Horner “disappointed” by Wolff’s “tactical foul” claim over crash

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Toto Wolff believes championship leader Max Verstappen committed a “tactical foul” in his race-ending crash with Lewis Hamilton at Monza.

The two championship protagonists clashed for a second time this season at the Rettifilo chance after Hamilton had emerged from his pit stop. As the pair rounded the chicane they tangled at the apex of turn two, sending the Red Bull bouncing on top of the Mercedes and putting both drivers out of the race.

“In football, you would call it a ‘tactical foul’,” Wolff told Sky. “He probably knew that if Lewis stays ahead, then that was the race win, probably.”

However Red Bull team principal Christian Horner objected to the suggestion that the accident was in any way intentional. Told of the Mercedes boss’s comments, Horner said: “I think that I’d be disappointed if Toto suggested that.”

“I don’t think he’s thinking that going through turn one into turn two. He’s thinking, ‘how can I pass the car ahead?’.”

The collision followed an incident on the opening lap, at the Della Roggia chicane, where Hamilton was forced to yield to his rival. Wolff said his driver acted correctly by backing out.

“When you look at turn four, he backed out. And that was quite a thing, because you know he is probably staying ahead of you. Then the incident when they actually crashed, it was clear for Max in there that it would end up in a crash.”

Horner said the crash was a racing incident, but believes Verstappen was entitled to more room from him rival.

“For me, having looked at it and looked at it again, I felt Max deserved a bit more space to be given at turn two,” Horner explained.

“I think you can you can look at it and you can argue that one should have gone straight, you can argue that the other should have given more space. So I think when you cannot apportion blame, you’d have to say it’s 50-50. And so I think from our perspective, from my perspective, it’s a racing incident.”

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Dieter Rencken
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56 comments on “Horner “disappointed” by Wolff’s “tactical foul” claim over crash”

  1. I think I’m actually agreeing with hornets view and points here, it is surprisingly objective

    1. Horner has never been objective. He has always been one to whine in the public eye when things aren’t going his way– he was even complaining about the Renault engines while he was winning championships with them.

      The problem is, Hamilton had turn 1– turn 2, being immediately afterwards, and in the opposite direction, favors Verstappen, but that’s only because of geometry, not because Max was suddenly faster. Yes, Hamilton made it pretty tight– but still, when he realized Max was coming in, he did take an “avoiding line”.

      Ultimately, the problem with Verstappen is that if he’s given a choice between backing off, or having a guaranteed crash, he will have the crash, and blame the other driver– And if Hamilton backs off, that just reinforces Max’s bad behavior.

      Lewis did not “continue squeezing Max”, Max dove into a disappearing gap that was never going to be there when he arrived– a gap blocked by some large, orange, kerbs. It wasn’t Hamilton’s job to keep Verstappen off those kerbs, it was Verstappen’s.

      1. Coventry Climax
        13th September 2021, 2:18

        And fortunately, @grat, mr. Wolf is and has always been mr. Honesty in the very person?

  2. “When you look at turn four, he backed out. And that was quite a thing, because you know he is probably staying ahead of you. Then the incident when they actually crashed, it was clear for Max in there that it would end up in a crash.”

    You see why Horner always comes out like a career criminal.
    Apparently Hamilton who was further alongside before the corner didn’t need more room, but Verstappen who was still behind going into the corner needed more room.
    I give up on this dude.

    1. I may have misunderstood your comment but those arenWolff’s words, not Horner’s.

      Reply moderated
  3. We all know what will happen final race, when the one leading the championship will block overtake of the one following.

    This was quite Schumacher style, only there were two Schumachers here and no Hill.

    When Verstappen did not take escape over the curbs, Lewis was not gonna let him by no matter what. And same on lap 1.

    Someone will get hurt.

    1. I think Senna invented this move, not Schumi

      1. Prost. A year before Senna. Senna just paid back.

        1. In the words of James Hunt “Senna went for a gap that wasn’t there” so I’d say ’89 was more of a racing incident whereas ’90 needs no comment.

  4. I mean, it is interesting indeed that both times they’ve come together Verstappen was the one with the least to lose.

    1. Coventry Climax
      13th September 2021, 2:33

      Explain how Verstappen had the least to lose in the Silverstone incident, please. Points-wise: There was a championship at stake then, there was a championship at stake here. Safetywise: Maybe you value Verstappens life as lesser? Verstappen suffered a 50(?) G impact there, today Hamilton’s life was never under threat, with the low speed and the halo over his head. Hamilton complaining of a sore neck from a car on his head is downright theatrical nonsense. He was quite frantically trying to back out his car from under Verstappen’s. Never looked like he had any physical issues at all.

      1. Neither was Max’s life under threat – he was in an F1 car, as was Lewis. Playing down an F1 car on the head is very telling. It’s true Red Bull Spice had a complete and very embarrassing meltdown after that Silverstone coming-together, but it always boiled down to the cost cap and the cost of repairs. ‘He’ certainly seems to value Verstappens life as a lesser.

  5. We have a Dutch saying, I’m not sure how to translate it properly, but google says:”Ita takes one to know one.”

    So this is pretty telling about the Silverstone situation

    1. Projection is a common psychological trait, and Wolff has a habit of saying these things, going back to when he suggested that Räikkönen has ‘deliberately’ crashed into Hamilton at Silverstone in 2018, or if he hadn’t, that he was merely ‘incompetent’.

      That Wolff keeps thinking (and saying) these things says more about him than it does about Räikkönen, Verstappen, or anyone else.

      1. That would be attribution bias, not projection. The latter is a rather overused term in pop psychology TBF.

        1. Covwntry Climax
          13th September 2021, 2:35

          Whatever the correct term, it doesn’t make what is said less true, though.

          Reply moderated
        2. It’s called projective identification, a particular form of projection.

  6. I agree with Toto. It was what Schumacher or Senna would have done, had they been in the same position. It was his only chance of getting in front of Lewis, or he would lose championship points.

    The 3 place grid penalty is a joke in my opinion. Verstappen is likely to have the best car for Russia. He makes up those positions easily and no damage is done.. I think the FIA should look at penalties that take away championship points.

    I think it would have been fair to give like a 5 place grid penalty + 5 points reduction for what he did. His goal was not to lose any points to Lewis, and as it is, he still succeeded in that today. That is not fair and should not be possible.

    1. You missed Hamilton from your list in the first paragraph.

    2. If that’s the case they should take 25 points from Hamilton following Silverstone!

      1. @Jamal Verstappen caused that crash in Silverstone as well, he cut into Lewis’ lane despite he had a whole ocean of space on his left

  7. I actually agree with the tactical foul analogy. He knew the position, and possible race win was lost after the long pitstop. Verstappen was never making Turn 2, he came off the brakes into Turn 1 and let his car role into a place that was never making Turn 2, essentially a ‘block pass’. Best case he keeps the position, worst case he takes Hamilton out.

    1. Funnily enough ‘tactical foul’ was the exact phrase being used by people sat behind me at Silverstone to describe Lewis’ role in the collision at Copse.

      1. The difference being -intention-. I believe there was zero intention on Hamiltons part to have a collison in Silverstone, they went side by side in the first half of the lap. Worst case in Silverstone was that Hamilton made a small misjudgement picking up a bit of understeer on the dirt inside line. (Also note Verstappens line into Turn 6, Hamilton, yet again, having to back out to avoiding a collision)

        Today was Verstappen just plonking his car into a disappearing wedge knowing that its basically a win-win for him, he either gets the position, or they crash.

        1. Or Lewis gives a bit more space and they both make the corner and the audience get what they want; more battling. I find it mostly a pity that Lewis now twice ended what could go on for corners and corners. But is inevitable I guess

          1. Max ended this one – and spectacularly at that!

          2. @Mayrton So why didn’t Max left any space for Lewis during lap one to hive what rhe audiance wanted ?

          3. “Or Lewis gives a bit more space and they both make the corner”

            Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not Hamilton’s job to jump out of Verstappen’s way everytime he launches a lunge at him. Yes, he could have, and it would have avoided a collsion, but then so would staying in bed that morning. They are there to race and the circuit does not belong to Max.

          4. There was no need to concede for Max as Lewis left the door wide open into turn 1. Lewis should have gone straight, making it impossible for Max to go around the outside. Just like Max did in turn 4, lap 1. That is how you do it and it clearly leaves no room whatsoever for interpretation for the car on the outside. And it is 100% legal. But Lewis was napping, thought he already made the corner ahead of Max and then found Max beside him all of a sudden (Max typically has way more mid corners speed as a result of his earlier braking style). Since Lewis already committed to a sequence going to 1 and 2 he continued this and ran some-one on the inside out of road. So, if you regard turn 1 and 2 to be one corner something can be said for the stewards verdict. If however you judge corner 1 & 2 together it was clearly just unfortunate. Max could have opted to not engage prior to turn 1 and Lewis could have opted to give a little more space in turn 2. Even better, Lewis should have ended Max ambitions straight away when going into turn 1. There Lewis lacked some insight and clearly underestimated the situation. Max is not going to hand it to Lewis like all other have the last 7 years.

  8. I will be “disappointed” if Horner is not telling Max that he cannot “throwing a wheel up the inside” and “no-one over takes there”.

  9. It’s best not to pay any attention to what Wolff or Horner have to say after incidents like this, they will, quite rightly, come out with any old nonsense to support their driver. You can apply either of their descriptions of this incident to their drivers’ previous collisions and they are totally hypocritical.

    1. I think that sums it up

  10. I was disappointed to see Max spinning his rear wheels knowing his right rear was near Hamilton head. Presumably the gearbox differential meant the right rear didn’t turn…
    Was he thinking of Hamiltons safety at that point?

    1. Yeah, also did he even bother to check if Hamilton was OK before Verstappen walked away (right across the track!)?

      1. So much for all the posturing by Max and his team after the crash in Silverstone right. Was a complete stretch then and now we see that Max would’ve been exactly the same back, kettle black. Heat of the moment situations for both.

  11. Horner, the peacemaker. Great to see this version of him, much better than the one who almost called Lewis a murderer by intent after the Copse incident.

  12. When Horner pretends it’s a racing incident you know he knows it’s Verstappen’s fault. When it’s an actual racing incident he will be pretending it was an assassination.

    It’s the same when they cheated on the tyre pressures in Baku and got caught. Before that came out Horner et al were screaming that Pirelli tyres were to blame and they were robbed. When the low running pressures were mentioned it was immediate silence.

  13. I can really do without another handbags at dawn session for two weeks. The silverstone drama took it out of me.

  14. Wolff is such a hypocrite. In silverstone he called it outrages when Horner suggested a „tactical foul“, now he‘s doing the same.

    1. @jon-thereyougo I don’t think so. Whether you hold him predominantly responsible for the accident or not, Hamilton certainly didn’t intend any contact at Silverstone: he expected Verstappen to allow room and/or misjudge his own braking. So it wasn’t a tactical foul (there was not intention to cause a collision). In today’s case, Verstappen is closed down into the second corner but continues anyhow, onto the kerbs, when he could have realistically avoided doing so (and probably anticipated Hamilton would shut him out – given that’s precisely what Verstappen has been doing all season). Though we can never really know a driver’s intention, I’d be fairly certain that Max calculated that any contact would be just as or more detrimental to Hamilton, i.e. he was virtually 100% guaranteed to come out with equal or worse damage than Verstappen himself. Given the chance of passing at Monza now is so low, and Hamilton would soon be back up to tyre temperature, it was worth the risk. Is that a ‘tactical foul’? Pretty much. Was it justified? No, but it definitely felt like Verstappen thought so.

      1. @david-br

        Hamilton certainly didn’t intend any contact at Silverstone

        Hamilton did the exact same move to Vettel at Copse in the 2010 British GP which resulted in a puncture for the latter. For someone with his racing experience he should have known that putting a wheel from the inside at Copse ,not the ideal racing line, will result in a contact to the rear of the defensive driver if he commits to the corner. He made a reckless crash or let me pass move which was a message to Verstappen that he will not refrain from fighting him. I’m totally fine with those kind of move because Verstappen is no angel either.

        The thing that I don’t like is these kind of ‘Procès d’intention’ for the drivers which was first suggested by Horner and now is continuing with Wolff. Hamilton made a mistake in Silverstone and got penalised for it, Verstappen did the same today and got penalised too. Both teams should have moved on from both incidents, instead they are just fuelling the the tension which is escalating to unprecedent levels which is not good at all because with this pace someone will get hurt sooner rather than later.

        1. @tifoso1989 I totally agree actually, they both need to deescalate. Today showed the potential danger again. I do, though, really think that means Verstappen giving some sign that he will back down sometimes. In my view, it’s the fact he signals that he’ll never back down that has raised the ante with Hamilton, who seems set to keep on insisting until Verstappen does admit he can be beaten in a 50/50 without causing a collision. That hasn’t yet happened.

          1. Coventry Climax
            13th September 2021, 3:00

            And why should that happen? If you put both drivers in equal material, you might find out who is the faster driver. But they’re not in equal material, and there is a championship at stake. Fighting and coming out on top is what motorracing is all about. ‘No, by all means, please go first’ has never won a championship before, and never will. Hamilton has been cruising to his world titles over the past couple of years, and I’m glad he’s got to fight for it this year, even if -my opinion- his engine is still more powerful than Verstappen’s. That’s allowed him to appear a clean driver, but he’s still shown to be no angel quite often enough. I rate Hamiltons ‘predominantly at fault’ a much more dangerous and un-gentleman-like move than Verstappens ‘predominantly at fault’ move of today.

  15. I think Toto is spot on with that comparison, Max knew if he didn’t get pass he would lose points to Lewis, so either Max is a really poor driver doing rookie moves or very calculating driver who doesn’t think twice about taking out the opposition when losing points a to them. But that’s what you get when you’ve been told you can do no wrong, not even bothering to get a thumbs up are you ok from Lewis, yet saying its a disgrace Lewis celebrated while he was getting a check up at Hospital (while tweeting).

    1. Coventry Climax
      13th September 2021, 3:05

      Or, third option, @f1-plossl has it all wrong.
      Sorry, but that speaks volumes about you, that there would only be two options where in both cases the one you’re not fan of, loses out.

      1. @Coventry Climax, Well if you wanna boil it down to basics that would apply to any driver, Are they a very good driver that are driving badly or a bad driver just driving as normal, I don’t think Max is either of these. I think he has realised, or rather been fed, that he will win this Championship as long as he doesn’t lose points to Lewis, even if that means taking them both out. As for a 3 place grid drop for sticking your car on someone’s head and still not accepting any blame is a bad precedent that will come back and bite F1.

    2. @f1-plossl You actually saw it in Silverstone too. If you see the on-board from Verstappen, you see Verstappen instinctively opens up his steering when he see’s Hamilton front wheel right next to him. Then a few tenths later he decides to take a tighter line anyway. With the inevitable crash as a result

  16. @david-br It’s funny how Wolff first calls a spade a spade on Verstappen’s intent to either bully Hamilton off his line or otherwise take him out and then continues to say that the team bosses should refrain from commenting on the incident.

  17. Typical Horner reply.
    It was a racing incident.
    It was a 50/50 fault.
    But ……. Verstappen deserved more space making it sound like it was Hamilton’s fault.

    Then the professionals look at the footage and penalise Verstappen because it was his fault.

    I bet Horner’s pram is surrounded by all of his toys.

    1. Coventry Climax
      13th September 2021, 3:09

      So Horner is an amateur?
      I’m actually questioning the profesionalism of the FIA. Have been doing so consistently for quite a while, and not just depending on who gets the penalty or not.

  18. Both of the TPs need to shut the heck up. They are escalating the situation. Neither this nor Silverstone were professional/tactical fouls, they were mistakes made by drivers racing on the ragged edge (and pretty minor mistakes at that, albeit with major consequences). The more Toto and Horner keep this up, the worse this is all going to get, especially when both seem to “coddle” their drivers, insisting no fault where the fault is pretty obvious to all.

    I’d like the Stewards/FIA to step in with these 2. I’m pretty sure they could be done with “bringing the sport into disrepute”. A threat that they will be hit with penalties if they don’t calm their rhetoric may go some way towards de-escalating the situation and letting us enjoy some hard-fought wheel-to-wheel racing.

    1. They should settle it in a boxing match.

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