing or not? Does it level the playing field?

      Well it does if you are chasing points in the midfield perhaps but if one of the top teams is out of kilter with the other two and is in a no hope championship position, it makes for some imbalance but an exciting race.

      But if Merc had one failing engine and Bottas was on an old unit those engines are quite special if they got the championship with them in this last race.

  22. Anyone who has seen the onboards of Ocon coming out of the middle sector will see he was miles back. This was a Mercedes-engine assisted lunge, which Verstappen did not need to expect or take heed of. Afterwards, Verstappen rightly came to Ocon to confront him. During the exchange, Ocon absolved himself of blame and basically said, ‘I was faster, tough’. Then Verstappen started pushing. Now obviously we all dislike Verstappen here, but how about some balance, how about some well deserved repudiation of Ocon’s decisions and behaviour? Mad.

    1. We don’t all dislike Verstappen here. Some of us are able to criticise a sportsmen without developing personal feelings about said sportsman.

      1. +1 Given Verstappen is going to be around for a long time, and clearly at the front, it would be good to clear up this point early before years of tedious tub thumping from over-zealous fans. I count myself as a fan of Verstappen’s racing style too but he’s got to develop some aspects, and fast, rather than persist in thinking he’s right all the time. Basically what Wolff said (and yes it did sound like he was keeping an invite ready at Mercedes).

    2. @hahostolze If a car is within potential striking range of another, both parties have to take heed of it. That was demonstrably the case here.

  23. This was a Mercedes-engine assisted



    Passing on the straight isn’t a lunge

    which Verstappen did not need to expect

    Refer the complaint to his team for failing to advise him or his rear mirror manufacturer

    or take heed of

    Incorrect because he clearly blocked Ocon from the more straight forward pass on the inside and started racing him for the corner. So he was responding (if that’s what you mean by taking heed).

    Anyone who has seen the onboards of Ocon coming out of the middle sector will see he was miles back.

    Again irrelevant where he started. It’s where he ended up. If you compare to the Hamilton v. Bottas incident at Interlagos 2014, where Hamilton got penalized for an attempted unlapping by a back marker, Bottas was barely level on the straight. In this Ocon was practically past Verstappen, but the latter made up for that on the inside line, meaning that on completion of the corner he was a 1/3 up alongside Ocon. Verstappen chose to challenge the unlapping for whatever reason, speeding up and preventing an easy pass. Ocon had no reason to suspect that would happen as he had been faster with VER conserving tyres. So

    Verstappen rightly came to Ocon to confront him

    Wrong because Verstappen for reasons he knows best decides to cut across the corner with Ocon still close on the inside line to Turn 2. Had Verstappen given space, there would have been no collision.

    1. @david-br also @sleepywill there is an absolutely insane disparity between the opinions of everyone in F1 or with a past in F1, on this incident, and the opinions of the commenters here. Make of that what you will.
      And seriously, the comparison with Bottas – Hamilton 2013 is so facile and wrong that it just negates any need to discuss this further.

      1. @hahostolze Not exactly. Jo Saward basically concurs that Ocon made a clean and legitimate attempt to unlap himself and Verstappen was to blame. Numerous other commentators have said Ocon had a right to unlap himself (agree), should have ceded earlier (disagree) but Verstappen made a mistake in challenging the attempt to unlap and/or the block into Turn 2.

        The argument that ‘X, Y, and Z agree with me’ is one I’ve used in the past too but it’s both weak (a failure to address the points made in the counterargument), a herd mentality, and a bit sneaky/hypocritical given that next week you’ll probably disagree with the same sources over something and possibly find yourself arguing a minority view too. Anyhow surely you have to accept minimally that Verstappen could have won the race if he had let Ocon have space into Turn 2. And he had no reason not to expect that he was still there.

        1. Max had no reason to expect a backmarker to challenge him with a dive-bomb. Had he reason to expect such a challenge I’m sure he would have anticipated such a desperate dive inside and left room. This was a unique situation in that regard. The onus was entirely on Ocon to not challenge Max so aggressively, and he, not Max, got a penalty. Max did nothing wrong here, but the perfection that is hindsight has some believing this is just more of Max needing to learn and to leave room. I disagree as this was a unique and unexpected situation. How often, and when was the last time a backmarker challenged a leader like this and even took him out? Then tell me why Max should have expected this was a normal race for position with Ocon. Why he should have expected a dive-bomb. Without the use of hindsight.

          1. Here you go @robbie and @hahostolze, some intelligent and wise commentary from Peter Windsor, making all the points I’ve been trying to make. Perfect analysis. Listen and learn.

          2. >> Link to the video in question.

          3. PS. In case it needs saying to the Maximum Outrage Fans, Peter Windsor is a total fan of Verstappen and has defended him and his style on numerous occasions.

          4. @david-br Ok so I’ve listened, and learned….that Windsor is wrong on several counts, aside from the obvious which is that F1 saw it differently from him, and correctly penalized Ocon.

            Windsor complains that drivers are in a ‘blue flag mentality,’ and expect that to mean easy passes of backmarkers. Well, ya. Of course. F1 uses blue flags because it has decided they want to see the top runners unencumbered to race it out amongst themselves and not have to fight backmarkers to get by. The use of blue flags has been debated. Some think they shouldn’t be there at all and that indeed top cars should have to earn their way past all cars. I don’t entirely disagree with that, however I suspect that it is because of the decades long negative dirty air effect that they don’t want to see races decided by top cars being held up lap after lap by lapped cars, let alone taken out. So it is what it is, and Windsor wishing drivers wouldn’t have to have this blue flag mentality is irrelevant. They have it because blue flags exist. And when cars are blue flagged they overwhelmingly make it easy for the top runners, and at worse may take longer than some drivers would like to get out of the way, but indeed they do.

            So Windsor then talks about the silliness of expecting a driver to pass gently and cleanly when unlapping himself, like he can differentiate doing that from any other normal battle for position, but then cites only the scenario of going on the inside of someone, and having to do that gently, like that is possible. He conveniently, for example, ignores a driver using drs to make an easy pass, for someone like Ocon who supposedly had so much more and sustainable pace.

            Windsor also talks about how Max should have known it was Ocon, because LH would have, and that somehow has meant that Max should have read Ocon’s mind I guess, and/or expected a dive on the inside from him, even though the etiquette, much to Windsor’s chagrin, is to not challenge the race leader as a backmarker. But to Windsor, there was no expectation that conversely Ocon knew it was Max and therefore was never going to make it easy. Max should have read ‘aggressive’ Ocon’s mind, but Ocon had no responsibility to appreciate it was Max he was dive-bombing in on. Just make a desperate move and expect Max to accommodate. Yeah, because after all Max does have that reputation of accommodating drivers.

            Max ‘drove into Ocon’ is one way of wording it when one is trying to support an argument that goes against what F1 itself decided was correct. In order for Max to drive into Ocon, Ocon first had to put himself in that position to be driven into, and according to Whiting the etiquette is to not challenge the race leader as a backmarker in that way. That aggressively. As much as Windsor likes to think this was all fair game, it was not, because one is not to challenge the race leader like he did. If Windsor has an issue here it should be with F1 and FIA to drop blue flags and get the drivers out of that mentality that he talks about. Instead he blames Red Bull management for not making Max aware that Ocon, as a backmarker, was likely going to dive bomb him….because he’s not Perez, and because he is fighting for his future in racing. Ridiculous.

            What about Max’s fight for the race win and the etiquette for race leaders that does exist whether Windsor thinks it should be there or not? What about Ocon’s responsibility to appreciate it was Max he was having to pass? Only Max had the responsibility to appreciate it was a desperate Ocon he had beside him and so just clear the way then?

            Sorry but Windsor is wrong on several counts.

          5. @robbie Thanks for the lengthy reply Robbie, even though we clearly disagree. I think this comes down to what’s expected of back markers and by extension the drivers from outside the top teams in general. Peter Windsor’s point about blue flags is that younger drivers haven’t learned how to negotiate back markers, a skill past drivers (and Hamilton) have, which depends on knowing how other drivers drive. He used the same point incidentally to defend Verstappen twice, in the mild collision with Bottas – saying Bottas should have been aware MV takes corners by shifting out quickly and then in – and the same with Vettel in Japan when Vettel span. The point is interesting in general and I think valid about a lot of incidents (and how they could have been avoided). It would clearly be a useful skill for MV to learn whatever you think about Sunday’s crash. The other point, related to the back markers issue, is unlapping. There I agree totally with PW. If you (FIA) are going to allow unlapping, then Ocon did so perfectly fine, cleanly and without MV being unduly surprised. For me the essential point is that MV contested the unlapping by defending into Turn 1. For some that means Ocon should have immediately backed off, for others (inc. me) that means Verstappen created a racing situation that wouldn’t be resolved until they were out of Turn 2 and so he had to treat the situation accordingly and give Ocon room. Likewise the FIA stewards should have judged the same. They got it wrong and moreover – as too often – set a confusing precedent. When is it OK to unlap then? But given we’re going to disagree still, I’ll leave it there.

          6. @david-br We agree to disagree. I agree with the ruling that those in charge of administering the rules enforced. Set a confusing precedent? The opposite. When is it ok to unlap oneself? Any time one can do that safely and without disrupting the leaders’ race, going by the rules. Ocon’s penalty will have cleared that up for any drivers still questioning when it is ok to unlap oneself.

  24. The dutch tomatoe Crashtappen, ladies and genleman.

  25. This is why Lewis is a 5 time world champion, contending to become G.O.A.T., meanwhile Max is just a 0 time world champion, contending for a postponed jail sentence.

    This kind of behavior will win him some overtakes, many spectacular moments, but career stats will suffer. Championships might even become unobtainable, if he continues this way.

    1. Exactly, and thats why Leclerc will finish his hype in style next year! He’ll become the top younger contender for world championships, while the other continue to be a hype movement.

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