Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Ring, 2019

Stewards compared Verstappen-Leclerc incident to 2016 Rosberg-Hamilton case

2019 Austrian Grand Prix

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The collision between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at turn three at the Red Bull Ring three years ago was among the past cases considered by the stewards who ruled on the similar incident between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc today.

Rosberg was given a 10-second time penalty for forcing Hamilton off the track while they fought for the lead, while Verstappen was cleared of causing a collision with Leclerc.

FIA race director Michael Masi, who is not involved in the stewards’ deliberations on penalties, gave his view on why Verstappen was cleared when Rosberg had been penalised. He said the stewards began by comparing Verstappen’s approach to the corner with his driving on the previous lap when he tried unsuccessfully to pass Leclerc.

“Having had a good read of the decision itself I think from their end it was looking back at the lap earlier [when] Max had, from what I can see their view was, learned from what had happened the lap earlier.

“He went into the corner, braked later, Charles obviously saw him coming and stayed out wide. And Max was effectively in braking a lot later, effectively late-apexed and at all times was pretty much full lock and tried to power out.

“So the same thing that happened the lap previously didn’t occur again. That was from what I can sort of see in the general understanding that I’ve had quickly having a chat to them.”

Masi indicated a key difference between Verstappen and Rosberg’s driving in the incidents was that Rosberg appeared to be looking across towards Hamilton to force him off-track.

“Probably the big difference from what I’ve seen from the footage that I’ve seen of the two was that Nico looked across on that occasion whereas Max is very much focusing on the corner and getting out of it as quickly as possible.”

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37 comments on “Stewards compared Verstappen-Leclerc incident to 2016 Rosberg-Hamilton case”

  1. I immediately thought of that move, as I’m sure most of us did. But Rosberg went a loooot deeper.

    And also, crucially, he was defending, not attacking. It’s not something that should affect the decision, but I think it did. The intent was similar, give the other driver less room. Also Lewis pretty much turned in knowing Nico was there and then complained he had no more room left. Leclerc tried to move around Max.

    It’s like the reaction was equally bad as the action and it affected the outcome because they basically crashed into each other whereas Max and Charles just bumped.

    I believe by the rulebook they should have penalised Verstappen. But they didn’t. And it’s like Vettel says. They make decisions for every specific move, over policing. What would have happened if this was Max’s first and only move? They claim they used the previous lap attempt to compare. But what if that wasn’t available?

    I don’t know… I’m fine with these moves, but I still think stewards need to be used in extreme cases, not every single racing incident

    1. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
      30th June 2019, 22:16

      @fer-no65 – I agree with you there. I was worried Verstappen would be penalised but I’m glad he wasn’t as it’s such a shame when a race is decided based on penalties. Whilst it was on the cusp of a penalty, you’re right in saying the stewards don’t need to interfere with every incident and should only really take charge when the blame is leaning heavily towards one driver. Had that been Max’s only major attempt I don’t think it would’ve had a large influence on the steward’s decision … but I could be wrong. Glad no action was taken as it was a good, tough fight and the most exciting race since Silverstone last year or Baku 2017 in my opinion.

      1. Forgot silverstone 2018 as a great race in recent times, it’s reminiscent of the 1999-2000 years with 2 ferraris and 2 mercedes (mclarens then) battling it out for the win and podiums.

    2. Brendan Smith
      1st July 2019, 7:46

      verstappen was also outside the yellow lines at the start. magnussen got a drive through penalty for that

      1. Magnussen actually got a drive through penalty for moving before the signal start was given, not because he was outside the yellow lines.
        They have sensors to determine this kind of stuff.

      2. There is a fixed margin where the wheel may be outside the yellow lines. Max always looks for the edge (always has wheel over & beyond the white line) but magnussen was off by too much & rightfully was corrected for that.

      3. No he wasnt. That was an image from a mllisecond AFTER the race start, probably doctored by the same salty individual who put out the fake FIA document.

        1. FIA had acknowledged VER was over the line. But during the start the sensor did not picked up any signal. ( probably because of the bad start) and thus there was no “lasting advantage ” and thus no penalty.

  2. My first impression was that it was hard but fair. The one thing that niggles is that yellow curb, if it wasn’t there then I wouldn’t have any issue at all. You can say ‘what if there was sand/grass/a wall there?’, but that isn’t the case and both drivers might have acted differently if it was. That yellow curb did mean Charles had a significant disadvantage though, and it was possible he could have damaged his car.

    As the guys above have said, I would say that if it’s this tight of a decision then don’t over-police and leave it as is. This is the kind of move that sets the great racers apart from the great drivers (Hamilton’s run-ins with Rosberg and Vettel are other good examples).

    For me the penalty Vettel got in Canada was much more clear cut, not a popular opinion I realise.

  3. Didn’t Rosberg should have got one back then, nor in Germany for the same thing. Still, the applicable rules haven’t changed, so…

    There is only one thing that about which F1 is entirely consistent.

    1. @juan-fanger Now, could you try that again in English, please, mate?

      1. Hey you do know the whole world aren’t experts in the english language

        1. Thanks Adam for your support, but unfortunately JJ is correct: my post is incomprehensible, even though English is my native language. The problem was that I literally didn’t “think” between the first 2 words, and then failed to proofread before hitting the Post button.
          I did try to post an edit reply to myself but for some reason it ended up as a new thread below. Would be nice if we could edit posts to fix typos, say within a short time limit, but there are complexities and risks so I can understand why this isn’t implemented.

  4. Didn’t think Rosberg…

    1. This was a REPLY to my previous post. Let’s see where this one ends up.

      (Posting to RaceFans and Formula1 stewards decisions are very similar in one respect.)

  5. There’s always an excuse.
    the merc incident was cleared because it would hurt the team that got hurt in the first place.
    The canada one was fabricated out of thin air and this one was brushed aside as soon as anyone realised they were in austria and the perpretrator has the entire calendar supported by heineken and the dutch fans.
    We knew this wasn’t going anywhere from the fact there was no penalty awarded before the checkered flag.
    Honestly, Max didn’t need to do that but still I wouldn’t penalize him, unfortunately, like the Canada decision this goes against everything that has been ruled in f1 in the past 6 seasons.

    1. No, no, no, this is wrong, you know ricciardo is very supported in australia, right? He got penalized by 3 places on the grid for slightly speeding up red flags in practice! I assure you, stewards don’t make nationality excuses.

      1. Both Vettel and Hamilton have also been penalized in Austria for impeding other drivers in qualifying.

    2. 💯 agree

    3. @peartree
      Agreed. And there’s also the fact that the owner of the commercial rights of f1, is the same owner as the dutch broadcaster of f1, and max is an employee of them, him having a contract to give them exclusive interviews and what not.

      1. @peartree
        And of course the track is owned by RB themselves.

  6. Dan Bienko
    1st July 2019, 6:30

    You can clearly see Verwreckin turn,to the left to push Leclerc over the yellow curb. They didn’t penalise him because it was Red Bull’s home track. Verwreckin needs to grow up, can’t wait till someone has enough and beats his behind!

    1. Gasly can try to beat his behind next race:D.

    2. His steering doesn’t turn left at any point whatsoever. He opens up the natural angle and were it gravel on the outside Leclerc would have yielded naturally. You are making things up because you’re on the internet.

  7. Andreas Gandor
    1st July 2019, 7:18

    somehow i am happy they did not penalized VER
    Now the box of pandora is open and everytime a driver wants to overtake
    he just divebombs in the corner, when his counterparts does not close the door,
    the driver will learn fast
    until something really bad happens

    i am curious what price F1 will pay for this decision, but i am young enough to find out

    1. everytime a driver wants to overtake
      he just divebombs in the corner,

      yep, that;s Ricci style and it works.
      Look at last years pass on Bottas..

      1. So max happily learned from the best.

  8. To me they seem quite different. Rosberg went so deep into the corner and didn’t even bother to start turning, he was on the other side of the track before the apex. Verstappen took a clean line, turned in with enough space on the outside and had the line on track out. Credit to Leclerc for staying next to him and fighting it, especially on the lap before when he came back on him. But on this lap, Vertstappen got the drive out of the corner and never changed his steering lock on the way out. If this isn’t good hard racing, I don’t know what is.

    1. +1 that is racing indeed.

  9. Max just executed it far better than what Rosberg did, put the car on the limit taking the tight entry wide exit line and using the road superbly whereas Rosberg clumsily headed straight across the track without turning in until long after the apex. Interesting that they noted Nico looking across as a key difference, Max knew exactly what he was doing and didn’t need to look over making it easy for the stewards. Just a really good move to top an incredible drive from Max.

  10. Max has always been a dirty racer wheel to wheel and the stewards never punish their golden boy. I lost respect for max a long time ago

    1. @carlosmedrano

      I lost respect for max a long time ago

      and you keep repeating this.. I am not sure if racing is suitable for you.

      ever punish their golden boy

      Making up story’s does not help there ;)

  11. I can see how the decision could have gone either way and I’m not too upset about it, nor would I have been had it fallen on Leclerc’s side.

    What I don’t like is the idea that one driver can just run the other off the track. By that rationale, as long as you throw it on the inside going into a corner, the other driver would have to simply concede at that point. I’ve seen/heard arguments in the past where that is seen as not acceptable (ex: coming out of the tunnel at Monaco) because that is not the natural line. But, neither is the inside line here in Austria.

    Max came alongside going into the corner and if Leclerc had driven towards the apex (like normal) and left not enough room, he (LEC) would have been penalized for not leaving a car’s width. But when Max pushes Leclerc wide on the way out, it’s basically described as that’s the line leaving the corner so it’s a racing incident. My point is this. If Leclerc has to drive differently than normal because someone is alongside going into the corner, then Max should have to drive differently exiting a corner because someone is alongside.

    I am okay with not every corner being treated exactly the same because there are differences. But if Driver A has to give Driver B room, then Driver B has to give Driver A room. Otherwise, just divebomb every corner and point to this decision (as well as every other time this has been allowed).

    1. Precisely.
      Max should’ve, and could’ve left a bit more room. Certainly he could have not “opened the natural angle of the racing line” or whatever nonsense was mentioned in a previous comment, to throw the other car off the track.

      Divebombing inside the space the other car will occupy is Max (and Pérez, for instance) preferred move.

  12. The more I watch it the more I think Verstappen should have give Leclerc more space. Charles obviously was planning to use the drive out of the corner as he had done before. I also think Max could have waited for a better chance as he would have anyway got past as his tires were in much better shape.
    I think a few comments are correct, the stewards were too scared to penalize Max.
    I am not a fan of penalizing any driver though. I think for me it’s a matter of doing the right thing and I think that’s what Charles was so upset about. He was expecting that Max would give him enough space. If you watch the famous Villeneuve-Arnoux battle, regardless of the crazy driving, there was respect for each other. That is what is missing here.

  13. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
    1st July 2019, 23:28

    They should compare it to GP Germany 2016 Rosberg vs Verstappen incident, they are basically identical.

  14. “Masi indicated a key difference between Verstappen and Rosberg’s driving in the incidents was that Rosberg appeared to be looking across towards Hamilton to force him off-track.

    “Probably the big difference from what I’ve seen from the footage that I’ve seen of the two was that Nico looked across on that occasion whereas Max is very much focusing on the corner and getting out of it as quickly as possible.””

    Absolute rubbish reasoning. These people would be flabbergasted if they ever would see a no-look-pass.

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