Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crash, Monza, 2021

Red Bull management’s comments show ‘they know Max was in the wrong’

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Red Bull’s top management defended Max Verstappen over his collision with Lewis Hamilton, but Mercedes believe they know their driver was to blame for the race-ending crash.

Verstappen and Hamilton retired when they tangled at the Rettifilo on lap 26 of yesterday’s race. The stewards held the Red Bull driver responsible, handing him a three-place grid penalty.

Following another collision between the pair at Silverstone, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and motorsport consultant Helmut Marko vehemently criticised Hamilton’s driving. Mercedes’ head of trackside operations Andrew Shovlin said the cooler rhetoric from the pair in Monza showed they knew Verstappen had transgressed.

“We obviously felt strongly that Lewis had done absolutely nothing wrong and that Max was the one predominantly to blame,” said Shovlin.

“I think if you look at the fact that even Helmut and Christian weren’t trying to blame Lewis, it sort of feels like they know that Max was in the wrong because they will try and blame Lewis at any opportunity.”

The collision “cost Lewis a win and certainly a second place” said Shovlin. The race was won by Daniel Ricciardo, who was ahead of the pair at the time.

Shovlin said Mercedes have a lot to reflect on after a race they should have won. “It’s quite a lot to take in, really.

“I think that the sense we’re going to leave here with and reflect on tomorrow morning, though, is that we had a car that should have been first and second here and we haven’t scored that many points. So I think we need to be pretty critical with ourselves.”

While Hamilton had a difficult weekend prior to his retirement, Valtteri Bottas was consistently fast, but hamstrung by a penalty which left him at the back of the grid. He nonetheless recovered to finish third.

“Certainly with Valtteri we denied him the opportunity to win the race,” said Shovlin. “He’s done a brilliant job all weekend and starting from the back to get through to third was impressive.

“Even with Lewis there’s certainly things that we could have improved in the start on the sprint qualifying, that cost him quite dearly. So as is often the case we just walk away from here with a job list of things that we’ve got to get better at because we can do better than we’ve done recently.”

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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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71 comments on “Red Bull management’s comments show ‘they know Max was in the wrong’”

  1. Yes, I believed it was deliberate and Red Bull management knew it. Lewis always do that too to Rosberg, Max, and couple times to Albon. Maybe the fair punishment was 10 seconds penalty, but then again it can’t be given for drivers that didn’t finish the race. So it’s all okay for me.

    1. They could always give him a 10s in Socchi (FP1) ;)

      I think FIA is predominantly correct in their attribution of predominantly to blame in the most recent incidents between the two.

    2. @ruliemaulana Hamilton never did this to Rosberg. Rosberg would be the one squeezed of when he lost the overtake. Rosberg was in the fault in those cases. Just as Verstappen was in Monza.

      1. Watch T1 at the 2015 US Grand Prix ans say that again

        1. It was hard racing.

          Spain 2016 – racing incident.

    3. I think the stewards should have the option to apply a points reduction to drivers. Hamilton didn’t lose anything by the Silverstone crash and Max didn’t lose anything yesterday. 3 place grid penalty is a joke to the frontrunners. I mean, look at Bottas yesterday. His car is so quick that even he can get from 18th to 3rd. Grid penalties barely affect them.

      RBR were probably planning an engine switch next race anyway for Max. So where is the punishment?! Stewards should be able to hand out a 5 or 10 championship points reduction for incidents like these, wherein both drivers crash out of the race… The rules as they are now, basically promote running yourself and your rival off.

      1. However, be reminded that the stewards can only penalize the incident, not the consequence\consequences.

        Reply moderated
      2. Max didn’t lose anything yesterday.

        Seriously? with a DNF??
        In Silverstone 44’s abomination was rewarded with 25 points, certainly nothing lost except decency and sportsmanship (which were nevwe there to begin with). In Monza Max probably wouldnt have been able to pass but a 2nd position was on the table, so its pretty much a 18 points loss. quite enough to decide a championship.

        1. You know what he meant, an unforced error by Verstappen and he walks away still leading Hamilton by the same amount of points, that is a better result than finishing behind Hamilton. You have a very strong opinion of Hamilton which appears to be completely wrong. Hamilton has been one of, if not the most sporting and decent drivers of the last 15 years.

          1. Ask albon about the Hamilton move (c)

  2. Max literally said ‘That’s what you get’ straight after the crash. Not sure how you can defend that.

    1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
      13th September 2021, 8:16

      ‘thats what you get WHEN YOU DONT GIVE ROOM’.

      Either give the full sentence or don’t bother at all. At this point it’s just pathetic framing

      1. Correct, Dirky should not try to make things up as Max wanted (hoped) to be next to Lewis so he could dragged him from that turn. (warmer tyres)

      2. ‘That’s what you get when you don’t give room’. Seems just as bad to me, sorry for my laziness. Calm down.

        1. And even if you give the full sentence, I’m not sure what it adds to the discussion.
          Maybe you’re not ‘lazy’ enough, and still full of anger and frustration over yesterday :P

          1. It’s a reason for ‘it sort of feels like they know that Max was in the wrong’

            I suppose I was wrong then! I guess you can defend “That’s what you get when you don’t leave room!”

            I’m pretty happy with a McLaren 1-2! :)

          2. The Max fans are really upset aren’t they. Your personal insults show what level you’re at.

      3. Brad Philpot (driver) has a heart-felt and convincing rant on Missed Apex podcast… he does not support Max’s approach. An interesting contribution to the debate. Do listen.

        Reply moderated
      4. Context matters. Racing incident. No questions.

    2. His car was on top of Lewis, but he just walked pass. Same on you Max

      Reply moderated
  3. What is this for nonesense article! @keithcollantine this kind of article we didn’t get in Silverstone so i expect a less bias here.

    1. good for clicks, and we both bit.

      1. Sure – but it’s exactly what I thought when Horner was talking straight after the race – he all but gulped contemplating what the Stewards might be thinking about his driver.

        Reply moderated
      1. Your personal insults show what level you’re at.

    2. It’s quite common for Keith regarding max.
      But just like shovlins stand it’s a bit fanbase and suggestive opinion with little to non value.
      But everyone is entitled to his opinion.

  4. I think the difference in Red Bull’s tone between Silverstone and Monza instead reflects the fact that there is no suggestion Hamilton deliberately caused yesterday’s crash. At Silverstone Red Bull clearly felt differently, even if they did not say so in public.

    1. Red Bukl were playing politics in Silverstone after the incident, very much on the offensive about Mercedes. This one they knew they couldn’t defend so Red Bull toned down their rhetoric. For god’s sake, Verstappen’s right rear wheel actually hit Hamilton in the head. If Mercedes stooped to Red Bulls level of Silverstone, they would be on the war path with every interview about Verstappen trying to kill Hamilton.

  5. They’re cooler cause they lost less. In silverstone verstappen could’ve finished ahead, they lost a lot with that crash. In monza Hamilton would’ve finished ahead. A double dnf played into red bull’s hand, because Hamilton would have took the championship lead had he finished the race.

    It’s more to do with the fact that the championship lead remained intact due to the crash, rather than who is more to blame.
    We a similar reaction from merc in silverstone, less tension cause they gained from that crash

    1. As a Max Fan i can say this was all Max advantage gaining 2 points instead of losing atleast 9 so you are right ofcourse.
      And as a Lewis fan that was too bad but none expected a Curb launching cars to your car.

  6. Perhaps the RedBulll chiefs are ‘cooler’ because they leave Italy with an advantage in the points and on the track because both Verstappen and Hamilton will need to change power units soon and in doing so incur a penalty resulting in starting at the back of the grid as Bottas did. If Verstappen does this change in Sochi the three place penalty will be irrelevant and he will have no more pain in changing units than Hamilton who has not got a penalty.

  7. So if they blame Lewis like Silverstone it’s max fault, if they don’t it’s max fault

    1. That’s about it indeed.
      Welcome to “the Internet”.

  8. The collision “cost Lewis a win and certainly a second place” said Shovlin.

    I disagree. It seems there is some Ricciardo/Norris confusion, but Hamilton’s slow stop dropped him back behind Norris again, so he was behind both McLarens in effectively 3rd place. I don’t think he was likely to win the race from there. With a normal stop he would have been 2nd and from there he could have challenged Ricciardo for the win.

    1. Perhaps they’ve factored in having the faster tyres unlike in the sprint race where they had they slower tyres.

      1. The yellow tires were faster than the red tires in the sprint race, but the red tires of course were better at the start. In the main race the red tires weren’t used, as they were clearly slower, and I don’t think there was much of a difference between thee yellow and white tire. So most likely Hamilton’s tire advantage in the main race (yellow versus white) would have been less than in the sprint race (yellow versus red).

    2. If you give hamilton a normal stop, give one to verstappen too, likely result: ricciardo, verstappen, maybe hamilton, norris.

    3. I never saw a replay of Hamilton’s stop, what slowed him down? If it was a normal stop, none of this would have happened, and he would have leapfrogged ahead of Norris and Max.

  9. “That’s what you get….for crashing into me at Silverstone and Hungary”
    Mad Max
    This kid is too hot headed and not maturing.

    1. That he didn’t say or meant too, he was talking about the corner. As he isn’t Nico Rosberg he has the same mentality to become champion and that is what you need! (as champion)

    2. Making up stories again I see.
      Grow up.

  10. I think there is nothing wrong with the team backing the driver. Mercedes thought Silverstone was a racing incident when Hamilton was ‘predominantly to blame’, now Red Bull thinks this is a racing incident when Verstappen is ‘predominantly to blame’. To me it is clear that both will not yield when they meet on track. Now the score is tied on ‘blame’.

    There is one thing that is not clear to me. When I saw the accident on tv, I immediately felt that Max was in the wrong. But I have trouble with the given explanation. We have seen from the Austrian GP that when you try to overtake on the OUTside, you need to be fully alongside to be granted room. When you overtake on the INside, only a half car width is enough to have the right of the corner. In Monza, Verstappen was on the outside at the turn-in but not fully alongside. So it was Hamilton’s corner to begin with. However, they stayed side by side and when they moved left, this time Verstappen was on the inside and more than a half car width alongside Hamilton. Was Hamilton not in the wrong here to leave not enough room?

    1. @matthjis The explanation from the stewards seems to be that Verstappen was not far enough alongside Hamilton to be entitled to space.

      However I am not sure how this stance is conducive to anything other than further contact between drivers in a similar position. Regardless of whether a driver is entitled to space or not, he cannot simply disappear, especially where he is boxed in by sausage kerbs that will launch the car if he goes over them (as indeed happened to Verstappen here).

      Perhaps this is why Verstappen was judged “predominantly” rather than wholly to blame – an acknowledgement that he should perhaps not have put himself in that position, but once he was in it, Hamilton could have done more to avoid contact.

      1. @red-andy What would have been the best case is that Hamilton should have pushed Verstappen wide at corner entry (when Hamilton had right of way, so he was ‘entitled’ to do so), so that Max would back out and not kept driving alongside until the second corner of the chicane when Max had (sort of) right to stay there. Anyway, difficult stuff, I imagine the stewards having a difficult time again.

        1. What I said is not what I meant. I don’t mean that Hamilton should have pushed Verstappen off when coming out of the pits. Hamilton left enough space at corner entry, I meant that he should have left no space after turn-in, because at that point he had right of way. When they stayed (albeit not fully) alongside, Max regained some right to stay there because the next corner was left. Anyway, I don’t have an issue with the penalty, Max should have backed out IMO.

      2. @red-andy They can not disappear, but Ricciardo braked out of it when he was actually ahead of Verstappen going into turn one of the sprint race. Hamilton similarly fully alongside in turn 4 lap 1 of the race decided to cut the corner.

        So without actually disappearing they did manage to evade the crash. Even though it should have been Verstappen who needed to yield. Imagine Verstappen not diving into a “disappearing wedge” and you can understand how he also could
        have not crashed like his more mature colleagues.

        1. Ricciardo was too far behind to be entitled to space in the sprint race.
          Hamilton bailed on lap 1/turn 4 – there was no incident to lay blame for. Had there been contact though, it would have been a racing incident.
          Hamilton made it through turn 1 fine alongside other cars, but decided to crowd Verstappen.

          They both could have avoided it, but neither did.
          Nobody needs to disappear – but they do need to leave space for each other.

    2. Their justification/explanation was wrong because their decision was wrong, as you (perhaps inadvertently) point out @matthijs.
      Verstappen held on around the outside of turn 1 (still within track limits) and he was indeed sufficiently far up alongside Hamilton for the move on the inside at turn 2.

      It’s worth noting just how many other people made it through the same corner sequence without contact or bailing out in the same race (including Hamilton on lap 1 with Norris). Also an important factor is that Hamilton was fresh out of pit lane with ‘cold’ tyres while Verstappen was already on the racing line.

      The incidents in Austria were different because they all occurred at single-direction corners, where this was a chicane involving both right AND left. You stay on the outside of the first one, you are on the inside for the second one.

      For me this was a racing incident, with Hamilton taking majority share of the blame.

  11. It seems that recently the accepted practice in chicanes is that the driver slightly in front is allowed to close the door with the other guy having to leave the track. As we saw when the roles were reversed on Lap 1 T4, with Ham taking to the kerbs. And elsewhere in this race involving others.
    I’ve no idea why Max thinks Ham is going to get out of the way when the roles are reversed. Or if he believes the likes of George, Lando, Ricci, LeClerc, etc are going to give him the space in a similar situation when he has made clear he will always close the door on them.

    1. @ian dearing An interview with Jos Verstappen at the Melbourne race back in 2017 I think, was very telling. He said he had taught Max to drive flat out all of the time, never give in never give up. Which fits Max’s attitude of track ownership.

    2. The real problem is Lewis did not committed to his position and left a gap.
      Was this intentional, to lure verstappen into or just a driver error. If there is a gap a driver will use it.

      1. @erikje Verstappen has been a racing driver most of his life and has developed some very impressive skills. But he is yet to develop the skill of discretion and living to fight another day, or on another part of the track.

    3. I think you nailed it with your last sentence. Max is not giving in, and he’ll let the other driver decide if they’ll go wheel to wheel or not.

  12. Horner called it a racing incident. That indeed shows he knows it was Verstappen’s fault. If there was any suggestion that it was Hamilton at fault even in the slightest, he’d be on it like a fly on feces

    1. Toto said it was all on Verstappen, so by that logic it must have been 100% Hamilton’s fault…

    2. Typical distorted Internet fan vision.
      If you agree it was both drivers fault (as the stewards decided, but predominantly max) both drivers share a responsibility here.
      Lewis luring max into this error by leaving the door open or just bad driving by Lewis does not really matter.

  13. Yeah well I’ve said enough times, the company that sells fizzy drinks has a management team with a bad attitude and it shows in the on track antics of the drivers. Verstappen drives as if he is the only car on the track and Perez cuts corners gains advantage and refuses to give the place back, and they are cheered on by Marko and Horner.
    The sad thing is both Verstappen and Perez are very good drivers and they don’t need to carry on like that to be successful.

    1. I see you enjoyed Ford vs Ferrari.

      Reply moderated
  14. The boot licking on here is palpable.

  15. Red Bull’s tone was muted after this crash because after the Silverstone crash they staged a reenactment and presented other evidence as to why the driver behind has no right to the line and the driver ahead has rights to the line they commit to. They were trying to get an additional penalty for Hamilton for the action. The stewards clearly found that Max was behind. They used RB’s logic from Silverstone.
    Also, isn’t every crash a racing incident.?

    1. Since they only did that in the week after the accident, their hyperbole up to that point certainly wasn’t due to them doing that, cause and effect were the other way around there @jimfromus, they went all in suggesting HAM callous murderer, and never really quit that, just stopped actively saying it, while a large part of the MAXfosi had already ingrained it by that time and will probably keep it as a truth they feel should be universally acknowledged.

  16. Yes, thought exactly that when listening to Max and Christian after the race. When a team says “racing incident, move on” rather than trying to blame the other driver involved, that’s code for “ok we were the ones more in the wrong here, but let’s just move on quickly”.

    I don’t think it was an outrageous, or intentional, error on Max’s part. But hopefully he’s starting to learn when the move isn’t on. Lewis is aggressive and occasionally oversteps the line himself, but there are also plenty of examples of him backing out, which is something he’s learned over the years.

  17. Max was in the wrong how?

    I disagree, these two are at eachother everytime, and Verstapen came out of that wreck with more points advantage than if he left Lewis win that corner.

    Not in a nice way, but points win championships.

    Now next race with 3 place drop, he might be proven not so right, especially if Lewis gets an easy win.

  18. Max didn’t even have the decency to check if Lewis was hurt before walking away. Now that’s disrespectful!

    Reply moderated
  19. I think no driver should be allowed to risk anything. That way nobody have the possibility of getting injured. And the races will be a procession from start to finish.

    Overtaking is a dangerous maneuver, of course sometimes things go wrong, that’s part of the game.

    F1 is about racing, let the pilots race. Risk was always there in the past and will be in the future. If someone can’t accept this they shouldn’t be a race driver perhaps.

  20. “I think if you look at the fact that even Helmut and Christian weren’t trying to blame Lewis, it sort of feels like they know that Max was in the wrong because they will try and blame Lewis at any opportunity.”

    It also reveals how Red Bull is way behind Mercedes in the lies department. When in the occasion of the infamous Silverstone incident aftermath, they didn’t quite react like Helmut and Christian this time, as specially Lewis tried as hard as they could to blame Max when more like the opposite should have been done. Two dramatic incidents in which one of the title rivals was deemed mostly to blame for each one, but two different reactions in each of those occasions from the side of the main “culprit”. Red Bull are no saints, but Mercedes are a farcical team.

    Reply moderated
  21. Red bull is biased, mercedes is woke.

    1. And Alpine is Racing Incident.

  22. Are you serious? That’s a quote from Mercedes. How dishonest and disingenuous to write your title like that. But that’s what I expect from Racefans (as opposed to F1Fanatic).

    So RB didn’t attack Hamilton for a racing incident, and that means they “know they are wrong”???

    Absurd. 2+2=5

    Reply moderated
  23. Both sides should really just quit the bellyaching after these incidents. That said, until Toto gets Russell in the car on a filming day to try to recreate verstappens line and show he intended to crash or would not make the corner, Christian Horner will retain the official blonde “Karen” offset bangs (fringe) wig.

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