Verstappen calls pass “hard racing” but Leclerc hopes stewards “see right”

2019 Austrian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Max Verstappen defended his controversial pass on Charles Leclerc in the Austrian Grand Prix, saying it was “hard racing”.

The Red Bull driver is under investigation for the collision between the pair which occured when Verstappen overtook Leclerc to win the race.

Vettel made two attempts to pass Leclerc at turn three. He succeeded with his second attempt, though only after the pair tangled and Leclerc ran wide.

“I think the second one I braked a bit deeper into the corner,” said Verstappen. “We had a little contact of course, mid-to-exit of the corner but from my side I think it’s racing.”

“It’s hard racing,” he said. “It’s better than just following each other and having a boring race, isn’t it?”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto told Leclerc after the race “the win could be yours, the win should be yours”.

Leclerc told the team: “I was on the outside, he has to leave one car space, just as he did the lap before, But anyway, I hope the stewards see right.”

Speaking in the FIA press conference after the race Leclerc said “I’ve did exactly the same thing from the first to the second lap so I did not expect any contact on the second lap.

“As Max said I think he braked a little bit deeper. I don’t know if he lost it or not but then there was the contact. I felt I was quite strong in traction.

“On the first attempt I managed to have better traction and kept my position. On the second one I couldn’t do that because I was off-track.”

The stewards have summoned both drivers to a hearing on the incident.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2019 F1 season

Browse all 2019 F1 season articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

78 comments on “Verstappen calls pass “hard racing” but Leclerc hopes stewards “see right””

  1. Oh, I love this. Given as there is grounds for a penalty, the FIA are now in a well-deserved Morton’s fork scenario: either they ruin the most climactic finish F1 had all year or they basically expose their stewarding as either biased or incompetent, given the Vettel scenario three weeks earlier. Can’t win with the fans and they really do not deserve to.

    1. If you like races to be decided by one driver to bump the other off track then sorry but you are watching wrong series.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        30th June 2019, 17:19

        Not really. maybe all the DRS have made you unsure what passing is.

      2. He did not bump him off the track.
        But if ferrari likes this for a penalty they would love the one Vet got ;)

        1. Flash news: tech speaking, VER physically bumped LEC. And that means something, in a dangerous way. Not the case with VET and HAM. Overall, in my opinion, both are equally on the limit but no penalty needed given the outcome of these maneouvers.

          1. Flash news: your opinion is ill informed and lacks critical thinking.

      3. Honestly… when did you start watching F1? in the mid 2010’s?

        A level of doorslamming has Always been part of the sport and that’s fine. As long as you’re not intentionally or accidentally endagering someone’s life (Beyond the normal danger of racing F1 cars) then, well, it’s racing. Tackles in football arn’t illegal unless you do it badly.

    2. Vettel’s scenario was absolutely just.

      1. I thought the same, the stewards can’t win here. I thought it was a similar level to the Vettel incident, although there was contact here, but both were just normal racing. Unfortunately once you decide to go absolutely by the rules you have to penalise everything until a change is agreed.

        To sum up; he should get a penalty but according to the rules not common sense.

        1. The rule is kinda in a dilemma… because of the different positions on the track, different type of corners, different brake points, turn-ins, turn-outs. Kinda hard to interpret or impossible to exercise the rules properly in every scenarios. Ferrari would be angry since the penalty on Vettel in Canada, though two distinctive cases based on the regulations it might break and corner types (and run-off area).

          1. Actually not a dilemma as in Canada VET was coming off of grass so he had somewhat of a reason for not being in control of his car. VER has absolutely no reason for driving LEC off the track. VER had the better performing car. He had the position. He had absolutely no reason to be all the way to the left of the track except that he drove his car there.

          2. @jimfromus
            I see your points, I think according to the rules, it’s a penalty for Verstappen. But normally in this situation the inside line was given as they were side by side before turn-in, the one on the outside would go different line.

          3. @jimfromus

            actually it is the other way around… vettel has no excuse, rules are clear! you come off a corner, you have to join safely and not endanger anyone… if you go on to grass you have the choice to lift of until you get control over your car, he chose to go metal to the pedal without gaining control of the car first ! not the other way around!

            max’s move is every other competitive drivers’ move on the racing line, he was following it, and was not waving around to crowd someone off the track! he had every reason to stay on the racing line!

            vettel does it, bottas does, max does, norris does it, hulk does it, kimi does, and many did in the race and drivers on the outside do the natural thing by lifting off or risk collision! norris lifted many times in exactly same situation in the race, and others too… hence no incidents…

            when it is ferrari involved words flying we need penalties and rules are rules if they are the losers…. if they are gaining from a situation, we need to burn the rules and are against the rules … hypocrisy!

    3. @klon

      or they basically expose their stewarding as either biased or incompetent, given the Vettel scenario three weeks earlier.

      I disagree.

      While I don’t think Vettel deserved a penalty, there are clear differences. For instance, Vettel was penalised for rejoining the track in an unsafe manner and forcing another driver off the track. Verstappen didn’t leave the track, therefore didn’t rejoin unsafely. The Canada decision should make no difference to what they decide here.

  2. I think a penalty is deserved. But a time penalty is harsh and would ruin an otherwise good race. 2 or 3 grid place penalty for the next race is good enough.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      30th June 2019, 17:12

      Yeah, or a small fine or something. Using a time penalty would be shooting themselves in the foot, but considering that’s what they’re hell-bent on doing, they might still do it

      1. Time penalty or position for a next race cost nothing. Without having real consequences he will be doing it again and again.

        1. Do what, try to overtake? Yes, we really don’t want to see more of that.

          1. Push, hit and crash.

          2. You seem biased.

        2. i really hope so!

    2. Agreed.

      I don’t want to see Honda lose their 1st victory since 2006.

      Neither do I want to see Leclerc take his 1st ever F1 victory in the stewards office. I want to see his true elation on the podium after winning on track.

  3. I am on Leclerc’s side.

    1. As much as I was on Hamilton side, now I’m on Leclerc this time.

  4. I’m unsure what is is but I really do not like Verstappen, him and his army of drunk fan’s are ruining F1.

    Some people say he’s “exciting” and “takes risks”. Other’s say that he is just dangerous and selfish.

    I think he will win the WDC one day if his team manage to produce a dominant car and there is no doubt that he is a fast driver but his consistent arrogance and refusal to accept responsibility for his actions do not cast him in a favourable light.

    1. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      30th June 2019, 18:09

      Lol

    2. I’d rather drunk fans enjoying themselves in the stands than Pirelli tyres!

    3. Anthony Blears
      30th June 2019, 22:36

      Even Vettel commented after the race how great the atmosphere was at the Red Bull Ring thanks to Max’s supporters. Ruining F1? Enlivening F1 more like.

  5. LEC seems to forget he already was off track when the touching took place.
    He should have accepted he was passed en the second time there was less space. Looking at the steering angle VER had almost full lock to the right and only opened up after he passed LEC.

    1. That statement is 100% untrue! If it were true, there wouldn’t be a discussion because an off track driver has no standing.
      VER is racing hard when bump #1 occurs. On bump #2 it will be hard to argue that VER is fully locked into a right turn.

  6. LEC seems to forget he already was off track when the touching took place.
    He should have accepted he was passed, on the second time there was less space. Looking at the steering angle VER had almost full lock to the right and only opened up after he passed LEC.

    1. @erikje As objective as a drunk Dutchman can be.

      1. GtisBetter (@)
        30th June 2019, 17:23

        no need for this. Just use facts, not insults.

        1. Insults is the way to counter fake news, which is precisely what he spreads.

          1. If fake news is what the cameras show you are right .
            And please stop with your troll remarks here, try to keep it civilesed

          2. @erikje

            not ferrari have a new overwhelming evidence from a professional driver’s analysis this time in the name of maldonado :) just saying, no need to argue an overwhelming evidence :)

          3. @erikje speak again when you sober up…

      2. I think the Dutch may prefer good ol’ weed nowadays, booze is so last decade.

  7. Nope, for the last couple of laps if you make the car as wide as a school bus, drastic measures are necessary.

  8. “I really do not like Verstappen, him and his army of drunk fan’s are ruining F1.”
    I’ll alert the media, Charming !

  9. I don’t know what will be the verdict by the stewards. But this is such a great race and a battle between the best two drivers of new generation, a battle which is rarely seen since 2017 tech regulations.

  10. Leclerc made the mistake to leave a big space on the straight. He should have driven in a straight line towards the middle of the track up untill the breaking zone. Now he was caught out and Max was slightly ahead at turn-in.. so the pass was over really. But Charles didn’t want to take the exit space on the left knowing Max was fast enough to get away if he did. So he risked it and Max just made the corner… And LeClerc hit Max, not the other way around.

    1. That sounds like punching someone and accusing him for hitting your fist with his face man. :)

      1. @cobray that can happen, and if someone tries to headbut you, and you put your fist ahead of his head… technically he made the move, you self defended, and police with the video evidence, will let you scot free… nothing to talk here… it is not fantasy!

  11. I don’t agree with it but I think there will be a penalty. It is however almost worth it to annoy Helmut Marko!

  12. Well on an another day this would have been a clear penalty for ‘making contact and forcing other driver off the track’ but what a race Max drove after falling back so much at the start. But i also feel bad for Charles to be driving an almost perfect race and to be pushed off the track like that at the end.

    1. @amg44
      not really, same move was executed by many drivers today (not on another day) and sensible drivers either backed off and tried it again and again until it sticked… no incidents happened… it is usually news when ferrari drivers are involved and in the loosing end, it makes more noise!

      lec should have closed the door earlier! like max does many times, (usually he does it rather aggresively and tries the limits of rules but not this time) instead he confused himself with a ferrari driver… oh wait, he is one :) just saying

      1. @mysticus

        So do u think that was a clean pass and Max is absolutely faultless? For me it is 50-50 and on the limit and bit beyond hard racing by Max. But there are rules there for exactly these sort of stuff ‘making contact, forcing other driver off the track’. So let’s wait and see what stewards decide.

        1. it certainly is allowed, whether some people like it or not, you are entitled to the racing line, rules regarding pushing someone off and contacts are before corners or when people are definitely side by side, and one make a move to contact! this is not one of them! if you have raced before you will know… thats why everyone does it… if you watch it carefully, everyone does this kind of move in racing line during cornering, and guy on the outside have to run wide or back off or make contact and more likely to receive penalty…

          ham ros case was different, it was clear that ros didnt try to turn in, and clear he forced ham before he could turn in thats entirely different… not only that, ros didnt allow ham rejoin safely either, he has shown that his actions were deliberate…

        2. people keep stating ros/ham austria or ros/max germany (hockenheim?) incidents where ros received penalty, but both cases are super clear/clean ros has no intention to turn into a corner before pushing someone off! here, max is just trying to overtake, and on the racing line! he doesnt make any hunky punky moves, he turns in normally, and fully locked steering, nothing else he can do…

          nothing to investigate or find a fault here, if anything was naughty or 50-50 that was max vs ham bahrain 2018!

  13. I don’t really understand why VER didn’t just let LEC past and then overtake again. He obviously had the pace and it would’ve avoided this whole situation and they’d be celebrating without any doubt.

    1. Apparently for the same reason that VET didn’t let HAM by in Canada. They have the faster cars and they are supposedly super confident but their actions would indicate they aren’t that confident.

      1. HAM was faster in Canada.

    2. I thought so, too. Maybe in the heats of the moment, they wanted to get it asap. (also Leclerc is a great racing driver, he showed even the pace was gone, he could still defend hard. I think Ferrari’s strategy of tyre management is a shame.)

  14. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    30th June 2019, 17:37

    They REALLY need to relax the ‘hard racing’ rules. We shouldn’t be having this kind of discussion after a well fought race.

  15. This website has gone down so badly. What rubbish rhetoric. The quality of the reporting has steadily improved, the comments are so bad. Imagine Verstappen actually fighting Hamilton for a WDC and I will see a fatwah declared here. Pathetic.

    1. Agreed. Some “fans” only are trolling and showing they hate racing.

    2. If people having a different opinion to you turns you into… whatever this post is, that’s a you problem. Take some time off of the internet, that’s my advice, and have a long hard look at your life.

    3. Josh (@canadianjosh)
      30th June 2019, 18:02

      Then take a hike haho, this world and this website isn’t based on your views alone.

  16. It was just a racing incident. Pure hard racing on the edge!

    1. If Max didn’t open up his steering it was, If he did, he’ll still be fine if Charles conceded the corner

  17. I feel like I’m already worn out to even discuss another penalty again.

    1. The difference being a rapid(ish) decision and a lengthy delayed decision. I’m in favour of the stewards deciding quickly and accepting that they may, therefore, be somewhat inconsistent. These lengthy decisions and appeals just mean people are less and less willing to accept decisions and move on. And the obvious upshot is more regulations to try to allow the stewards to reach decisions where they aren’t under such duress. Obviously a vicious circle.

  18. Josh (@canadianjosh)
    30th June 2019, 17:59

    Apparently Ferrari are celebrating in the paddock is what I’ve just seen on the Guardian. If true then F1 isn’t a racing series anymore.

  19. If it takes this long you know it’s become political

    1. @anunaki

      Thats what i fear. Whatever they come out with after this long time will have very little credability.

      On the bright side they will have the time to watch what Karun Chandhok has to say about it before making a rushed call.

      1. LOL good one

      2. Josh (@canadianjosh)
        30th June 2019, 18:44

        Charun seems like a nice guy but I prefer Ted.

  20. Verstappen should been penalized for the fact that he did the same that Rosberg did in 2016 with Hamilton. Dived down the inside of the corner, left no space and forced contact with Leclerc as he needed to turn into Max because of the corner going right…
    Even if Leclerc doesn’t turn into Max and goes off the track it’s still incorrect because of Max forcing him of the circuit.
    Although I think that the stewards will have a tough time deciding because of what happened in Canada, and also of Max’s fan base…

  21. This is a real tough one for me to decide on…
    Part a says no penalty
    But then part b says that the stewards have issued penalties for similar incidents so for fairness they need to maintain consistency.

    1. To even further muddle my decision making the stewards penalized Rosberg for pushing wide as mentioned, but did not penalize vettel when he pushed Alonso wide off the track and off the kurbs into sand in monza (I believe it was 2010 or 2012)

  22. Maybe overtaking in the corners should be completely forbidden. Only on the straights, with DRS. That would prevent a lot of problems.

  23. Regardless of the decision, there is a pattern by VER to pass in places where the risk is high. Think broken wing, punctured tire or spin out.
    There was no need to pass at that spot – he clearly had pace and 2 laps left. Why chance it?
    No doubt he is a great driver, but his mentality is flawed. He’s not an intelligent driver – his emotions overtake logic.

    1. Ben (@scuderia29)
      30th June 2019, 20:48

      He just won via an incredible drive, I don’t see how you can really criticise him after that, and where he made the pass was the clearest overtaking spot on the track, and where he always had the best shot

  24. Ben (@scuderia29)
    30th June 2019, 20:46

    Not sure why leclerc left the inside line free for verstappen to put his car there, gutted for leclerc but I can’t take anything away from Verstappen, good to see the 2 of them going wheel to wheel as well, I feel we’re going to see that many many times over the decade. It would be terrible for the stewards to decide the race again, and nor would I want to see leclercs first win come via a stewards decision after the race. Although…this does make Vettels penalty in canada seem even more harsh..

Comments are closed.