Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Zandvoort, 2021

Official: Verstappen avoids grid penalty after red flag investigation

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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The stewards have confirmed Max Verstappen will not receive a grid penalty for overtaking during a red flag period in practice for the Dutch Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was investigated for passing Lance Stroll after the red flags were shown during second practice. The stoppage was triggered by Lewis Hamilton, whose Mercedes came to a stop with a power unit problem.

Verstappen passed Hamilton’s car and several other slower cars before the red flag signal was given. The red flags were shown moments before he passed Stroll’s car. The Aston Martin driver had been told to let him past.

After studying video and timing data and speaking to Verstappen, the stewards ruled he did everything possible to slow in response to the red flags.

“The race management system indicates that the red flag and red lights were initiated at 15:10:12. When [Verstappen] passed light panel 14 (which is prior to the point of the overtake) it was not illuminated. As [Verstappen] approached the rear of the car (within a few metres) of [Stroll], the red light on [Verstappen’s] steering wheel activated. At this point [Verstappen’s] speed was 260kph and [Stroll’s] was 110kph, a delta of 150kph.

“At this point, telemetry shows that [Verstappen] immediately lifted and braked. Because of the speed delta, [Verstappen’s] momentum carried him past [Stroll].

“Simultaneously the light panel 15 (showing red) became visible to [Verstappen]. At approximately 15:10:17 the team radioed [Verstappen] “red flag”.

“It is our conclusion that the driver of car 33 took every reasonable action to comply with the regulations in that he immediately reduced speed in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity upon the first indication of the red flag, even before a red flag or red light panel was visible to him, and that this satisfies the requirements of the Code.”

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2021 Dutch Grand Prix

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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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27 comments on “Official: Verstappen avoids grid penalty after red flag investigation”

  1. Having seen the footage – fair and sensible decision.

  2. Suffering Williams Fan
    4th September 2021, 11:03

    Not surprised by this. Looking at the onboards the first red flag indicator I can see appears essentially as he overtakes Stroll, the one before that was flashing blue, so seems like he slowed down as early as he reasonably could.

    1. Suffering Williams Fan
      4th September 2021, 11:37

      And now that the decision is available to see, seems this was exactly what happened, so seems reasonable.

  3. How surprising… not like it’s his home race or anything.

    1. How about reading the article, and watching the footage, before assuming that he was let off just because it’s his home race?

      1. How about not assuming I haven’t done my research because I have a different view to you? I’d love to watch the footage but funnily enough it isn’t being released. The front wing onboard is useless as he’s between marshal posts. The onboard dash view will show exactly when the red was dropped and Max’s reaction to it.

        They obviously had seen something in the data to even bother with an investigation. It reminds me of Austria with Hamilton. He wasn’t even investigated until RedBull got his onboard footage. Let’s hope we get to see the actual footage soon.

        1. @Tom

          How about not assuming I haven’t done my research because I have a different view to you? I’d love to watch the footage but funnily enough it isn’t being released.

          You admit that you don’t have the evidence to draw a conclusion, one sentence after claiming that you have done your research…

        2. someone or something
          4th September 2021, 12:33

          How about not assuming I haven’t done my research because I have a different view to you?

          Bit rich of you to complain about people assuming unflattering things when the very thing you to is assuming the least flattering explanation for the Stewards’ decision while admitting your information is far from complete.
          Taking a good look in the mirror from time to time can really help things.

          They obviously had seen something in the data to even bother with an investigation.

          It doesn’t always have to be “the data”. It was plain to see on the world feed. He passed Stroll under red flags, no one with eyes could disagree with that.

          Anyway, here’s footage from Stroll’s onboard camera. It’s a bit blurry, but starts getting crisp enough right before the incident. You can see the red light signal starting to flash on Stroll’s dash about a second or less before Verstappen gets past him.

      2. Nah. Slam dunk. Ban him from the race completely.

    2. Furthermore, home race isn’t a free ticket to avoid penalties, hamilton was penalised in silverstone this year, albeit the penalty had no effect on the final result, and I remember quite a few more penalties at home races for drivers in the past years, definitely something with massa.

      1. someone or something
        4th September 2021, 12:50

        Not a free ticket, and I agree that in this case, the decision was correct.
        But there have been examples of apparent home stewarding in the past, I can think of two rather blatant examples involving Hamilton at Silverstone:
        – Hamilton’s divebomb defense against Massa into Vale on the last lap, where he punted the Ferrari offline and used that to regain/defend his position to the finish line.
        – Hamilton impeding Grosjean in qualifying in 2017. He got away scot free, but the Stewards’ decision is testimony of mental gymnastics, as they explained away the time Grosjean lost by stating that he “may potentially have been affected by the presence of Hamilton at Turn 16”, but “not impeded”.

        This is just to say that this kind of thing wouldn’t be unprecedented, and you’d probably be able to unearth similar examples for other home drivers as well.

    3. For another recent example, ricciardo got penalised for some not slowing down on red flag or something in melbourne not long ago.

    4. It s not like Hamilton was driving, it would be total hazard to whole of the track, and would require all night analysis of all angles from all cameras and requite spectators’ cameras too… Not to mention to check his data for throttle positions fuel load oil burn levels and not to forget what would albon do in a simulation as well :)

      1. Still a sore loser I see.

  4. Perfectly sensible decision, but some fans will call this favouritism as usual.

    1. It’s obviously a sensible decision. I think we all know though, that if it was Hamilton in the same situation, a much larger section of the fans would be crying, foul and favouritism.

  5. The stewards have chosen to live… for memes… Although seriously, correct decision.

  6. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    4th September 2021, 11:19

    When I saw Crofty’s tweet before the decision had been made about ‘as far as I know NO penalty’, the comments were already 99% ‘Hurr durr bUt iF It WaS LeWiS…’.

    No surprise it’s even worse now :^)

  7. I’m surprised it even got as far as the stewards to be honest, unless there is some kind of automated system inside the mini sector that tripped and referred it. Even if he’s slammed on the brakes full force he’d still have slid past, what he did wasn’t just the safest way to slow down, it was the only way.

    1. I think it’s correct that any overtake under red is automatically referred to the stewards.

    2. Given the time between the incident and the investigation, it’s safe to say someone -I’ll let you take a guess as to who- inquired about it to the stewards. Maybe they, whoever it might have been, had some diagrams to accompany the inquiry as well.

  8. Fair enough.

  9. Could you make the Report Comment button anybigger ? On mobile… I think i reported everyone when scrolling down

    1. Lol, its a problem enough in a big monitor.

  10. Fair decision, red flag and overtake happened within about a second of each other, even if he slammed the anchors on he wouldn’t of stopped before Stroll.

    1. someone or something
      4th September 2021, 12:57

      Not sure about that, the brakes in an F1 car are insane.
      The thing is: The last thing the rules want to create, is a situation where everyone slams on the brake in panic whenever a yellow or red flag is shown. The main intention is to get everyone to drive slowly and safely without racing each other. Overtaking a much slower car that was moving out of your way is clearly preferable to performing a potentially unsafe emergency stop.

  11. Perfectly fine

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