Verstappen: Don’t blame stewards over Vettel-Hamilton penalty

2019 Canadian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says he doesn’t blame the Canadian Grand Prix stewards for the controversial penalty which cost Sebastian Vettel victory in the race.

The Red Bull driver spent a day with FIA stewards at the Formula E round in Morocco earlier this year as punishment for shoving Esteban Ocon at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix. He said the stewards sometimes don’t want to give the penalties that are issued.

“I don’t blame the stewards themselves,” said Verstappen. “I’ve been at the stewards in Marrakech, I’ve been there the whole day. I think they do realise what’s happening but sometimes they can’t give another penalty because it’s written in the rule book exactly like that, that they have to give this penalty. And sometimes they don’t even want to but they have to.”

Verstappen hit out the criticism which the Montreal stewards, including former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro, received after Vettel’s penalty.

“I read a few comments that some stewards got some bad language messages on Twitter and stuff which I think is not fair. At the end of the day they are trying to do their job in the best possible way and it’s not fair to say they did a bad job. But I think it’s good to look at the rule book, what we can change or take out.”

However Verstappen doesn’t agree with Vettel’s penalty, which he said spoiled the race. “I think in general if you are going to award a penalty maybe don’t do it in the race because it destroyed that whole excitement of Lewis catching Seb and then fighting for the win from there onwards,” he said.

“Of course Lewis squeezed in behind Sebastian, he just needed to stay inside those five seconds. Of course when you look back it at the first mistake that happened was that Seb went off the track. But then I think when he rejoined he didn’t do anything. He was not on purpose blocking Lewis.

“So I think why they gave him the penalty was wrong. I think in general if you are going to give penalties like that then why don’t you just put a wall there? Then if you make a mistake he is in the wall then the race is over for him.

“I’m anyway not a big fan of penalties. I’ve had them myself many times. I always try to stay out of the stewards room now, just say hello and that’s it. It’s maybe not good for F1 as well.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 37 comments on “Verstappen: Don’t blame stewards over Vettel-Hamilton penalty”

    1. Max grew up so fast, his attitude is night and day from the start of the 2018 season (headbutt threats etc)

      Vettel should learn from him.

      1. How about the physical violence at the end of 2018 season?

        But sure, Vettel could learn a lot from Verstappen about making less mistakes.

        1. it was a push! my god

    2. I am enjoying this new Max attitude. It does seem like he genuinely learnt a lot from his “community service” and has very much matured.
      Here’s hoping for a Red Bull revival so he can start challenging on a regular basis.

    3. He seems to have matured a lot this year and other than 1 odd incedent he has been really flawless.

    4. Max Verstappen, a F1 driver, says that the Penalty for Vettel was not fair. But still lots of people are trying to convince us the opposite….

      1. Wait until hes on the receiving end of being pushed into a wall.

      2. Tell you what. If Vettel loses the championship by the 7 points he lost in this race we can all revisit this again and go crazy. Deal? Until then, can you Ferrari fans just s the f up!

        Lewis was stripped of a win AFTER the podium ceremony to his MAIN championship rival for a lesser offence (he actually gave the stupid place back) and there wasn’t this level of outrage that the sport is doomed blah blah blah blah.

        1. Until then, can you Ferrari fans just s the f up!

          So your basically saying that 95% of fans & people involved in f1 are Ferrari or Vettel fans?

          Because that seems to be about the percentage of people who feel the penalty was wrong. The one’s that seem to be bringing it up & arguing the most are the minority who are desperately trying to justify it in the face of all the drivers who actually know what it’s like to drive the cars who believe the penalty was ridiculous.

          All 5 drivers in the press conference earlier were asked about it & who believe it was totally wrong, guess there all ferrari/vettel fans who don’t know what there talking about?

        2. > Until then, can you Ferrari fans just s the f up!

          @RB13 you’re implying that anyone against that penalty is a Ferrari fan. I’d like to remind you that people like Mansell, Andretti, Wurz, van der Garde and even Mark Webber (I mean, Webber. Defending Vettel.) all agree in saying it was wrong/too harsh.
          Of course there are other notable examples of people agreeing with you: Nico for instance, notably far from Mercedes wallet. Or Joylon Palmer, who.. well, he’s Palmer.

          1. @m-bagattini This discussion is tiresome. There’s a difference between thinking the stewards were wrong (Verstappen doesn’t) and thinking the rules are wrong.

            My view is that most people are fairly superficial when it comes to these issues. They respond to one-off events without paying much attention to why a situation (by which I mean the combination of race events and existing rules and stewarding practices) came about. As some commentators have emphasized, teams and drivers demanded consistency and clear rules. That means stringent application of the rules as stated in the regulations. Vettel came back on track unsafely (irrespective of whether he had control over the car or not: note that point) and was found, by the stewards, to have deliberately blocked Hamilton after he had recovered control of the care, as ascertained from the telemetry data. Of course, if the teams and drivers now want less stringent application of the rules, they’re free to ask for yet another change in policy. But do they want it? Like I said, it’s a superficial and somewhat dumb short-term reaction.

            1. @david-br I wasn’t disputing the penalty or the stewarding process: I wanted to stress on the fact that disagreeing with the decision doesn’t mean being Ferrari fans: there were notable examples of non-Ferrari fans who took distance from what happened.

              Relegating the disagreement to fandom is easy and you can wind up everything as justified by passion. When ex drivers and World Champions have a word to say, that’s a different story.

            2. @m-bagattini I know, but my point is directed at those former drivers too. They apparently haven’t much interest in understanding how the stewards ended up applying the rules. Some yes. But many just like to mouth off about how rubbish Formula 1 racing now is.

            3. I think you’ve given us a well reasoned summation of the rules, their application,
              and the drivers reaction to events DavidBR. One can understand Vettel’s reaction
              to the punishment he received. He was leading the race, was largely unchallenged
              at the point where he lost control of his car, and under the circumstances he
              recovered remarkably well. The only problem with his argument is his action
              when Hamilton arrived and when he deliberately blocked his main adversary
              from making a pass. He clearly has a highly selective view of events, which is
              understandable, but not acceptable to the stewards.

        3. 14 points

      3. No, he is saying that the penalty for Vettel was justified according to the rules but he doesn’t want those penalties to be given.

        1. @matthijs Precisely. Though he’s wrong if he means his penalty last year. Max wasn’t ‘racing’ in that incident, he’d stopped racing when he lost the corner and went off. He then came back on track unsafely, desperate not to lose a place, and struck Raikkonen, which actually gave Max a long-term race advantage due to the damage to Kimi’s car. Unless it’s demolition derby rules, I can’t see how that’s ‘racing’.

          Everyone should ask themselves honestly, would Hamilton have questioned either that penalty or the Vettel one if he’s received it? He might have complained in race, but I’m certain he’d have just accepted it after the race and moved on. Why? Because both came initially from driver error and that means it’s within his power to avoid that in the future. It’s the correct attitude to have. Not moaning incessantly because you were penalized for the consequences of your own error. Something I think Verstappen has actually picked up on. Vettel never has.

          1. > Why? Because

            because he has a huge advantage on the scoreboard. You really think that with completely reversed roles, with a Mercedes struggling every race, with half of their rivals’ points on the board, both Lewis and Toto would have kept their mouth shut? Come on… they can’t stop complaining even now that they already won this championship and the following one.

            1. @m-bagattini I don’t think they would have complained to this degree, no. And that’s why Lewis and Mercedes are ahead to begin with. Ferrari and Vettel just haven’t been able to achieve the same level the past two seasons and now this. Deflecting blame for their own errors is very much part of the issue.

      4. You clearly can’t read then. He states that Vettel deserved the penalty, but he is questioning the rule itself, not the enforcement of it.

      5. I mean, it’s very unlikely he would say it was correct after criticising the same decision against him last year.

      6. Max also stated that had he been Hamilton, he would have been on the radio saying “he blocked me” or some such, with the hopes of pulling the penalty. I have seen several drivers state that they would have done the same thing as Vettel, but I really don’t feel that is relevant. Without penalties for the rules, drivers would cut every chicane, make multiple blocking moves, etc. And I’m not defending this particular rule, just happy to see the rule enforced. Vettel’s intent when going off is not important to the rule. It is a rule to try to prevent rejoining the track in an unsafe manner. By Seb’s own statement, he was not in control of his car when he rejoined.

    5. The real problem with Ferrari is Vettel, they should do in the best of their political power to lure Verstappen in and ditch Vettel. Then we’ll have someone who can really challenge Lewis. Vettel always breaks under pressure.

      When they booed Lewis Vettel said, “It’s the funny decision” (steward’s) fault not Lewis, now he said it’s the regulations’ fault. He will blame anything but himself but the real culprit is himself. He just breaks under pressure. He don’t have the huge advantage like he used to had during the Red Bull dominance.

    6. Watch the footage again. Vettel steers to the right, then left and right again when he realises Hamilton had room to pass him on the right. It’s all very instinctive, in a split second. The second steer to the right is what got him penalised, at that moment he had full control of the car.

    7. I still don’t know what, fairly should have happened, according to all the people who say the rules that gave this penalty are wrong, once Vettel made the mistakes.

      The move put Hamilton on the back foot (or crashed, had he not braked, and moved off track), getting back within 1s and doing an overtake is hard, but, he was faster, so, ok,that would be ideal. And then, adding insult to injury, Vettel is demoted to third? Very f1 I guess, but didn’t we decide we dislike after the race changes to the results, and who would that satisfy? Or nothing? So then every time something like this happens, people won’t back off, hoping to keep position, which is how we have got to these rules, isn’t it? Quite F1, again, but not great or helpful.

      And if Hamilton is now too far on the back foot to make it. Winner is subsequently demoted, in which case, see above. Or no penalty, then a mistake and squeeze lead to a win, so, not quite fair, nor the best one winning then, but if that is the racers way, well let us know, and why. And bit about rules above, but magnified.

      Or is Vettel asked give up the place? Would that really be a good way to end the race? And, would not happen, Vettel knew he was slower, so can’t fight to get position back. So what then, drive through, or penalty again?

      1. This. Under pressure from Hamilton, Rosberg outbreaks himself into turn 1 at Monza, loses the lead and the race. Vettel’s mistake was enough to lose him the lead and he only retained it in the race by returning to the track unsafely and blocking Hamilton on the racing line he had vacated by running off. I simply don’t see the issue, even less the umbrage at losing the place, and really don’t care what penalty was issued so long as Vettel didn’t keep the place he had no right to keep.

        1. Jonathan Edwards
          20th June 2019, 22:54

          Why did he have no right to keep the place? The fact is, he did keep the place, indicating he had enough time to get back on track and maintain his lead. The fact that Hamilton had to brake should be rendered moot by the fact that Vettel rejoined the track clearly ahead. From that point on, they were racing for position, and Vettel was within his rights to cover the racing line, whether as a controlled maneuver or not. The whole argument that he had to leave a car’s width can be argued to not be applicable, as the full rule is written to be applied to a different scenario. The qualm about “a lasting advantage” is about as subjective as a rule can be, which runs contrary to your point about stringent application of the rules. As I stated last week, Vettel was under no obligation to let Hamilton by once he rejoined in the lead. At least if we still consider F1 to be “racing.”

          Your assertion that the stewards reached the only conclusion they could is not as ironclad as you believe. Stewards are not infallible, and I wonder if you’ll suggest they are whenever they reach a decision you feel is incorrect in the future?

          1. Vettel argued he was out of control, so he in rejoining the track out of control and onto the racing line, he did so unsafely, forcing (deliberately or not) Hamilton off track to take evasion action. Vettel at no point has argued that he had the right to block Hamilton.

            This argument over the incident is just so ridiculous. Vettel messed up and rejoined unsafely, and yet he’s portrayed as the victim. Verstappen got a similar penalty for an unsafe release in Monaco but we didn’t get this endless moaning about it.

            1. Jonathan Edwards
              20th June 2019, 23:56

              There was a lot of merit to your arguments in other posts, but the Verstappen comparison is just sad, as it’s in no way, shape, or form, relevant.

              And the argument is not ridiculous, seeing as there’s a multitude of people who’ve commented about it. It’s ridiculous in your mind because of your own hubris, which surely must burden your back, as heavy as it must be to carry around.

            2. I don’t mean the argument per se is ridiculous, I mean its continuation.

    8. If the same incident took place between drivers who were fighting for 12th and 13th place, there would not have been a hint of a fuss. Similar penalties are handed out in practically every race. Suddenly it’s all about ruining the show. The same ‘show’ that everyone has been complaining about for years.

      Vettel broke the rules, he needs to put a sock in it and grow up.

      As for Max, how much of what we’re hearing comes from him being tutored into saying the right things now RB has become all corporate?

      1. if you think max will be a PR puppy, like several others drivers, think again.

        1. Verstappen is 100% a PR puppy. He clearly gets drilled by Marko and Horner what to say in inteviews.

          They set a team agenda on whatever topic they think they can get support for to rain in their competitors or gain advantage themselves. Then all three go at it spreading the word.

          In reality he’s the biggest parrot of them all. It’s truly sad how he changed in that regard ever since RB said they would build the team around Verstappen.

        2. You forget that RB is tied to Honda and Japanese companies are very corporate. They will not be impressed if a driver goes off on one.

    9. What I don’t understand is how drivers can say that Vettel didn’t block Hamilton on purpose. At the same time they say they would have done the same thing. ie They would have done everything possible they could to keep Hamilton behind. So that means they know they would have blocked Hamilton too. What gives? Are they just trying to be popular?

      You can hear Vettel accelerate in the video clips of his off. Instead of accelerating at maximum power he should have been using the grip of the tyres for steering. He even applied so much throttle that he got a snap of oversteer.

      Also lets not forget that Vettel was already warned not to block other cars into the wall like he did (also to Hamilton) in Russia last season. Now he does it again. Are we playing ping pong?

      1. Well, there is a strong pong coming from Ferrari and Vettel over this…

    10. Wheter you agree with the penalty or not (I do, to an extent) you got to admit this is some mature thinking and speaking from Verstappen

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