Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2019

No ‘unwritten rule’ about out-lap passes, Hamilton and Leclerc say

2019 Chinese Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen’s claim F1 drivers have an ‘unwritten rule’ not to overtake each other at the end of out-laps has been disputed by two of his rivals.

The Red Bull driver accused Sebastian Vettel of spoiling his final run in qualifying by overtaking him immediately before the end of the lap.

However Lewis Hamilton made it clear he doesn’t share Verstappen’s view in a post on social media. In response to a quote from the Red Bull driver stating “it’s an unwritten rule that you agree that if you get to the last sector, you just stay behind each other”, Hamilton replied: “Nope.”

Charles Leclerc said such an arrangement is not possible. “To be completely honest you cannot have an agreement about not overtaking on the out-lap because different teams have different strategies with the tyres,” he said. “Basically we need to follow what we are told so it’s not possible, unfortunately.”

But Daniel Ricciardo, who also passed Verstappen at the end of the lap along with Vettel and Nico Hulkenberg, said drivers chose not to observe the usual “etiquette” because many of them were running out of time to start their final runs.

“You had to go,” he said. “I think everyone just left it too tight. People got screwed because, I guess, we left it tight. You had to do what you had to do. Normally there is some etiquette but that went out the window with how tight it was.”

Verstappen said he had been under the impression he had more time to start his final lap. “It’s basically kind of a gentleman’s agreement that you stay behind, so I was doing that,” he explained.

“But I thought we still had 20, 30 seconds left. I guess the other cars who then overtook me they got a hurry-up from their engineers that there was only 10 seconds left. That’s how it is.”

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47 comments on “No ‘unwritten rule’ about out-lap passes, Hamilton and Leclerc say”

  1. so Ricci supports his statement..
    ( as did Magnussen before)

    RIC: said drivers chose not to observe the usual “etiquette”

    etiquette or gentleman agreement..

    1. Stop trying to blame others for RBs mistakes.

      I guess the other cars who then overtook me they got a hurry-up from their engineers that there was only 10 seconds left. That’s how it is.”

      RB and several others stuffed up. The ones that were on the ball didn’t get caught out, that’s the whole story.

      1. Agreed. RBR didn’t express enough urgency to Max. I don’t blame Max or Seb. Max was just trying to leave himself a gap behind CL, and Seb got the hurry up. I think there is an etiquette but that etiquette can understandably get thrown out the window when there are only mere seconds to get past the line to get that final lap in. Lesson to learn for several drivers/engineers to not leave it so late next time.

      2. yup, that fees accurate – @johnrkh.

      3. Stop trying to blame others for RBs mistakes.

        that’s not what i stated here..
        But, yes.. a lot of teams started very late.
        But back to the gentlemans rule/etiquette that seems to exist, proven by several drivers.
        Something to notice..but back to business tomorrow.

        1. erikje, except Ricciardo was also caught doing something very similar to Vettel just one race ago in Bahrain. In fact, part of the reason why Vettel had such a bad first lap in Q2 in Bahrain was because Ricciardo overtook him and disrupted Vettel as he was trying to prepare for a run in Q2.

          In the case of Ricciardo and Vettel in Bahrain, that incident happened early in Q2, such that time pressures weren’t really a mitigating factor. Whilst Ricciardo might claim that such “etiquette” or a “gentleman’s agreement” might exist between the drivers, his own behaviour just one race earlier contradicts that and suggests that, if such an agreement supposedly does exist, the drivers will quite happily and routinely ignore it in practise.

    2. Both MAG and RIC agreed that you don’t adhere to any etiquette if you don’t have any time to. MAG admitted that had he been in a position to overtake GAS, VER and may be others, he would’ve. The reality is that the HAAS boys were too far away to have a go.

      VER messed up for both of RBRs cars (though it’s highly improbable that GAS would’ve improved his q-position). And he did get several hurry-ups from his engineer, but he didn’t heed bc he once again lost control of the situation.

    3. Jan-Marten Spit
      13th April 2019, 14:14

      Ricciardo, norris, grosjean and alonso do not agree with hamilton – they have all called this an unwritten rule.

      In fact grosjean was the victim of this and got penalized for impeding norris, but norris blamed vettel for it, not grosjean.

      But perhaps unwritten rules should not count. But that wont be satisfactory to the verstappen hate crowd – ver brakes an unwritten rule and gets scorned for it for years.

      1. If you keep this verbal garbage up you are likely to be scorned as well… ;-)

      2. What happened in Bahrain was a totally different case. Norris was on a flying lap and the other two were not paying attention. In this case we had race engeneers sleeping all along the pitwall, but none was on a flying lap.

  2. Verstappen said he had been under the impression he had more time to start his final lap. “It’s basically kind of a gentleman’s agreement that you stay behind, so I was doing that,” he explained.

    “But I thought we still had 20, 30 seconds left. I guess the other cars who then overtook me they got a hurry-up from their engineers that there was only 10 seconds left. That’s how it is.”

    The mistake has been made, Verstappen and his engineer will sort it out.
    The race is tomorrow that’s the bit that goes into the history books.

  3. Like anyone wasn’t yet under the impression Verstappen lives by his own “rules”…

    1. Jan-Marten Spit
      13th April 2019, 13:50

      Yes. We remember vividly how vettels rule had to be made after he claimed it existed. And was the first to break it.

      1. Yet more repeated nonsense… Will no one rid me of this pestilent commenter…? ;-)

        1. He’s right in this case though…

          The ‘Verstappen-Rule’ on moving under braking was installed after Vettel complained about it. Then, in Mexico, the rule was broken for the first time… Vettel, when he blocked Ricciardo.

    2. Of course, Max should have ruined Leclerc his out lap instead. /s

  4. As others have already mentioned, it appears that Red Bull did not inform Max Verstappen of how little time he had left. With all those cars lined up about the start their last hot lap of the day, one driver was always going to get rumped and Max ended up being that driver. He’ll be alright tomorrow!

    1. Yep, it seems the information form his engineer was to sparse. And the late stream of cars, ferrari, renault, Haas and Rbr combined with a exceptional slow warm up lap of the two mercs resulted in this outcome.

      1. So max wasn’t messing with people following him?

  5. Its an unwritten rule to play nice but its heating up right now and i love it.

    1. +1 Red Bull (and Verstappen) were slow on the uptake today. Vettel just got on with it.

  6. This is not a topic. It is a press created topic. On this webiste more than three articled on it. Useless, self created content. After expressing themselves none of the drivers gave it a second thought

    1. So correct – but it’s the Way of the Media these days – and the same, occasionally boring, people make the same boring comments… and websites are measured by the number of views, and the number of comments… So, I’m doing my bit… lol.

      1. and the same, occasionally boring, people make the same boring comments

        Will no one rid me of this pestilent commenter

        So, I’m doing my bit… lol.

        yep.. so its enough for now. Live by your own “”rules””.

  7. Normally there’s etiquette involved (and since the teams choose when to send their drivers out, they’re usually where they want to be) but every so often the sums get calculated wrong or hold ups in the pits lose them desired track position or they’re just late for whatever other reason. At that point, it’s every man for himself. Red Bull dropped the ball today.

  8. Didn’t Romain Grosjean and Lando Norris state exactly the same thing two weeks ago in Bahrain? They also complained that Vettel had gone against etiquette by overtaking in the last corner and effectivly ruining Grosjeans and Norris’ lap.
    Clearly there is a disagreement between drivers what’s acceptable and what’s not. Personally I think Vettel was quite clever in the way he overtook Verstappen today. Nothing wrong with it. It’s everyone for himself in qualifying. If anything Red Bull could have either have forseen that everyone would go out at the end and send Verstappen out before that, or given him the hurry up much earlier so that he’d made it.

  9. Hmmm, Lewis after qualifying in Brazil 2018:
    “Everyone was on an out lap, me, Sergey and the one in front of me,” Hamilton explained.
    “When you’re on an out lap, towards the end of the lap, you try to back off and get a gap
    “As far as I knew no one behind was on a lap so I was making sure i had a gap, then all of a sudden out of turn 11 I saw a car coming.
    “But he wasn’t on a lap so I don’t really know what his thinking was.
    “Between all the drivers, we all know to keep our space by that point so it was generally quite a disrespectful move.”

    King Hypocrit

    1. He apologized soon afterwards when more fully aware of what had happened, removing all blame from Sirotkin.

      1. That’s not the point..

        Between all the drivers, we all know to keep our space by that point

        and now:

        “it’s an unwritten rule that you agree that if you get to the last sector, you just stay behind each other”, Hamilton replied: “Nope.”

        So the “king hypocrite” comment is no surprise there

        1. It’s really self-evident that the ‘unwritten agreement’ is going to have limitations – and that includes when time has basically all but run out. Hamilton was referring to a situation when the drivers still had enough time to put in laps. So under normal time pressures, yes, drivers might have an unwritten agreement. But under competitive conditions and severe time pressure, those simply aren’t going to apply. Obviously drivers are there to set the fastest lap time, not none.

          Needless to say I thought Hamilton’s ‘nope’ was to the point and quite funny. And Verstappen’s uber-fans are going to be in meltdown over nothing. C’est la vie.

          1. i do not see many “meltdowns” here ;)
            To many teams were caught of guard by the slow Merc laps and the lack of directed pit information.
            But we will see tomorrow how it develops

          2. Fair enough erikje! I count myself as a Max fan but not defend-at-all-costs. His outburst on the radio was quite spectacular but clearly born of total frustration. Looking forward to seeing how it all pans out in the race too.

  10. It’s one of those ‘unwritten rules’ that nebulously exists in a sense that most of the drivers do actually appear to follow it… but they only follow it when it doesn’t really matter.

    As soon as there’s any urgency involved, it’s every man for himself.

  11. I believe it was a failed attempt by Mercedes to screw over Vettel. The MB-pit crew saw Vettel was too far behind in the line and instructed Hamilton (who was first) to take it easy. Furthermore they instructed Bottas (driving immediately behind HAM) to not let anyone overtake him. Thus bringing all the drivers behind them in danger of missing the cut. Foul play by Mercedes, but not illegal. I even suspect Hamilton has this underlying reason to deny Verstappen’s claim that a gentlemen’s agreement (of not overtaking in the final corners of the warmup lap) was broken.

    1. This is how I saw it too. I mentioned it right away before any interview was done. The pack was bunched up by the Mercedes cars.

      What I also find weird is that people say redbull sent max too late. But Max was in time until Vettel passed him. So it looks like Ferrari sent Vettel out too late.

      But who cares, it’s done and tomorrow is what counts. Just a few cars more to overtake is what max said

      1. Hmm if this were the case and they were deliberately going slowly, their tyres wouldn’t have been in the correct temperature window and they wouldn’t have been able to be so close to the times that they did on their first flying runs. I think this theory is a bit far fetched @anunaki @Genty

      2. @anunaki, the timing evidence suggests that theory doesn’t really stack up.

        When you look at the amount of time that Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and so on were all taking on their out laps, there doesn’t seem to be any clear evidence that Mercedes were going any slower than normal on their final out laps. Furthermore, as Dom notes, both Mercedes drivers were quite quick in the first sector of the lap, when surely that strategy should have hurt their times in the first sector of the lap given the tyres would be below their optimum temperature.

        It was only two races ago, back in the opening round in Australia, where Red Bull made a major error in qualifying when they failed to recognise that Gasly was about to drop out of Q1 until it was too late for them to send the car out onto track. The people on the pit wall are still human and aren’t going to make perfect decisions every single time – given that it’s not that long ago that they made an error of judgement in qualifying, it seems far more logical to me that they just simply made a slight misjudgement when trying to pull off a risky strategy.

        To me, this feels more like a lot of people trying to create a false sense of hysteria over nothing – just one race ago in Bahrain, there was clear video evidence that other drivers were doing exactly the same thing in that qualifying session (for example, there is onboard footage of Ricciardo overtaking Vettel when the latter was preparing for a qualifying lap).

        The fact that it happened to involve Verstappen seems to be the only reason why it’s generating more attention – few of those complaining now seem to care less when, for example, the same things happen between midfield drivers.

        1. The difference is, these actions ruined the quali for several drivers. In the VET/RIC case only one driver was victim for a moment with a change to correct the error.

          1. erikje, does it really matter if it was just one or several drivers? If the offence was the same, why is it not equally criticised? Indeed, why is it that when something similar happens involving other drivers, such incidents barely attract any attention or are completely ignored?

    2. I agree, Bottas did look way too far back from Hamilton

    3. Looks to me they kinda wanted it 1000th pole for Lewis, given how much he likes these records (remember his obsession with Senna stats), so they even gave these instructions to Bottas who by the time was on provisional pole and was faster all weekend. Not saying it was a real target, but it would be more preferable from PR point. Great job by Valtteri then.

  12. Mark in Florida
    13th April 2019, 17:26

    @Genty smartest comment on this whole topic. These timing situations are controlled by the engineer’s. Merc knew what was going on in the que and decided to take advantage of it. Strategy is strategy no matter if it’s in the race or not. If you can harm your opponent you do it. At the end everyone was so jammed up behind Verstappen who acted completely clueless as to how much time was left on the clock to start his lap, the others were desperate to hit the start line. If Verstappen wants to be mad, be mad at his engineer for leaving him hanging.

    1. Max wasn’t complaining, he was explaining. He didn’t get the hurry up from his team, so he was observing the etiquette, not knowing it had gone out the window due to shortage of time.

      1. I can’t believe they don’t have remaining time on the dash screen though. Is it really so?

        1. Are they gonna drive an F1 car around a track while watching a small insignificant timer on the steering wheel? They got important stuff like different car settings and temperatures and its already sensor overload for the drivers to keep track of it all on the warm up laps. The team takes care of the timing and only if something critical is not going according to plan (like today) the driver should be notified.

  13. $315M budget last year but can’t afford a stopwatch! Those 2021 budget restrictions are going to bite hard!

  14. Life is just too short. If your team sends you out too late……. Don’t get a big bottom lip about etiquette, cross the line in time & get on with it.

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