‘Hopefully the title isn’t decided in the barriers or the stewards’ room’ – Brawn

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 motorsport director Ross Brawn hopes title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen avoid further collisions following their latest tangle at Monza.

The pair have had several run-ins over the season so far and collided twice. The latest incident put both drivers out of yesterday’s Italian Grand Prix.

The F1 boss says he hopes the championship isn’t decided this way. “I don’t think either will back off at either time for the rest of the year,” said Brawn, “but I hope the championship is won on the track not in the barriers or the stewards room.”

The stewards handed Verstappen a three-place grid penalty for the next race but Brawn believes both driver had a chance to prevent a crash.

“It’s clear both drivers could have avoided it,” said the former team principal. “Ultimately I think it’s another consequence of two guys going head-to-head and not wanting to give an inch.

“It’s a shame they ended up in the gravel because it could have shaped up to be a great race – and we were deprived of that.”

Tensions rose sharply between the pair following their first clash at Silverstone, where Verstappen crashed heavily and Hamilton, despite being penalised for the contact, went on to win.

“I’m interested to see what impact this has on their ongoing battle for the title,” said Brawn. “We have lived through Silverstone which was a major and controversial incident.

“Personally, I wouldn’t say it has changed the dynamic. You’ve got two cockerels in the farmyard at the moment and we are seeing the consequence of it.”

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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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35 comments on “‘Hopefully the title isn’t decided in the barriers or the stewards’ room’ – Brawn”

  1. Let them. It was always happen at sprint race weekend. So maybe we can only seeing it again once more this year.

  2. “It’s a shame they ended up in the gravel because it could have shaped up to be a great race – and we were deprived of that.”

    I’m sure it’s not what Brawn meant but I thought it was a great race regardless. In fact, once they were out and it was clear both VER and HAM were OK, I didn’t really give them another thought: it was so refreshing not to be concentrating on their battle at all for once, and we got a race which had plenty of other drama and stories anyway.
    So, like Brawn I’d like to see the battle resolved on the track, of course, but I also don’t mind if the Lewis & Max Show isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of every race. As you noted elsewhere @keithcollantine this was remarkable even amongst the rare breed of non-Merc/RB/SF wins in being won on pace and quality driving, not just good fortune. More of that will make me very happy!

    1. Absolutely, was a great race regardless, good to not see the championship fight for once.

    2. Brawn means that if Lewis starts positioning his car better, that epic battle can actually continue. Now, Lewis twice prematurily ended it. He needs to up his game to Max level so we can finally see some greats battle vs 8 years of processional overtakes

  3. “It’s clear both drivers could have avoided it,” said the former team principal. “Ultimately I think it’s another consequence of two guys going head-to-head and not wanting to give an inch.

    It was Max’s turn to play avoidance but he chose not to.

    1. I agree. IMO both Silverstone and now Monza should have been labeled incidents and left at that. The problem is that in Silverstone, Red Bull went on a villification tirade against Hamilton when it was clear that Max has just as much opportunity to back out of it as Hamilton. Just like today. The problem is that now, no one will back away because the reward is too great.

      So since it’s never Verstappens fault for any accident he’s ever had in his career, according to both Verstappen and Red Bull why should he back off, they’ve never penalized him.

      There’s also a case of amnesia even from Brawn, about what happened in lap 1 in Monza as it was clear that Hamilton backed off choosing not to crash with Verstappen. Again, it’s always his line, his right and his coddling from the team.

      Any best on whether Red Bull will protest the penalty? LOL

    2. I think he did that (or tried that) when he saw Lewis didn’t gave more room but a sausage curb said something about that.

      I find it strange i hear nothing official about those launching curbs never thought they could launch a car ar low speeds.

      1. Well according to the experts when there is a sausage kerb in front of you, you back off or take the consequences. Max doesn’t back off. He expects others to.


        1. That’s funny.
          I was about to ask if this would be a video from Imola – where instead of backing out, Hamilton chose instead to run over the kerbs.
          Shouldn’t he have cut straight across the gravel instead?

          1. Depends what your argument is.
            At Imola the consequence of not taking early action was damage for Ham. He should have backed out earlier.
            This time Max decided it was his turn not to back out and the consequence was both cars wrecked and a penalty for Max.
            The difference being Ham did not take anyone else out.

            That’s without getting into a debate about whether you should leave room in these circumstances or accept the new norm, that whoever is in prime position take the apex on the second part of the chicane and the other driver can back out or crash. Given the number of times this has happened recently; with no penalty for the driver closing the door, I assume it is the new norm.

    3. Well actually it was Lewis again who decided not to give way. He should have squeezed Max into turn one since Max was on the outside. But he left room for Max to turn in (something Max didnt do – corner 4, lap 1. The car on the outside loses out when not going into the corner first). Since Lewis didnt and left plenty of space on the outside of turn 1, Max was alongside turn 2 on the inside. Lewis can not turn in then anymore since where can the inside car go? He chose to do it anyway. Its simply to late and he should have given way. Now, since all went to fast for Lewis (expecting Max was too far back and wouldnt pull alongside) he didnt process that well, something I feel Max could have judged better. Therefore I can live with the penalty but I would like to advice Lewis to seriously up his game. He is depriving us twice of a great battle. As Max said he was looking forward to battling but it takes two. This corner easily allows two cars to pass at tje same time (ref race start)

      1. Yea it was a case of a good deed getting punished. On lap one verstappen missed the apex completely to push Hamilton off. Hamilton may have thought doing that himself to verstappen may have been a foul, but it was actually more dangerous because he just encouraged verstappen to try to wedge his car into the apex against the Mercedes.

        1. Try to watch Lewis Hamitlon vs Maldonado at Valencia 2012, it’s kind of exactly the same.
          Lewis does the same, Maldo didn’t give up.
          Lewis ended up in the wall.
          It’s not the first time Hamilton does it.
          He has done it against Maldonado, Massa, Rosberg and lot of others, pushing gently of the track and playing victim afterward.
          Three drivers refused to play this game.
          Maldonado, Rosberg and Verstappen.

          It’s what i don’t like into Lewis Hamilton. He’s not playing frank.

          Max isn’t a saint, but he doesn’t hide behind a mask.

          I do like dr!vers who play fair.
          Both of them, Max and Lewis have to learn from drivers older than them.
          What happened between the two is not sportmanship.
          It’s bulls…..
          For both of them.

          1. You are right. Max was genuinely disappointed Lewis didn’t want to battle. But he can do something too, now he knows Lewis is a bit rusty or intentionally provocative. Silverstone looked very good until Lewis didnt make the corner and went way too wide
            Now he closed the door to late (in corner 2, while he should have done it in corner 1). I hope he has enough self reflection to get this itch out so we will see great battles instead if DNFs

      2. Lewis had the decency to not run Max off the road in T1, instead gradually reducing the amount of space available through the chicane. This gave Max more time to back out of the move as it was clear Lewis was ahead. By closing down the space rapidly you’re more likely to have a crash as the other driver has less time to react and take avoiding action.

        Max claims he was looking forward to battling but he clearly wasn’t so keen to do it on lap 1. If he’s ahead he’ll run the other driver off the road to claim the position, if he’s behind all of a sudden it’s YoU hAvE tO lEaVe A sPaCe! Can’t have it both ways…

  4. Looking at the comments, I’m probably going on a limb here, or at least against the grain. I watched the race in a pub without any sound for the first time in a very long time. So I’ve no idea what Brundle / Crofty or whomever was in the box said.

    But I thought they were just as stupid as each other, they both knew what was going to happen, and did it anyway. I didn’t think Max was anymore at fault than Lewis was. It just reminded me of Lisa and Bart walking towards each other, and if you get hit, it’s your own fault.

    1. what was Lewis supposed to do tho. pull up the handbreak and let Max through? sort of that i don’t think he could have avoided the crash, he took an unnaturally wide line on turn 2

      1. @nickthegreek

        Lewis could have pushed Max off earlier, forcing him to cut the corner properly; or he could have given him space to make the corner.

        1. even if Lewis had evaporated there’s no way Max would have made the corner. he would have ended up at the gravel…

    2. It was a racing incident. Still if there is someone to blame for it is 51%/49% on Max. Lewis had the corner but Max was forcing his way through. Max attacked and went for the move that was right on the limit and there was a gap before the chicane, but Lewis didn’t leave any room when they drove throught those corners so the inevitable happened.

      1. @qeki no. It was Verstappens fault and he has been given a penalty for it. It’s simply wrong to say 51% Max when it was Max who caused the collision.

      2. I find Max at fault, but in the end I agree that it was a racing incident.

    3. Brundle didnt blame max. he acquitted him of blame on the spot. said lewis didnt give him a cars width. so……they aren’t consistent in their commentary, likely because max is f1s meal ticket for a few more years yet. really sad to hear brundle who usually talks straight, talk silly.

  5. The title may have already been decided in the barriers. It’s going to be close I think. And the hindsight whatiffing about here and silverstone is going to raging when this season is over.

    1. @dmw Both drivers have already gained and lost so many points through unusual circumstances that it will be difficult to pinpoint any one moment that “decided” it, whichever way the title ultimately goes.

      On Hamilton’s side, he lucked out due to the red flags at Imola and Silverstone, threw away at least second place with a flick of a button in Baku, threw away a near-certain win (or had it thrown away for him) with a strategic blunder in Hungary, lost 5 points to Verstappen without a single racing lap in Belgium, and crashed in Italy.

      On Verstappen’s side, he also lost points through no fault of his own at Baku and got twice taken out by other cars on the first lap. But he was the beneficiary of the disgrace of Spa and arguably avoided losing points to Hamilton with yesterday’s collision.

      And those are just the incidents I remember off the top of my head. There were probably more.

      1. @red-andy

        On Verstappen’s side, he also lost points through no fault of his own

        This is a weird statement, since none of Lewis’ point losses that you describe were without fault on his part.

      2. Verstappen was unlucky again in monza, was likely to gain a marginal amount of points on hamilton with a normal pit stop, that amount of points was not likely to make a difference between the title winner (think the gap will be wider), but I wouldn’t call it luck.

  6. My bet is that they’ll be loving the carnage and will want to see more of it for the rest of the season.

    The battle between Lewis and Max will be doing far more for viewership than any amount of silly gimmicks.

    I’m actually quite sure Brawn would be quite happy for the title to be decided in the barriers of there’s a huge increase in “fan engagement”. After all isn’t that what they want.

    1. This is the best that can happen to Brawn and Liberty. PR talk to say this. They know this is what they needed after the sports worst decade in history (borefest)

    2. @dbradock Yes unfortunately to a point that’s true, as long as there are no deaths or serious injury’s to dampen the atmosphere, or have the authorities threaten an intervention. The promotions teams quite like a bit of argy bargy and I think we can guess how much the Drive to Survive producers will like the on going Merc/Red Bull clashes.

  7. It has already been decided by the stewards. Might not suffice but they won’t stop trying.

  8. The best way for this type of thing to be avoided is for there to be a 3 way or more title fight. 2 would be less reluctant to play destruction derby with each other if it means the other wins. Hopefully we get that in 2022.

    1. @RatSack If the cars deliver as Brawn has promised I would expect Merc, RB, McLaren and Ferrari at the pointy end. With Alpha Tauri, Alfa Romeo not that far behind.

      1. Agreed, I’m hoping for that. Possibly even Aston Martin as well with the level of investment they are putting in

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