Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crash, Monza, 2021

Does F1 still have a blind spot for deliberate contact?

2021 F1 season

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The second collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen demonstrated Formula 1 is experiencing its most fiercely contested championship fight in a generation.

The pair had already crossed swords on-track several times before their first collision at the British Grand Prix in July. At Monza, the first time the two title contenders had fought wheel-to-wheel since then, they tangled again.

The two previously raced each other cleanly – just about – in Bahrain, Imola, Algarve, Catalunya and Paul Ricard. But there were near-misses at the start in Imola and Catalunya, where Hamilton took avoiding action to ensure Verstappen’s uncompromising moves didn’t result in contact.

Lately Hamilton has been less willing to back down, most notably at Silverstone. It’s fairly obvious why – Red Bull has had a fractionally quicker car on balance over the season so far and Hamilton can’t afford to let points-scoring opportunities slip.

In previous skirmishes between the two Hamilton had too little to gain to force the issue. Now whenever the two meet on track it’s a matter of irresistible force meets immovable object.

Flashback: 1989 Japanese GP – Prost’s Suzuka chicanery denies Senna the title
That’s all well and good as long as the pair are fighting each other hard and complying with the rules as they understand them. But, perhaps inevitably, insinuations have been made that some collisions may not have been entirely free of malice. While the drivers themselves haven’t gone that far with their words, their team principals have, but later softened their stances.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner initially accused Hamilton of “dirty driving” after the collision which left Verstappen in the barriers at Silverstone. Later, after Red Bull’s attempt to provoke a stiffer penalty for Hamilton had failed, Horner clarified “we didn’t at any point say in our submission that it was deliberate action”.

At Monza Horner’s opposite number at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, accused Verstappen of committing a “tactical foul” on Hamilton. The analogy was fitting: As the stewards later ruled, Verstappen was never far enough alongside Hamilton for a pass to be on, which prompted some to suspect he only persisted with the move in order to prevent Hamilton from taking a bite out of his points lead. Like Horner, Wolff later dialled down the rhetoric. “One could see it as tactical foul with the bias that each of us needs to just acknowledge,” he conceded.

While neither side may yet be prepared to openly accuse the other of committing a cynical take-out, the tension between them is rising. There’s only five points between the title contenders, the stakes are sky-high and there’s still eight races left for them to avoid hitting each other.

Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna's damaged cars, Suzuka, 1990
Flashback: 1990 Japanese GP – Senna clinches second world championship by taking Prost out
Deliberate contact is rare in Formula 1, for obvious reasons. Intentionally hitting a rival in an open-wheel racing car capable of well over 350kph is both dangerous and unethical. For it to happen not only must someone succumb to that temptation, the incentive for doing so must be sufficiently high – for example, a world championship is on the line.

This explains the few clear examples we’ve seen to date, though all of them were disputed at the time and some still are. In most cases, F1 either failed to react or did not acknowledge a deliberate collision had occured.

When Alain Prost hit Ayrton Senna at Suzuka in 1989, clinching the title by doing so, he went unpunished. Therefore when Senna responded in kind at the same track 12 months later – at far higher speeds – he also got away with it, even when he later admitted it was intentional.

Michael Schumacher’s championship-winning collision with Damon Hill in 1994 attracted no sanction, unlike when he attempted the same on Jacques Villeneuve three years later. On that occasion, one might cynically note, it was a lot easier to issue a punishment, as it did not involve taking Schumacher’s title away.

Nonetheless the late Max Mosley, who was FIA president during the latter two scandals, subsequently claimed the precedent set in 1997 would be used to strip a driver of the world championship if they won it by deliberately taking out a rival. Over two decades later, that claim has not yet been put to the test (though we have seen another deliberate collision – between Nelson Piquet Jnr and a wall – which race control overlooked at the time).

Michael Schumacher collides with Damon Hill, Adelaide, 1994
Flashback – 1994 Australian GP: Schumacher’s first title tainted by clash with Hill
Is F1 closer to a repeat now than ever before? Verstappen versus Hamilton is getting physical in a way Schumacher-Alonso, Alonso-Vettel, Vettel-Hamilton and even Hamilton-Rosberg never quite did, bar the odd exception (Spain 2016, Azerbaijan 2017).

Perhaps in a few races’ time Silverstone and Monza will look like deviations from the norm. But from the present perspective it looks like a situation which is deteriorating.

However that view isn’t necessarily shared by Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, who pointed out the stewards regard incidents individually. “From the FIA perspective, together with the stewards, we look at each and every incident on its merit, regardless if its Lewis, if it’s Max, if it’s whoever,” he stressed. “Each incident is looked at on the merits of the incident.”

Masi is understandably wary of being seen as coming down on the side of either team or driver. “The pattern of escalation is a perception for some, depending on which person you’re looking at supporting. I think if you ask Christian you probably get a completely different perspective [to Wolff].

Flashback – 1997 European GP: Villeneuve takes title as Schumacher’s attack gets him thrown out
“I’m not going to get into the games. We have a very close, exciting championship between two fantastic drivers, and that’s the part we should all be focussing on.”

No doubt Formula 1 should be grateful for having a championship fight between two closely-matched drivers and teams. At the same time, the potential for an unsatisfactory conclusion to the championship is obvious. “I hope the championship is won on the track not in the barriers or the stewards room,” F1’s motorsport director Ross Brawn observed after Monza.

Both drivers have made mistakes and both have been punished for them. Now is an opportunity for a quiet word to the pair of them about ensuring it goes no further than that, and a promise of far stiffer penalties if it does.

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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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123 comments on “Does F1 still have a blind spot for deliberate contact?”

  1. The second collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen demonstrated Formula 1 is experiencing its most fiercely contested championship fight in a generation.

    I’m going to argue that you’re either stretching (or, rather, compressing) the definition of a generation, or may have forgotten to include several instances of close (and over the line fighting), including actual contact, between Hamilton and Rosberg in their title fights 2014 through 2016.

    1. Good point, in fact it made me wonder if backing up a driver into other drivers (i.e. Hamilton-Rosberg Abu Dhabi 2016) would be considered to be part of the ‘blind spot’ as well? I mean, it doesn’t (immediately) poses the same level of danger, but when it comes to racing ethics, is it equally questionable?

      1. @proesterchen For sure, Rosberg got away with a lot of stuff that he wouldn’t have if Lewis wasn’t his teammate. In fact, he probably would not have won the 2016 championship had he been penalized for Spain 2016.

        @Ruben
        Really? :-)

        1. I believe that Lewis got away with much, much more than Nico. Mostly in lap 1 corner disputes.

          1. @magon4 Spain was massive and it won Nico the championship.

          2. Don’t know if it is much more, but it was surely not less.

          3. @proesterchen @freelittlebirds

            @magon4 Can you imagine how things like this could be played out in a reverse grid sprint race to alter season WDC standings? It wouldn’t be a good look and all too easy to happen.

          4. @redpill Agreed. I think, in general, there can be a race on Saturday, also a grid-reversed one, that does not count towards the WDC but maybe towards the Constructor’s or towards extra money from the FIA.

        2. It would have been extraordinarily harsh to punish Rosberg for Spain, when it was Hamilton keeping his foot in that ultimately caused them to collide. You can argue that he ought not to have been forced out wide, but once he was there contact was not inevitable.

          1. The speed difference between the two (because Rosberg was in the wrong power mode) was such that it was hard to back out of. Rosberg imho deliberately blocked Hamilton knowing fully well that they could crash.

          2. It would have been extraordinarily harsh to punish rosberg for a crash where he saw hamilton was on the inside and didn’t give him a cars width?

            Talking rubbish mate. Shall i bring up belgium? Or austria? Or the countless times on the second straight in bahrain?

            Rosberg was a dirty driver, that is a fact

      2. To drive slowly and safely is unethical?
        If you want to go down that route then you have to include stuff like Rosberg deliberately parking his car at Monaco to secure pole, or running your Hamilton off track at Barcelona till they both crashed.

        1. Well, there you go. When is something unethical when isn’t it? I’m not saying it is nor deliberately left out other examples, I’m only wondering if you only judge in hindsight if it was unethical (and is it just because the result turned out to be dangerous) and if you, on top of that, can safely claim it was intentional. A few big ifs, if you ask me.

        2. My recollection of the Spain incident is that Rosberg was clearly heading aggressively to the inside to defend and Hamilton decided to drive into an ever-closing gap when the wiser move would have been to abort (and in the Spain case, Hamilton could have gone to the outside instead)

          Deciding to drive into an ever-closing gap; that sounds familiar…

          1. Hamilton’s immediate reaction gave away how he blamed himself.

          2. it wasnt like you describe, when Hamilton decided which way to go he picked the bigger gap, and Rosberg reacted to that. According to the rules Rosberg should have been punished. on a straight a car may not be pushed off the track.

        3. Drive slowly and safely? This is f1. If you are doing that on purpose, or forced to by a block it is unethical. This is f1. This is racing. This is reality. Join us.

          Reply moderated
  2. I think we need more harsh penalties or something to prevent drivers in forcing other drivers outside of the track. I really hate it that the solution when someone tries to attempt an overtake on the outside line of the corner, is to just drive the attempting car off the track. Why can’t drivers race like Ocon and Perez at Portugal 2020 for example?

    1. @krichelle, I agree. I especially felt this way towards Stroll and Leclerc unnecessarily forcing Perez off, even though he was enough alongside to have a right for space.

    2. IfImnotverymuchmistaken
      20th September 2021, 15:47

      I must wholeheartedly disagree.

      There is no right of way on the outside, no claiming of space except what a driver takes away from another driver. Every driver in motorsport will say (and have said so in Austria) that if you go for the outside pass, you must finish it before the apex, or expect to find yourself on the grass, and that they have been aware of that since carting.

      An outside pass is so difficult (in comparable machinery) that it is the ultimate demonstration of dominance in motorsport. It is a manoeuvre that says “I’m sooo much faster than you, and I am showing it to everybody”, and therefore shouldn’t have any help from the ruling body.

      If the FIA goes to any length to give a driver going for an outside pass any right to space except what he claims for himself, it will seriously diminish racing, as everyone will lunge for the gap on the outside (because there always is a gap there, as it is the side where overtaking is so difficult) and claim they’ve been run of the road when they find themselves not fast enough.

      1. Unfortunately the FIA have been doing just that. Almost all overtaking attempt from the outside resulting in contact have more than 95% of the time resulted in the driver on the inside getting a penalty.
        Albon-Hamilton, Perez-Norris, Leclerc-Perez just to name some of the most recent.

        1. Only when the outside driver is fully alongside. Verstappen got the penalty in Monza for not being alongside far enough to claim space.

          When overtaking on the inside you only have to be more than halfway along to claim space.

          1. @silfen The Monza stewards report treats the entire chicane as a single corner, which led to the outcome that Verstappen was to blame. Had they have treated it as two corners, I feel it would have been more likely treated as a racing incident.

          2. @maddme That’s because, in terms of braking zones and so much else, a chicane is a single corner. You choose a line going into it. You cannot change that by much easily midway through the chicane, especially if you are already at or near the limit of your car’s performance, which racing drivers normally are when battling like this. It is ridiculous to try to make out that they should be considered as two completely separate corners.

          3. @drmouse Absolutely. The only reason I highlighted the stewards response is purely down to the aspect of the incident happening at turn 2.

            Personally I still felt it was a racing incident as was the response of drivers not involved. However,I accept the penalty laid down and hope that the incident itself acts as a warning to both Hamilton and Verstappen to calm their antics (they have both been as bad as each other) IMO and have deserved the penalties they have received.

          4. @maddme

            I can’t disagree. I think in any other year it would have been considered a racing incident, as would several other incidents this year. I think penalising Max here, though, was consistent with the rest of the year, and I hope both he and Lewis will race a little more cleanly from here on (and that Horner and Toto will stop fanning the flames, too).

      2. 99.99999999999999999999999999999%(with a small margin of error) of all overtake attempts on the outside are because a driver has smartly blocked the inside line, or because the second part of the corner in the inside, it isn’t a macho display.

        Muchos crapos being spoken today

    3. @krichelle
      You will always find incidents that contradict with your suggestion.
      A driver commits to a line, driving on the limit, it becomes difficult to change that line mid corner.
      The only change of direction usually possible is to go further outside of the line being taken.

    4. @krichelle Exactly that.

      Define the amount of car that needs to be alongside for space to be given, and give hard penalties for not adhering to the rule and that’s the end of that.

      It’s ridiculous the way it is now where you can just push other cars off track. It’s actually hard to believe how it’s deemed a sporting move.

      But difficult to change things with a hopelessly unprofessional and stubborn FIA.

  3. I’m not sure if the 1990 Suzuka incident necessarily occurred at far higher speeds as they approached T1 from a standstill start rather than driving continually for a longer distance.
    Anyway, this and Jerez are the only clear-cut cases of intentionally crashing into another driver.

    1. Common Jere, Australia 1994 was the most blatant of all! Schumacher had already broken his front suspension, by driving into a wall! To then go back on track and collide as he did with Hill, was the most unsporting event I have ever witnessed. And then for the FIA not to strip of his wdc leaves an indelible stain on F1s credibility!
      Honestly they should go back today and award that wdc to Hill!

      1. Ahaha, schumacher was disqualified from 4 out of 16 races and still had 1 more point with a car that was probably inferior to the williams. That incident is a joke compared to awarding hill the title.

        1. @esploratore1 There was a huge amount of controversy surrounding the 1994 Bennetton. There was strong belief by more than one team and driver that it was running traction control and hidden control options within the ECU uncovered later in the season by the FIA.

        2. Your argument, Esploratore, boils down too “Schumacher should be allowed to cheat because he was better” ???

          1. Jonathan Edwards
            21st September 2021, 1:30

            No, it boils down to the fact that Schumacher was subject to such absurd penalties that year, that it was ludicrous the championship was still being contested.

          2. So being penalised for ignoring black flags is absurd?
            Drivers can just make up their own rules?
            Absurd argument.

          3. Jonathan Edwards
            21st September 2021, 9:01

            The team was still trying to communicate with the officials when the black flag was shown, and that fact they decided to issue it for such a paltry offense in the first place reeks of favoritism towards the title charge of the British driver at the British GP. The fact Schumacher was subsequently banned for two races afterwards can easily be viewed as an effort to tighten up the championship battle. There’s as much evidence for that as there is that Schumacher deliberately hit Hill in Adelaide. Namely, all circumstantial at this point, because no one truly knows except those who can’t, or won’t, discuss it again.

          4. He was given a 5 sec stop go penalty which he did not stop for. 7laps later he got a black flag.
            What else are race control/ the stewards to do? Say naughty boy? It is totally unacceptable to ignore the rules.
            Overtaking on the parade lap has always been outlawed for safety reasons. It would be mayhem with drivers doing burn outs etc otherwise.
            You seem to think Schumacher should have had his own rules different to the rest, bit like his tyres in later years?
            You can’t ignore penalties. If you do you get a greater sanction.
            You can debate the race bans sure.
            But again that doesn’t excuse driving into Hill at Adelaide.

          5. Jonathan Edwards
            22nd September 2021, 3:25

            Read Steve Matchett’s book, Life in the Fast Lane. The entire event is neatly summarized. Key points summarized: The first notice the team received simply said a penalty of five seconds had been imposed. They took this to mean 5 seconds would be added to his race time. A bit later they were reminded of the penalty, which was for overtaking in the morning warm-up. As this was obviously not correct, they sought out the race director. During the search for him, the black flag was shown. Important to note, is that the black flag was only shown to the driver at the time, and only at one spot around the track. Benetton weren’t notified that a black flag had been shown, so never bothered to radio Schumacher. He later said he never saw it, as it wasn’t shown at every marshall station, only at one, and wasn’t accompanied by a car number plate. Furthermore, neither the team nor the driver were aware that one could not overtake during the formation lap. In fact, only a misrepresentation of the relevant rule could be used to issue a penalty. It was a contravention of the rule to not maintain position during the entire formation lap. As such, Schumacher did not break the rule. The team consulted with the race director, who rescinded the black flag, and Schumacher finished the race. Fast forward, and the WMSC held a hearing where they stripped Schumacher of his finish and issued a two-race ban, as well as a $500,000 fine. The last time a driver ignored a black flag, Nigel Mansell, the punishment was a $50,000 fine and a one-race ban.

            So, Schumacher was issued a penalty from a faulty understanding of a rule he didn’t actually break, the stewards improperly notified the team, who were subsequently told the black flag was rescinded, and he was free to finish. Later, a separate governing body said none of that mattered, increased the monetary fine by a factor of 10, and tripled the race ban.

            I agree Schumacher was wrong for Adelaide, and on balance I’d say it appears more likely than not that it was intentional. However, it is not definitive, and the fact the crash even had implications on the championship is only a result of an obvious attempt by the governing body to tighten the title battle.

      2. Totally. Australia 1994 is a scandal, but F1 is riddled with it thanks to FIAs ineptitude.

      3. I agree. It was one of the first F1 races I had seen. I remember that there was no way I could ever support a driver like Schumacher after that day. That was one of the most disgusting moments in sport I’ve come across. I was truly gutted for Hill.

  4. I rated both Lewis and Max so high that I can’t see any accident involving both drivers was not deliberate. Both Max’s slide-in and Lewis’s rear-end were always calculated action. I hope there’s no stiffer penalties for them, at least not this year.

    1. I can’t see any accident involving both drivers was not deliberate

      It’s probably more a ‘game of chicken’ rather than deliberately causing an accident in these 2 instances.

      1. +1.
        Like a chess game. Both willing to sacrifice a Rook or a Knight for the sake of winning in the end. Impressive losses for the viewers, but the bulk of the fight remains.

    2. Watch hamilton vs norris on the same corner, he gave norris loads of room.

      It was deliberate by Hamilton again, and he should be banned

  5. I do think Masi sitting them both down together (maybe with Wolf and Horner in a separate one afterwards) to talk about this would be wise. Penalizing things, not sure.

    Maybe just tell them that since they are both now regarded as risks, they will be under extra scrutiny? Not sure that would help, since clearly they already were.

    Oh, and PLEASE tell Marko to get off the BS comments about this kind of thing.

    1. Can’t ask Marko to get of the BS, even Red, a Bull has to S… :)

    2. I wouldn’t expect that to accomplish anything.

    3. Maybe tell Marko the facemask goes over the nose too while he’s at it…

  6. The analogy was fitting: As the stewards later ruled, Verstappen was never far enough alongside Hamilton for a pass to be on, which prompted some to suspect he only persisted with the move in order to prevent Hamilton from taking a bite out of his points lead.

    Except this is completely false as the cars made contact rear wheel to rear wheel. Race direction couldn’t have picked a worse argument for the penalty. Race direction shouldn’t have tried to justify their decision as it makes them look bad.
    Clearly Max and Ham don’t go for half moves both shove their opponents off track. Max does it a little worse but in the end I think the monza move was more “on” than the silverstone move.

    1. Yeah I agree – I don’t think the Monza move was anything particularly special. If Hamilton had given Max space and he made the move stick, commentators would have been saying what a great, brave move it was. Instead, he was pushed onto the sausage kerb so suddenly, it was “never on.”

      Max has pushed Hamilton wide several times so Hamilton did the same back to him – Max didn’t back off so they made contact. Simple…

      I like that Masi said “From the FIA perspective, together with the stewards, we look at each and every incident on its merit, regardless if its Lewis, if it’s Max, if it’s whoever.” I don’t believe for a second that they’d have issued a 3 place grid penalty to anyone other than one of those 2 drivers. If it was someone further back, they’d have said it was a racing incident.

      1. @petebaldwin

        I don’t believe for a second that they’d have issued a 3 place grid penalty to anyone other than one of those 2 drivers. If it was someone further back, they’d have said it was a racing incident.

        100% assured.

    2. It looked to me that the front of Max’s rear wheel contacted the rear of Lewis’ rear wheel which is why the car got launched off the ground. Side by side contact I don’t think it would of happened.

      1. And in Silverstone it was clearly Lewis’s front that hit Max’s rear. What’s your point actually, (s)andy?

        1. By the way contact happened Max was coming from behind. Zoom out TV director! pls. is assessing this to be a racing incident with the cars side by side. I merely mention it didn’t look like that in the race.

          Are you actually following the thread to see which comment I am responding to?

          There is no mention of Silverstone in Zoom out TV director! pls. post.

          1. @andyfromsandy

            Yet Max was clearly substantially alongside approaching the corner, so if they would be consistent, Lewis would have to leave space, just as Max was obliged to leave space at Silverstone for the inside driver.

    3. I think this is supposed to mean “never far enough alongside on approach to the corner”. It’s easy enough to be alongside mid corner or on the exit if you dive bomb, even from quite a long way back, but the rules of engagement don’t allow that for fairly obvious reasons.

      1. Which means if you had no intention of making the corner, you can draw alongside at the next apex and cause a crash.

  7. “blind spot for deliberate contact”? Driver not willing to give up the corner is not same as driver deliberate crashing in opponent.

    1. @denis1304 Yes that’s what Senna said. It’s not deliberate if you go for a “gap”. But then the deliberate part is that when you are behind, there technically is no gap and you are just purposefully looking for contact.

  8. It’s part of the sport.

    I fondly remember watching the 1998 Spanish GP and discussing with my father who was at fault in the Irvine-Fisichella crash. Somehow my father though that Fisichella should have left more space, although for me it was clear that Fisichella had left enough space and that either Irvine had made a braking mistake or he was reckless. Neither of us believed any of the drivers did it on purpose, but ultimately we knew there was a thin line.
    Because it’s up to the two drivers to decide if they want to yield space or not.

    This could be done in a graphic, I’ll leave the idea for Keith. When you have DRS or the car in front of you is slowing down, overtaking risk is 0. When you can’t overtake in any way because you can’t get close, like Verstappen behind Ricciardo in Monza 21, overtaking risk is 0 unless you are Jean Alesi.

    When there’s room to overtake but you need cooperation from the car ahead, like Senna behind Prost in Suzuka 89 (eighty-nine), there’s a window of high risk for both drivers. Is one of them willing to yield? (Not forgetting the possibility of mistake, like apparently happened in Irvine-Fisichella and obviously happened in Prost-Piquet in Netherlands early eighties.)

    Many people consider Prost crashed on Senna on purpose because he turned in sooner than expected or needed. If he turned at the right moment, would Senna be in that space? Wouldn’t he be entitled to that space in some way? But it was Prost’s time to turn, too. Would he yield?

    There’s always this blind spot, which does not include the Suzuka 90 incident but includes every incident where the two drivers must calculate what kind of risk that are willing to taking. The fact is that Verstappen braked very late into the chicane and was able to do it side by side. A great, regular manoeuvre. Verstappen willing to go round the outside showed he was willing to take a high risk, because the outside is always the weaker part. The rest was history. I don’t disagree with the penalty attributed, but one could NOT be harsher with him without getting unfair.

    (Even if people don’t say it, an ocasional touch between the Championship contenders is good. Especially if it is low-speed and safe like the Monza incident. The public knows that they’re both highly committed and willing to give in everything.)

    1. Irvine Fisichella at Spain ’98 is wonderfully niche and you deserve COTD for it. Fantastic reference. FWIW Irvine clearly locked his rears and was at fault!

      1. Thanks for your comment. Today it certainly looks like that. Yet the issue with my father left me thinking that maybe in Formula 1 (I was a teen still learning and calibrating my understanding of the sport) there was a broad grey area where the referee could not decide in a binary way, like the police and the insurance companies in a car accident. It’s the definition of the racing incident: where no one hit deliberately and both took risks. (At least I think this is the definition; Bottas’ victims in Hungaroring took no risk, yet became bowling pins.)

    2. Didn’t Fisichella get reprimanded for causing the collision? Hadn’t seen the collision live because I found the race incredibly boring, but the footage shows that if anyone was to blame for that accident, it was Irvine.

      1. @f1infigures the reports from the time indicate Fisichella was fined $7,500, but it is not entirely clear if the fine was for the collision itself, or because of the way in which Fisichella reacted to Irvine afterwards.

    3. @Jose Silva

      The interesting thing about a chicane is that the outside corner becomes the inside, so arguably, the rules should flip halfway through, when the outside driver becomes the inside driver and vice versa.

      1. As I asked in another comment around here, “Where is Max’s front left wheel?” Actually, I don’t know. Maybe I could revise my opinion and ending up considering that the simple 3-place penalty is unfair.
        “All da time you have to leeve a space”, said Alonso. Did Max had the space to make the “turn 2” of the chicane? Wasn’t he alongside Hamilton?
        However, this takes me to many other chicane discussions, namely Verstappen-Hamilton in 2021, lap 1 (Monza and Imola). Hamilton yielded in both occasions, in both being on the outside. What if he didn’t? Maybe, as Jacques Villeneuve said, Verstappen was punished for the outcome rather than for the manoeuvre (which is wrong).

        I don’t care much if there’s someone to blame. As I said, I think this is a chess “piece for piece” play. Fighting for the championship doesn’t change that. Both took risks. In fact, Verstappen took the extra risk of getting a penalty – and maybe that’s part of the risk to consider. (What did Prost risk in Suzuka 89, in a time when there were no penalties? In fact, why did Prost calmly leave the area while Senna tried to continue? Senna was not disqualified for getting a push by the stewards…) That’s the way I looked at the incident: another sharp blade crossing between two amazing drivers, and a headache for the referee like in Canada 2019. I’m just waiting for the next round.

    4. If it was a crash featuring irvine, it was his fault

      Always

      Every time

      100%

  9. Though we have seen another deliberate collision – between Nelson Piquet Jnr and a wall – which race control overlooked at the time

    Unfair to blame race control for that one. No way to know that Piquet Jr. crashed on purpose without him admitting so.

    On the overall topic, does F1 have a blind spot for deliberate contact? Is it even possible to identify – from the outside – instances of tactical fouls / deliberate contact? Formula 1 runs at a very high speed. Drivers have no more than a couple of seconds on what to do. Let’s take other examples altogether. Bottas missed his braking point by a couple of yards in Hungary and took out both Red Bulls. Now was that couple of yards a calculated misjudgement? Or simply an error due to the wet conditions? It was no more than couple of hundredths of seconds of late braking by Bottas. Rosberg missed his braking point in Monaco 2014 qualifying. Mistake? Intentional?

    F1 drivers’ drive based on instinct and their raw talent. How can one determine if their instinct was deliberate / malicious.

    Only instances when one can identify tactical fouls are when the drivers do a bad job of hiding their tactical fouls – Rascasse gate, Jerez 1997, Hungary 2006 qualifying by Alonso, Mclaren’s liegate in Australia 2009 – for example.

    1. Silverstone was provable as there was no way Hamilton was going to make Copse on the inside at that speed and he of course knew it full well

      1. How was he not going to make the corner when literally did make the corner and that was despite taking contact? At no point did he look like he was going off track.

        Reply moderated
      2. @balue There was no way Max was going to make Copse at that speed, either, considering he was going faster, braked later and took a less optimal line than he had in qualifying, while carrying much more fuel and having less grip from his tyres. He was going to be leaving the track on exit.

        Hamilton blatantly just misjudged the corner slightly in a very close fight at the limits of what both cars and drivers could do, which caused him to run wide of the apex. It would have made no sense for him to purposely collide with Max anyway, as the most likely outcome at those speeds would have been both cars out, which would have been worse for Hamilton than for Verstappen. It is just as ridiculous to suggest he did it on purpose as it is to suggest Max did so at Monza.

        1. @drmouse What’s ridiculous is to suggest a good a driver like Hamilton ‘misjudged’ the corner entry speed there. It wasn’t even close to what might have worked.

          His massive ego didn’t allow him to lose face in front of his home fans after the sprint race humiliation, so he’d rather crash than having his ass handed to him yet again, and with all his experience in pushing people wide he thought he might even come out unscathed in the bump and that’s exactly what happened. Before his home race, he announced he was ‘going to bring out his inner lion’ and go ‘guns blazing’ and sure enough, he made a kill.

          1. @balue I’m going to stop right here. While I strongly disagree and could argue the point, it is fairly clear that nothing I say will make a difference to your opinion. Have a pleasant day :)

          2. Hes good for a Google though mouse! Got to admit that?

          3. @drmouse Let’s agree to disagree till you realize I was right all along.. ;)

    2. It is funny:
      “Hamilton was predominantly to blame” – people said that means max was too
      “Max is predominantly to blame” – same people forgetting that means hamilton was too.

      They have only crashed twice this season- one where hamilton ran him off the road, and one where Hamilton ran him off the track(see the norris footage).

      Whats the common denominator? I will give you a clue…hes English

  10. There is a big difference between ‘I crash into you with the intention of taking you out’ (Suzuka 1990, Adelaide 1994 and Jerez 1997) and ‘If you don’t back down, we might crash’ like Verstappen and Hamilton demonstrate this year. I don’t buy that either one had the intention to put the other driver out of the race in Silverstone or Monza.

    1. @matthijs I’m not sure Max agrees with you… his steering wheel is pointing straight into Lewis on the 2nd turn at Monza as opposed to the other direction to avoid contact.

      Does it matter when or if he had the intention prior to the incident? The pictures do show that at some point Max decided that it was better to point his car straight into Lewis.

      1. Where is Max’s front left wheel?

      2. Verstappen was clearly aiming to drive to the apex of turn 2 without going over the kerb, @freelittlebirds.
        Unfortunately, Hamilton placed his car far enough across to leave Verstappen nowhere else to go but to hit the kerb and/or Hamilton’s car.
        Perhaps that was Hamilton’s intention? Verstappen bails, or we crash…

        As several have noted – accepting the possibility of contact isn’t the same as intentionally creating it.

        1. @S that overtake attempt by Max needed Lewis to do 95% of the work… Lewis had to yield and avoid Max.

          1. Verstappen had already done 95% of the work to get far enough up going into Turn 2 to be entitled to a car width. He was as wide as he was purely because Hamilton put him out there.
            Sometimes you have to yield to not get taken out. That’s motor racing. Hamilton didn’t, they crashed.

          2. @S

            Sometimes you have to yield to not get taken out. That’s motor racing. Hamilton didn’t, they crashed.

            I think you just said that Lewis had to yield for Max to overtake and he had to get out of the way to avoid crashing. That’s exactly what I said…

      3. @freelittlebirds

        Having looked over the onboards, by the time they collide at Monza Max is turning his wheels left. His car, however, is going straight on, having hit the sausage kerbs and lost front grip. He is certainly not steering into Hamilton at that point. He’s made a stupid move from far too far back and expected to just be allowed through, as he often does and often is, but it was clearly not intentional that they crash.

        @S

        It was quite obvious that Hamilton’s line wouldn’t leave any space, and he wasn’t required to (see stewards ruling). Max had plenty of opportunity to bail out over the escape road. It looks to me like he hoped that Lewis would basically yield and give him the place to avoid a collision, making it a game of chicken which both of them lost.

        1. I disagree with the stewards ruling.
          Verstappen was well far enough up going into turn 2 to deserve space, AFAIC.

          Had Hamilton opened his steering to avoid contact, he still would have been substantially faster off the corner anyway.
          It’s not completely obvious that Hamilton wasn’t going to leave space. It’s a common place for overtaking and plenty of other cars have gone side-by-side through there before with the outside car coming from behind.
          To not leave space at turn 2 when you know someone is alongside is… well… either naive or asking for trouble. Hamilton’s pretty experienced, so I’m guessing it’s not the first one.

          1. But how is Max going to make the second part of the chicane at the speed he is doing? Answer, he isn’t. He is going to overshoot the second corner, go wide, and literally force Ham to stop on track to avoid a collision.

            I don’t want to criticise Max simply because Ham had a season, 2011 I think, when he crashed into anyone and everyone. I think it is part of maturing as a driver. Max is the heir apparent. Charles, George and Lando seem destined to be his main competitors once Ham hangs up his helmet.

          2. As amazing as it seems, stewarts only look at facts and manage to stay away from partisan opinions. And their decisions are pretty much right. The Ham fanatics would have Max guilty both in Silverstone and Monza, whilst the Ver fanatics would have found Lewis the guilty party on both instances too. Are you not getting tired of this?

          3. Mikef – Verstappen would have made it around turn 2 without contact – he’d just have had to slow down to leave sufficient space for Hamilton, giving Hamilton the faster exit.

            Learon – Stewards are human beings, they have opinions and make interpretations too. That’s quite literally why they are there. I’m sure someone could create an impartial AI to make decisions instead, but I don’t think too many people really want that. I hope not, anyway.
            Yeah, there are always two sides to everything – especially so in sport. You’re right, fans of either side often fail to see the other’s point of view. Personally, I’m not a fan of either of them, or any other driver or team. Just give me decent racing – I don’t care who wins.

          4. @”S” Lines for a chicane are decided on and judged on entry to the chicane. It is ridiculous to consider the second half as a completely separate corner, as there is no space or time to adjust that line by very much. Max was only alongside because he threw the car from a long way back down the outside of turn 1 when Lewis was already committed to a line.

          5. @drmouse
            It’s not one corner any way you look at it. It has two very distinct and directionally-opposed parts.
            During that direction change, the driver has every opportunity to change their line – especially so if they’ve just chosen to escort their competitor wide as Hamilton did.
            Verstappen was alongside because he was significantly faster through turn 1 – a perfectly legitimate thing to do in a race.

            If it isn’t 2 corners, why on Earth does every race track (and importantly the FIA) specify such chicanes 2 corners?
            At what point does a chicane actually become 2 corners? Or are all chicanes 1 corner? Even Sepang’s Turn 5&6 and 12/13?

            Honestly, I’ve heard a bunch of ridiculous things about racing from people who’ve never raced on a circuit before, and – no offence – but this one is up there with the wildest ones.

        2. By rule he was. By your ruling no, but the sport doesn’t use your made up rules

  11. Deliberate, pre-meditated collisions I believe can be somewhat easily discerned with the proper background – one would have to take into account the amount of risk that each driver has, and whether its rather a case of deciding to roll the dice in the game of “chicken” that I would say the previous collisions this year would fall under.

    I have full confidence in the stewards and the FIA to be able to act accordingly if we do get a situation of clear and deliberate intent later this year.

    I think the difficulty of the stewards’ task is somewhat under-appreciated. In my opinion, the stewards have done a good job of reviewing the collisions this year and have handed out penalties that are not terribly punishing – and we’re here in Round 15 and tempers have been basically kept under control, at least as well as could be expected in such a high stakes sport.

    What I saw from Max in Monza was some “red mist” from the poor pitstop that led to judgment lapse, but it wasn’t even close to being a deliberate intent to cause a collision.

  12. We’ve also had some incidents like Maldonado driving into Hamilton on purpose in Spa 2011 because he felt Hamilton had ruined the start of his flying lap (when it was actually Maldonado who was supposed to get out of the way for Hamilton who was on his flying lap). Maldonado only got a grid penalty for that.

    Or that they started penalizing Massa at some point in 2011 because he was simply driving into Hamilton on purpose as he knew Hamilton would get the penalty for every bit of contact he made with any South American driver.

    Or a frustrated Perez diving into Sirotkin when Sirotkin was defending his position well in Singapore.

    Or a frustrated Vettel taking out Webber in Turkey. Did Vettel even get a penalty at all? Not likely though since intrateam incidents are rarely dealt with by the stewards. Just like the Spain 2016 incident between the Mercedes drivers. They simply invent a clause so they don’t have to rule (ok so he was alongside, but not “long enough” so you deal with it yourselves internally)

  13. Frankly, the entire accusation of a deliberate foul is absurd and if anything, puts the blame on Lewis.

    Max could never have predicted that Lewis wouldn’t leave him space until it was too late to react, while Lewis did have the opportunity to leave sufficient space for the inside driver up to the last moment. So any question about a deliberate foul could only be about Lewis, if this was an honest debate, rather than people sticking up for their favorite driver.

    Not that I think that Lewis did intend to crash. I think it is one of his many sloppy fights of the last couple of seasons. His wheel-to-wheel race craft seems to have deteriorated.

    1. @aapje

      I don’t think Lewis has suggested that Max intentionally crashed at Monza. Toto has, but then again Horner suggested the Lewis crashed deliberately at Silverstone, which is even more ridiculous. It’s the TPs who are stoking this with absurd accusations, and they both need to be told to shut up.

      As for “Max could never have predicted that Lewis wouldn’t leave him space until it was too late to react”, I strongly disagree with your interpretation in 2 ways:
      1) I think it was fairly obvious that Lewis wasn’t going to leave any space, looking at his line into the chicane.
      2) If Max could not have predicted Lewis wouldn’t leave him space, nor could Lewis have predicted that Max would try to force his way through from so far behind. On turn in to the chicane, Max didn’t even have his front wheel level with Hamilton’s rears, and when Lewis turned in he would have been even further back. Even so, Lewis took a line which would give Max plenty of time to take avoiding action, instead of slamming the door in his face without giving him time to avoid a collision.

      1. @drmouse

        I never claimed that Lewis did suggest that that it was deliberate. Arguing against things I didn’t claim, tends to drag down the conversation…

        The entire narrative that Horner accused Lewis of a deliberate crash was a lie spread by Totroll Wolff, copied by much of the English-speaking media, until Horner clarified that: “We didn’t at any point say in our submission that it was deliberate action.” It’s part of the bias on this site and of the English-speaking media that Horner gets constantly accused of things he doesn’t say.

        I think it was fairly obvious that Lewis wasn’t going to leave any space, looking at his line into the chicane.

        I disagree, because Lewis chose not to push Max out at the exit of turn 1, where it would obviously be allowed, but left room. It makes sense to think that if you are left space once, you will be left space again.

        If the Stewards would actually apply the rules consistently, Max would have the right to room, being on the inside of turn 2 and being substantially alongside.

        nor could Lewis have predicted that Max would try to force his way through from so far behind

        He could always have left space for the situation where Max did decide to do that. If Max would have taken the escape road, Lewis would merely have lost some lap time for doing so. Giovinazzi made a very similar move on Leclerc, who did leave him space. I suggest you look at Jolyon Palmer’s analysis of the incident on the F1 youtube channel, where he puts the two incidents side by side. Giovinazzi actually has less space at one point but also decides to try to make the corner and does.

        1. @aapje Apologies if you didn’t intend to infer that Lewis said Max crashed deliberately. I must have misunderstood what you said.

          The entire narrative that Horner accused Lewis of a deliberate crash was a lie spread by Totroll Wolff, copied by much of the English-speaking media, until Horner clarified that: “We didn’t at any point say in our submission that it was deliberate action.” It’s part of the bias on this site and of the English-speaking media that Horner gets constantly accused of things he doesn’t say.

          I disagree. At the time, Horner called the move a professional foul. A professional foul is deliberately breaking the rules to gain an advantage. Note that the quote from Horner says: “We didn’t at any point say in our submission that it was deliberate action.” He does not deny making claims that it was deliberate elsewhere.

          Lewis chose not to push Max out at the exit of turn 1

          There is no “exit of turn 1”, it leads directly into turn 2. If anything, the exit of Turn 1 is the apex of Turn 2. Max had previously closed the door earlier, in the middle of Turn 1. However, the line that Lewis was taking was never going to leave room, Max was just hoping to force Lewis to change his line mid corner after a lunge from behind.

          If the Stewards would actually apply the rules consistently, Max would have the right to room, being on the inside of turn 2 and being substantially alongside.

          That would require ignoring the fact that a chicane is effectively one corner, and there is neither the space nor the time to change lines substantially in the middle of it. Every other instance of someone attempting a pass in this manner which has been pointed out involves the car being substantially alongside on turn in to the chicane.

          To me, trying to treat a chicane as 2 completely separate corners this way is like calling a corner like Luffield 2 separate corners and allowing someone to dive-bomb up the inside and bully their way through because they were substantially alongside on entry to the 2nd (half of the) corner.

          Giovinazzi made a very similar move on Leclerc, who did leave him space. I suggest you look at Jolyon Palmer’s analysis of the incident on the F1 youtube channel, where he puts the two incidents side by side. Giovinazzi actually has less space at one point but also decides to try to make the corner and does.

          I have watched that analysis, as well as watching many similar incidents from the race. There is a significant difference between all of them and Max vs Lewis: In all the others, the attacking driver was much further alongside on turn in to T1. I have seen no evidence of a driver who was as far back as Max being allowed space, or even trying to make the move there.

          In addition, the GIO/LEC incident, as well as the HAM/NOR one there, occurred on the first corner of the first lap. Everybody tries to leave more space at that point, because the field is bunched up and accidents occur all the time. Lap 1 has always been treated differently, by both drivers and the stewards. The drivers very often tip-toe through the first corner or 2.

          1. To me, trying to treat a chicane as 2 completely separate corners this way is like calling a corner like Luffield 2 separate corners

            Luffield itself is 1 (near-constant radius) corner. There is no break, no direction change, and taking a double apex is optional but not necessary. It can’t be split into two because there isn’t two parts.
            Brooklands – Luffield is 2 corners, however. And being on the outside at the exit of Brooklands puts you on the inside for Luffield, where you can expect to be given a car’s width.

          2. At the time, Horner called the move a professional foul. A professional foul is deliberately breaking the rules to gain an advantage.

            That’s not the same as intentionally trying to make the other driver crash, which was your accusation. Lewis could have intentionally gone in too hot, knowing that he would likely drift outward, which is a foul, hoping that Max would then take a much wider line around the corner, but accepting contact if he didn’t (which might or might not have resulted in a crash).

            Both the Silverstone and Monza incidents could have easily gone very differently, if the cars were positioned a little bit differently. One of my frustrations about the analyses is that many people treat the outcome as obvious beforehand (when the drivers made their decisions), when that is anything but true.

            Every other instance of someone attempting a pass in this manner which has been pointed out involves the car being substantially alongside on turn in to the chicane.

            This seems like an arbitrary rationalization to defend your biases. Max was further behind than Gio at first, but closed in faster, so before the accident he was already equal with Gio, in his relative position to the other car. So clearly, Max’s ability to get close enough for the overtake was no less than Gio’s, or he wouldn’t have ended up equal! It’s comes across as absurd to me that what actually happened is ignored in favor of a narrative that Max couldn’t close in fast enough, when he did!

            That would require ignoring the fact that a chicane is effectively one corner, and there is neither the space nor the time to change lines substantially in the middle of it.

            This is just nonsense. Hamilton could have driven much wider at the exit of corner 1, (legally) forcing Max to the escape road. I honestly think that people like you don’t understand racing, nor respect the abilities of the drivers, and want to turn it into an even more DRS-infested ‘push-to-pass’ sport, rather than actual racing.

            To me, trying to treat a chicane as 2 completely separate corners this way is like calling a corner like Luffield 2 separate corners and allowing someone to dive-bomb up the inside and bully their way through because they were substantially alongside on entry to the 2nd (half of the) corner.

            This is really no different from a normal corner where chasing drivers can also dive-bomb and the lead driver can choose to cover that off by choosing a more shallow entry, which in turn allows the chasing driver to attempt to overtake by taking a wide entry and shallow exit. There is even a rule disallowing the lead driver from changing his line, so he is also forced to stick with a racing line.

            In a chicane, the lead driver similarly has to defend by choosing their lines, although this is actually easier than with a normal corner. To me, the one redeeming factor of chicanes is that inside becomes outside during it, which means that the outside driver who has to leave room for the inside driver, then becomes the inside driver who has to be left room, allowing an actual opportunity for an overtake.

            I have seen no evidence of a driver who was as far back as Max being allowed space, or even trying to make the move there.

            I don’t see how that matters. Whether a driver has to be left space should of course merely depend on where they are in relation to each other in the corner itself. Your reasoning truly comes across as an absurd rationalization. It boils down to arguing that Max closed in too fast, so he was not allowed to overtake. How does that make sense?

            In addition, the GIO/LEC incident, as well as the HAM/NOR one there, occurred on the first corner of the first lap.

            Yet I’ve seen no one argue that Gio should have gotten a penalty, but escaped it because of the first lap or such. It’s hopelessly inconsistent punditry, which I then can only blame on huge bias.

          3. @drmouse

            At the time, Horner called the move a professional foul. A professional foul is deliberately breaking the rules to gain an advantage.

            That’s not the same as intentionally trying to make the other driver crash, which was your accusation. Lewis could have intentionally gone in too hot, knowing that he would likely drift outward, which is a foul, hoping that Max would then take a much wider line around the corner, but accepting contact if he didn’t (which might or might not have resulted in a crash).

            Both the Silverstone and Monza incidents could have easily gone very differently, if the cars were positioned a little bit differently. One of my frustrations about the analyses is that many people treat the outcome as obvious beforehand (when the drivers made their decisions), when that is anything but true.

            Every other instance of someone attempting a pass in this manner which has been pointed out involves the car being substantially alongside on turn in to the chicane.

            This seems like an arbitrary rationalization to defend your biases. Max was further behind than Gio at first, but closed in faster, so before the accident he was already equal with Gio, in his relative position to the other car. So clearly, Max’s ability to get close enough for the overtake was no less than Gio’s, or he wouldn’t have ended up equal! It’s frustrating to me that what actually happened is ignored in favor of a narrative that Max couldn’t close in fast enough, when he did!

            That would require ignoring the fact that a chicane is effectively one corner, and there is neither the space nor the time to change lines substantially in the middle of it.

            This is just false. Hamilton could have driven much wider at the exit of corner 1, (legally) forcing Max to the escape road.

            To me, trying to treat a chicane as 2 completely separate corners this way is like calling a corner like Luffield 2 separate corners and allowing someone to dive-bomb up the inside and bully their way through because they were substantially alongside on entry to the 2nd (half of the) corner.

            This is really no different from a normal corner where chasing drivers can also dive-bomb and the lead driver can choose to cover that off by choosing a more shallow entry, which in turn allows the chasing driver to attempt to overtake by taking a wide entry and shallow exit. There is even a rule disallowing the lead driver from changing his line, so he is also forced to stick with a racing line.

            In a chicane, the lead driver similarly has to defend by choosing their lines, although this is actually easier than with a normal corner. To me, the one redeeming factor of chicanes is that inside becomes outside during it, which means that the outside driver who has to leave room for the inside driver, then becomes the inside driver who has to be left room, allowing an actual opportunity for an overtake.

            I have seen no evidence of a driver who was as far back as Max being allowed space, or even trying to make the move there.

            I don’t see how that matters. Whether a driver has to be left space should of course merely depend on where they are in relation to each other in the corner itself. Your reasoning comes across as an rationalization. It boils down to arguing that Max closed in too fast, so he was not allowed to overtake. How does that make sense?

            In addition, the GIO/LEC incident, as well as the HAM/NOR one there, occurred on the first corner of the first lap.

            Yet I’ve seen no one argue that Gio should have gotten a penalty, but escaped it because of the first lap or such. It’s hopelessly inconsistent punditry, which I then can only blame on huge bias.

          4. @aapje

            That’s not the same as intentionally trying to make the other driver crash, which was your accusation.

            In that case Toto’s accusation of a “tactical foul” is also not an accusation of a purposeful crash. Both are using very similar language.

            Also, just to be clear, I haven’t accused either driver of purposefully crashing. I have accused both TPs of, at the very best, strongly implying they believe there was malicious intent in the moves made by their opponents, and it is quite clear both are doing so intentionally. I believe that both should be admonished for this behaviour.

            I don’t see how that matters. Whether a driver has to be left space should of course merely depend on where they are in relation to each other in the corner itself.

            But it doesn’t, and it hasn’t for a very long time, if ever. The stewards disallow dive-bombing at almost every level of motorsport. Heck, we were even warned not to do it when my friends and I went go-karting, and one was penalised for doing it (flagged to return to the pits and given a telling off).

            Let’s put it this way: If I enter a corner at a speed and a line which places my car at the limit of adhesion, I cannot change that line. If I did, I would either lose adhesion or not make the corner. I can do that on one of several lines but, once I have committed to one, I cannot change it, at least not by much. Equally, if I enter a chicane, aiming to kiss the apex at both corners, and at the limit of the speed which allows that, any attempt to turn much further away from either apex would result in a tighter turn and a loss of grip. This is basic physics, and it is why the relative position of the cars is judged on entry to a corner, where the drivers choose their speeds and lines. We have seen many times that it is the position of cars on entry to a corner which determines whether they are entitled to space during and on the exit of the corner.

            Yet I’ve seen no one argue that Gio should have gotten a penalty, but escaped it because of the first lap or such. It’s hopelessly inconsistent punditry, which I then can only blame on huge bias.

            Nobody is arguing that, least of all myself. I apologise if I didn’t make my point clear. I was pointing out that drivers themselves often drive differently on the first lap to avoid causing or being caught in a tangle with the entire grid. Most drivers on the first lap will have purposely, and in advance, chosen a relatively safe line, and would have entered the corner slower than normal and with the intention of being able to avoid incidents. They all knew many of them would be going in 2 abreast. They drive in a more cautious manner because of it, you see it almost every race, and you see many races where even that isn’t enough and there are accidents at turn 1. My point was that pretty much everyone treats the first corner, at least (and often much of the first lap), in a very different manner to the rest of the race due to the inherent dangers involved in the entire pack being so bunched up.

          5. @drmouse

            The stewards disallow dive-bombing at almost every level of motorsport.

            Breaking later on the inside line is a normal form of overtakingthat is legal in F1, as long as you can make the corner afterwards. I’ve also seen it done plenty in karting.

          6. @aapje Yes, braking later is. However, you brake before turning in, not after. By the time you turn in, you have normally finished braking. By that point your car will be substantially alongside your opponent, because you braked later. You may also be carrying more speed, and may have been able to choose a line which allows you to carry more speed, but if you want them to give you space you need to have been substantially alongside. We’ve seen this in many stewards rulings over many seasons, and the drivers are certainly aware of this.

            If what you are saying was correct, then every driver who pushes another wide on exit should be penalised, even if the other driver came from way behind. Similarly, dive-bombing, throwing one up the inside from a long way back, should be completely fine.

            In fact, by your own reasoning here, Hamilton shouldn’t have had a penalty unless they could prove he would not have been able to stay on track on the exit to the corner, which the stewards made no comment on…. As he only just left the track after colliding with another vehicle and considerably upsetting his car, there would be a good case for concluding that he could have made it around without leaving if he hadn’t contacted with Verstappens car.

          7. @drmouse

            No, the driver on the inside only gets to use the entire track if they manage to get ahead by the apex. Otherwise they are only entitled to a car’s width.

            Hamilton was ahead on the apex in corner 1 at Monza, so he was allowed to push Max off, if he did it soon enough (as the next corner is very close). He didn’t and instead squeezed out Max at the approach to turn 2, but then he was obliged to leave a car’s width, as Max was substantially alongside on the inside (more than halfway along).

            I’m just applying the rules consistently here, unlike the stewards and you, who seem to make special rules for chicanes. I see no convincing reason why the same rules can’t be applied. The standard rules work better IMO.

          8. @aapje The same rules can’t apply because chicanes are significantly different to 2 corners separated by several hundred yards or more of tarmac. There is no separate braking zone, no “exit” of the first half or “entry” into the second. The “approach to turn 2” is the middle of turn 1, and the “exit of turn 1” is the apex of turn 2. I cannot understand how you could try to count them as 2 completely separate and individual corners which have no influence on each other.

            You are “applying the rules consistently” in the same way as the stewards would be if they said “yes, fine, you can do full speed in the pit lane so that we’re applying the rules consistently with the rest of the track”. They are completely different to each other and require a different approach.

          9. @drmouse

            I didn’t say that they didn’t influence each other, I said that the same rules (should) apply. You might be allowed to push a driver out because you’re exciting turn 1, but at one point you also have to leave room because a car is substantially alongside. Then clearly, the latter rule takes precedence in that situation.

            You are “applying the rules consistently” in the same way as the stewards would be if they said “yes, fine, you can do full speed in the pit lane so that we’re applying the rules consistently with the rest of the track”.

            Except that a chicane is just a part of the track, but the pit lane is not. You are really reaching here. Are you next going to argue that they’re being inconsistent anyway, since you can’t drive 300 km/h on the roads near Monza?

            They are completely different to each other and require a different approach.

            By the drivers, yes, but why would the rules be different? Lewis clearly could have left more space, he just decided not to.

          10. Your debate is fascinating, really interesting. Anyway, when you debate what the rules are about overtaking in chicanes, I think you are aware that you’re talking about your (each one of you) interpretation of the rules and that they are not explicit like that in the official F1 rulebook, right?
            Otherwise, we would get less racing incidents and a lot more of referee decisions.

          11. @José Silva
            Yep, I’m aware that I’m speaking of my own interpretation. I do feel it is consistent with the way the stewards have handled these matters, but nobody outside a select group within the sport has seen the stewards’ “rule book” on overtaking, so I can’t know if what I am saying precisely matches what they say.

            @aapje
            I think it’s clear we’re not going to agree. I can see your point of view, although I do not find it a compelling argument, and you obviously disagree with mine. I will leave the discussion on the rules there.

            One final point, though:

            Lewis clearly could have left more space, he just decided not to.

            Max clearly could have backed out, he just decided not to. This holds just as much weight.

  14. So it was fitting with the tactical foul claim in Monza eh?

    Sigh..

  15. There is a very simple answer to this problem and that is to introduce the yachting equivalent overtaking laws in regards who is the give way vehicle. I yachting once an inside boat has created an overlap within 3 boats lengths of a mark (the apex of a motor racing corner) it has rights to room/space to round the mark. So at Silverstone Hamilton had the rights to the corner and at Monza Verstappen did. However once round the mark (past the apex of the corner) the rights reverse and the outside vehicle now has the rights (in yachting the now windward/inside boat has to keep clear). Simply means that the inside car in passing the outside car cannot claim the faster exit point of the corner. So a dive bomb into the inside has to be measured against the slower speed as the “racing line” is not available.

    In yachting (being a self policing sport) the very first rule in the rule book is “avoid contact”. Consequences of not avoiding contact and being in the wrong means having to pay the costs to fix the other boat. Hence we all carry insurance and avoid contact as best we can.

  16. My opinion is that any kind of high-speed deliberate contact with another car akin to Schumacher in Jerez 1997 should lead to a one-year ban from any kind of motorsport. If it happens again on return from suspension, it should be a lifetime ban. Slow speed incidents like Vettel in Baku 2017 are not as serious but should still be punished harshly with a few races of suspension, while more extreme incidents like Dan Ticktum at Silverstone 2015 or Senna in Suzuka 1990 (no exceptions just because he’s Senna) should lead to an instant lifetime ban, regardless of track record. Obviously it is difficult for the stewards to tell for sure if an incident is deliberate, but they get to make decisions on other penalties all the time, so why not these ones?

    1. Ending someone’s entire career and livelihood is a slightly bigger decision than deciding on a penalty within the sporting arena…

      Besides, the drivers already know that public opinion of their image and actions is a strong contributor to their sporting/professional status and advancement. If they are seen as a marketing liability, they won’t attract the funding necessary to keep them in a car.

  17. Both Silverstone and Monza were uncompromising from both drivers, with Silverstone also a bit clumsy from Lewis, but to suggest that they were deliberate seems way over the top for me. This is nowhere near Schumacher level.

  18. Max wants to win at all costs. It’s what clearly the mentality his dad has brought him up with. It’s also what makes him an exciting F1 talent.

    I think Lewis is adjusting his driving to meet Max in the middle, because he knows he has to race harder – he’s even gone as far as to say he races Max differently in seasons gone by, because he knows it’s pass or crash.

  19. Having just recently watched the Schumacher documentary, his attempted takeout of Villeneuve was spectacularly obvious. The weird thing was his denial, even apparently to himself, that he’d veered into Villeneuve on purpose when everyone else could see it.

    I don’t think either Hamilton or Verstappen have done the same. Verstappen is simply uncompromising, full-stop. If he thinks it’s 50/50, he’ll go for it. Always. He wants all the other drivers to know that’s what he does. Fine, it’s not a ‘deliberate collision,’ it’s a ‘deliberate gamble’ he takes every time. Hamilton varies, calculating when to risk a collision, or when he can’t afford not to risk one, and when to back out. Also fine. I think Masi and the stewards realize this and, actually very wisely, insist that no additional regulation is needed and each situation should be examined on merit. The precedent for judging a collision to be deliberate does exist. Will there be more incidents? Undoubtedly. Let’s see what happens though before deciding Formula 1 has a problem with deliberate collisions.

    1. Completely agree.

      TBH, I don’t think this would even have come up if it wasn’t for both TPs making strong suggestions that deliberate foul play was occurring. Horner started it after Silverstone, and Toto has continued it after Monza. They both need their heads banging together!

      That said, I do think we have seen a deliberate “tactical foul” at Monza: Perez knew he had passed off track and should give the place back, but he and his team chose not to because they considered he would profit more from breaking the rules than the penalty would cost.

      1. @drmouse I’m in agreement with your other point too. I also said the stewards/race director should have insisted on Perez giving back the place and it should be done within a few corners maximum.

  20. Let’s face it, one of the real reasons why we are now in this situation is because Hamilton is now less willing to back down during on-track battles at crucial moments. Whereas previously he had a bit of a pace advantage, he would play the long game – over the course of an individual race, but also the championship as a whole – but now he’s a bit more desperate/willing to keep Max behind. That’s not a criticism of his approach, if anything he’s now matching the approach Max has taken all along.

    We’ve always known Max to push the limits in tight situations on track, and there aren’t many occasions where he’s been willing to yield. At the very least, Max must now know that Hamilton will be less willing to hand over positions, and make life more difficult for him.

    Let’s hope they keep the racing clean going forward, but I won’t be surprised if we see more contact in the coming races.

  21. Daily reminder: Monza was a racing incident 100%. Don’t think so? Racing incident 200%.

  22. I think nobody really cares. It is a commercial sport. More fans, more excitement is more money.

  23. @keithcollantine – Whatever happened in Azerbaijan 2017, was not in the Hamilton-Rosberg era.

  24. Maybe its time to move on. In both recent incidents there was large support on either side. That at least makes it an unclear situation. So both drivers being a bit cheecky. Far more important is how it has swung the standings in an unbalanced way clearly favoring just one. Still, time to move on as only the future can be changed.

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