Esteban Ocon, Max Verstappen, Interlagos, 2018

“I have this Force India behind…”: Team radio highlights from the Brazilian GP

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen complained several time on his radio about the amount of time he was losing with lapped cars before his collision with Esteban Ocon.

The furious Red Bull driver slated his rival on the radio immediately after their collision and again at the end of the race, shortly before he went to confront Ocon.

There were strong words on the radio at Toro Rosso as well. Brendon Hartley was repeatedly frustrated by team mate Pierre Gasly’s refusal to obey orders from the pit wall to let Hartley through.

Things were more light-hearted at Haas, where Romain Grosjean was pleased with a points finished in a damaged car, and Kevin Magnussen channeled Kimi Raikkonen by telling his race engineer to “leave me alone”…

Here are the team radio highlights from the Brazilian Grand Prix. The race began amid concern the rain which affected qualifying would return.

To Perez:Checo at the moment risk of light rain similar to quali. Nothing worse at the moment, we’ll keep you updated.
Hamilton:It’s quite warm so warm-up might not be an issue.
To Hamilton:Yeah it’s just clouding over now as we speak.
Hartley:Please check for puncture, puncture.
To Hartley:All OK so far.
Hartley:OK understeer entry is very big.
To Hartley:Copy that. All OK on data. We keep checking.
To Vandoorne:Stroll has lost DRS. Let’s get him, Stoff.
Hamilton:What tyre is Verstappen on?
To Hamilton:He’s on the same as you, super.

While Lewis Hamilton led the field away Max Verstappen went on the attack, quickly passing the Ferraris. Mercedes’ objective was to out-score Ferrari and clinch the constructors’ championship, so their strategy for Hamilton prioritised covering off the threat from the red cars.

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To BottasVerstappen will try to brake late on the inside if he tries to overtake.
To VerstappenHe’s been told to try and brake up the inside of turn one, Max.
VerstappenOK.
To VerstappenHe might be running out of battery as well.
To Grosjean:Tell us about the balance.
Grosjean:It’s not great balance. It’s quite inconsistent in the high-speed. I think damage is not great.
To Alonso:Fernando how are the tyres?
Alonso:They are OK but the traffic, I cannot pass them with the DRS.
Verstappen(Laughing) So slow.
VerstappenThat was nice.
To VerstappenYep great job.
VerstappenIt seems like he’s sliding a bit more than me.
To VerstappenOK understood so just creep up on it.
To Ricciardo:Last lap for Hamilton and Verstappen both 14.0s. Bottas is holding everyone up with a 14.5.
Ricciardo:Understood. There’s a lot more pace in it.
To Hamilton:Box, box.
Hamilton:I’ve got another lap in me, dude.
To Hamilton:No let’s go for it. Box, box.
To VerstappenDon’t over-drive it, keep it clean.
Vandoorne:The vibrations are getting worse.
To Vandoorne:Copy, we see the vibrations in the data, it’s coming from the rear tyres. We’re monitoring it, Stoffel, no concern at the moment from our side.
Ericsson:I need to box.
To Ericsson:OK, copy.
Ericsson:I cannot drive this…
To Ericsson:Copy, copy, box.

Verstappen ran a long first stint and although he couldn’t build up enough of a gap to jump ahead of Hamilton he was able to switch to the soft tyres instead of the mediums Hamilton used for his second stint. Hamilton, meanwhile, grew concerned he’d pitted too soon.

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VerstappenJust keep me up-to-date with what they are doing.
To VerstappenAt the moment Hamilton’s too quick on the new tyre. But we’re just monitoring the pace of Bottas, make sure we’re not in danger from any under-cut or anything like that.
Hamilton:I stopped too early.
To Hamilton:No, just protecting against the under-cut, Lewis.
Hamilton:We lost ground at the stop, or…?
To Hamilton:No we’re gaining ground.
VerstappenOK, tyres are good.
To VerstappenUnderstood.
VerstappenJust the backmarkers are a little bit of a pain.
Hamilton:Was I one of the earliest to stop?
To Hamilton:Negative.
To Alonso:OK Fernando it’s box to overtake. How’s the balance?
Alonso:I don’t know!
To Alonso:OK box to overtake please, mate.
To Alonso:Stop, stop, stop.
To Alonso:And the other Williams, Stroll, is just leaving the pit lane now.
Alonso:No more radio for the rest of the race.
To Vandoorne:Stoffel was there any debris in turn seven?
Vandoorne:Ah, there is some debris on the inside, yes. I think they should clean the track.
To Vandoorne:Understood, Stoffel, understood.
Hamilton:So you stopped us massively before everyone else at the moment.
Hamilton:This tyre’s struggling.
Hamilton:Bono you need to give me some info because I’ve got these guys ahead of me pulling away. Max’s killing my time. Give me some info what I’ve got to do.
To Hamilton:So Lewis we need to match Verstappen’s time. Verstappen’s a 13.6 last lap.
Hamilton:Thanks for letting me know.
To Hamilton:Vettel in the pit lane now, stopping for medium.
Hamilton:Is Max in my window?
To Hamilton:You are 0.7 safe.
Hamilton:When were you going to tell me this?
To Hamilton:Lewis I’ve been giving you Verstappen’s times, we need to match these. So 13.6 was his last lap, he’s on course for a 13.5.
VerstappenFrom my feeling the tyres are getting better
To VerstappenGood news.

Adding to Hamilton’s woes, he began to experience poor power delivery from his engine. Meanwhile Sebastian Vettel had a sensor problem and was told to let his team mate through, while Nico Hulkenberg dropped out of the running. Verstappen, pressing on to increase the pressure on Hamilton, was getting frustrated by backmarkers.

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To Hartley:We have Perez two seconds behind on new softs. We want to keep looking after the tyres. Everything is looking good for plan A.
Hartley:OK. I’m having poor up-shifts.
To Hartley:Everything looks OK with the gearbox. Keep looking after your tyres with Perez.
Hartley:Tyres are getting worse and worse.
To Hartley:Not too long.
To Hartley:Push for at least two more laps, I’ll keep you posted.
Hartley:OK. Are we OK on fuel?
To Hartley:OK for now.
To Hulkenberg:Scenario 12, Nico, we need to box and retire the car.
Hulkenberg:Ah, fuck. What is it?
To Hulkenberg:We’ll tell you when you get back.
To VerstappenHamilton last lap was a 13.5.
VerstappenOK I think I can do better than that.
To VerstappenUnderstood.
VerstappenMate I think my right-rear’s really dropping off.
To VerstappenUnderstood.
VerstappenAnd they’re not moving.
To Vettel:Sebastian it’s Jocky. We would like you to let Kimi by and let Kimi have a go at Bottas. This is critical for the race for both of you.
Hamilton:Is my engine OK?
To Hamilton:We’re just monitoring the situation, Lewis. It’s OK for the minute.
Hamilton:Power’s dropping out.
To Hamilton:OK copy we’re looking into it.
Hamilton:And pray for rain.
To Hamilton:So Lewis that super-soft can do 36 laps at least so the wear shouldn’t be an issue.
Hamilton:Wear is not the issue it’s blistering and sliding.
Vettel:Is there any reason why Bottas is so slow?
To Vettel:They are trying to go to the end.
VerstappenI got quite badly compromised towards the end of that stint with the traffic.
To VerstappenYep understood. You did a hell of a job to get through the traffic at the beginning of the stint, mate, that was an excellent job. We do have several laps fresher tyres than Hamilton. And you’ll see the whites of his tyres as well, they’re mediums.

Verstappen closed on Hamilton after his pit stop and swiftly passed the Mercedes for the lead of the race. He then began edging away, his race engineer reminding him to look after his softer tyres for the run to the chequered flag.

Hamilton:He’s caught me a lot this lap.
To VerstappenGet in there, my son. Get. In There. Right, let’s get a gap to him. You’ve done everything we’ve needed to.
To Hamilton:We’ve got Valtteri in P3.
Hamilton:Has he got engine problems?
To Hamilton:Negative. Just pressure from Raikkonen behind, and Vettel behind him.
Hamilton:Is there nothing we can do there?
To Hamilton:Lewis I think we’ve done everything we can do.
To VerstappenGap is at 1.8, 1.8. Alright let’s bring it back now. Back to mode eight please. We’re just stroking this home now, Max. We don’t need any pace. We’ll monitor the gap to Hamilton behind. Stroke it home.
To VerstappenAlright Max just control the peak temperature at this stage on the right-rear.
To VerstappenThen we can think about our pace towards the end of the stint. The big thing to control is the wear. As I said right-rear was the limitation first stint. So if you can keep the [unclear] down now it’ll help later.
To VerstappenGap at 2.2.
To VerstappenLast lap Hamilton 13.7.
VerstappenI didn’t hear it.
To Verstappen13.7, the gap’s at two seconds.
To VerstappenThis’ll be 42 laps complete, 30 to go. Reminder you did 35 laps on your first stint, you have 36 on this one.
Bottas:Some large blister on the rear-left, I’m sure you’ll see.
To Bottas:Copy.

Having reduced his pace Verstappen suddenly had Esteban Ocon, who had just left the pits on a fresh set of the softest tyres available, filling his mirrors. When Ocon tried to un-lap himself, the pair collided.

VerstappenI have this Force India behind me, pushing.
To VerstappenUnderstood. Yeah he’s out on fresh supers.
To VerstappenLast lap Hamilton 13.7.
VerstappenWhat a fucking idiot!
Ocon:I don’t think I need to comment what happened. Didn’t leave me space there.
To Ocon:Yep you were ahead and he didn’t leave you space, I understand.
To Hamilton:Verstappen now car behind.
VerstappenWhat a fucking idiot!
To VerstappenAlright. Calm yourself down for the moment, Max.
VerstappenAh mate massive floor damage. Fuck!
VerstappenGive me directions with tools.
To VerstappenYep just looking through the data now.
VerstappenFind pictures, on pictures you can see what’s actually broken.
To VerstappenYeah we’ve lost load on the pod front, we’re measuring it, I’ll give you an update on data and what we can do with tools but obviously for the moment you know what you can feel so get on that and be proactive.
To VerstappenCharge 10 when you can, Max.
VerstappenMate battery is empty.
To VerstappenYeah that’s why we need charge 10, need to charge that up again.
To VerstappenAlright Max we have lost a significant amount of downforce but we think it’s fairly well-balanced so you just need to manage it. Last lap Hamilton 12.9, yours was a 12.7. Gap is at 5.2. We can do this mate, come on.

Over the final laps the engine-troubled Hamilton was slowly caught by Verstappen in his damaged Red Bull.

Hamilton:Need to give me some power guys. Long way to go with the engine turned down like this.
To Hamilton:Copy Lewis. We’re just going to look after the PU at the moment, just keep an eye on it, see what we can do.
Hamilton:I don’t want to lose this position.
To Hamilton:Yeah Lewis, we don’t want to lose the PU.
To Vettel:Can you go quicker? We are considering to stop again.
Vettel:I’m trying to go as fast as I can.
To Vettel:Copy that.
To VerstappenYou just put your personal best sector two in there. Still got some in there.
To Bottas:Try and limit how much overtake we’re using. We’re just about to go over the limit. So no more overtake for the moment.
To Ricciardo:OK mate Bottas is not allowed to use any more overtake, he’s been using it a lot this lap, he might be a bit more vulnerable. I do suggest mode seven.
To Alonso:Fernando how are the tyres? Thinking about Plan C.
Alonso:Tyres are OK for another 15 laps.
Hamilton:Are other people struggling on tyres?
To Hamilton:Vettel has just stopped again, not sure why.
To Ricciardo:OK mate we will get him eventually, keep it clean.
Hamilton:How’s this pace considering?
To Hamilton:All things considered, Lewis, pace is good.
To VerstappenJust took seven-tenths out of Hamilton in sector two.
VerstappenYeah he made a mistake.

Hartley’s strategy put him on a collision course with his team mate Pierre Gasly, who refused to let him through despite repeated instructions from the pit wall, until the race was almost over.

Hartley:OK what’s going to happen when I get to Gasly?
To Hartley:Use anti-deploy middle sector.
Ricciardo:OK I’m coming.
To Ricciardo:Send it.
To Ricciardo:Awesome. Right, Raikkonen four seconds up the road, let’s get him.
To Ricciardo:And there are 11 laps remaining to get a podium. We can use mode seven every lap from turn 12 to turn one. It’s free lap time, let’s use it.
To Hamilton:Lewis go HPP one position three.
Hamilton:How are we doing, Bono?
To Hamilton:All under control at the moment. No concerns yet, we’re just managing it. Verstappen 3.5 behind, last lap was an 11.9.
Hartley:OK I’m getting pretty close to Gasly, guys. I’m going to get held up.
To Hartley:OK stand by. Manage more in turn 11 please, we are critical.
Hartley:If I don’t get by I’m going to get passed by Sainz.
To Hartley:Blue flag for Bottas.
To Hartley:And there is Vettel behind Bottas. Be careful with Sainz.
Hamilton:Quite a lot of understeer.
To Hamilton:OK copy.
Alonso:What is the fastest lap?
To Alonso:It’s currently an 11.3.
To Hartley:Blue flag for Vettel, try not to lose time.
Hartley:Come on guys what’s going to happen with Gasly?
To Hartley:We will direct, stand by for now.
Hartley:Mate I’m [unclear] time.
To Hartley:Next lap, turn four.
To Hartley:Driver swap, driver swap.
Hartley:Yep, he didn’t do it.
Hartley:What’s going on, guys?
To Hartley:Use anti-deploy.
To Hartley:Turn four, driver swap turn four.
To Hartley:Driver swap turn four.
To Gasly:Driver swap turn four now, we need to do it. Stay in front of Sainz.
Gasly:I can’t they’re [censored by FOM] too close, can’t you see?
Hartley:What the fuck is going on, guys?
To Hartley:Back to mode six.
Hamilton:Blue flags coming up guys.
To Hamilton:Copy, we’re on it.
Hartley:The amount of fucking stuff I do for him.
To Hartley:Turn one, now. Driver swap turn one, now. He will do it.
Hartley:Yeah, really?
To Hartley:Mode six, we have blue flag for Leclerc.
To Hamilton:Verstappen at 1.7.
Hamilton:Fronts are losing temp, think they’re worn out.
To Hamilton:From Valtteri’s wear, we think wear won’t be an issue.
To VerstappenHamilton complaining about his front tyres, Max. Six laps to go.
To Alonso:Sirotkin is our next target, he’s six seconds in front.
Alonso:Which position is Sirotkin?
To Alonso:Sirotkin is in 16th.
Alonso:Wow.
To Alonso:And we’ve got blue flags…
Alonso:Nice target.
To Alonso:…for Verstappen.
Alonso:Yes, yeah, yeah yeah.
To Magnussen:Think about function one.
Magnussen:I am aware, leave me alone.
To Magnussen:Understood, understood mate.
To Ricciardo:OK your battery is full and you’ve got mode seven.
Hamilton:Car’s not turning, got no grip.
Hartley:Mate is he going to let me by? What the fuck’s going on?
Hartley:Mate he’s holding me up so much.
To Hartley:Use anti-deploy middle sector. Use anti-deploy middle sector. Get close to him.
Hartley:Mate I’m right up his fucking arse.
To Gasly:You have to let Hartley by as soon as possible.
Gasly:[Unclear] cannot race. It’s not like we are fighting for the win. He can overtake me if he’s faster than me. I’m medium tyres, he’s on super-softs, sorry but he can’t overtake me, my tyres are completely damaged.
To Gasly:Pierre, swap at turn one.
To Hartley:Driver swap into turn one. We have blue flag for Grosjean behind.
Hartley:Mate you keep saying it but it’s not going to happen.
To Hartley:We have a blue flag for Grosjean, we have to let Grosjean by.
Hartley:Pierre’s a joke.
To Hartley:We have Magnussen behind now. Blue flag for Magnussen behind.
To Hartley:Blue flag for Magnussen.
To Hartley:Overtake available. Three more laps.
Hartley:So what’s happening, guys? I’m not attacking him because you say he’s letting me by. And then he fucking doesn’t do it.
Hartley:Mate I’m so close to him guys come on.
To Hartley:We are asking for turn four again we are asking for driver swap turn four.
To Hartley:Keep saving fuel where you can please.
Hartley:[Unclear] thanks for nothing.
To Hartley:Try to save fuel. Two more laps.
To Hartley:Next lap is last lap, keep saving fuel.
To Hartley:Save as much fuel as you can at the line. Lift-off before the line.
Hartley:Is this the last lap?
To Hartley:Yes this is last lap.
To Hartley:Save fuel, save fuel, mode 11 now.

While Mercedes celebrated the constructors’ championship, a furious Verstappen hinted at his upcoming confrontation with Ocon.

To Hamilton:Yes! That’s it Lewis! That’s the double, mate! Mercedes AMG Petronas world champs! Lewis Hamilton world champ! OK mate we need to keep the pace up, just keep the pace up, just looking after that PU. Just a normal-speed in-lap. HPP eight to 13.
Hamilton:Yes! That’s what I’m talking about, guys. What an amazing frickin’ year for you guys. I’m so proud, I’m so grateful I could do this for you here today. What an amazing accomplishment. I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you.
To Hamilton:Lewis we are double world champions! Driver world champion and constructor world champion. What a race. Congratulations.
Hamilton:I better see you all when I get back! Come on.
To VerstappenMate, I don’t know what to say, mate. I do not know what to say about that.
VerstappenYeah I know what to say. I hope I can’t find him now in the paddock because then he has a fucking problem. What a dick.
To VerstappenMax you drove brilliantly today. You summed it up brilliantly about Mr Ocon. Compose yourself. You deserved the race victory today. But considering the lack of downforce you’ve got on that car to catch Hamilton the way you did is a hell of a drive.
VerstappenYeah the car was amazing the whole race. Thank you for that, guys.
To VerstappenNo worries Max. You made such light work of getting through them as well. You were not behind them for very long, any of them. It was incredible. You just cut straight through them. Incredible maturity getting through mate. You just didn’t get the cherry on the cake mate but it will come, mate.
VerstappenYeah. At least we could enjoy the overtakes and the general pace of the car.
To VerstappenYou left them standing. It was incredible.
To VerstappenMax please don’t forget to go ignition, P0.
To Raikkonen:Great race. Another podium, P3.
Raikkonen:Yeah thank you. Not easy but we did the best we could.
To Raikkonen:Good job Kimi, thank you.
To Ricciardo:OK mate that was a good drive, good effort there. Finished 0.4 behind Raikkonen there.
Ricciardo:OK thanks. I appreciate it.
To Ricciardo:That was a good drive Daniel. That move on Bottas, we were shitting ourselves down here I tell you. One to go, you’ll be on the podium in Abu Dhabi, keep your head up, that was a great drive.
Ricciardo:Thank you Christian, thank you guys, Appreciate it. Two more weeks.
To Ricciardo:For your info Verstappen was leading when he pitted or softs a few laps before us. He caught and overtook Hamilton, bit of help from a bit of backmarker traffic but he got him on the straight. But then Ocon tried to unlap himself and took Max out at turn two which wasn’t very clever, I’m sure you’ll see it later.
To Bottas:Good job Valtteri, great job. So constructors’ world champions again.
Bottas:Well done guys, congratulations. Every single guy back at the factory and in he race team, thank you, well done, congrats. ***** race for me again.
To Vettel:P6.
Vettel:OK. Well obviously a tough race. Struggling a little bit with the car in terms of balance and also with pick-up. Exit of the corners was difficult, I was struggling to get out of the turns.
To Vettel:OK, understood.
To Leclerc:OK Charles and once again best of the rest. Great race. P7 at the end.
Leclerc:Well done guys. Great race. Pace was crazy.
To Leclerc:Yeah, brilliant drive, thank you very much.
To Grosjean:Great job dude P8, Kevin’s P9.
Grosjean:Good job.
To Grosjean:You were minus 30 points of downforce so that was an incredible drive.
Grosjean:(Laughs)
To Grosjean:Your pace was amazing, dude. Really great. Well managed on the tyres, your pace was fantastic. Shame we didn’t have that 30, you would have had Leclerc I think.
Grosjean:Oh my god yes mate. Great job everyone, very happy that we got a double point finish. That’s what we want, that’s what we’re here for.
To Grosjean:Yep very good thanks a lot and good job, great drive.
To Magnussen:I loved your ‘leave me alone’ I can put it on my CV as well.
Magnussen:You know I love you mate, no worries.
To Magnussen:I love you too darling.
To Magnussen:Vamos! Good race mate.
Magnussen:Vamos!
Hartley:Thanks guys. That was the maximum I could do today.
To Hartley:You’ve done a very good race, Brendon, P11 for us.
Hartley:Sorry about the language on the radio but the thing is…
To Hartley:That’s OK, leave it behind you, don’t worry.
Hartley:Otherwise if you said we would race I would have attacked but anyway.
To Hartley:Turn the car off, that’s OK, leave it behind you.

NB. As some messages will have been transmitted simultaneously the chronology of the above extracts is not exact.

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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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44 comments on ““I have this Force India behind…”: Team radio highlights from the Brazilian GP”

  1. Interesting and insightful stuff as always.

  2. Ocon: I don’t think I need to comment what happened. Didn’t leave me space there.
    To Ocon: Yep you were ahead and he didn’t leave you space, I understand.

    What’the level of these guys anyways… is that F1 worthy at all?? taking out the leader and not caring one bit.
    Every single word by both is truly absurd..

    1. He didn’t leave SPACE he just chopped him off. Or write to race director to scrap the rule about being able to get back on lead lap. Or maybe Ocon should waste his faster car at that moment behind cruising crash kid?

    2. Ocon’s race engineer has two goals, one is to keep Ocon calm and focused on the race, irrespective of who’s at fault, so he says what’s needed to defuse the situation and get Ocon back to driving. Secondly, given that radio comms are broadcast, it wouldn’t help their case in front of the stewards if they admitted a mistake without having a clear picture of what happened (i.e. via onboard replays, telemetry).

      I think it’s like what insurers advise us when in an accident – don’t take the blame, don’t admit fault on the spot, all that can be sorted out later, instead of painting oneself into a corner.

      1. People keep watching the incident as a regular incident, but it clearly wasn’t.

        Ocon, as a backmarker fighting the leader for positions is in fact almost unique in F1 history, never before any driver has been this aggressive towards a raceleader and while beaten into the corner Ocon kept on pushing.

        People assume Verstappen needed to expect the unexpected, in post race interviews Verstappen mentioned he didn;t fight Ocon, he just kept the racing line to maintain his gap to Hamilton, who was just ~2 sec behind at the moment of impact.

        People need to focus on Ocon’s action… wich is what the FIA did right, they penalised Ocon with as much as they could give him

    3. Occon was totally right and Verstappen was totally wrong.

      1. If this was Lewis, I’ll bet you and alot of others would have said othewise. You know there is a word for this right? Hypocrlte

        1. I’m a Hamilton fan, and if this was him I wouldn’t be happy with him throwing away a win by going into combat with a backmarker. In fact, Brazil 2013- HAM/BOT collided and HAM was penalised. I think most reasonable people would take that point of view.

          1. @blazzz So with virtually no precedence for today’s drivers to draw on, you would have been perfectly fine with Ocon as a lapped car dive bombing LH as the race leader? You only would have been unhappy with LH if he defended and they collided? You would have been fine with Ocon’s dive bomb even if LH left more room and they didn’t collide? Doubt it. That would mean you suddenly agree that blue flags should not exist and/or that lapped cars can be as aggressive as they want with front runners.

          2. @robbie There is plenty of precedent for cars swiping the nose of a following car when they was space to do otherwise getting penalties for causing a collision. Also, a two-corner set-up is the opposite of a dive-bomb.

            (I also think that blue flags should be advisory, but since the only one waving was when Verstappen was ahead and therefore invalid, the blue-flag rule isn’t relevant to the discussion).

    4. Maybe its my imagination.. but the engineer had a very dubious tone when he said that.
      Almost sarcastic..
      But: It must have been difficult to see such a stupid mistake and still supporting your driver.

  3. That was entertaining.

    As for Hartley, I like the dude in F1, but things like that are exactly why he’s not gonna keep the seat for next season. Soon it became obvious Gasly wouldn’t comply. He should’ve battled. Since he’s almost done anyway, he should honour his gloves. After all, more pace gives him reason.

    1. @niefer – agreed. It’s quite obvious that Dr. Marko is driver shopping for someone better than Hartley, and is only keeping Hartley around in case he doesn’t get one. In such a scenario, there’s little to be had in being a nice team player, particularly not after the dire season he’s experienced.

    2. He wasn’t going to fight if his team didn’t want him too, gasly should of gotten out of the way quicker instead of wasting Hartleys tires

      1. It seems Gasly is a tough cookie, something for Red Bull to consider. There could be fireworks in that team next year.

  4. I got to see Esteban Ocon’s in-car camera footage on F1TV over the weekend & that & the radio that is included changed my view on the Verstappen/Ocon collision a little.

    Esteban Ocon had been behind Max for 2-3 laps before the collision & had looked to unlap himself prior to the collision yet Max needlessly defended every time & fairly aggressively the last time down to turn 4. Going into turn 1 Ocon got a better run & with DRS was always going to end up alongside & had Max stayed on the racing line to the left & just let Ocon go up the inside I don’t think anything would have happened. Yet for some reason Max again felt the need to defend & this is what put Ocon on the outside of turn 1 & the inside for turn 2.

    Since seeing this & having the radio comms i’ve gone from feeling it was more Ocon’s fault to more Max’s because there was zero reason for Max to keep defending as hard as he was & given that he knew why Ocon was faster & what was going on as the radio comm’s show he should have just let him go and given him more room when he got alongside through turns 1/2 when the collision occurred.

    Max was backing off, Ocon was pushing & Max knew this yet continually defended unnecessarily & didn’t leave the room he shoudl have knowing the situation.

    1. @gt-racer It’s clear that Verstappen didn’t want Ocon to pass him and for me it’s clear that Verstappen (stupidly) cut Ocon off in turn 2. However, I wouldn’t say that it was needless defending. Ocon was faster yes, but only for a couple laps. Verstappen would first lose time letting Ocon pass, then lose time in the dirty air behind Ocon and eventually he would lose time with lapping Ocon once again. That’s something you don’t want with Hamilton 2 seconds behind you. That, and a childish feud between the two.

    2. @gt-racer

      +1. I shared the complete footage in my comment below. I only have a slight disagreement- I wouldn’t blame Max in the majority, but for me it’s a 50-50 incident.

      1. Rather than saying there was zero reason for Max to defend, what about the fact that there was zero reason for Ocon to even put Max in that situation to begin with? Is it because it was Max that suddenly some are ok with lapped cars unlapping themselves with attempted dive bombs on the leaders? What if a desperate dive bomb like that cost the race leader the Championship? Still fair game? When we practically have to go back to Senna/Irvine for a related incident?

        What Ocon did simply isn’t done. To expect Max to read Ocon’s mind is unfair. Max had every reason in the world to expect not to be dive bombed. If this was a fair race for a podium spot, different story, and then Max would have prepared for any scenario. The last scenario he or any race leader for years and years expects, is to be challenged aggressively with a dive bomb by a lapped car.

        1. @robbie I wouldn’t say it was a divebomb. Not as if he came from miles behind with brakes locked & car out of control or anything…. He had DRS & more top end speed & was driven cleanly alongside/ahead of Max due to this. That was the total opposite of a divebomb.

          I also feel that Ocon had every right to unlap himself as regardless of if he was a lap down or not he was still racing with cars ahead/behind & had pitted for fresh tyres to gain an advantage on those he was racing ahead to try & make up some spots. He was losing time behind Max & wanted to get past so he could use the full performance of his fresh tyres in his race against those ahead of him.

          I agree to an extent with @gt-racer, Max had little reason to defend & would have lost far less time had he just let Ocon go & like Lewis said post race Max had more to lose & should have been smarter about the way he handled it. He didn’t need to defend as he did & he could/should have left more room at turn 2 similar to how Schumacher did in the clip i’ll link to below:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsKxahsDA-M

        2. @robbie

          what about the fact that there was zero reason for Ocon to even put Max in that situation to begin with?

          There was. Do you understand that Ocon was running his own optimal race and strategy, and the race leader happened to be in the way of his progress, despite being a lap down? It’s very much basic F1. Ocon is not inclined to help Verstappen in any manner in that situation. He had a pace advantage and he had a right to unlap himself in pursuit of a top 10 finish.

          Is it because it was Max that suddenly some are ok with lapped cars unlapping themselves with attempted dive bombs on the leaders?

          a. It wasn’t a dive bomb.
          b. We can flip that on its head and say, so just because Max is the leader, it means he can just chop across a backmarker trying to legally unlap himself? Seriously.

          To expect Max to read Ocon’s mind is unfair.

          What are you talking about? Max could read Ocon’s intentions and he was told by his engineer. In case you missed it in the article:

          Verstappen: I have this Force India behind me, pushing.
          To Verstappen: Understood. Yeah he’s out on fresh supers.

          So, no mind reading required there.

        3. @Robbie Ocon’s incentives:

          1) not losing time to a slower car

          2) less damage to tyres – at least one other driver has been quoted as saying being behind a car for 3 corners causes tyre damage, so getting ahead for 3 corners would have made it worthwhile all by itself

          3) fewer cooling issues due to less time running in dirty air

          4) the risk of causing a collision through artificially trying to correct the DRS “overshoot”

          5) the fact that he is a racing driver and the regulations support cars unlapping themselves if the car doing the lapping happens to be slower at that moment (subject only to the same rules of engagement that bind cars fighting for position and, if one had been waved after completion of the move, the blue-flag rule)

          6) laying down a marker that Max, other rivals and team bosses should start treating him as a racing driver and not as an object of pity

          So… …lots of reasons for Esteban to make the overtake.

    3. Yup agree 100% max wasn’t acting very smart that race

      1. @stefmeister @blazzz @alianora-la-canta There is no point trying to sell me on why Ocon had the right to unlap himself, because he did, but he obviously broke a rule and got penalized and for some reason you want to ignore this glaring fact. Ocon was penalized. Let’s ask why. The answer as has been explained clearly by Whiting is not about whether he had the right to unlap himself, but is entirely about his clumsy attempt at it that harassed the race leader and even caused contact. This is simply not done. I can’t say it more plainly than that. He had to choose a time to unlap himself when it was safe to do so by respecting the race leader, because that was his responsibility. His main aim needed to be to not go near the race leader in the risky manner that he did. There is no point trying to defend Ocon on the particular pass and whether or not it was a good attempt, nor is there a point running down the reasons why Ocon would have wanted to unlap himself. He did not belong doing what he did to Max when he did it. I didn’t invent the rule, F1 did. And they enforced it because Ocon too aggressively challenged the race leader and that is simply not done. We do not have unlapping cars taking out race leaders nor even putting them in a position such that contact might be possible. Ocon broke that rule and got penalized, as he should have.

        1. @robbie It was your incorrect claim about whether there was reason for Ocon to defend that I was addressing. There were several very good reasons that you (and Charlie Whiting, and apparently the stewards) did not appear to have taken into consideration.

          If the stewards’ reasoning was the same as Charlie Whiting’s, then there is nothing in the regulations that allowed the stewards’ verdict to be made – for the events given by Charlie did not contravene any regulations. There is nothing “obvious” about the stewards’ declaration, which is why citing the ruling does not in itself help clarify anything. From the evidence I’ve seen, particularly the various video angles starting partway round the previous lap, the stewards were just plain wrong, and Max should have received a penalty for swiping a rival on-track without legitimate excuse (in other words, for causing the collision).

          “It’s not done” is not a valid judicial reason in racing. There is nothing in the regulations that prevents what you call “harassment”, and the rules of engagement for an unlapping are identical to those for racing position (assuming no valid blue flags are waving at that precise moment). The only blue flag waved in the relevant part of the procedure was waved when Verstappen was leading and therefore invalid, because nobody has argued that Verstappen was a lap down on anyone).

          There is no “too aggressively challenged the race leader” rule either. If a lapped car is not being blue-flagged at a given moment, they may challenge their opponent exactly as aggressively as they could have done had both cars been fighting for the lead.

          Ocon was going faster than Verstappen in that corner sequence and for some time before that. According to the rules of engagement applicable at that moment, he was perfectly entitled to be in that space.

          Drivers racing each other for position are required to not swipe each other. There was lots of room for Verstappen to have avoided the collision and some of that room would even have enabled him to make the lapping defence work simultaneously. Ocon, on the other hand, would have been over the boundary line had he given Verstappen any more space, and Verstappen’s unnecessarily sharp right turn was too late for him to attempt braking out of the collision (especially since Ocon committed to his line before Verstappen did).

          If Verstappen had been paying enough attention to the architecture of the corner, the unlap would have failed gracefully, by Ocon being obliged to slot behind him. Had he not done so, but chosen a line that didn’t involve removing Ocon’s braking space, then he could have tried lapping later on, when the blue flags would have negated the standard rules of engagement. In both cases, the collision would have been avoided.

          I didn’t invent the rules, nor did I invent physics. Neither did the stewards or Charlie Whiting. I would have appreciated it if the stewards and Charlie had checked the rules and physics properly before making their respective statements. Unfortunately they did not, therefore inadvertently setting the dangerous precedent that a race leader is allowed to remove any car they like, at any time, and expect the victim to get the penalty rather than themselves.

          1. @alianora-la-canta Your premise seems to be based on your opinion that Max was the offender here, and he was not. Max and Ocon were not fighting for position. Ocon was not going to take the race lead by passing Max. His position would not have changed had he passed Max, just the lap he was on. You are also incorrect that Whiting doesn’t write the rules when in fact he does have input in the rules and their enforcement, and has discussions with drivers in meetings on a regular basis, clarifying this or that. Whiting called Ocon’s attempt ‘wholly unacceptable.’ The stewards ruled immediately during the race. Brundle’s immediate reaction was to blame Ocon. I highly doubt they all have it wrong. And if they did have it so blatantly wrong as you suggest, where was the protest from FI then? Should a reversal of the penalty have not been a no-brainer then?

            As to your last sentence, where you err is blaming the victim who is Max. And as far as dangerous precedence go then, if they had not penalized Ocon, then what would prevent any lapped car with little skin in the game from intentionally taking out a race leader for political reasons? As has been asked before, do you think Ocon would have done this to LH if he was the race leader? No, F1 and the global audience do not want to invite that slippery slope where drivers merely trying to unlap themselves put the race leader at risk. It is not the etiquette of F1, similar to how they use blue flags for the same reason. We want to see races play out where the leaders are not to be interfered with by those with no skin in the game. Ocon’s desire and right to unlap himself does not take precedence over the leaders’ right to be left alone to race his race against the other podium finishers. It is wholly unacceptable which is why it isn’t done and why Ocon was immediately penalized.

            It is interesting though, and perhaps you should ask yourself the question as to why you think it is now ok for a back marker to challenge a race leader so aggressively when it is isn’t for position, and why you seem to think this is normal in F1, and I suppose should even be encouraged if it is such a no-brainer to you. Would you prefer the blue flag rule removed too? Mercedes powered cars blocking non-Mercedes powered cars in order to help the leader gain space and time?

          2. @robbie “Premise” assumes a given statement is a starting point. I have explained at some length how I reached that statement (a combination of noting the composition of the incident, Article 16 of the Sporting Regulations and the absence of several regulations you appeared to believe exist or anything else that would have change the outcome of the analysis). As such, claiming I began by “assuming Max was the offender” is incorrect – that would be fairly near (though not quite) the conclusion of my argument, therefore close to the opposite of a premise.

            Charlie Whiting is not and has never written the regulations. For him to do do so would be a conflict of interests with his professional role, which is to translate the regulations into something actionable on a day-to-day basis. Neither he, nor the stewards, is allowed to make decisions that contradict what the regulations say. This is why their use of arguments that contradicts what the regulations say on this matter is significant. What he is allowed to do is make clarifications – provided these are consistent with a plausible interpretation of the regulations. Making a “clarification” that opposes the regulations, as he did regarding Ocon v Verstappen, does not count.

            The stewards have been required to completely retract their opinions on multiple occasions. That is why events that are covered by off-track penalties (such as a suspension or disqualification) can be appealed, sometimes are, and occasionally successfully. A particularly good example of this was when the stewards attempted to depend upon a forged signature (and potentially dubious evidence) to claim Jarno Trulli’s Jordan was underweight in the 2001 US Grand Prix. As it was a disqualification, Jordan was able to appeal. They did so, proved the forgery, showed how that brought the alleged evidence into question and the result was overturned.

            On the basis of the line of argument I provided in my previous post (none of which you have meaningfully challenged), the only reason the verdict hasn’t already been overturned (with or without Force India’s say-so – Vettel had a post-race grid penalty withdrawn for China 2007 because public pressure made the FIA review the video associated with the accident he’d allegedly caused in the previous race) is that in-race penalties are banned from being appealed, regardless of evidence. Stop/go penalties, unlike disqualifications or post-race grid penalties, are classed as in-race penalties and therefore cannot be appealed – even if there was incontrovertible proof that a penalty was wrongly given*. Force India is not Haas and therefore tends to limit the extent to which it complains about things it can’t change in order to prove a moral point – even when it believes itself to be 100% right.

            As for Martin Brundle… …commentators aren’t infalliable either (otherwise, how to reckon with Channel 4’s, who between them considered every major opinion available on the matter). Martin moderated his opinion after the race and said Verstappen should have let Ocon go (in other words, he was wrong to turn in, because simply because one can doesn’t mean one should). Therefore his heat-of-the-moment comments should, at best, be taken with a pinch of salt as they may no longer reflect his own opinion.

            Due to the context of the regulations F1 has, the precedent set by the stewards’ decision means that nobody – regardless of levels of “skin in the game”, their position, their justification or lack thereof – has any reliable incentive to avoid colliding with their fellows or going for low/zero-percent moves. Any of them could point to the call made by the stewards regarding the crash as justification for deliberately crashing. It is a good time to provide the reminder that Article 16 does not differentiate between cars racing for position and those that are on different laps, nor do any other regulations apart from those involving blue flags (none of which waved at a point where it would have been valid to do so, unless someone is suggesting Verstappen was a lap down at the time). As such, the remainder of the second paragraph in @robbie‘s previous post can be cited as a defence of the “Verstappen should have penalised rather than Ocon” permission (or, for those wishing to argue that way, “it was a racing incident/both of them were silly and paid for it, therefore no penalty for either of them”), and cannot plausibly be used to defend a penalty towards Ocon.

            The regulations I have been citing (except those whose later vintage I have mentioned) have been in place since at least Suzuka 1993, because a very similar case back then was decided in the favour of the driver being lapped. (Though unlike Verstappen, Senna had the relative common sense to only hit his rival off-track…). Perhaps Verstappen should open his history books if he wishes to be a title contender, because this won’t be the last time someone feels the need to unlap themselves in F1.

            I’d prefer the blue flag rule to be advisory only, as it is in sportscars, because lapping backmarkers is a skill that the best drivers in the world should possess. After all, the rule about not swiping each other applies to lapping situations just like equal-lap ones (barring the clause where blue flags are waving at the (to-be-)lapped car at the point where defence is being considered). There’s a regulation about inter-team collusion, in case you were wondering, so it’s not as if the scenario described would happen (or at least, it wouldn’t happen twice, if the stewards handle any first-time offence with the appropriate seriousness).

            * – Technically, the FIA allows appeals through the Swiss Court of Arbitration, but they take years, and any ruling brought after the mid-December FIA General Meeting that seals the year’s racing results (with exceptions for races occurring very close to the date of that meeting – which is always carefully scheduled so F1 races aren’t included in that exception), by regulation, cannot be used to affect the results of the race. Appealing to the Swiss Court of Arbitration would be as pointless from a pragmatic viewpoint as attempting to appeal through the non-existent FIA in-race-penalty appeal route, which is unsurprising as the FIA only includes that clause for minimal legal compliance (as a French entity, it’s required to have an appeal route that is not administered by its own governance structures for all situations).

          3. @alianora-la-canta Sounds like you are way overthinking what is done and dusted, everyone past it, the stewards having penalized Ocon immediately. No continued outrage from Max or RBR or the media, nor Ocon nor FI. Why? Because the stewards got it right and it’s been a reminder to all drivers trying to unlap themselves not to aggressively challenge the race leader in the manner Ocon did. Nothing more I can say that I already haven’t, to state my position, consistent with those who are the ones that matter within F1 in terms of their decision to immediately penalize Ocon.

          4. @robbie Max was still moaning about the incident during interviews in the Abu Dhabi weekend, and probably still would be if it weren’t for the fact it’s winter break and we can’t hear him any more unless he feels like taking to social media. Channel 4 were debating it then too.

            Ocon and the respective teams had moved on, but that doesn’t mean Max or the media had. Also, “moving on” doesn’t mean a decision is right, only that certain entities recognise they have no power to change it, and must simply deal with the severe negative consequences the bad precedent will continue to have into 2019. Next year matters, for reasons I have already described in detail.

          5. I am 100% with you in your analysis of the accident between Ocon and Verstappen, but what do you mean with these comment?

            Force India is not Haas and therefore tends to limit the extent to which it complains about things

  5. Am I missing something?
    Had Vettel not had a sensor issue would Max have still won? Not so sure. Remember Kimi was on the podium so Vettel could have also been on it.
    Why everyone thinks Max drove a great race when cars around him had a broken accelerator pedals so to speak. I didn’t see it that way.

    1. Nah, I don’t think vettel would’ve done much better than raikkonen, not enough to catch either hamilton or verstappen, unless he had managed to jump hamilton at the start, that would’ve been his only chance.

      To me it was red bull > mercedes > ferrari in race pace, and ferrari\merc > red bull in qualifying, with hamilton getting his 1-lap qualities out.

      1. If Max does something special on Sunday then I think Lewis and Merc will have to do some serious thinking! or they will know that the game is up.

  6. Gasly: I can’t they’re [censored by FOM] too close, can’t you see?

    Gotta say I’m curious what was said to get censored given that nothing else is!!

    1. @Kizza42 Perhaps it was shown on TV and not on the app? (I think both do radio but the rules for swearing on TV are different for the rules for swearing on apps).

  7. Here is the full Ocon/Max incident.

    Many pundits and fans alike were of the view that Ocon “surprised” Verstappen- clearly, the radio to/from Verstappen and this footage illustrates Max was acutely aware of Ocon’s presence and was concious of the combat he was getting himself involved in.

    Initially I was of the view that it was a 90% blame to Ocon, but following this I have to say it’s a 50-50 incident and disagree with the stewards.

    This is exactly why Verstappen isn’t the finished article yet- and so far I have to say, he doesn’t seem to be learning from his mistakes or atleast willing to learn.

    1. I will continue to disagree with that stance. There is simply no precedence that Max could have drawn on for a backmarker to dive bomb a race leader as Ocon did. Hence the penalty to Ocon. Max needed to maintain his pace and his tire status and did not need to be in Ocon’s dirty air while LH in behind was a threat. If Ocon had so much extra pace he needed to use it where it wouldn’t disrupt Max’s race, as the race leader. This go-to argument that Max shouldn’t have defended so aggressively is neither here nor there. Max shouldn’t have had to defend at all and had no reason to expect Ocon to dive bomb him. He should have been left alone as the race leader.

      This is why F1 uses things like blue flags. As the video from Ocon’s car shows, he was being blue flagged while ahead of LH until he showed better pace than LH and the blue flags disappeared. Then he caught up to Max. He had every right to unlap himself, but only without disrupting the race leader. It is incorrect to claim Ocon’s dive bomb on Max was fair game but for Max defending too aggressively. Even if Max had left more room and there had been no contact, Ocon was risking a penalty for such an aggressive move on the race leader. Many jaws would have dropped at how close he came to taking out the leader. Ocon was in the wrong for fighting Max when and where he did. Blaming Max for defending where he shouldn’t have even had to, is incorrect.

      If what Ocon did was correct, then let’s have the new rule be that blue flags will be banned and all lapped cars are free to fight the race leaders and podium runners at will and at any cost. Not that I think Ocon did this because he was in a Mercedes powered car, but I doubt he would have dive bombed LH, and if what Ocon did was penalty worthy only by a 10 second stop/go, what would prevent this type of thing happening again in order to ensure a political win for, in this case, LH. What would stop others from aggressively challenging the race leader and taking him out in order to have one’s mate win? The lapped car is out of the race for the most part anyway, so why not just take a 10 second penalty and take out the race leader? Or even just disrupt him as aggressively as possible. Answer: because that’s not what we want in F1. If we did, then I would agree Max needed to leave more room. But then, if we did, Max would have known to expect what has previously for decades now been unexpected, and would have treated the situation differently.

      1. @robbie how was what ocon did a dive bomb?

        he cleanly got up alongside and even ahead of max with the drs and was able to remain alongside by more than a car length through turn 1 & down to turn 2. he was still more than half way alongside when max decided to turn in and not leave room.

        regardless of what ocon did had max left more room for the car that was alongside him contact would not have been made.

        look at this, how much further alongside does he need to be to be left room?
        http://i65.tinypic.com/veas1v.jpg
        he is on the inside and more than far enough alongside to deserve to be left more room. max has nobody but himself to blame for this in my view and i say that as a fan of his.

        1. You are treating Ocons move as if they are fighting for position, which they weren’t. Max was leading the race and Ocon was nowhere and out of the points. So why should the race leader deviate from the racing line to allow a lapped car to unlap themselves?

          1. but he wasn’t ‘nowhere’, he was still in the race & still looking to gain position & if cars ahead of him retired he could end up in the points. just because a drivers is outside of the points and lapped doesn’t mean they should stop fighting to gain time or do we now think that cars should pull out of the race once lapped?

            he was faster at that point in the race, he was well within his right to unlap himself & he didn’t exactly take any risks when he went for it. he got drs, pulled alongside/ahead and stayed there and in my view it was max not leaving room and turning into the corner with a car alongside him that caused the collision.

            i just don’t understand those who seem to think that ocon shouldn’t have been where he was because i think he had every right to be where he was and that he had every right to believe that max would leave room given how far alongside he was at the time. it doesn’t matter if one is lapped & the other is the leader, if you have a car that far alongside you you really should leave enough room and not just turn in expecting them to suddenly vanish, especially when there faster & have cleanly managed to drive up alongside you that far.

      2. @robbie

        There is simply no precedence that Max could have drawn on

        See Brazil 2013 where HAM’s offence was similar to Max and he actually got a penalty for it.

        dive bomb

        It is incorrect to claim Ocon’s dive bomb on Max was fair game but for Max defending too aggressively.

        Talk about making stuff up. Ocon got a good tow, went for the outside line and maintained it through T1 before Max chopped him off. Max could have avoided that- all he had to do was leave more room. He didn’t, he paid the price. Max has a history of this- Monza (vs BOT) and Japan (vs Kimi) to name but a few examples of his “though shall not pass” mentality. Sometimes, you just have to live to fight another day.

        Max needed to maintain his pace and his tire status and did not need to be in Ocon’s dirty air while LH in behind was a threat.

        Except, the radio evidence shows Max was in cruise control mode and Hamilton was having engine issues. So this urgency to defend hard against Ocon is fictional. It’s hardly like in Singapore for example- where Max was more or less on the pace and the threat of backmarkers was real for Lewis.

        He should have been left alone as the race leader.

        What? Mate, this is F1 not some whisky tasting gentleman’s club, where it’s “after you sir. No no, after you”. What a ridiculous comment. Ocon was running his own optimal race, he had a pace advantage to the leader and was entitled to unlap himself as the rules permit.

        Even if Max had left more room and there had been no contact, Ocon was risking a penalty for such an aggressive move on the race leader.

        Lol not if he had more pace and actually pulled away from Max. Christ

        “Then let’s have the new rule be that blue flags will be banned and all lapped cars are free to fight the race leaders and podium runners at will”

        That is what the regulations state, backmarkers are allowed to unlap themselves.

        what would prevent this type of thing happening again in order to ensure a political win for, in this case, LH. What would stop others from aggressively challenging the race leader and taking him out in order to have one’s mate win?

        It seems you have entered the realms of tinfoil hats.

        If we did, then I would agree Max needed to leave more room.

        You don’t speak for all F1 fans. The point really is quite simple. A bit of common sense and discretion would have bagged Verstappen the win. If you defend aggressively (and pointlessly) then you end up paying for it. Verstappen could have let Ocon pass, then if Ocon didn’t pull away, repass under blue flags safely. That was one of many prudent options Max had at his disposal. Again, he didn’t, he paid for it. As I said at the start of my comment, Hamilton was in trouble with the tyres and the engine and was not a real threat.

        You need to take off those rose tinted glasses, mate.

  8. It is so obvious that Max has the pace inside him, but, nothing more. And also it is so obvious that the raw pace has never been enough to be a real champion. There are too many examples in the history, everyone agreed most of them are super fast, but you can hardly remember their names in a discussion.
    Hope he will be grown up (at least gain a positive-side step) next year and we can see some quality races with some quality drivers involved. In Vettel-era we couldn’t see much, Merc-era is being a lot better (at least team-mates were fighting until this year and some other teams are also there this year), but for us “real F1 fans” it is also not enough.

  9. When I think of Kevin Magnussen, I imagine a feisty, no-nonsense pirate. When Kevin Magnussen’s engineer thinks about him…


    1. Kevin My Darling !!!!! lol

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