Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2021

Verstappen “surprised” stewards did not wholly blame Hamilton for crash

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen continued to insist Lewis Hamilton’s penalty for their collision at Silverstone was insufficient, despite admitting he hadn’t read the stewards’ verdict on the incident.

The stewards ruled Hamilton was “predominantly” responsible for the clash between the pair, and issued him a 10-second penalty. When one driver is found entirely to blame, they are defined as being “wholly” culpable.

Verstappen admitted he was unaware the stewards had not placed the blame entirely at his rival’s feet.

“Honestly I didn’t even read the statement I just heard the penalty,” he said when asked by RaceFans for his view on the stewards’ reasoning. “I found already that wasn’t enough.”

After the verdict was read to him in today’s FIA press conference, Verstappen questioned what more the stewards felt he should have done to avoid the collision.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong there,” he said. “Like I said we are racing hard and of course that corner is very fast. But I don’t know how I have a percentage in that fault.

“He goes for that move, he commits to the move, of course I’m going to make it difficult for him to make the move. But as soon as he commits to the inside and is getting alongside me, I open up the corner and then I’m going to leave him space.

“So what did they expect, me to just completely run off the track and then just keep my position? Probably then they will tell you that you can’t run off the track. So from my side, a bit surprised that there is a little bit of a percentage in there.”

Red Bull has petitioned the stewards to review the decision to give Hamilton a 10-second penalty. The team is unhappy Hamilton was still able to win the race despite his penalty, and the considerable damage which was caused to their car.

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Under a long-standing precedent, the consequences of an incident are not taken into consideration when deciding on the severity of a penalty. However Verstappen believes this should change, stating it would be “common sense” to take the ramifications of collisions into account.

He added he does not intend to change how he approaches wheel-to-wheel racing with Hamilton or any other driver.

“For myself, I didn’t do anything wrong,” Verstappen explained. “I fought hard, I defended hard, but not aggressive, because if it would have been aggressive, I could have pushed him or squeezed them into the inside wall. But I did give him the space and then I just opened up my corner.

“When you then commit on the inside like he did and not back out, expecting you can do the same speed on that angle that I had on the outside, you are going to, of course, crash into me. But of course I’m on the outside, I’m opening up my corner, not expecting him to commit and he understeered into the rear of my car. There’s not much I can do, I think.”

Verstappen dismissed claims he has been too “aggressive” with some of his racing manoeuvres in Formula 1, and pointed out he does not have any penalty points on his licence. Hamilton has four, two of which were for the Silverstone collision.

“Of course people easily say I’m an aggressive driver or whatever, which I don’t think I am,” he said.

“I think I’m a hard driver. I race hard, but at the end of the day, I think I know quite well how I have to position my car and I haven’t been involved in accidents where I run into people. I have zero penalty points as well so I think that already says quite a bit.

“Of course always people have different opinions but from my side that’s how I see it.

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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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86 comments on “Verstappen “surprised” stewards did not wholly blame Hamilton for crash”

  1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    29th July 2021, 15:53

    Of course people easily say I’m an aggressive driver or whatever, which I don’t think I am,”

    or whatever? I know another driver who felt the same way and drove the way Max did. His initials are PM.

    The aggressors rarely do, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

    1. Well, there will be more crashes then.

    2. His opinion seems to be that he is a hard but fair driver which is an acceptable position.

      The aggressor is the instigator of the event and in that sense Max is right, as incidents he has been involved in recently cannot be blamed on him.

      1. What, Not even when he pushed Hamilton off a few races ago?

        Basically he is involved in fewer incidents as other drivers have learned it is better to get out of the way than risk a race ending collision… That is other drivers being scared of what he will do, not Verstappen becoming less aggressive.

        1. No not even that move. Max did not pushed him (LIKE HAM DID IN PORTIMAO) he was in front and Lewis had to back off.
          Nothing wrong there. Not even a investigation

        2. Dans le Frito
          29th July 2021, 19:32

          His comment reminds me of the old lady driver who says she’s never been in an accident…. But she’s lost count of how many she’s seen in the rear-view mirror!

          Max doesn’t often make contact because he has a reputation (rightly or wrongly…. ) that means folk generally back out or swerve off from him to avoid worse.

          Reply moderated
      2. @f1g33k Including, I guess, those recent incidents that didn’t become racing incidents because Hamilton took evasive action. This distinction by Max between aggressive racing and hard racing is somewhat surreal. They’re the same thing.

      3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        29th July 2021, 16:13

        @f1g33k

        he is a hard but fair driver

        There’s not one F1 racer who would agree with that. Max’s fans (and please don’t mention Coulthard who practically lives in Max’s apartment) may…

        Find a crash where Max was not the instigator?

        1. He is of the hard-headed Senna/Schumacher mould but he is taking advantage of that without engaging in acts bordering cheating like Senna/Schumacher did. Hamilton’s safety-first approach has certainly helped Max in this regard and I am pretty sure he would have been penalised otherwise.

          I find it hard to delineate aggression from firmness but then I am not sure whether his intimidation of opponents can be considered as aggression.

          1. The Intimidation is directly related to his aggression… Other drivers are intimidated as they think he will not think twice about crashing into them if they do not get out of the way!

        2. Find a crash where Max was not the instigator?

          Please do, enlighten us.
          For at least two years max is clean. Not Lewis as you know.

      4. Have to say Max and Horner have all ignored the number of times Max has done the same to others. Luckily Hamilton had sense to back out and leave space.
        To quote Horner “it’s hard racing”

        Reply moderated
    3. He does have a point, not having any (penalty) points. There are not a lot of these drivera who can claim that feat

      1. If everyone stays out of your way due to fear that you may hit them then there are not many penalty points to be had…

        1. You should have told that to Leclerc at Silverstone 2019.

    4. To be fair. Mac is more skilled than Pastor was

      Reply moderated
  2. Ugh. Can we just consolidate all the petty bickering articles in one daily dump?

    1. @zapski It’s exhausting and seems likely to continue. Maybe the sight of some cars on track will help us all refocus.

    2. But that wouldn’t allow those here to milk it for all they can.

    3. Magnifies the click count, so unlikely to happen. Don’t think readability is at the top of the agenda over here.

  3. I haven’t been involved in accidents where I run into people

    Maybe in some parallel universe Max. This universe disagrees.

    1. Indeed. I assume he has memory loss every time he is too aggressive.

      I can only assume all of this is mind games by red bull, designed to get into the heads of Merc and Hamilton. The problem is that it will likely end up affecting Red Bull and Verstappen more, the way they are going.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      29th July 2021, 16:07

      @david-br he just seems so disconnected from reality which is actually very, very dangerous.

      I guess if he’s surrounded by folks who applaud every crash he has and the stewards don’t punish him, then what should we expect?

      1. @freelittlebirds I presume he’s talking about a more recent timeline. But that’s erasing from memory or history various times that he’s run into others and ignores moments where his ‘hard racing’ has involved contact with other cars, including this season with Hamilton. The fact these weren’t accidents is at least in part, a big part, down to the other driver dialling back on the ‘hard racing’ Max is extolling. But he can’t expect that every time. That’s the basic point.

    3. Tell us then. Take the last two years and compare with Lewis.
      You now the one who likes to crash red bulls as a habit.

    4. While you’re absolutely right, it also opens the door to the Hamilton / Massa collisions… let’s just say that both drivers aren’t the same from years ago anymore…

  4. For someone who wanted to leave it to the team, he does seem to have a lot to say on every aspect of this issue. Including on the penalty itself. He’s not gonna be happy either when he finds most of the drivers asked don’t agree with him.
    Shame its a zoom meeting. Otherwise he could have done a Lauda and limped in covered in bandages.

    1. When asked in a press conference…

      1. To which he could easily reply “I’m not going to talk about this, as I said yesterday. you just wasted your question, who’s next please”

        1. But he did not and as always he answers honestly.
          You seem to have a problem with that.

      2. Ah, the RB defence, blame someone else. Maybe he could have done what he did before, threaten the next journo would get a punch in the mouth.

  5. Zach (@zakspeedf1team)
    29th July 2021, 15:57

    Wasn’t Max supposed to “not want to get involved”? He sure runs his mouth a lot for someone not wishing to be involved lol.

    1. Then again, he is probably just answering the questions during the press conference (although, if he did not want to say anything, he could just refuse to comment further).

    2. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      30th July 2021, 5:21

      @zakspeedf1team imagine if he decided to get involved.

  6. Verstappen is probably surprised no one is ever banned for racing against him… I am sure he thinks all the times he has been too aggressive were someone else’s fault.

    Seriously. I can’t believe he can’t accept that he could have also avoided the accident by backing off and taking a wider route through the corner. What would he have said if Hamilton had took the racing line at Brooklands just before the incident? Would he have blamed himself for being aggressive and almost leaving the track in an effort to protect his lead or would he have blamed Hamilton for not giving him room?

    The whole incident is getting silly, Red Bull need to accept that this was racing and just move on.

    1. The only other option then was to do what Leclerc did and lose the position. Leaving a car’s width while being ahead is what the rule dictates, so he is clear from that perspective.

      Either one had to back out to avoid the accident but usually the onus is on the car behind to take corrective action. This is what leads to most of the incidents in F1 today.

      The stewards may not take any further action but overall it sets a bad precedent where the car behind can punt off the car ahead as long as they are somewhat alongside with a relatively minor penalty.

      1. Hamilton was clear in the lead at Brooklands and Verstappen punted it down the inside. The only reason a crash did not happen there was because Hamilton backed off and went very wide to make sure he was not taken out! If Hamilton had taken the racing line I am sure you would have been complaining that he should have left room.

        Hamilton was pretty much level with Max going into Copse (A few cm in it) and Max decided to take the racing line. Hamilton backed off considerably in an effort to avoid a collision but you can’t just stop. As you say Max knew he would have lost the position had he also backed off so decided not to. That was a mistake as that is what ultimately caused the crash. That is what Max does. He keeps his foot in hoping the other drivers will back off. It works a lot of the time but this time it cost him. Perhaps he will become less aggressive now as a result, but I doubt it. For some reason it is fine for Max to be aggressive but any other driver who does the same is in the wrong… You say it yourself. Leclerc gave plenty of room and lost the position. Are you saying that was impossible for Max to do? Are you saying that colliding is fine if you really really want to keep your position?

        I am a little baffled by the stewards decision as they gave the penalty for Hamilton not hitting the apex. However he had not reached the apex before the collision. If you see Maxs trajectory, his car was aimed at the apex. He had no intention of giving any room at all.

        1. I kind of don’t want to get into litigating the actual incident, because there are a million YT videos and instagram animations or whatever, and also a lot of smart people on racefans with opinions too. But I have to agree that this focus on Hamilton not hitting the apex I find wrong.

          The crash occurred well before the apex. And if you watched the race you would see many drivers including Verstappen not hitting the apex until where the green turf blocks are inside the curbing–well after the contact. The fact that Hamilton was apexing earlier than that at other times doesn’t mean he “missed” the apex or would have missed it. ” And from looking at Chandok’s video inside the car, where the angle of view is unfortunately a bit wide, it looked to me like Hamilton was headed for the curb at the time of contact.

          If RBR’s evidence is that Hamilton was going to entirely miss the corner I just don’t see that working out as matter of proof. Even if he was going to miss the apex, he went in on the inside, it was his corner, and unless he was just out of control or actually trying to push Verstappen off (see Rosberg v. Hamilton in Austria) he gets some leeway in how he gets through the corner.

          And Verstappen saying, what did he want me to do drive off the track? When I was watching the race as soon as Hamilton swung wide in Luffield right on Verstappen’s tail I knew what was about to go down—Hamilton was going to have massively more speed down that straight and he was going to send it down the inside. If I knew that Verstappen knew it too. He had a choice to try to squeeze Hamilton down going into a 180 mph corner or give up in time to fight later in the race. It’s a car race—he is not obliged to give up, of course. But when you see a car’s front wing next to your front wheel on the inside, you are in a tenuous position for the corner.

          You might also look at Leclerc pushing Hamilton off at Monza on the outside. That was a bit naughty, but it was Leclerc’s corner there, although he misjudged his entry to hit Hamilton. I don’t recall Mercedes griping for week about Ferrari waving their flags on the podium. It was great victory for Leclerc and hard racing.

          1. You can not hit the apex when there is a car approaching. That is why max took the wider line with higher speed.
            Lewis on the other hand lost control.

          2. @erikje

            Max was taking close to the normal racing line! You can clearly see that from his position on the track. His car was aimed directly at the apex at the time of the collision. Hamilton clearly did not lose control. He was backing off to avoid a collision and Max came straight across. Hamilton did not lock up, there was no skidding and he was still pretty close to the inside of the corner at the time of the incident. Max had at least 2 car widths to his right that he could have used to avoid contact.

  7. Davethechicken
    29th July 2021, 16:08

    I can’t remember an incident when Max did accept any blame? Can anyone here?

    1. I think he might have once owned a fart. But only because he was the only one in the room.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        29th July 2021, 16:16

        @Lee1 That’s a good one!

        No, he can run Horner over and he’ll blame Lewis for it probably. As would Horner:-)

    2. I cant remember ANY racedriver doing so

      1. Davethechicken
        29th July 2021, 17:33

        @cdfemke “I cant remember ANY racedriver doing so”
        Really? You are joking, right?
        The likes of Hamilton, Leclerc, Riccardo will often apologise when they have made mistakes.
        But putting aside your misdirection that would be a no?

    3. China 2018, the race before that fateful decision I made two weeks later?

  8. This is a guy who says he will never back down from a 50/50 under any circumstance. He will never come out of it in 2nd. What does he think is going to happen when he goes up against a driver with the same mindset? Its always their fault when they crash?

  9. “Of course people easily say I’m an aggressive driver or whatever, which I don’t think I am

    That’s Max, full of arrogance and self entitlement. Must be hard and terrifying to discover that other drivers won’t bend and avoid crashes anymore. My advice to Horner and Marko: buy a track to baby Max. That could calm down him a bit.

    1. He proves he can deliver. So unless other drivers loose control, like Lewis, nothing will happen.

  10. Come on Max, saying all this clearly means that you have not moved on.
    Please do, so you can perform at your best. Lewis was at fault but your racing record of 5 some years is worse than his of 15! More and more of such answers make me feel that your whole maturity is just a facade and inside you are the same wreckless aggressive driver of 2-3 years ago.

    Also, try to introspect in your own team before bad mouthing an opponent. Horner is alone worse than the worst F1 team in history.

  11. I think RB and Max have made a massive blunder in carrying this on for so long. Before this week, the story was about Lewis and how he got a penalty for being “predominantly” to blame. That would have been what stuck in people’s minds. Now what is going to stick in people’s minds is the other drivers in the paddock who have called it a racing incident with maybe Lewis slightly more to blame (just as the stewards called it), Red Bull’s inevitably failed protest, and Max saying he would leave it to the team and then complaining about Lewis’ celebration and the stewards’ verbiage. They have taken a story about Lewis getting penalized and made it about them looking like hysterical overreactors.

    1. predominantly
      becomes
      “with maybe Lewis slightly more to blame”
      Funniest people around Lewis fans.

      1. I am neither a Lewis nor a Max fan. I respect what Lewis has done off the track and respect his on-track accomplishments but I would not call myself a fan. I am a fan of Lando and Danny Ric.

      2. It’s also funny how you chose to comment not on the main argument of my comment that RB have made a story about Lewis being penalized to them being hysterical overreactors who have (now) failed in their protest (and it appears that the stewards took exception to the allegations made by Red Bull in their petition). Typical of those who know they can not win the main argument so they have to try to pick apart the surrounding parts. Stay classy erikje.

  12. Max didn’t learn anything from another of his collisions – with Lance Stroll in 2021 Portuguese GP practice:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2QJTAVnaLRI

    1. Sorry, I meant 2020 Portuguese GP practice, but still Max could have avoid his crash in Silverstone after suffering this crash with Stroll.

  13. Max complains that penalty not harsh enough, admits not reading the stewards report, words fail me….

    1. @f1-plossl This is pretty much what I came here to say. I generally like Max’s driving, but it sounds like he’s determined to not learn anything from this.

      I think that all truly great drivers need to have a self-belief that borders on arrogance, and I don’t think Max has found the balance yet.

    2. It’s quite simple.
      He knew Lewis was to blame. If there is a penalty its for the one to blame.
      10s ‘s nothing compared with the damage max had. So, he expected more.
      Why read a report if you now he did it and the stewards confirm that.

      1. Well they do say ignorance is bliss… Just don’t kick up a stink when your ignorance is highlighted.
        This alongside the review isn’t doing RB any favours in the PR dept.
        Ive always thought that RB portrayed this chilled, hip, easy going attitude, but after this they come across as bitter an twisted.

  14. Verstappen. His 7th year in F1 and still a cry baby.

  15. I feel like from they things they are saying about the flag celebration or whatever, that unless Hamilton is excluded from the race they will continue to complain.

  16. Ian Stephens
    29th July 2021, 17:38

    Am I the only person who has realised that the Red Bull was set up to corner fast, at the expense of straight line speed, while the Mercedes was the reverse? The Mercedes caught the Red Bull on the straight and was slightly ahead before it had to slow more than the Red Bull to take the corner. The Red Bull was able to corner faster and pulled slightly ahead of the Mercedes at the apex.

    In the heat of battle I would not expect either driver to be considering this, especially because the setup difference was so unusually great at Silverstone. In my book that makes it a racing accident and neither driver should have been blamed.

    I have heard that telemetry shows that the Red Bull was taking the corner faster than it did in qualifying, but had a much higher fuel load, so it would probably not have stayed within track limits anyway. You can not expect the stewards to take into account things that did not come to pass, even if they did see the telemetry.

    1. I have heard that telemetry shows that lewis was taking the corner faster than it did in qualifying, but had a much higher fuel load, so it would probably not have stayed within track limits anyway

      Corrected your mistake. You can check this BTW.

      1. Ian Stephens
        30th July 2021, 8:46

        Interesting. So both were going too fast to make it round and only the impact from the Red Bull kept the Mercedes on track. It was lucky for Mercedes that the Red Bull made that mistake or Mercedes would have taken a penalty for going off the track to overtake.

  17. I honestly to god do not understand all the negative sentiment towards Verstappen. I really don’t. It would do Keith c.s. merit if they would perfom an analysis of all drivers active in the past, say, five to eight years and list unforced errors, wheel touching, penalised mistakes (with race ending damage to others), being on the receiving end, etc… Let’s then see who comes out on top as being the most incident prone driver. I’m positive Verstappen won’t come out on top —or perhaps even top five for that matter. I even reckon Hamilton will come out worse than him —and than to consider he was cruising out just in front of everyone else most of the time. I mean, a simple look at the penalty points list give some clue… or are all stewards just blistering *diots!?

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      29th July 2021, 17:56

      I honestly to god do not understand all the negative sentiment towards Verstappen

      That’s because Verstappen is one of the most dangerous drivers of this generation. Imo, up there with Maldonado, for sure.

      are all stewards just blistering *diots!?

      The verdict is pretty much unanimous on that :-)

    2. Well, the negative is pretty much headed by the Hamilton faithful. British site, content and fans. So…. there you go.

      It will be interesting to see the reaction should Verstappen win the WDC.

      1. So all the negative stuff constantly thrown at Ham on here, far worse than Max has ever had, is just a few non Ham fans? And the only ones who dont see eye to eye with Max, including most of the drivers, are all part of the Ham massive? So its Ham fans, the media, those pesky officials within F1, the British, jealous drivers, all those like Siedl, Stroll, Zak who are somehow controlled by Toto. Anymore?

        1. far worse than Max has ever had

          Again untrue. There’s a constant group of anti max aggressors here making the most ludicrous allegations time and time again.
          You are one of them

          1. I think the people who comment on here are generally very knowledgeable and unbiased. Max gets a lot of praise for his skills and speed. I think Max is an excellent driver but I do think he is too aggressive and has benefitted from a field of less aggressive drivers who prefer to stay on track than crash. Most drivers will stay out of Max’s way as they would rather finish the race and know getting into a fight with him is a risky prospect. Now that is fine, I do not like it, but it is part of racing. Now the bit that angers me is when Verstappen crashes it is somehow never his fault, he refuses to take blame and he refuses to change the way he drives. You can’t drive the way he does and then complain when it results in an incident. Hamilton dived out of the way at the previous Brooklands corner as Max was intent on keeping his lead no matter what.

        2. ian dearing, Thanks for providing an example to support my point. Perfect timing.

  18. I thought max was staying out of it… see that didn’t last long

    1. It lasted until a question during a press conference. If I were him, I would go with media blackout and say No Comment to everything that is asked, including post-race.

  19. I don’t think Max has watched any replays… Unfortunately for him and Redbull, he is more likely to pull off aggressive manoeuvres in the future, so it will be harder for him to claim innocence if his moves are judged as harshly as they have Hamiltons. Because they have protested so much it may actually hamper his ability to race hard.. Either way I think it would have been better if they had moved on.

    1. For instance, how would Redbull justify Max’s manoeuvre on Hamilton in Spain? Hamilton was ahead, Max dove down the inside, and if Hamilton hadn’t evaded collision by going off trackout they would have crashed. “Best move in the world ever” – apparently.

      I’m fine with either – but you can’t have it both ways… Christian ‘flip-flop’ Horner.

      1. We now know Lewis will do this illegal and penalised move again.
        His own words!

        1. Accept the stewards decision and move on @Erikje – it wasn’t an “Illegal” move, it was an incident that Lewis was judged predominantly at fault… Shame you’re such a blinkered Max fan!

      2. Dans le Frito
        29th July 2021, 19:57

        Well in future they’ll justify it with:
        “We’ll it’s not as bad as what Lewis did to max at Silverstone 2021….”

  20. But as soon as he commits to the inside and is getting alongside me, I open up the corner and then I’m going to leave him space.

    The onboard showed him turn sharply inwards closing the door. This was also pointed out by Palmer in his analysis. Did i understand his statement wrong?

    1. No you quoted selectively only a part. Read all text.

  21. Maybe he understand when Horner explains how it wasn’t Hamilton’s fault: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naDVLIqLI_o&t=71s

    1. Yep, that vid along with ‘the racing incident’ just goes to show how blinkered he’s views are towards Max are, in the long run it wont help Max reach he’s full potential because not calling out his mistakes will mean he will never learn from them.

  22. This guy is amazing!
    He is the dirtiest, most aggressive and unsportsmanlike violent driver in Formula 1 and, on top of that, a cheek who pretends that what happened was Hamilton’s fault.
    The judges and everyone agreed that it was a normal racing incident.
    And not a collision or intentional bad maneuver like those that maxcrash has made since entering formula 1.
    something that should never have been allowed.
    Drivers like him who play so dirty and so aggressively are a danger to others and a shame for the category.

  23. Ancient saying. “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
    Is a line from the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle’s guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark.

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