Will Red Bull demand Hamilton penalty review? Five Hungarian GP talking points

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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The recriminations from a dramatic and controversial race at Silverstone may not be over ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Here are the key talking points for the 11th round of the season.

Silverstone fallout

The dramatic collision between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone caused an ongoing spat between Mercedes and Red Bull. Mercedes’ chief technical director James Allison argued Hamilton’s 10-second penalty was overly harsh, notwithstanding the fact he was still able to win the race, pointing out his move was in line with the FIA’s overtaking guidelines.

Meanwhile, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said the penalty was “menial” compared to the effect it had had on Verstappen’s race – and car. The team has indicated it may call on the FIA to review Hamilton’s penalty but nothing has, at yet, come of it. They have until two weeks after the final classification to proceed – so they may be waiting until the coming race weekend to cause maximum disruption to their rivals.

Either way, Red Bull have said the crash cost them £1.3 million ($1.8 million), a sizeable chunk of their budget under the 2021 cap. The cost to Verstappen in the drivers’ title fight is clear for all to see, his lead now just eight points, giving Hamilton a clear chance to overhaul him this weekend.

Power unit worries

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2021
One Red Bull driver has already had a power unit penalty
Nearing the halfway point in the 2021 season, there are several drivers on the grid who will be feeling nervous about their chances of completing it without collecting a penalty for using too many power unit elements.

Some already have, notably Sergio Perez following his pit lane start at the British Grand Prix. He received a new control electronics unit and energy store, both of which are limited to two per season.

All drivers are at the limit on control electronic and energy store elements, except Verstappen, Fernando Alonso, Mick Schumacher and Nicholas Latifi, who have all only used one of each up until the Hungarian Grand Prix. For Verstappen, keeping that advantage over Hamilton (who has used both) is significant – especially as his team mate Perez now also has an additional set to use, after his British Grand Prix replacements.

Sebastian Vettel and Esteban Ocon both took new MGU-K, MGU-H and turbochargers for the British Grand Prix, which as their third of each element is the last they can take on for the season without facing a penalty. George Russell was also at the limit of three for this internal combustion engine, MGU-H and turbocharger before the last event.

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New contracts

Could Bottas be in Vasseur’s team next year?
While the likes of Hamilton, Lando Norris and Esteban Ocon have all inked new multi-year deals with their current teams this season, several of their rivals face doubtful futures.

Alfa Romeo are yet to confirm either of their current drivers for next season. Mick Schumacher’s 2022 contract is apparently still being ironed out with Ferrari over at Haas. Schumacher is probably safe if he’s happy to stay in the backmarker team’s seat but Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi have the Ferrari Driver Academy juniors coming through the ranks of Formula 2 to worry about – and last year’s runner up Callum Ilott still being offered enough first practice sessions this year to not be wholly ruled out.

But there’s another potential contender for an Alfa Romeo seat. Valtteri Bottas has been linked to a “soft landing” at the team should he lose his Mercedes drive to George Russell. Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has indicated an announcement is likely “in the summer”.

Who would take Russell’s vacant seat in that scenario? Mercedes Formula E driver Nyck de Vries has been linked to it. He remained coy about the connection when asked at the London EPrix last weekend, but did not deny talks were taking place.

Ferrari’s varying form

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2021
Ferrari’s form has been hard to read
Ferrari’s performance has varied wildly this season, from poles in Monaco and Baku to both cars finishing outside the points in Paul Ricard. Following the latter, Silverstone was not expected to suit them, yet Charles Leclerc came within a few laps of winning.

What to make of their increasingly inscrutable performances ahead of this weekend’s race, particularly in light of their close fight with McLaren for third in the constructors championship? Both drivers played down their chances at the Hungaroring. However, a strong weekend for them in the constructors’ championship, compared to McLaren, could take quite a dent.

Sainz will be particularly aware that his former team had a performance drop at the Hungarian Grand Prix last season, following a strong start to 2020 at the Austrian and Styrian Grand Prix, only taking away two points for a ninth place.

Williams’ points wait goes on

George Russell, Williams, Silverstone, 2021
Top 10 starts aren’t yielding top 10 finishes for Russell
Russell’s hopes of grabbing a Mercedes seat might be aided if he manages to translate one of his excellent qualifying positions into a points finish.

Russell has made Q3 at the last two rounds, lining up eighth for the sprint qualifying session at Silverstone. However, he’s found the position impossible to maintain on race pace and been forced out of the top ten both times.

It’s now two full years since the team’s last F1 point, at the 2019 German Grand Prix. Russell’s chances have looked good lately, and the Hungaroring has been one of their better tracks in recent seasons. During that dire 2019 campaign Russell got within six hundredths of a second of dragging the unloved FW42 into Q2 – the sort of heroics we’ve come to associate with him.

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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65 comments on “Will Red Bull demand Hamilton penalty review? Five Hungarian GP talking points”

  1. RB should put their focus forwards and especially on their second driver. He needs to be in the mix EVERY weekend. Either make the car further close the gap to Mercedes or replace yet again the driver. The current state of the team is simply not be enough to really challenge Mercedes. They cant solely rely on a single driver to outperform the package, that doesnt win WCCs

    1. I am sure they do everything to help Perez moving to the front.

      1. I am not. The car is still not good enough! 8 years in a row now. They need to step up their game

        1. The majority of technical opinions I have heard from the pit lane suggest that RB have not just closed the gap to Mercedes, they have caught or overtaken them.

        2. The car is faster than Mercedes. The problem is that Verstappen is always a spec ahead of Perez and that Perez gets zero say in development direction or support for dealing with his issues. Just like it was with Gasly and Albon.

          Plus Perez has never been any good really ever. He does a decent job for 2 to maybe 4 races a year. Especially races like Baku and Canada where he can manage the tyres and outlast drivers that go faster. Especially when he’s out already in Q2 and can start on the better tyres for the race.

          I doubt Perez was hired for anything else but his knowledge of Mercedes engines.

          1. F1trollosaurus take of reality.
            Max is one of the best technical car developers available. Perez needs to adapt.
            The Mercedes car is still the fastest. Only the drivers make the difference now.

          2. I’m not sure which car is the fastest, in quali I definitely give the nod to red bull, talking about potential, not results, so example imola quali goes to red bull, and imola race goes to merc, the opposite of what happened.

            In the race they seem pretty similar across the season, so will depend on the development and on the upgrades, however yes, bottas is performing decently (like you expect from a number 2) more regularly than perez is doing, perez is occasionally getting out great performances, he had the potential to finish ahead of hamilton without the mistake with norris in austria, and even without the verstappen problem, he would’ve ended ahead of hamilton in baku, bottas isn’t beating verstappen, BUT he’s ending on the podium often, perez isn’t.

            So TLDR: perez has highs and lows, bottas is more consistent = better, so far.

  2. A video popped up on FB yesterday of Max doing the same thing that Lewis did to him to Lance Stroll in practice (last year?) at Silverstone and the robust defence that Horner gave to Max in the Sky interview. Horner said virtually the same as Merc have said about Lewis and the accident. (Worth looking for it if you haven’t seen it) Move on RB and suck it up.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        27th July 2021, 9:10

        I have found one incident on formula1 . com but it is Portugal. If another similar incident took place at Silverstone last year as well then Max is well versed in just sticking his front wheel up the inside where it ought not to be!

        Google “2020 stroll max practice crash”

          1. That link doesn’t work for me, but this one does: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naDVLIqLI_o&t=71s

            Verstappen was never alongside Stroll and simply dive bombs into Stroll, but Horner would have us know that Verstappen had the line. Just glorious to see the hypocrisy so clearly on display.

        1. Some of the interview comments are priceless…

          MV: I was just so surprised he turned in.

          CH: Both (drivers) have a role to play.

          CH: 50-50 and that’s it.

        2. Can you honestly not see the difference between the 2 incidents? I’ll give you a clue – it regards the amount of available track space the car on the inside has.

          1. But in Horners own words that doesn’t matter @alex. The car on the inside has priority.

            The only difference I see is that Hamilton was almost level before turn in. Max wasn’t even that close to Stroll.

          2. CaN yOu HoNeStLy NoT sEe THe diFfErEnCE BETWEeN THe 2 inCIDenTS? i’Ll GivE yoU a CluE – IT REGArDs the amOUnt oF AvaiLABle TRAck sPaCe ThE cAr On ThE iNsiDe haS.

            We can’t see the difference because I recognize you. Don’t hide! HAHAHA!

        1. LOL!! Problem is Sky won’t quiz him, for fear of losing his co-operation for his race input comments.

          Herbert, is quite a cheeky chappy. I like him as he’s someone who clearly couldn’t give a flying fig who he upsets and so is fine asking a difficult question. Or upsetting Alonso, like he did a few years back!!

    1. Was that not in FP3 and Lance continue his fast lap while everyone thought he would drop en max started his fast lap?

      That is not the same at all, Lewis doing the same for 4 times is more a good example…

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        27th July 2021, 9:15

        It was FP2. Very similarly though Stroll had the better line into the corner with Max compromised taking flatter line.

        https://www.racefans.net/2020/10/23/verstappen-and-stroll-cleared-over-practice-crash/

        1. +1 it just shows what a foolish hypocrite Horner is. His comments when defending Max are exactly what Mercedes are saying about Hamilton. Horner says “under racing conditions Max was on the inside so its the driver on the outside who needs to give way” Biggest cry baby I’ve seen. I’m starting to wonder ir RedBull is actuall made from Horners tears.

          1. Nice find. Agree that Christian Horner is a hypocrite when it comes to things like this.. and I generally dislike how he carries on in the press.

            That said, what do you want him to do? Not support his driver and side with the opposition instead?? It’s basically his job to ensure that RB perform well, and defend what Max is doing on track. If that means that he has to hold one view for an incident, and then switch his view when he’s in the opposite side of a similar incident, then he has to do it. We just don’t need to like it…

          2. Horner is a whinger and a hypocrite (which makes him the worst sort of whinger!)

            Given who he’s married to, I henceforth christen him:

            WHINGER SPICE

  3. Red Bull’s main problem is the need to present additional evidence to persuade the FIA to open a review. There is no mechanism to just ask the officials to think again, even when they have made a wrong call.

    I must admit I am surprised that the FIA have not reopened the issue on their own initiative though, as they did after Jerez 1997.

    1. I believe that the penalty itself cannot be protested, as it was a time penalty, and there is no evidence that the stewards did anything wrong. Furthermore, the FIA seems to be taking the attitude that reopening the case would drag them into a political fight they really don’t want to be involved in.

      That’s why I would say that they won’t protest, but instead are just trying to cause as much trouble in the press by threatening action.

      Any attempt to protest would likely fail, but just talking about it serves their strategy to drip feed soundbites to the press to keep them talking about it and to keep stirring up the fans.

      1. I also suspect that drip-feeding this ‘issue’ is intended to prepare the ground for the next incident, trying to ensure any decision favour’s them. Not of course that Red Bull would ever try to interfere with the ‘independence’ of the stewards…

        A lot of this is damaged ego. Max went for a 50/50 with Hamilton and came out badly, big crash, no points, Hamilton staying on and winning. And even more to the point, it’s clear that Hamilton would do the same again. So Verstappen either repeats his ‘no one shall pass’ sweep across the driver challenging him, and potentially ends up off track again, or learns. Red Bull’s management – none of them with Max’s racing talent – clearly prefer the first option, hence their insistence on penalizing anyone who thinks they can race MV. Maybe he’s smarter than them though.

        1. I agree 100% with what you said here.

    2. I must admit I am surprised that the FIA have not reopened the issue on their own initiative though

      @red-andy They don’t believe there is a need to as my understanding is that the belief within the FIA & F1 as a whole (Including other teams & drivers) is that if anything awarding a penalty was harsh because most see it as nothing more than a racing incident and even those who do feel it was right to give Lewis a penalty feel the 10 second time penalty was perfectly adequate.

      Red Bull are essentially on there own in the view that the penalty was too lenient & are completely on there own with the view that the move was dangerous, desperate, reckless, over-optimistic & whatever other ways they have used to describe it.

  4. Maximum disruption? Red Bull’s action wouldn’t impact Hungarian GP outcome, or could it?

    1. Not really, the RB should pretty much have an easy ride in Hungary. It’s all corners. Hence why Horner will spend most of the weekend in front of a camera whinging about Mercedes and Hamilton. Which come to think of it is pretty much what he has done all season.

      1. As long as every outlet including this site give them a platform to climb on, Marko Horner will. It works, keep the base hating.

      2. But the Mercedes looks best around corners. Particularly the long / or rounded ones which is what Hungaroring is known for.

    2. It would be mind games, giving the chance of affecting the outcome by getting inside Hamilton’s head. This has proved an effective strategy against him in the past, so it may well.

  5. Horner RB vers r cry babies. The. Most aggressive bully on track got a beating and now cries like a baby. Oh BooHoo!! Get on with it and just race. Of you give in a certain way be prepared to receive in tbe same way.

  6. Timing a challenge to destabilise your opponent rather than to get what you see as justice is a clear case of trying to win off the track. It suits RedBull culture, I suppose, but is unsporting. It will do nothing to change the image of the team they themselves have created over the last ten days, of a whinging entitled bully.

    1. This is a common practice amongst all the teams. Remember the weekend protests against Racing Point about their clone car? It wasn’t just one team either. Don’t expect teams to spend £700-800 million a year and not to everything in their power to get an upper hand when they can. This isn’t a primary school egg-and-spoon race.

  7. Of course they will say they will. And they might even do so. They will do whatever it takes to grab this championship. There is no politeness in fierce competition. Nor rational.

  8. How dare Hamilton presume the right to race Verstappen, doesn’t he know who he is?
    Look Verstappen has worked hard to get the reputation of the ‘alfa’ driver by claiming every millimetre of track as his own. That means in his mind no matter what the circumstances he can take the ‘racing’ line and any driver in the way must move or risk a coming together. The RB view is it is always the other drivers fault. This blind devotion has encouraged Verstappen’s bad on track behaviour.
    I wrote several years ago now that Verstappen is a crash or crash through driver. Marko and Horner have always stood by him encouraging him to be as aggressive and bullying on track as he likes. Verstappen has mellowed since 2018 and he has toned down his aggressiveness some what. But now that RB have a sniff of the WCC and WDC his old self seems to have emerged.
    The verbal attacks on Hamilton the threats of legal action the hyperbole immediately after the incident is no more than a over dramatic attempt to inflate what was a racing incident into an act of malice on Hamilton’s part. There has always been a lot of politics in Motor Racing and F1 could arguably claim the title in that as well. But this ongoing bully boy tactics of public sniping and threats only brings the sport into disrepute, and RBR are looking more like a dodgy group of thugs than a world leading F1 team at the moment.

    1. Max’s failure to learn, that discretion is the better part of valour is probably what will cost him.

      If we think about it he’s never learnt, like Hamilton has, that when you’re dominating there is no need to get involved in needless accidents

  9. If the driver roles were reversed I can just see Toto’s fist pounding his desk……….some think he’d just sit back and say “racing incident”

    1. You mean like when Ham had to take the scenic route in Spain to avoid Max’s crash or get out of the way move, with Horners remark afterwards about RBs get out of the way or the fence attitude?
      Given Toto sat alongside Lauda for all those years I would imagine Toto would say the same to Ham as Lauda said to Ham v Nico in Spain. What the expletive expletive were you doing out there crashing on the first lap. Live to fight another day.

    2. @blik If the roles were reversed this is how Verstappen and Horner would reply: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naDVLIqLI_o&t=71s

  10. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
    27th July 2021, 10:09

    In light of recent events, I can honestly say that I really don’t know under what circumstances a shunt is deemed a racing incident, and under what circumstances it deserves a penalty.
    Before this season (Austria and now Silverstone) I would’ve said that if there is no obvious intent (and with today’s telemetry it’s easy for the stewards to verify intent), then it’s a racing incident, and no penalty required.
    I would’ve been as foolish as to pronounce Perez’s and Leclerc’s attempts at outside passing as racing incidents, no penalty required. I would also have been as foolish as to pronounce the HAM-VER shunt a racing incident, no penalty required.
    I would’ve been happy and excited at this time, and be looking forward to some more hard and close racing, and who knows, maybe next time all the luck might shift to Verstappen’s side, and it’s HAM with the DNF and VER with all the points.
    As things stand, what I’m expecting the most isn’t hard racing, but a more timid approach to wheel to wheel racing, and constant accusations from team managers when drivers look at one another in a funny way.
    And off course, the outrage when a racing incident will finally be deemed a racing incident, no penalty required, and all the king’s horses and all the king’s men start claiming injustice, all the while calling for closer racing.

  11. Nobody being able to figure it out has done wonders for F1 publicity. And I just read that ‘someone’ has evidence that Verstappen went well out his way to give Hamilton room. But what happened was, Verstappen made sure neither was going to make the apex. He screwed the corner up for both of em. Nobody was gonna make that turn clean after that wall ride and was lucky he didn’t crash 2 people at 51g’s. That’s a flat corner. Flat like floored. Nice block but stupidly late for a flat corner.

  12. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    27th July 2021, 11:04

    So far as I can see Max was only upset about the celebrations and has made no comment.

    This article is just keeping things ticking over until Thursday or Friday.

  13. I hope RB do appeal. It will add even more fun to an increasingly entertaining season.

    Of course, if it wasn’t for the two week rule, I reckon there would be plenty of other teams wanting to appeal against ‘lenient’ or non penalties for Max’s aggressive moves – some of which made Hamilton’s look like been tickled by a feather.

    1. Penalty point comparison of the two shows an entirely different picture. Max has zero! You are living in the past.

      1. And you do not understand the penalty point system.

        There are infringements of the rules and actual racing infringements.

        Max spent last year a lonely third most of the year and cleared his points while not in a position to collect others.

        Since the start of the penalties Max is far ahead of Hamilton in actual racing points and points in general.

        A real weak attempt and a total failure of research – you are simply copying some nuts on other sites that keep screaming this complete fallacy.

        Do your own research and stop listening to the screaming.

        1. Formula1.com so should be thrustworthy. Just single out at the penalties related to causing a collision. So sorry, just facts.

        2. But even without research we all remember that Lewis has taken out 3 RedBulls in as many years. In that same period Max didnt collect any penalty points on racing infringements. So Lewis should adapt to not always leading from the front and just overtaking Bottas. He actually meets some resistance. I am sure thats quite a shock for him and Mercedes as is seen by his entitlement approach in Silverstone. I’ve heard he took up sim racing now so he’ll shape up, dont worry

  14. On Formula1.com Toto has already kicked-off Hungary by playing the underdog card again :-) This guy is both hilarious and shameless. And I am sooooo tired off him.

    1. Have you got a link to that, because the only article I can see is the Shovlin quoted one where his argument is based on RB coming back strong, but the Merc target for this weekend is to go into the break ahead. ‘We are a strong team and will be putting everything into it to try to win.’

    2. Red Bull has had the fastest car in Hungary since 2019. Although last year Verstappen completely messed up the setup, but still.

      1. He lost because of strategy. You missed that one.. Again :)

        BTW, max is one of the best technical setup specialists in f1. So your repeated narrative does not hold up.

      2. Don’t believe 2020 red bull was on the same level as merc, not even in hungary, but they were reasonably close, so that allowed verstappen to reach 2nd place. 2019 hungary = red bull best quali pace, merc best race pace.

    3. We’re certainly tired of you. If it’s not misunderstanding a post and so leaving yourself exposed to the poor researcher you are (see above) then it’s denigrating a leader that makes Christian Horner look like David Brent of The Office fame

      1. I certainly agree Horner is just as bad. And on the research, its Formula1.com so should be thrustworthy. Just single out at the penalties related to causing a collision. So sorry, just facts. Of course you are free to discuss all Hamiltons causing a collision cases and debate why you dont agree with the stewards. As you probably will. But dont be alarmed, I think Hamilton is great too. A few of these errors do not suddenly reduce him.

  15. We were promised that the telemetry data would show HAM taking the corner too aggressively and VER taking it at the normal pace. Still waiting for telemetry to be released 2 weeks later.

    I think Madame Karma will show up this weekend and then we’ll know which driver was actually at fault.

  16. I literally cannot wait for lap 1, turn 1 this weekend!

  17. I think it’s time that a line is drawn about the incident.

    It’s happened, and you can’t change the past! Most people agree that it’s a racing incident with both drivers being partially responsible – and this is what the stewards decided too, hence the relatively lenient punishment for Lewis! So time to move on Christian!

    As much as Mr Horner wants to complain and blame Lewis, the onboard shots clearly show Max is aware of Lewis being there initially corrects to the left and then chooses to still turn right, probably thinking that Lewis will back out – so Max still contributed to the incident!

    1. Agree completely. They really do need to move on as it’s starting to sound like Horner doesn’t like racing. It’s not helping RB’s image now at all. Sometimes you get the rub of the green other days you don’t.

  18. FFS, Christian and RB, move on, folks. This just looks very, very bad.

  19. The review won’t be in favor of Red Bull and their dishonorable liar at all. Red Bull is a noob team.

  20. The amount of whining about RB in this thread… it’s almost like no other team ever does the same

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