Should Ricciardo have been penalised for first-lap collision with Bottas?

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Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas tangled at the start of the Mexico City Grand Prix but the stewards took no action. Was that the right call?


Bottas started the race from pole position but arrived at the first corner side-by-side with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. While they swept into turn one ahead of him, Bottas turned in third.

Ricciardo, who started seventh, approached the corner on the inside but locked his front-right wheel. As he turned into the corner he nudged Bottas, sending the Mercedes into a spin.

Both drivers continued in the race but two other drivers were eliminated in collisions which occured behind them. Esteban Ocon was hit by both Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda. The Alpine driver continued, but his two assailants retired on the spot with damage.

How it happened

100 metres from the corner, Ricciardo is behind Bottas, Hamilton and Verstappen
50 metres from the corner, Ricciardo locks his front-right wheel
Ricciardo hits Bottas with his front wing

Bottas was almost out of the corner when the contact occured

What they said

In the cars

“Somebody hit me and caused me to spin,” said Bottas after he continued. “Can you see who hit me from further behind? Nothing I could do.”

Ricciardo said only that “I think I have damage.”

Sergio Perez, who took evasive action at the first corner, said: “Who was the idiot who crashed into Bottas? He nearly took me out as well.”

After the crash

I had a good launch, so I had a slipstream and we were looking pretty good. I was alongside, I think, Perez into one.

And I locked [up] initially and then I collected it […] I locked before kind of the entry point, and then I gathered it up again. And I think it just looks like we’ve – obviously Valtteri has come to kind of close the apex and then hits me, I think Perez, and there’s basically not enough room for all of us. So it was actually a lot smaller hit than I thought.
Daniel Ricciardo

The incident in pictures

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

The official verdict

The incident was noted but race control later announced: “Lap one turns one-two incident, no investigation necessary.”

Relevant recent incidents

Your verdict

Did the stewards make the right call on Ricciardo? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do you agree Daniel Ricciardo should have been penalised for his collision with Valtteri Bottas?

  • No opinion (1%)
  • Strongly disagree (23%)
  • Slightly disagree (12%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (6%)
  • Slightly agree (31%)
  • Strongly agree (27%)

Total Voters: 159

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Author information

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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74 comments on “Should Ricciardo have been penalised for first-lap collision with Bottas?”

  1. Absolutely a racing incident and in no way should Ricciardo have been penalised for the incident.

    1. Maybe you’re right, but it only highlights how inconsistent FIA is on these racing incidents, because there were plenty of penalties dished out for similar incidents earlier in the year…

      1. Until the FIA have a professional set of race stewards that follow the F1 circus from race to race we will forever be stuck with inconsistent rulings.

    2. Do you have any reasons, or did you just come in to toot your horn and leave?

    3. Just like Gasly on Alonso, weird that Anglosaxons have less reprimands in F1. Perhaps Alonso is right that there are special rules depending on who is british or affiliated british.

  2. Gasly was penalised not long ago for nothing. Ricciardo should have to as no one else was to blame

    1. Yeah going by the Gasly precedent, Ricciardo should also get a penalty. But other precedents suggest no penalty for first lap incidents, even for much more serious misjudgements than this. So just depends on who the stewards are and what they had for breakfast.

    2. I thought of the Bottas crash in Hungary.

  3. Yes, Ricciardo fully deserved to get penalised. It took out the pole sitter running in third, it ended the race for Tsunoda and Schumacher and it messed up the race for a few others as well.

    I really cannot fathom why Gasly would deserve a penalty for a first corner accident where he was less to blame and Daniel would walk away without any issue today. It could have easily ended up with as many casualties as Bottas made in Hungary.

  4. For me it’s a crystal clear penalty. He locked up and eventually rammed another competitor when he was nowhere near close in overtaking him. It reminded me of Vettel & Kimi’s crashes at Paul Ricard & Silverstone 18(both were penalized). I would give a 10 seconds stop and go in this specific case,as he was out of control heading into turn 1

    1. What a total load of nonsense. He didn’t totally lock up or ram into anyone. Watch again.

      1. Yep i actually watched it again and it’s not as bad as i initially thought. I stll don’t have Ricciardo’s POV but essentially he seemed to be under control despite the previous lockup. He just didn’t decelerate enough (like Perez did) and hit Bottas. It’s either a racing incident or 5 second worthy.

        1. Ηaving now watched Ricciardo’s POV, i would go with the 5 seconds penalty.

          He indeed didn’t do what Kimi and Seb did in 2018 as i mentioned above (aka lock up, get out of control and hit the car infront) so i take this back, but eventually Ricciardo didn’t slow down significantly enough to make the corner safely. Nothing malicious, can happen in first lap situations but i think it was worthy of a small punishment.

  5. No.

    If he’d just straight slid into Bottas, then it’s 100% a different argument, but as it was, Ricciardo went in pretty deep but made the corner and left racing room, Bottas was on the brakes a touch early and from the middle, chopped to the inside (because he didn’t have much room either and was letting Lewis go) leaving Ricciardo (who was there fairly at that point) nowhere to go and Bottas more or less driving over his front wing. It was just unfortunate on both their parts (and for those further back who got caught up in the concertina).

    1. Not sure what you were watching @mrcento, but Ricciardo completely locked up and knocked Bottas around, that could have easily ended up taking out Perez there and then, at least Bottas had the excuse of a wet track surface in Hungary.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        7th November 2021, 21:32

        If you watch it back, Perez is directly behind Bottas but takes a wider line. Bottas moved to the apex. Ricciardo was racing Perez and suddenly had Bottas in his way. It wasn’t Bottas’ fault but there was no way Ricciardo would have expected Bottas to appear there.

        He had a minor lockup but by the time his tyres started to rotate again, Bottas was still in the middle of the track going in a straight line.

      2. He locked up before the corner, not deep into it. He still made the corner. He was in total control at the apex. The lock up is not relevant. It was over and done with before corner entry.

        Watch the replay, he’s turning, he’s not washing wide carrying excess speed.

        Where was Ricciardo supposed to go at that point? He’s already committed into the corner. He can’t go left because that’s where Bottas and Perez are and he can’t go right or he’s off the track. Bottas is the one that was on the brakes early, Bottas is the one who crossed the track from middle to inside late, Bottas is the one came across on the exit of T1 and takes the space away in front of him. Nothing intentional on anyones parts, just 2/3 cars running out of space.

    2. I have to side with you @mrcento. In contrast to what everybody seems to remember, it wasn’t that dramatic. I’ve just looked up the footage, Ricciardo’s wheel only locked up briefly and way before he was at the apex. The car slowed down enough to make the corner, so no ploughing or ramming into…
      As for Valtteri: he didn’t think anybody would show up on his inside. Or he was to flustered by his botched start.

      1. Bottas had Perez on his outside there, I am sure he would have been watching that way with Lewis ahead trying to get Max and Perez right there and did not expect Ricciardo to go that deep into the corner coming from behind. Remember, it is the car coming from behind on who the onus is to keep from hitting the cars ahead.

        1. I think you should re-watch the start, Perez is (not partially, but completely) behind Bottas when Bottas starts turning in.
          Pretty sure Valtteri didn’t expect Ricciardo to be there, but he just left Lewis through on his right and he could’ve expected that some other driver was right behind Lewis at the start. Don’t want to put the blame on Bottas either, but he wasn’t just a victim there.

          1. Blaming Ricciardo for this is akin to blaming Bruno Senna for taking out Vettel in the 2012 Brazilian GP. Senna was fairly and legally on the inside of the apex, Vettel just cut across the apex not expecting anyone to be there, for unknown reasons. Exactly the same in this situation. Ricciardo was entitled to be there and was in full control of the car.

          2. @nick101 I don’t recall that very moment from the top of my head, but I believe you ☺️

      2. He had to let Lewis by that why he was so slow in that corner…

    3. Try using this excuse on the road and see how insurance judges.

      Unless the driver in front does something ridiculous like brake test you, it’s YOUR responsibility not to rear end him. Kind of common sense.

  6. For consistency’s sake, he should’ve.

    1. Totally agree. If this was the first day of F1 ever, I’d say no penalty, I prefer racing like this. But if you want consistency (which you sort of need with rules, it’s a bit essential) then he should be penalised heavily like everyone else who’s done that in the last ten years. Goodness knows what Gasly thought of it after what he got penalised for in Turkey.

    2. Quite right @jerejj.

      1. Well put, set a bar and stick to it. It’s the inconsistency that is so damaging.

        1. Meant to reply to @jerejj

    3. Consistency? Hahahaha. What consistency? One week we let them race and first lap is treated differently, the next any minor contact is a penalty!
      The only thing consistent is the inconsistency!

  7. As Alonso said. Different rules for different people. Gasly got penalized at Turkey for slightly understeering into Alonso, on a wet track with Perez to his left

    Danny Ricc was all at fault here, missing his braking point completely and plowing into Bottas.

    How’s that fair?

    I don’t think incidents like these deserve a penalty, and I didn’t think Gasly deserved one. But if you penalize one you’ve got to penalize the other. It wasn’t even investigated!

  8. please remember Hungary … a disaster for RB team anda Max

  9. petebaldwin (@)
    7th November 2021, 21:26

    Not for me – Bottas broke extremely early and then moved from the outside of the track to the apex taking the proper racing line. It wasn’t his fault that he was taken out but he left the door open and then suddenly shut it on the first turn of a GP. When you do that, there’s always the chance of contact happening.

    1. This. I just watched the onboard and it’s clear that when Ricciardo started braking, Bottas was on the outside of Hamilton only to suddenly pull in behind him and take the racing line into the turn. If it wasn’t for this Ricciardo would have made the corner just fine even with his slight lockup. As he was already braking to the max when Bottas was suddenly slipping behind Hamilton there was nothing he could do. A very clear racing incident IMHO.

      1. I just watched Bottas’ onboard and if anything I’d say that the way he suddenly changed lane into turn 1 was quite a bit reckless.

  10. I don’t understand why Bottas cut the corner like that. You make yourself so much more vulnerable for being hit by another car. He should have taken the outside line in my opinion. Also his start was dreadful .. why not stay on the race line on the outside? He was only watching Lewis and let Max side by side but Max was on the race line and could break much later!

    1. Because he was instructed pre race to let Lewis past in the first corner.
      That was the main thought in Bottas’ head.
      That’s why he braked early, that’s why he left too much room for Verstappen (not that it mattered much) and that’s why he wanted to slide in after Hamilton.
      Quick driver, poor race craft.

      1. You’re probably right on on the pre-race instruction.
        But Bottas seems to be wanting to show he is fast before executing those orders (like he did by almost getting a FLAP a few races ago).
        Why did he crowd Hamilton after the start, forcing him to go even further onto the dusty side (and opening enough of a gap for Verstappen)?
        The way he took T1 almost seemed like he wanted to pass Hamilton on the outside of T2 again.

  11. I think once again, the consequences of the transgression (rather than the transgression itself) are determining the penalty.

    As Ricciardo himself lost his front wing and had to pit, he brought upon a strong penalty to himself. Hence, the stewards probably didn’t give him any further penalty.

    Add to that the slight mitigating factor of Bottas having braked slightly early. Thus, Ricciardo can’t be said to be ‘wholly to blame’ or ‘predominantly to blame’.

  12. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    7th November 2021, 21:28

    Bottas was stupid by taking the Apex while on the middle of track instead of letting the car steer to the outside like Max did.

    Because he braked too early and cut the corner short he drastically increased the risk of being hit by anyone on the inside that was behind Hamilton.

    So absolutely no penalty, just racing incident, Ricardo had nowhere to go, lap 1, corner 1, so not predominantly to blame.

  13. Just because some stewards wrongly decided to penalise Gasly and other racers before, that doesn’t mean that should become the norm.
    As should have been with Gasly, so is this, first lap incident, no penalty required.

  14. Ricciardo was a few car lengths back. It’s not like he was side by side and dealing with close margins and racing blind spots due to side impact structures etc. he missed his braking point and took another driver out, ruining his race. It’s hard to defend him not getting a penalty.

  15. I feel this adds to the inconsistency. I feel the penalty for Gasly was the wrong decision. But if that was a penalty, this was too for sure.

  16. Daniel Ricciardo locked up and drove straight into the back of Bottas. The contact was enough to brake his front wing, which shows the margin by which he missed his braking point. That was a slam dunk penalty. The only argument I can see for no penalty is that it affected him as much as Bottas, but I don’t agree with that being factored in, particularly as he then ruined Bottas’ race anyway from then on (a bit like Button and Wehrlein in Monaco 2017 with the five second penalty rather than an instantly applied penalty).

    1. The contact was enough to brake his front wing

      How is one of the most forward placed, most vulnerable and fragile parts of the car any index for the severity of the foul?

  17. It was a clear racing incident. RIC did lock up a little (Not a total lockup as many have erroneously stated) but left space as BOT turned in on him. Not BOTs fault as he wouldn’t have seen RIC, but he could have left a bit more space knowing that after a long straight, someone could be steaming in. BOT was only in that position in the first place because of his poor start tactics. It was more RICs fault, but no where near enough for a penalty.

    1. RIC did lock up a little (Not a total lockup as many have erroneously stated)

      And I’m half pregnant :P

  18. Since this year the stewards only give penalties in the first corner(s) when somebody is wholly to blame for an incident, I think Ricciardo shouldn’t get a penalty for this incident as he was imho only predominantly to blame. Bottas cutting across to the inside is also partly to blame for the incident.

    So this is unlike the incident with Gasly, who eas deemed wholly to blame for the incident.

    1. Bottas cutting across to the inside is also partly to blame for the incident.

      He is two-three car lengths ahead, but in your opinion should leave room for a car coming from behind.
      Weird way of arguing for a racing fan.

  19. If you look at the Replay I think you will find it was bottas that squeezed Riccardo. The lock up did not impact the collision. Bottas left no room on the inside turn

    1. Bottas left no room on the inside turn

      I can only repeat what I commented above:

      He is two-three car lengths ahead, but in your opinion should leave room for a car coming from behind.
      Weird way of arguing for a racing fan.

  20. Stewards are completely inconsistent. That being said, I agree no penalty. Bottas was trying to find reverse to let the Red Bulls by. RIC couldn’t fathom that maneuver by Bottas. Did Bottas actually pass anyone on the track today? Looked to me like he only gained positions when others pitted. Bottas gave up the optimal racing line in turn 1 for no reason what so ever except that Mercedes fired him and paybacks a bee-atch.

    1. Did Bottas actually pass anyone on the track today?

      I believe he passed Russell immediately after he pitted and Ocon in a memorable overtake ;s

      And of course he is the only driver who ‘overtook’ the race winner.

  21. At the end of the day Ricciardo locks up. So in terms of “who was predominantly at fault” for the accident it has to be Ricciardo, therefore, he should have been penalised.

    Imo, a 5 or 10 second penalty, to be taken at the next pit stop possibly a penalty point or two. Sure he was behind, but he should have been even further behind for ruining Bottas’ race. Locking up into turn 1 is never a good look. Something more expected of Mazepin than Ricciardo.

    Also, typical bad luck for Bottas, he always has been cursed with plain bad luck that’s no fault of his own.

    1. @skipgamer If you look for ‘who is at fault’ I think the blame lays predominantly on Ricciardo indeed.
      If you look for ‘who is responsible’ I’d say both. Bottas has 19 cars chasing him, he brakes really early, let’s his teammate pass from the inside and then turns sharply to the apex. I can fully understand why he did this, when he, Max and Lewis were alone on the track, but I don’t understand he didn’t anticipate on another driver being on the inside when you brake this early.

  22. Keith Crossley
    8th November 2021, 3:22

    Echoing others: if Gasly was punished for being squeezed right, with Alonso squeezing him left, how can RIC not be penalized for being out of control and taking out the pole sitter? Really, there’s no debate as to what happened, right? It’s just the penalty. I’ve resisted a lot of the “inconsistency” arguments, but this has now become silly.

    1. Gasly had space but oversterred into Alonso – i.e. he lost control of the car. Dan Ric did not loose control of the car, Bottas contributed significantly to the accident by braking early and turning sharply. Dans early lockup is clearly a non factor – he had gathered that up long before the incident occurred.

      If you cant see the difference between the two incidents watch them both carefully again and you will learn a lot.

  23. The stewards probably didn’t penalize ricciardo cause his race was ruined as well (a precedent we’ve seen before). But that was and deserved a penalty as others have discussed

  24. I’ve based my opinions in comments above on watching the tv images, rather than the article itself. Now I’ve read the article more closely I have to say the images really frame Ricciardo as the bad guy here.

    There should really be a picture between the second and third picture, showing that Daniels wheel is no longer locked up and that the Mercedes on the right in the first pictures is Hamilton, not Bottas. Now it seems that Ricciardo was recklessly going for a gap that wasn’t even there.

    For consistency there probably should be a penalty, but Gasly shouldn’t have gotten one in Turkey either. Hungary was a different situation in my opinion.

  25. DR did not hit WB. WB cut across DR front wing and his left front tire while he was in full control of his car and cutting corner on the apex.

    1. @admin Why don’t you white list link to official Formula 1 videos???
      https : // www . formula1 . com/en/latest/video.2021-mexico-city-grand-prix-bottas-and-ricciardo-collide-at-start.1715803463033462139.html

      1. Agreed on the linking. But I disagree with your view. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want him to receive a penalty. But there is no way that by sticking in the tiniest amount of front wing you can claim your space in the corner. It has been for some time now that for a driver to earn his right to space in the corner he (or she) must be sufficient alongside. I agree there is grey area there, but it is with certainty one can say Ricciardo did not. He stuck his nose in what was not even a gap and it resulted in damage. So it is fully his fault.

  26. I’m of the opinion that no driver should receive a penalty unless their driving was particularly dangerous so would not give a penalty in this case.

    That being said however given the president set by the stewards this season and Michael Masai’s explanations on why they have become tougher I was very surprised that a penalty was not given in this case. It seems very inconsistent which is the most frustrating thing about stewards decisions in any sport.

    I wonder if a penalty would have been given were a different driver (Perez) hit, or if another driver (Mazepin, Stroll) was the one doing the hitting.

  27. Gasly had space but oversterred into Alonso – i.e. he lost control of the car. Dan Ric did not loose control of the car, Bottas contributed significantly to the accident by braking early and turning sharply. Dans early lockup is clearly a non factor – he had gathered that up long before the incident occurred.

    If you cant see the difference between the two incidents watch them both carefully again and you will learn a lot.

  28. After reviewing the onboard, I don’t think there was anything Ricciardo did wrong on this situation. There was ample space in the track and Bottas was on Hamilton’s left at corner entry, and he proceeded to cut inside. RIC was there and he clipped the front wing. RIC was in full control of the car. No lunging or late braking, just a racing incident.

  29. When we look at the results of this poll its clear we as F1 fans are just as inconsistant as the stewards. Stop this penalty system and let them race

  30. RIC should get a penalty. He had even apologized to Bottas for the incident and had admitted he was at fault. Funny how RF didn’t report that bit.

  31. No opinion, it’s irrelevant whatsoever since both were already scoring 0 points, penalty or not.

  32. Ricciardo was passing Perez, not Bottas. He did this cleanly and without contact. As per his reputation for clean passes.

    He had also cleaned up his braking by the time he got to the corner, the lock up was not an issue, and his turn into the corner had started without any understeer.

    It looks like Bottas did not see Dan on the other side of Perez, and took a very odd line over the apex.

    Racing incident. No penalty.

  33. NO penalty. If anything BOT was more at fault by placing his car there.
    In fact, deserved to be hit for his total brain-fade in not covering off VER.

    Also BOT has vindicated my thoughts from last year where I firmly believed Toto should have NOT renewed him this year.

  34. => hard to categorise accidents

  35. Racing incident 100%.

Comments are closed.