Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2019

The precedent which shows Mercedes may succeed where Red Bull failed with review bid

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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For the second time this year, one of the championship-contending Formula 1 teams is asking the stewards to reconsider a decision which could have implications for the title fight.

Mercedes are aggrieved over the stewards’ refusal to investigate whether Max Verstappen broke the rules on lap 48 of last weekend’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix. This was the lap on which Lewis Hamilton tried to overtake his rival on the outside of the Descida do Lago, and the pair ended up running well wide onto the run-off area.

Yesterday Mercedes confirmed they had “requested a right of review under article 14.1.1 of the International Sporting Code” in relation to the incident “on the basis of new evidence unavailable to the stewards at the time of their decision”.

Red Bull previously tried to invoke the same right to a review following the British Grand Prix, where Verstappen crashed heavily after contact with Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was given a 10-second time penalty for the contact yet still recovered to win the race.

But getting the stewards to agree to a review isn’t easy, and on this occasion Red Bull failed. The stewards ruled they did not provide the required new evidence, despite the team having gone to the extraordinary lengths of using reserve driver Alexander Albon to recreate Hamilton’s line prior to the incident in an attempt to prove his original penalty was too lenient.

Mercedes’ case from last weekend is different for a couple of reasons. And given past precedents – including one which happened to involve Verstappen – they have reason to be optimistic the stewards may at least agree to a review.

First, there appears to be no doubt new evidence is available in the shape of Verstappen’s forward-facing onboard camera from the incident. FIA race director Michael Masi confirmed on Sunday evening that footage wasn’t available to the stewards at the time. It was released yesterday.

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Second, and potentially more tricky for Mercedes, is the question of which exact decision they want the stewards to reconsider. In Red Bull’s case, they asked the stewards to reconsider British Grand Prix document number 44, which issued the 10-second penalty to Hamilton. But there is no corresponding document for Sunday’s lap 48 incident because the stewards did not investigate it – that in itself is the focus of Mercedes’ complaint.

Is this a technicality which could scupper Mercedes’ review bid? Another incident from two years ago, in which Verstappen happened to be the victim, gives them a potentially useful precedent to argue otherwise.

Screenshot: Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on lap 48 of the 2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix
Report: F1 releases missing video footage from Verstappen’s car of Hamilton incident
As the field swept around the first corners at Suzuka during the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc drifted wide of the apex at turn two and clouted Verstappen’s Red Bull into a spin. Within two laps race control announced “no investigation necessary”.

This changed after the race, when the stewards decided the incident should be looked at. After doing so they handed Leclerc a five-second time penalty. If the stewards can reconsider their own decision not to investigate an incident, Mercedes will no doubt argue it’s only fair to permit them to request the same.

“Some new evidence became available which they didn’t have available at the time and they chose to effectively reopen the investigation,” explained Masi following the 2019 race. “So originally, with what was available to them, they made a determination that there was no investigation necessary.

“Then they got some other footage which they didn’t have and, well within their rights, it was a new element and they reopened it.” At Suzuka in 2019 the stewards did exactly what Mercedes are now asking for.

Past attempts by teams to request reviews have run into trouble due to technicalities such as failing to meet the standard for “new evidence”, as was the case for Red Bull at Silverstone. Mercedes can feel confident of at least clearing that first hurdle.

Beyond that, of course, they then have to persuade the stewards Verstappen actually did something wrong, which is another matter entirely. But it would mean the stewards can no longer avoid taking a huge decision which could have significant consequences for the championship.

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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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121 comments on “The precedent which shows Mercedes may succeed where Red Bull failed with review bid”

  1. I’d hate to see a penalty given that changes standings after the fact. Would ruin the championship battle. Fine him, points off license, but a retroactive time penalty would be awful. They should have gotten it right during the race if they were going to penalize and didn’t. That’s on the stewards and should be fixed moving forward.

    1. Fining him will do more to boost his ego as he is keep mocking them. Penalty is the only way forward to stop his mad driving and awful tactics to stop people from passing him or allowing him to pass if the other side does yield instead of crash.

    2. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
      17th November 2021, 15:42

      Doing nothing is even worse, it will leave drivers with no indication of what rules they are racing under. In Mexico the FIA reminded drivers that they would penalise defensive moves which crowded their opponents off track, in Brazil they decided that a blatant example of that didn’t even warrant investigating. So which is it? How do drivers approach the last 3 races of the season? When someone overtakes you on the outside, is it now OK to drive them off the circuit so you keep the position?

      People moan about stewards intervening, but if they applied the rules consistently Verstappen would never have dared run Hamilton off track, and F1 fans would reap the reward of seeing drivers battling it out fairly on track. The situation we have now is that you can blatantly break the rules and expect to get away with it, at least – it seems – if you’re Max Verstappen. Have rules and enforce them, or scrap the rules, I don’t care which, but don’t allow [some] drivers to ignore the rules.

      1. If you overtake on the outside you know you can be run of the track. I miss the racing from the past, where there was now moaning of “he pushed me off” and “he didn’t leave me space”. Put gravel traps everywhere and Hamilton would not have dared to try and overtake on the outside as the risk would have been too high.

        This is only my opinion and I know the rules say differently now but come on people, let the racing drivers race and re-introduce gravel traps to stop this nonsense of having to leave space on the outside. If you do not want to be crowded out on the outside, don’t put your car there.

        1. There certainly was moaning about people being pushed off and not given enough space and all sorts of other things but there was rarely any decent footage and certainly no capability to talk about it incessantly online.

        2. The point is LH cant safely over take can he?, he goes to over take on the streight, max weaves around like he is drunk, goes inside max cuts him up, goes out side max pushes him off… at no point is any of that fair racing…. its dangerous and you know for a fact if it was LH doing these moves he would have been punsihed for it… 9/10 LH or MV has just 1 chance of an over take, if any of them fail due to reckless driving by the other i expect them to be punished accordingly, if this was monaco we wouldnt be having this discusion right now as MV would be out the race any way…………. he should get a black and white flag added to the one he got during the race and be Dq’ed to teach young max a lession he should have been taught years again when he was called crashtappen.

          1. Its not all that bad. Some forgot what racing is about. That is the result of 8 years processional racing preceeded by 4 more in the Vettel days. It has numbed the viewer. Now we finally return to the spirit of this sport. Everyone, everyone that has driven on a circuit him/herself knows that you are putting yourself on the spot on the outside of a corner in a side by side situation. You will simoly run out of road. Do brake harder and follow. You can only stand your ground when you are significantly ahead, like your rear and the other’s front are side by side. Lets not dillute this sport to a kids game.

          2. so how many times has some one pushed some one off track so far they both could have nipped and got some chicken taquitos from mexico? i cant think of many that didnt earn a penalty, cant think of many when some one was allowed to dive bomb down the inside go off track a good few hundred metres forcing his opponet of too then be allowed to keep the posistion…. a kids game is what this is turning into.. trying to crash.. no defined race track limits, different rules for different drivers… its like watching a stream of mario cart. not F1 with the worlds best drivers who over shot corners that much they managed to go to a totally different country.

            punish him, demote him behind Bottas he loses 3 points and we dont get to see the next race ruined by MV starting out of place and already behind a car he isnt going to over take on any straight…. No way will MV overtake LH in the next race if he isnt fighting to start on the front row… its more likely he will crash pushing some one off the track while he nips to nandos……

          3. Which the onboard, Hamilton was past Verstappen on the outside, then your hero made a despicable lunge to purposly block and drive Hamilton off track. Verstappen was never going to make the turn, it was the definition of dirty driving. You are welcome to continue with your own alternative reality narrative

        3. @Dnny If there was gravel on the outside of T4 at Interlagos, Verstappen would have braked much earlier and Hamilton could have completed his pass on the racing line.

          1. Here here @Mayrton

          2. @scbriml exactly my point. Put gravel traps there and one of them will have to brake. Although I still think that Hamilton would not have risked it on the outside if there was a gravel trap.

            Don’t get me wrong, I would like Max to win the title but am not obsessed by it. I have followed F1 long enough without a competitive Dutch driver to know what it is like just to appreciate the sport. And although I have a avatar of Jos’ Simtek abd like to see Max win the title I still stand by my point that as a driver, when you are side by side in the corner you do not overtake on the outside.

            I wholeheartedly agree with Mayrtons comments above.

        4. Problem is @danny Hamilton had already completed the overtake. He was fully ahead and on the normal racing line, not on the outside. His line only became the outside when Max decided to throw it down the inside.

          Max made the over aggressive move. Max forced Hamilton off the track. Max was easily 5m wide of the kerb on a corner where drivers had laps deleted for running 1mm wide onto the kerb!

          I want to see great racing as much as anyone else, but Max doesn’t race. He forces cars off or causes collisions. It’s funny how Hamilton and Perez managed it, as well as many other drivers. Like Monza, it’s Max being over forceful to try and prove he’s the best racer, which is ironic because he’s actually dreadful in wheel to wheel racing.

        5. Funny how the apex of the corner was so far away from where Max ran Lewis off.

          If Max had made any effort to try and make that apex it wouldn’t be do cut and dry.

          Max sought revenge for silver stone. Despite what he may say, he has his fathers vengeful streak. He wanted to shunt Lewis off and hoped to finish the race likely first, claiming Karma etc.

          I don’t think there is any other driver out there that would seek revenge for something that happened on a race weekend many months before.

          1. @9chris9, You have even managed to turn Lewis’s faults into a positive, well done

        6. To: Danny and Others,
          Thanks Keith for the report.
          I have been a Formula One enthusiast (not a fan) since 1950 and, I am very sorry to say this, but this season is really turning me away from a sport that I have loved for so long. Now, after all of this crying and whinging about Red Bull’s championship challenge by Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton and Christian Horner, I will be glad when this season is over. It is now my belief that the only situation that will stop the whinging is that, all non-Mercedes-Benz powered Formula One racers must keep well away from the ‘racing line’ so that Mercedes-Benz powered teams can sweep the field and take maximum points, along with David Croft’s stupid screaming for the Sky Lewis Hamilton Adoration Club. That may stop most of this awful whining and accusations of cheating from the other teams.
          Back in 1954/55 I did admire the Mercedes-Benz team and their drivers, however, today I have completely lost all of that admiration and respect.
          It is my firm belief that a decision made by Stewards at a Formula One Grand Prix should stand – for all time. So, please, all of you at M-B, do make an attempt to respect such decisions.
          Kind regards,
          Michael A.

        7. A few things you have not considered. Leiws was in front and had the lead, it was his corner by then. Only reason Max retook the lead is because he dive bombed but in doing so not only did he miss the apex but he also went off track. So he gained an unfair advantage and did not give back the position. It was a dirty move, had he at least aimed for the apex and kept the car within the track limits then I would agree with you but he didn’t. Plus if you do not agree just check every argument Horner Spice made at Silverstone. It is clear as day, Max has to be punished for this by at least a 10 second penalty, failing to do so will bring the sport into disrepute.

    3. If they do nothing because it might affect the championship battle, they’re effectively giving exempting championship contenders from following the rules. Verstappen has already made clear his contempt for both the stewards and the rules with his sarcastic comment after receiving a black-and-white flag.

      He isn’t going to change his dirty driving as long as he believes it works for him. The only way to make it not work for him is to penalize him. Otherwise he’s going to continue this unscrupulous, Schumacher-like behavior because his points lead means it’s to his advantage if he crashes out both Lewis and himself.

      These unsavory yield-or-crash tactics are not just unfair and unsportsmanlike – they’re dangerous.

    4. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
      17th November 2021, 19:49

      Rules are rules. As a soccer fan I’d hate it when a soccer final is decided by a penalty. I’d prefer it if a goal is scored from open play. But in time I accepted that rules and penalties are part of the game. Accordingly no one should win by cheating.

    5. Mack41 hate to see penalties after the race because it destroys championship battle?
      You cannot use your car as a weapon forcing cars off track and not get a points/time penalty.

      Don’t forget that rb pitted perez to set fastest lap to cynically deny Lewis 1 extra point whilst Bottas was chasing max so its perfectly justified merc looking at ‘new’ evidence and making a challenge as a time penalty could promote BOT to 2nd and make Max drop points to Lewis.
      This is the main argument why unless it is something ridiculous like €100 million a fine will not work because it doesn’t match the seriousness of the incident plus outcome of Max keeping his 2nd place points.

      I’m all for fun close racing and not early 2000s snooze fests but i don’t want ‘fake’ nascar style entertainment making up rules to make the racing fun and drama filled for casuals either.

      It is a joke if Max does not get a penalty, Lewis got a 5000 fine for loosening seat belts to hold the brazilian flag driving at 30 km/h as it “sets a bad example to younger drivers” by the FIA so they will look like massive corrupt hypocrites if they allow a car to run another off the track at 200+ km/h

    6. Fines?

      So now driving dirty and taking others out will only be afforded by those who can afford?

  2. Nobody’s seems to have picked up on this but, the way Max approach the corner was in a fashion where it seemed his intention was to initiate contact that would correct his RB trajectory and make the corner, at the same time as punting Lewis’ MB off. An extremely risky strategy in that one or both cars potentially wouldn’t finish but two of the most likely outcomes (they both retire or Lewis retires) the lead Max held in the championship would be retained or extended , so can afford to make contact (the car on the inside usually comes off better!) knowing that there are less points on the table to be caught with for the next race, despite a potential penalty being issued to him. The most significant disadvantages of Max initiating contact (both continuing but hindered/only Max retiring) are less likely so to initiate enough contact to send Lewis into a spin, potentially damaging his car whilst at the same time using that contact to turn the car and stay on track would be Max’s evidence, albeit farfetched, to suggest there was no wrongdoing. What Max didn’t account for was that Lewis would remove his car from the reaction force he was trying to create and in effect, demonstrate how dangerous Max’s manoeuvre was by the distance he had to go off track to avoid the incident. Lewis effectively outsmarted Max and for me, a retrospective penalty should be applied. Incidentally, there should be a right to request an investigation by a team if no decision is taken by the stewards, as there is in other sports. It shouldn’t have to come to this as there is so much data available, but this incident is just more proof that the stewards are inept and not fit for purpose if they can’t see what we all saw.

    1. @maestrointhesky you are so funny.

      (…)the way Max approach the corner was in a fashion where it seemed his intention was to initiate contact that would correct his RB trajectory and make the corner, at the same time as punting Lewis’ MB off(…)

      Theories like these say a lot about the people making a thing out of nothing.
      Mate that does not work. Iniating contact, even on btcc that is coin flip. I was going to say if you are lucky to punt off an opponent and get away unscathed you are going to get an heavy penalty but lets forget the penalty part as the stewards are non-newtonian.

      1. @maestrointhesky Thats an interesting take and I think its plausible given the state of championship. If they were even on points then it may have been a coin flip but given where max is in the championship and where he was on track, a punt that takes both out of the points when he was like to lose to hamilton otherwise, isn’t a bad option.

      2. Perhaps it is a coin flip, but it’s a lot easier to flip that coin if you are leading the championship by 20 odd points because if you both go out there are only 3 races to make that difference up. A crash taking both out would have been quite advantageous to Verstappen.

    2. Ridiculous interpretation.
      Do not try to make things up.

      1. Truth hurts everyone knows and hate to admit, esp people like you never stopping making baseless claims against Lewis when he is involved.

        1. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
          17th November 2021, 19:51

          You don’t need to look no further than Monza 2021. That ridiculous lunge (maybe not lunge) by Verstappen – he got what he wanted. They left Monza with his lead in tact. Yes he was penalised but he lived to fight off in next race.

    3. @maestrointhesky You are 100% right that Max was attempting to collide with Lewis. That much is clear and has been on every occasion that Lewis and Max have raced. Either Lewis saves the day or they collide horribly.

      You really don’t need to come up with how he was going to do that – it’s the only thing Max knows how to do. Lewis played him like a fiddle but he nearly lost his life a few times holding his ground against Max-crash!

      If the Mercedes’ didn’t have downforce issues, Lewis would be skating around Max over the race in a slower car. The wheel-to-wheel skill difference between Lewis is Max is as vast as the gap between Martin Brundle and Lionel Messi in soccer.

      1. @freelittlebirds You couldn’t possibly lay it on any thicker. Just wow.

        1. @robbie yes, but it’s 100% true. You shouldn’t be wowed by my statement – you should be wowed by Max’s inability to race hard.

          1. @freelittlebirds But it’s 100% false, but hey thank goodness we all have our own fingerprint or wouldn’t life be boring.

    4. Your right.

      On a Spanish website majority of the commentators said the same that Max was aiming for a collision

    5. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
      17th November 2021, 15:47

      @maestrointhesky Jolyon Palmer (youtube F1 channel) hinted at this when he said Verstappen wasn’t steering to make the corner, or even at the limit of steering angle given his overspeed, there was no real attempt to make the corner.

      1. Another driver explained this as preventing his tyres to block (ad the car getting out of control), because of the late braking, and thus in fact preventing a possible collision.

    6. I don’t agree Verstappen was trying to cause contact, I think his priority was staying ahead.

      1. @keithcollantine but would it have been possible to stay ahead without contact?

        I think one required the other.

        1. @freelittlebirds But a driver doesn’t really know that until he takes his car into the corner, as Max put in on the edge of grip, and you take it a millisecond at a time. For all he knew he was alternatively making LH back off. All Max was doing was hard defending and it is only those that chose to see it otherwise that insist he was trying for contact. All he was trying to do was to stay ahead. But hey, you’ve made your biased opinion of Max’s race craft clear, so there will be no convincing you of anything other than that Max was gunning for LH. The stewards saw it differently.

          1. @robbie I’m sorry but this is just convenient rationalization. I’m not sure if I should feel worse for Max for not being able to race or for you for being such a fanatical supporter.

            I think we all know Max inside-out by now. There’s never been a more predictable driver in F1 than he is.

        2. Yes, it would @freelittlebirds, it would have been possible to stay ahead without contact – Max did exactly that by forcing Hamilton the choice between going even wider and off the track or braking/backing off the throttle to avoid that contact since Hamilton had more to lose in a situation where neither would score as he was facing a 20+ point defecit to Max.

          I do agree with you that Max was almost certainly doing what he was doing on purpose and in control of his car.

      2. I agree – Max is always focussed on staying ahead or getting ahead. The problem is he doesn’t seem to think he has any responsibility for following the rules that might prevent him doing that – even if he or someone else might actually get hurt due to his actions. Weaving erratically, forcing others off track, sticking to a line that will almost definitely result in a crash if the other guy does not pull out; all of those are in his mentallity. Driving cleanly is not.

      3. I don’t agree that MV is out to cause a collision either, accidents are always 50:50 and you never know if you will come out of it the winner. It attracts heavy scrutiny by the stewards too, unwise.

        What I think MV was doing is really to do everything he can to prevent LH from overtaking him, in the process MV misjudged the braking point and ran wide. Not an excuse though, this is in itself penalty worthy and shame the stewards took no action (even without the forward facing facing camera!) as it’s clear as black and white that the move has crossed the sporting code 100%

    7. Broadsword to Danny Boy
      17th November 2021, 16:57

      “Nobody’s seems to have picked up on this but…”

      You don’t say! :-D

  3. I might be mistaken here, but didn’t change the stewards their minds on their own only a few minutes later while the race was still going?
    They only announced it to be investigated after the race which was quite common at the time so I don’t think it’s quite comparable…

    1. @roadrunner From memory, yes, I think that happened while the race was still on.
      That race, because of last & this season’s cancellations, feels like forever ago.

      1. Leclerc got his investigation reopened during the race. Verstappen in Brazil didn’t. Anticipating a 5s penalty would mean he would push harder to stay ahead of Bottas (10s ish gap after Lewis passed him) instead of bringing it home.

  4. Mercedes is making this appeal to put pressure on Max and Redbull to avoid a similiar incident. Mercedes know that with the new engine they have the upper hand in the next few races and they don’t want a similiar incident ending Hamilton’s race. Everyone with a level head knows that whether it is fair/unfair the result won’t change.

    1. This is my interpretation, too. Verstappen’s only defence in Brazil was to skirt (or cross) the line of acceptable driving, knowing that “let them race” is probably going to let him get away with it. Neutering that by the stewards being forced to recognise and act in the future puts Verstappen at a comparable disadvantage.

    2. No. Merc is making this appeal as a diversion tactic. The story they want no one talking about (and it’s working) is their blatantly illegal PU upgrades. Shovlin admitted the changes are not for reliability concerns. Also, the rules require parity between works and customer PUs, clearly that is not the case here.

      1. Because the FIA only has one guy and if he’s distracted looking at new video’s he cant investigate why a brand new engine produces more power than a used one? The FIA can’t look at more than one thing at once, is that your argument?

        1. Err, no. That is not my argument. If you simply want to accept the narrative being pushed by the most dishonest team on the grid, go right ahead.

      2. What Mercedes said is that their ICE is degrading much more than anticipated which transfers to power loss with added mileage. That’s the reason they changed it and took the corresponding penalty, that’s a perfectly legitimate practice and thing to do. You’re obviously talking about technical upgrades or modifications to the ICE which are only permitted for reliability reasons. But that doesn’t even apply here as a fresh ICE was fitted, not a revised or upgraded one.
        So apart from your wrong accusations of Mercedes using a “blatantly illegal PU” would you please elaborate on the other claim stating that there wasn’t parity between works and customer PUs?

        1. You lost me at “What Mercedes said”…

      3. @asherway. Are you forgetting when the RB engine was rejuvenated with “special oil” earlier in the season?

        1. I’m talking about Mercedes mate.

          1. “I’m talking about Mercedes mate”.. is this a diversion tactic?

      4. The PU can have as many upgrades as deemed necessary between the team and the FIA for reliability issues identified throughout the season. The engine cannot see an increase in power output. If the FIA have suspicions then they will investigate it.

        It is a well known fact that Merc have the party mode. That will not have been disabled, just a mode that shouldn’t be used for long term reliability issues. If the mode is selected during qualifying and thus parc ferme then that mode can and has to be used for the race as well. No cheating there.

        If all teams do not receive the same engine from MHPP they are in breach of FIA rules.

        All teams are allowed to change their engines with the respective grid penalty. It seems on this point maybe RBR themselves have missed a trick.

        So what is the blatantly illegal engine upgrade you are referring to?

        1. “FIA have suspicions then they will investigate it”

          The same FIA that stated, via R Brawn, that the sprint race was good as it allowed Hamilton to nullify his quali disqualification?

          If you really believe Merc supply equal PUs to their customers then good on you. The FIA look the other way (and have done since the parity rule was introduced) because when you don’t have a competitive sport at hand, the next best thing is to orchestrate the rewriting of the record book. “Oh we are watching history in the making, lucky us”

          1. RBR more so than MB got the Ferrari engine looked at in 2019. RBR and Ferrari can ask for the same to happen here if they have suspicions.

            The asking of questions goes on all the time, just ask Horner. He pretty much has to repeat himself at every GP.

          2. The same FIA that stated, via R Brawn

            I didn’t know that Brawn had moved to FIA :P

          3. @andyfromsandy – the main takeaway from that whole fiasco is the FIA admitting they can’t police these PUs. That was their excuse for not penalising Ferrari. Yet here we are assuming that the FIA have fully checked the Merc PU and every line of code held within…

      5. You know this, but the FIA dont. That comments says a lot about you.

        1. Thanks for the analysis champ.

          1. Well c’mon man offer up some insight into the blatant illegal engine upgrades.

      6. Broadsword to Danny Boy
        17th November 2021, 17:05

        Nonsense they have an engine designed to last between 6 and 8 GP’s depending on how hard its run, but if they turn the power up to ‘105%’ it may only last 3 or 4, but it gives them the edge in speed and acceleration, which appears what they may now be doing. Perfectly legit and if RB wish to do the same with their Honda engines then they are free to do so, if they can’t then that’s their design problem.
        F1 is an engineering competition as well as a driving one…

      7. My idea also. Hamilton had a 30kmh higher topspeed on the straights than Max. This was not the case at the start of the season. So what has happened? Maybe the Mercedes engine is more reliable, but it sure is a lot faster, too.

        1. @petterson unfortunately, the actual measured speed trap figures point towards that claimed “30kph higher” top speed as being utter fantasy.

          During qualifying, where the effects of slipstreaming were much lower, Verstappen recorded a maximum speed at the end of the main straight of 318.3kph, versus 327.5kph for Hamilton. The end of straight difference was therefore 9.2kph, which is nowhere near that supposed “30kph” claimed figure.

          Similarly, in the race, the maximum speed that Hamilton hit at the end of the main straight, with DRS and a slipstream, was 333.2kph, versus 318.0kph. Even in a situation where he was benefiting from both DRS and a slipstream, he still did not have a 30kph straight line speed advantage – it’s more like half that supposed value.

          If anything, what is noticeable is that Verstappen seems to have been hitting a slightly higher top speed around the finish line – his highest top speed was 321.7kph at the finish line – and then starting to lose speed towards the end of the straight.

          There is a suggestion that what was actually happening was that the Honda power unit was starting to de-rate towards the end of the straight – bear in mind that the run from Turn 12 to Turn 1 is one of the longest periods of full throttle usage on the calendar, with high demands on the MGU-H and relatively few opportunities for charging – resulting in the Red Bull cars losing a bit of speed by the end of the straight as their ERS started harvesting more energy.

          When you look at the data from the 2021 race weekend and compare it to 2019, what you notice is that most of the teams were generally setting similar top end speeds in 2021 to what they were in 2019. What is different is that Red Bull was consistently slower in a straight line in 2021 compared to 2019, when the teams last raced in Brazil – they were exceeding 320kph at the end of the straights back in 2019, but were generally around 5kph slower in 2021 to where they were in 2019. The Alpha Tauri cars were also noticeably slower on the straights as well, which again also points to it being a difference in the way in which the MGU-H on the Honda power unit operates.

          A more objective look at the data points to two facts – that the straight line speed differential between Hamilton and Verstappen was consistently far smaller than Horner claims it was, and instead of Mercedes being especially fast, it looks more like a case of Red Bull being unusually slow on the straights in Brazil.

    3. 100% my thoughts also! Pile the pressure on now as this is the critical moment in the championship. RB have been doing this all season with great results. Have MB been sandbagging all season one might think 😂

  5. My take is that “let them race” presidence should not be allowed to stand unopposed,
    otherwise Verstappen will just go at it again, and other drivers will be tempted to follow suite.

    Let them race should not mean, lead the car with the most to gain drive to collide with the faster car.

    1. other drivers will be tempted to follow suite

      All other drivers would have received an investigation and penalty for that move. Does anyone seriously doubt otherwise? FIA/Liberty wanted the racing between HAM and VER to continue for more laps at SP. That’s all. If Hamilton’s car had suffered any damage, the penalty would have been given.
      None of that is an issue for me. What is the issue is the near certainty that Verstappen will try the same again, risking or even causing a crash to prevent Hamilton from passing.

      1. @david-br I doubt other drivers, in this case, non-WDC contenders, would’ve got penalized for that same move.
        Unrealistic to think FIA would give driver status-based double standard treatment.

        1. ‘Unrealistic to think FIA would give driver status-based double standard treatment.’

          That has got to be, without a doubt, the funniest thing I have ever read on the site.

        2. I didn’t notice indication of sarcasm here – sure you meant this as sarcastic though.

      2. Ajaxn @david-br You’re both taking it too far when you suggest this somehow gives Max permission to do this again, let alone would other drivers think this is the way to go. I’m sure Max himself would say this was not an ideal corner for him, and do note, although I would understand if you didn’t care to absorb it, that Max himself said he was happy the stewards didn’t intervene and instead let them continue racing. I get the impression even Max knew he was pushing his luck, but the main point being all he was doing was racing hard. Only those that chose to see it otherwise out of bias would say that Max did this on purpose and that now that he has gotten away with it would do it again. I’m sure Max never wants to do what happened at that corner, but he will definitely never stop trying as hard as he can to defend his position and stay ahead.

        1. do note, although I would understand if you didn’t care to absorb it, that Max himself said he was happy the stewards didn’t intervene and instead let them continue racing

          I guess you mean Lewis @robbie
          As you’re happy guessing all of Max’s motives for him, I’ll do the same for Lewis and suggest that whatever he felt about the legitimacy of the move – which he called ‘crazy’ at the time – was outweighed by his pleasure in beating Max on track, eventually, and driving away. Of course he doesn’t want one of the greatest races of his career to have an asterisk by it, quoting him as complaining about Max Verstappen. No need. Does that mean the steward decision shouldn’t be questioned? No, to my mind it’s essential that it is. Imagine if Tsunoda had driven like that against, say Ricciardo. Do you really think they’d have said ‘we’re letting them race?’ He’d have been told to give the place ‘back’ (awkward as it was only in the process of being won), given a black-and-white flag, or, more likely, given a 5-second penalty, as per previous examples of very similar moves. There’s no way on earth Masi or the stewards would have let it past. I can’t believe you won’t admit that.

        2. Sikhumbuzo Khumalo
          17th November 2021, 19:58

          What specifically makes you “sure” that Max never wants to do what happened at that corner?

    2. “Let them race” can’t be applied when one of the two drivers involved has more to gain from a collision than the other.

  6. The decision not to investigate an incident such as this one should automatically grant the right to a team to ask for a review even without new data. With new data, it’s mandatory to allow review, even without a request, otherwise the incident never happened.

    Otherwise, the stewards can silence teams by choosing not to investigate certain incidents.

  7. All of us have gotten to comment, interested in what the other drivers think of the incident.

  8. very good investigative journalism.

    I don’t see the arguments the same though as two years ago:
    1) as mentioned above by @roadrunner, in Suzuka it was the stewards who reviewed and changed their own decision. And all of that before the race result was formalised;
    2) and I don’t see the forward camera angle as new evidence as it shows exactly what was to be expected from the camera images we could see (plus the ones they had) immediately after the incident. New videos are not new evidence if they show nothing new (otherwise they can reopen any incident based on any photo/video taken by any spectator).
    The new available video needs to show something different than seen/assumed before to be considered ‘new evidence’ IMO.

    1. 1) Masi himself indicated that new evidence could cause them to look again at the incident. So FIA themselves have given a green flag. He’d have to backtrack (though that is clearly no problem).
      2) The new evidence is irrelevant, and always has been, to proving anything because the evidence was always there: Verstappen went off track and blocked Hamilton from passing, forcing him off too. No proof of intent was or is necessary. Red Bull went to lengths, with Albon and Perez, to ‘prove’ Hamilton wouldn’t have made Copse corner at Silverstone (as though either driver is Hamilton-level, yet alone driving a Mercedes with those tyres and all the other dynamic factors). In this case we saw Verstappen ‘couldn’t’ make the corner. The only difference ‘new evidence’ makes is for FIA to have an excuse to make amends for their own baseless decision not to investigate the first time round.

      1. 1) it’s the steward’s decision; not Massi’s
        2) you seem to have missed the point I tried to make. (for something to be considered ‘new evidence’, it needs to be more than just being ‘new’ and being ‘evidence’; it needs to ‘show something new’ to be grounds to reopen a case/appeal.)

        1. Are you saying that the NEW cockpit footage from VER car is not new and not an evidence? The dude decided not to turn the car until he was at the curb! That is a slam dunk penalty and if the FIA decides otherwise we should riot. Please, please don’t let your bias blinds you. Just say the facts when presented to you. Max didn’t even lock up, he just didn’t turn his steering until after mid-corner!

          1. I appreciate your reply, but please read (and try to understand) my comment first!

            PS – (I have commented before that) I would have issued a penalty.
            I guess the bias is from you towards me :P

      2. Tbf, it’s possible both left braking too late, and both were travelling too fast to turn in tighter than they did. But I don’t think that’s what happened, and Mercedes will know if that was the case or not from the telemetry.

    2. Sorry, it was not during the race. the decision was made after.

      1. ?? not sure what you are referring to.
        In Suzuka the review was done after the race, but “before the race result was formalised”.

  9. Mercedes must know nothing will change though.

    It was clear as day from the footage that was provided to the stewards that Hamilton had the racing line and that Verstappen came from far behind by simply not braking. If they accept all that and even go as far as to claim that only when the two cars crash they should give their opinion, then why would different footage showing the exact same thing make Vitantonio Liuzzi et al change their mind and give his old team a penalty?

  10. Mark in Florida
    17th November 2021, 14:59

    Some of you are making a big deal out of what Max did. Yet if Lewis does it it’s brilliant driving. Ask Rosberg and other’s how they felt about Lewis giving them the shove over the curb. This is nothing new in driving. This has occured many times in the past and will happen again in the future. It’s called hard racing. Just because your guy didn’t come out in the lead right then don’t ask for more regulations. We have to many as it is in F1 already. This is not kindergarten.

    1. Exactly, Ham did this on many occasions to Rosberg and only when Nico refused to comply in Spa and they touched was their an outcry. Pathetically from Merc themselves!
      Ham and holier than thou Merc deserve it all right back at them.

    2. “Yet if Lewis does it it’s brilliant driving.”

      Nah, absolute drivel. At no point have we ever seen Hamilton 4 car widths off circuit while trying to ‘defend’ an overtake.

      1. ridiculous, in 13 years I have never seen Hamilton going off track like that to push someone else out to avoid being overtaken. He has squeezed other drivers out yes, with some on the limit manoeuvres, but never seen anything as desperate and clumsy as this one. I am actually gobsmacked that the stewards considered this not even worthy of an investigation. Absolutely zero consistency from them, unbelievable.

  11. Not saying he even did, as footage is not conclusive, but really can’t blame Max for squeezing Ham out wide.

    Ham got away with much worse in Silverstone and with an pathetic insignificant penalty. Is understandable Max is going to have little respect for a competitor who had zero respect for him!

    1. Hamilton got a penalty at Silverstone. What happened after the cars touched is called consequences and Masi goes to great lengths to tell us the stewards are not concerned with those.

    2. Max doesn’t show an ounce of respect to anyone, stewards included, and shows no sign of growing out of his petulant, overly-aggressive demeanour both on and off-track – particularly as RB encourage this siege mindset and make partisan excuses for everything he does. Trying to paint his dubious track record of never backing out as some kind of justified reaction to other drivers rightly pointing out what sort of driver he is is a circular argument that began with Max’s conduct in the first place.

  12. I just find it hard to believe that Masi and the stewards would have ‘forgotten’ or even ignored Max’s on-board footage that would have been available to them eventually. In other words, they had every opportunity to put the incident under investigation pending the viewing of all the footage, if indeed they felt the need for such. You know, interviewing the drivers for their take on it too, etc. They didn’t seem to feel the need to collect more data post-race and make a judgement at that time. So I just find it a bit strange that his in-car footage is ‘new evidence’ when it was always going to be available to the stewards at some point and they could have easily waited for it themselves and not been ‘presented’ it by Mercedes. That they haven’t tells me racing incident. The stewards and Masi surely would have been the first to eventually see Max’s on-board as soon as it was available, surely before Mercedes did, and we have heard nothing from them to say on their own that they are now taking the incident into the ‘needs further investigation’ zone. Perhaps it takes an ‘appeal’ i.e. the request for review, but to me it just seems like FIA have already seen all they needed to see or they themselves would have waited for more info.

  13. This is all irrelevent, three rules were clearly broken and the stewards said “no investigation necessary” because it’s “hard racing”.

    So it’s OK to break the rules if you are racing hard, all the drivers now know this, should be an interesting last three races.

    1. Correction, this only applies to Max…

  14. Stanislav Kozliakovsky
    17th November 2021, 16:44

    FIA will be in a hot water trying to “calm down” Max till the end of the season, but they have created this situation by themselves, not reacting on his “my way or crash” driving style for years by now.
    Right now Max and RB know that only sanctions similar to 1997 could stop them from winning the title by ramming one way or another in Lewis if there’s points at stake and FIA will be to scared to punish Max big time this year….

    1. I would not be surprised if the precedent of 1997 comes into play this year.

  15. It looks like TW feels quite confident about the advantage they have, so he allows themselves to spend time on this. Or could it be just the opposite and they feel a little desperate?

    From a racing standpoint, it would have been different if Lewis has remained on the track after he backed off and this let Max gain unfair advantage by going wide outside of the track. However, this didn’t happen and both went far off the track as they were carrying too much speed and missed the apex by a big margin. Therefore, it unlikely that there will be any further consequences unless some politics is involved that needs to guarantee the title to Merc.

    1. This logic keeps getting trotted out and makes no sense. Hamilton wouldn’t have left the track if he wasn’t avoiding Verstappen.

  16. Personally I think it would be a great shame if a penalty was applied retroactively.

    When I watched the race on Sunday my initial thought was that Verstappen had straightened the steering (a la Rosberg Austria 2016), however having watched the onboard I can see that is not the case and he is constantly turning left. I believe Mercedes argument will be that Verstappen was not turning as early or as hard left as he could, which is apparent. It is worth remembering though that he is defending his position so will not surrender it meekly. There is some argument that running the driver on the outside out of road is worthy of a penalty in itself; I started watching F1 when gravel traps would mean a predictable end for such a move and I don’t recall drivers of the previous generation (Webber, Button, Raikkonen etc) doing this and allowing space for the car on the outside. Personally I would like to see an end to this younger driver tactic of drifting wide and running your rival off the track as a means of defence.


    There are some people who would do well to remember that this is a tactic favoured by Lewis himself in the past, the most blatant example being turn one of the 2015 United States Grand Prix. In this case (as in Brazil last Sunday) there was no penalty as no contact was made, Rosberg bailing out and leaving the track.

    I understand the stewards have to look at each incident individually and disregard the ‘fairness’ of things, but it would be a great shame if Lewis could put Verstappen in the wall at Silverstone, receive a penalty that had no effect on his final finishing position and Verstappen was penalised for Brazil. Verstappen fans could rightly point to Silverstone as an ‘unfair’ situation whereby Lewis managed a 25-point swing in the championship, so for Max to receive no penalty here (having still lost the race and taken a 7-point hit to his championship margin) would be some form of karma. Lewis came out on top in both situations, and appears now to have a significant car advantage over Verstappen heading into the final three races. I believe the title is now Lewis’ to lose.

    I think the bottom line is the move was marginal but acceptable in such a titanic scrap between two truly great drivers and that is what I am enjoying watching; it is something F1 has sadly lacked over a great deal of the last decade. I don’t buy into this ‘Masi/FIA/Stewards have it in for Hamilton’ at all, as I simply don’t see any evidence of that.

    Slightly off-topic, the real thing ruining my enjoyment of this season is the bitterness among rival fan camps, and the fall from grace of Toto Wolff. I have to say he has come across as rather petulant and hypocritical of late and I have lost a great deal of respect for him.

    1. There are some people who would do well to remember that this is a tactic favoured by Lewis himself in the past, the most blatant example being turn one of the 2015 United States Grand Prix.

      That time Lewis kept his car completely in-bounds whilst forcing Rosberg wide (without Lewis himself going off-track by several car-widths). As far as I remember, there’s never been a single time where Lewis has edged another car off track whilst also leaving the track himself. So, whilst Lewis has indeed crowded drivers off-track previously, with respect to leaving the track himself, Lewis has not used this “tactic” that Verstappen used.

      In this case (as in Brazil last Sunday) there was no penalty as no contact was made

      Using a 2015 incident is no longer relevant. There was also no contact between Norris and Perez this season in Austria, yet Norris received a penalty for crowding Perez off-track. So clearly we should be applying 2021 precedents to this situation and not 2015 precedents.

  17. My point of view after 30 years of watching F1
    1. Nothing really happened
    2. This is not the first time in history we see hard title fights so nothing new
    3. Why is there a run off area in the first place, if there was gravel we won’t have these discussions
    4. The FIA is not going to do anything because nothing happened
    5. The FIA is inconsistent because the system sucks

    End of story start racing en keep it fair.

    1. @grapmg

      1. Nothing really happened

      Nothing happened because Lewis avoided it but this was a slam dunk collision for any other driver on the planet.

      2. This is not the first time in history we see hard title fights so nothing new

      Not quite – Schumacher didn’t slam into other drivers 5 times in a season everytime he was about to be overtaken…

      3. Why is there a run off area in the first place, if there was gravel we won’t have these discussions

      If there was gravel, Lewis would have been forced to stay on track and collide with Max as he bumped him off. More than likely, this would have ended Lewis’ race and been dangerous for him but Max may have been able to continue the race and even score points.

      4. The FIA is not going to do anything because nothing happened

      They have to review it – I agree with you, they’ll probably do nothing since it’s Max…

      5. The FIA is inconsistent because the system sucks

      Unfortunately, they are unfairly inconsistent. If I were a driver and I had to choose my name, I’d choose Max Verstappen over Lewis Hamilton simply because it carries a carte blanche with the FIA. I could get away with anything. I’d block everyone and triple defend and then call everyone at race direction a loser and clown ;-)

      1. Isn’t leclerc a better name to get away with penalties? Maybe having a manager that is the son of the fia president is handy!

      2. Bad example. Michael Shumacher 1994 was dsq two times excluded an other two races and in the last race collided with Hill in a desperate move. Still won the WDC. in that perspecrive the move of max in Brasil was nothing more than a polite gesture to Lewis. Conclusion nothing happened. And dont tell me Lewis is a saint they are racing drivers and that is what I want. Not to have it all settled behind a desk by stewards who decide who gets a penalty based on the roll of a dice

        1. @grapmg I’m not disagreeing about racing but you can race and not touch each other for 10 laps as Alonso and Hamilton did. Racing doesn’t mean shoving the other driver off every chance you have.

    2. 1: yes it did. Verstappen ran another car off the road.
      2: irrelevent
      3: mostly for MotoGP
      4: See answer to 1
      5: They are indeed inconsistent. This type of incident has been rightfully penalised in the past and didnt warrant an investigation now: inconsistent. However they are remarkably consistent in letting Max get away with dirty driving. That is rock solid consistency.

      1. I’m not denying max run hamilton off the track into the run off area. If you look at the incident and the past penalty’s he should probably have had a time penalty. The point I want to make is that if you look at it in a more historic context we have never seen time penaltys for these incidents. I don’t like the penalty system because it is inconsistent and bureaucratic. It takes away racing so do the run off area’s instead of gravel. The motogp is not to blame they don’t even race on this track. Your statement that the FIA favours Max is ridiculous. Maybe I’m old school buy I rather go back to the orginal F1 where racing was on track and you got a drive through or stop and go when something really happened

  18. The ‘they both went wide’ defense falls a bit flat when you realise that Hamilton’s choices were a) crash into Max or b) be pushed wide. Verstappen was nearly a full car length behind as they approached the corner, and shot past the apex to catch back up, giving Hamilton no opportunity to simply back out of it as suggested. He was already in the middle of a perfectly legitimate move that would’ve stayed within the bounds of the track, abut was forced to take avoiding action.

    1. agreed with your comment and will add that max knew he could initiate a crash and still be leading the championship even if both cars crashed out.
      the guy is a disgrace and the Brazillian crowd knew it..

  19. Fairness dictates he gets a penalty. There is no alternative.

    1. Fairness dictates he gets a penalty AT THE MOMENT of the offense, resulting in him ending 2nd still.

      1. I’m going to assume you mean promptly after the offense and not literally AT THE MOMENT, especially seeing as the deliberation process takes at least a few laps for contentious incidents, and on this occasion, they conveniently neglected to mention that the key camera angle wasn’t actually available to them at the time. The penalty that should have been have handed out would have been a 5 or 10 second penalty, but they instead opted to stay out of thing because it was the two title rivals and for the lead… this despite the fact that neither the drivers involved nor the result of the incident should be a factor.

        The bare minimum would be to state that they would investigate after the race; to dismiss the incident out of hand was neither fair nor justified given the precedent set in prior races of penalising moves that were even less blatant with regard to crowding an opponent of the track to deny and overtaking opportunity.

  20. The duty stewards on that day should never be allowed to steward again. its like they had a thing for mercedes and Hamilton..all weekend.. they even let redbull change wings under perc farme..on sunday morning..they are determined to stop 8th WDC title for Hamilton. this is how it looks like.

  21. The stewards are a mess. They contradict themselves every race weekend.
    They say a driver is supposed to be in control of his car at all times, yet a driver says he lost control of his car and almost caused an accident but is not investigated.
    They say a driver must leave room when a car is alongside, there was no room left even in the run off.
    When did hard racing enter the vocabulary of the stewards.
    The stewards have forgotten that cars have telemetry they transmit to the pit in real time.

    If nothing is done about this kind of driving then you can’t penalise other drivers who do even less of what Verstappen did.
    I’d prefere we go back to the pre- penalty era and let drivers force each other out as they see fit. We can’t have selective policing of infractions.

  22. I must be only fan here who actually enjoyed that particular battle, and the laps before and after it, right up to where Hamilton found a way past and vanished into the distance.

    Fair dinkum, everyone here whinging again. You lot are more predictable than Verstappen’s demeanour.

  23. Before they went out of the track Max was still in the lead, so basically it was LH’s own fault to squeeze in to that tight spot.

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