Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Monaco, 2019

Verstappen given penalty points for failing to avoid contact

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen has been given two penalty points on his licences for the incident with Valtteri Bottas in the pit lane during the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was given a five-second time penalty for the incident, which was described as an “unsafe release”. However the stewards made it clear Verstappen’s contact with Bottas was the reason for the penalty.

“Car 33 [Verstappen] was released when car [77, Bottas] was well within the guideboards entering the fast lane. The Stewards did note that the pit location of car [77] is within car 33’s guideboard and that the release was extremely close.

“However, Car 33 struck car [77] while continuing the move towards the fast lane and subsequently pulled ahead gaining a sporting advantage following the contact. The stewards believe that although ahead at the time the driver had the opportunity to avoid the contact contributing to the unsafe release.

“The stewards considered this an unsafe release from a pit stop and gaining a sporting advantage and penalised the car five seconds.”

Verstappen’s time penalty dropped him from second to fourth in the race classification. He now has a total of two penalty points.

The stewards also investigated the contact between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the end of the race. They ruled neither driver was at fault and took no action.

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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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  • 36 comments on “Verstappen given penalty points for failing to avoid contact”

    1. Neither driver was at fault.. It is a yoke!

      1. Neither driver was predominantly at fault. That can mean neither driver screwed up, or they both screwed up equally, and while two wrongs don’t make a right, two minor wrongs can cancel each other out.

        1. <> but three do …

      2. VER 100% at fault, as usual.

      3. Why was Bottas not penalised first sliding down under safety car to create a big enough gap for double stack pit stop?

    2. I will consider these 2 points are for his collision with Lewis, because it makes more sense.
      And that Stewards just pressed the wrong button assigning 5 seconds penalty…

      1. Even with an unsafe release, Max didn’t *have* to slam Bottas into the wall.

      2. I’m the other way around. From the headline I thought these points were for the contact with Hamilton and I was already to complain about then as being ridiculous but I think the contact with Bottas justifies points.

    3. Bottas had it coming holding up Max and Vettel going in the pit lane. But it’s probably correct within the rules.

      1. But it’s probably correct within the rules.

        Haha nope, not even close. What Bottas did was 100% legal. He did not “have it coming” that is a completely ludicrous notion.

        1. Not sure what you’re saying here. I say it’s within the rules and you say it’s “not even close” and “100% legal” at the same time.

          So while you make up your mind I stick to opinion that what Bottas was was within the rules

          And what I mean with he had it coming is that he made the situation so close by holding them up. Nothing ludicrous about it. It just the it went.

          1. Red Bull was not entitled to an unsafe release and Verstappen was not entitled to drive into another car.

            Not sure what you’re saying here

            Quote was meant to have the had it coming line. My mistake. Copy pasting is a pain on phone :(

            Nothing ludicrous about it

            Max coming into the pits right behind Bottas would have happened regardless of what Bottas did. Bottas slowing down is completely irrelevant to Red Bull releasing Verstappen too early and Verstappen crashing into Bottas and forcing him into the wall. That is why it is a ludicrous notion.

      2. “had it coming”. I am eternally grateful nonsense like this isn’t in the stewardship of these races. Leave those moments for WWE. This is serious. An unsafe release is unacceptable.

    4. They have certain deltas to follow during SC period and it is monitored. What makes you think he was outside the boundaries?

    5. VER should have also been given license points for hitting HAM. VER had plenty of room not to hit BOT in the pit lane and actually hit him TWICE. VER needs to be harshly penalized for constantly colliding into competition.

      1. @megatron Races are a lot more exciting with Verstappen around though. Hamilton didn’t even complain when Max collided with him, it was like he’d been waiting for the moment and when it came, it was, ‘OK, not so bad, I can deal with that.’ To be honest I’m surprised he didn’t try the lunge earlier. 2018 Max would have done.

    6. I would say the unsafe release is more the team’s fault then the driver so I feel like he should have had a harsher time penalty (which punishes him and the team) but no penalty points for the pit incident.

      1. I don’t even think he could see Bottas until it was too late. Drivers should not start second guessing the pit stop release guy; that could be even more dangerous.

        Unsafe release penalty is correct, but licensee points doesn’t make sense.

        1. Suffering Williams Fan
          26th May 2019, 18:32

          I think it’s fair enough here. The team is at fault for the release itself, but the contact was quite some time later, rather than a direct result of the release, which I think is the point the stewards were making.

        2. If you look the video (available in f1.com) it shows that the team releases Max in unsafely manner. However, there is plenty of room for Max to avoid the collision, but he chooses to push Bottas into the wall.

          I do understand the effort from the team (the only way to make the pass in Monaco without rain), but colliding into another driver in pitlane is not ok.

      2. Maybe you should read the article. It’s explains that the stewards blamed Verstappen for ramming Bottas.

    7. I feel like the stewards got this all backwards. I would have preferred a stronger penalty during the race but no points on his license.

    8. Only two points? They should have been 10!
      This guy is a total irresponsible, one of the dirtiest and most despicable runners in the history of formula 1

      1. I wouldn’t go that far, but it should have been 10.

        The irresponsibility today go to his overtake “attempt” on Lewis. 100% stupidity given he’d probably still end up 4th, and potentially end a WDC contenders race.

    9. Boy a lot out here should go watching bridge at the old lauging lady club.
      C’mon guys this was racing, it’s Monaco…I feel the race could have gone wihout penalties just as easy.
      The unsafe release was correct, entirely on the team though… ad river will react on the lollypop man nothing else.

      As for the race…did Leclerc receive any penalties…right, nope he didn;t, but he was really messing things up quite badly.
      As for Verstappen and Lewis touching….nobody heard Lewis avoiding the subject after the race…? Lewis knew he steered in, Max knew he was on the edge…a bit of drama that helped this being an utter thriller of a race.

      Can’t see the logic in penalizing everything to death… let them race, it was a hard but fair battle.

    10. Of course Ves got the penalty. He is the only one who can fight the Mercedes at the moment and make F1 a little ecxiting to watch. But obviously this is not the goal of the stewards. If they had understand what was going on, they would have seen that Bot was slowing down to create time for his stop, which was directly after Ham’s pitstop. That he was hit by Ves was just kharma. For his performance today Ves should have been rewarded with a place on the podium.

      1. @pietkoster, so what you are saying is that you prioritise “excitement” over the safety of those working in the pit lane who could be injured in an unsafe release.

        It is not supposed to be the goal of the stewards to artificially spice up a race for your pleasure by dishing out a weak penalty to appease the fans. Their role is supposed to be to ensure that people aren’t at risk of being injured because a team prefers to take a cheap penalty with a callous disregard towards everybody else.

        1. Then don’t race at Monaco. Let them throw darts.

    11. You expect VER to make those lunges. He has little to lose by doing so. With a driver like Lewis though that ain’t gonna fly. VER is a bit like Senna in that respect. I’m coming through, you give me space or we make contact. It’s worth losing some points to show him he can’t do that with you as he will only play on it in future if you give him the space he’s demanding. Lewis saw that coming and turned in on him (as he had every right to do) THAT was worth more than the win as VER now knows, if he didn’t before, you can’t pull that sh** with Lewis when a WDC isn’t immediately at stake. He has got away with it in the past when Lewis had a lot to lose, late last season in particular but when the stakes are farely even…nope. Get in there Lewis!

    12. Not a VER fan… it’s not his fault he was released early, so stop blaming him like he did it on purpose. 5 sec penalty is a joke, hugely dangerous to release like that and it cost BOT 2 (net 1) places. Penalty points? Whatever, it’s like a ref making a makeup call.

      1. The 5 second penalty seems very light compared to penalties in other races but this has to do with the Monaco track:
        Because overtaking in Monaco is almost impossible, a 5 or 10 seconds Stop and Go penalty means that you loose every chance to end the race well. On other tracks the faster car can come back to the front but not in Monaco. So that’s why all the penalties in Monaco during the race are 5 or 10 second penalties. Even that can cost you several places at the end.
        I think this is a wise thing to do and if they explain it well, most people will understand.

    13. Unsafe release in that crowded pitlane? Should have been a drive-through penalty at least for putting all of those mechanics at risk. But it was on the team not the driver so no, cannot agree with the penalty points on his licence.

    14. the principle here is that of safety. the question being begged is, safety based errors or incidents should be given harsh or light penalties… in this case an unsafe release is deemed in what degree of unsafeness?

    15. Reginald Grassinton-Hartley III
      27th May 2019, 9:38

      Like many others I felt that the unsafe release was the teams fault so a time penalty totally justified, but the two licence points for Max seemed a bit harsh. Going back and watching the pit footage a few times I think there was room for Max to avoid contact although he would obviously have had to relinquish the position that he was hoping to gain.

      The contact with Hamilton was just a racing incident and I don’t think either driver did anything untoward, the problem to me seems that Ver was overly optimistic and then had a small lock up which let him carry a bit too much speed, so on that score it was more his fault, but not seriously, lock ups happen and you shouldn’t penalise a driver for it unless what they were attempting was totally ridiculous or dangerous which in this case it wasn’t.

      1. Hitting another car on the rear wheel is about the dirtiest trick you can pull in racing though. Apart from blocking by weaving in he breaking zone …

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