George Russell, Williams, Losail International Circuit, 2021

Verstappen deserved penalty for Hamilton incident – Russell

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen should have been given a penalty during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix for forcing Lewis Hamilton off the track, according to George Russell.

The Williams driver believes Verstappen deliberately braked too late when his rival tried to overtake him around the outside of Descida do Lago on lap four of Sunday’s race. Mercedes has petitioned the stewards to investigate the incident, which they did not look into at the time.

Russell, who will join Mercedes next year as Hamilton’s team mate, told Sky: “Whether there’ll be a penalty for it retrospectively, I don’t know. Should there have been a penalty at the time? I believe they should have been.

“Because you can’t just break 25 metres later than you do on every other lap and force the other guy off the road. That’s not fair racing. It’s harder racing but it’s not fair racing.”

However Daniel Ricciardo believes the fact Hamilton went on to win the race makes a penalty for Verstappen less likely.

“Ultimately Lewis won, he was the faster car and the better guy on the day, so I don’t think it changes anything in the championship now, which is probably best-case scenario,” said the McLaren driver. “I think if Max won the race, then I think they probably would have pushed harder with the protests and everything else.”

Ricciardo’s team mate Lando Norris, who was penalised for forcing Sergio Perez wide in the Austrian Grand Prix, said other drivers have been penalised for less.

“A lot of people have different views and conflicting views on it and so on, more like conflicting against what the actual outcome was, which was nothing,” said Norris. “There could have been some scenarios where people have got penalties for far less and less intentional. I might have been involved in a couple of them.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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61 comments on “Verstappen deserved penalty for Hamilton incident – Russell”

  1. Oh, young russell, that wont age well.
    Lets hope you will never such a common move while defending a race/championship win

    1. unlike wunderkind Max, Russell presents himself with dignity and is totally correct that Max should be punished.

      Why should Lewis always be held to an higher standard when others are allowed to break the rules?

      1. Yeah like when he crashed into Bottas and Hotmail in the helmet. True dignity indeed

        1. Hit him on the helmet

          1. That didn’t happen. He’s one of “our guys”, so no way, we’ll point fingers at them Dutchies etc. and pretend that Russel, Hamilton or Norris never did something unsporting or against the rules. Blah…

        2. Oh that racing incident kind of happening that happened?

  2. However Daniel Ricciardo believes the fact Hamilton went on to win the race makes a penalty for Verstappen less likely.

    I sincerely hope this isn’t the case, as these decisions shouldn’t be influenced by what occurs afterwards (i.e. whether or not Hamilton would have gone on to win the race).

    Even if we were to apply that logic, whilst the race may be over with Hamilton as the victor, the Championship is yet to conclude and that point swing could easily make all the difference.

    1. @Ninjenius Indeed. The eventual outcome is irrelevant.

      1. Totally agree – shame that comments here cannot be upvoted!!

        1. There is still no rule that prevents a championship contender’s (sister) team mate taking out the rival. You can write whatever rule you want, but it’s going to be hard to consistenty punish a teammate whose car was not involved in the crash at all.

          At its core, track racing is a dirty sport and the quest to make it appear fair is futile.

          1. If Max Verstappen’s sister gets involved then that really would be an unexpected twist in the championship!

  3. LOL! Gotta love Lando.

  4. Oh man Russell has already become Lewis’s b**ch? So sad, he had such promise and now his career is already done and dusted.

    1. When you’re in the company you tow the company line. Nothing career ending about it. I am guessing that there are 10 teams that thin Max should have been penalized, 6 teams that could care less, and 2 teams that think no penalty. Russell will be fine.

      1. No he won’t because Toto and Lewis are closer than Toto and his wife… He will be mauled to the tender leftover piece of meat that gets spat out by Toto just like Bottas.

        1. @w0o0dy I think there is a more long term plan for Russell at Merc. Lewis can’t go on forever. While he’s still doing incredibly well, he’s 36, and will be 37 before the start of next season, and 38 by the time his contract runs out. Russell will be 24 next season and still has a good 10 years ahead of him in the sport.

      2. @jimfromus I like your optimism with 17 teams on the grid ;-)

        I wish that were true. Although it would probably require the return of Pre-Qualifying. Cut to Ross Brawn trying to explain that having 3 sessions with Qualifying in the name in one weekend isn’t confusing…

    2. Who he will drive for next season is irrelevant when all he is saying is the truth

    3. I think George is going to do the same to Lewis as Lewis with Alonso…..

  5. I do enjoy the logic of
    We don’t want the championship decided by penalties which implies
    We don’t care if the championship is decided by breaking the rules to win.

    1. I don’t want the championship to be ended like Japan 1990.

  6. Mark in Florida
    18th November 2021, 18:52

    Right cause if we start retroactively doing penalties based on the results Hamilton would have to have received another penalty based on the severity of the wreck he caused at Silverstone. So we don’t want that.

    1. And he would have received penalty points on two more occasions for punting Albon off.

    2. Severity of outcome is not a factor according to the doofus in charge of the sport.

      1. True but severity off the foul itself could have been taken into account more than it did. That hit at Silverstone was nasty.

        1. so if Hamilton avoids Max who is on course to crash into him, then Max is less to blame for the incident ? the outcome shouldnt be considered because then it gets stupid.

        2. Woody that hit at Silverstone could have gone either way it could have been Lewis who lost a wheel and was out of the race, the underlying problem here is the fact that Max just will not or does not know how to yield a hopeless situation. The Sao-Paulo turn 4 incident is a perfect illustration, Max had already lost the place but by breaking so late that he would not ever have made the corner and (according to Martin Brudell in his comment) Max did not even turn in enough to attempt to make the apex of the corner. I dont have a problem with a racer running another racer off the track 1 or 2 meters but 15-20 meters? That is reckless and it is DANGEROUS, what was Max’s plan have Lewis turn into him and hopefully lose a wheel leaving Max in the race to increase the lead by 20+ points. Lets face it if Max takes Lewis out of the next 3 races even if he goes out himself he will be the champion and I think thats what he is aiming for, I would put money down that in one of the next 3 races Max takes Lewis out of the race, I have tried but the bookmaker will not take the bet because that is how certain they are its what Max is intending as was put on show at Sao-Paulo. The incident needs to be investigated properly and a retrospective penalty applied, ok it may move Max from 2nd to 3rd and lose him a couple of points BUT it would tell both of them to calm down and keep it on the track do we want to see the title decided by one driver being smeared all over the track and being badly injured? I am a Lewis fan but I dont even want that for Max I think he has a very bright future in F1 with multiple titles but he has to calm down, he will get his title if not this year then perhaps next year but he will be a champion he has the talent and the will for it.

          Reply moderated
        3. MV could have turned out to avoid contact. There was enough room to do that. He chose not to. LH had the skill to do that and avoided contact.

          Reply moderated
    3. Hamilton shouldn’t have had a penalty at all. Verstappen comes from all the way back and drive4s through Hamilton. The fact that Hamilton manages to avoid Verstappen’s lunge is irrelevant. Or should be with the “the outcome of the incident isn’t relevant” claims.

  7. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    18th November 2021, 18:56

    Guess Mercedes traded one lapdog for another…

    1. It’s Barry again, and he’s commenting on Mercedes.

      1. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
        18th November 2021, 20:15

        Living rent-free in your head bud :^)

        1. Pwah hahahahahahaha! YOU talking about living in peoples heads? You sleep with a Lewis Hamilton voodoo doll and set your alarm every hour to rip an appendage off and stick pins in!? Yet YOU are living in John’s head? God bless you my child.

  8. Lol did someone really think he would say something else LMAO. Why is this news? Next headline on racefans.net. Pierre Gasly doesn’t think Max deserves a penalty :)

    1. Valtteri Bottas thinks “that’s unfortunate”…

  9. Maybe he does, but the time of handing him a penalty is over. The case is closed by the stewards during the race and Mercedes didn’t object during the race. Now doing so afterwards defines the whole problem in modern F1 that penalty or no penalty is defined by race outcome which is unfair.

    For me it is getting harder to follow what is allowed during racing and what not. If I now see an action the first thing I think is, is this allowed? Instead of enjoying the fight. I sincerely hope no penalty just like in Silverstone.

    1. I would not rate Wolf’s words towards race control as “not objecting”. 😉
      Apart from that I agree. Get over it. Regrettably Wolf is proving he is just as childish as Horner.

  10. Stay out of this kiddo.

  11. They’re doing about 80 metres per second coming into T4, human reaction time is around 0.2s so at that speed you’d go about 15-20 metres.

    That’s about how much you’d run wide if you brake when you see the guy in front braking.

    Interesting.

    1. Not that interesting really, his job is to brake and go round the corner on the circuit, not wait until the other guy in a different car does it, at those speeds they can’t brake based on the other guy.

      Reply moderated
  12. Wow, a Merc driver that thinks a move against another Merc driver is worth a penalty. That’s newsworthy!

  13. However Daniel Ricciardo believes the fact Hamilton went on to win the race makes a penalty for Verstappen less likely.

    “Ultimately Lewis won, he was the faster car and the better guy on the day, so I don’t think it changes anything in the championship now, which is probably best-case scenario,” said the McLaren driver. “I think if Max won the race, then I think they probably would have pushed harder with the protests and everything else.”

    Like saying because no one got hurt, it is safe to go shooting around in public.

    If the stewards don’t give a reprimand of sorts even suspended, they might as well pack up and watch the races from home, leaving the drivers to decide things for themselves.

  14. Jail time for Max, the only solution. He cut the track.

  15. Mercedes’ request for a review is based on new evidence (the only permitted grounds for reviewing the stewards’ decision). The new evidence includes the forwards camera recording from car #33. It was not downloaded in Sao Paulo because the stewards had decided no further investigation was required once car #44 regained its position.

    In Sao Paulo they did have real-time telemetry which told them the line car #33 took on other laps, where car #33 applied the brakes on other laps and what g-force car #33 was experiencing to indicate whether it could have made a tighter turn. With all that evidence they concluded that it was not worthy of further investigation. I do not think the video changes that conclusively. Mercedes would also have had the telemetry at the time, and even Russell would have had access after he finished the race, because all the teams do. Mercedes (and Russell) must have some other evidence if they really think the outcome will change.

  16. The Title of this articl ….. uh, op-ed should be “Russell recites the statement Toto emailed to him ad verbum”.

    1. So ignoring that a number of other drivers have said its should have been a penalty……

  17. Mercedes need those three points, Daniel!! Not to mention Lewis needs every cut in that gap he can get.

  18. personally, i do not quite understand what is hard racing. but if you are racing, aren’t you suppose to do your whatever moves within the track limit? if your move is out of the track limit, shouldn’t there be a penalty? And we are talking about F1 here, where the drivers are very precision in placing their cars position on the track. so by going off track to make your opponent yield, is that poor driving or delibrate?

    Reply moderated
  19. The fact that lewis won should not be the reason they dont penalize verstappen if a penalty is deserved. A penalty is deserved for braking a rule. And not dependentant on the outcome

  20. I think Russell is spot on. Max braked 10 meters later than usual in order to defend the corner against Lewis. So late in fact, that Max was unable to make the corner and left the track on corner exit.

    Lewis was forced to abandon his entry into the corner in order to avoid a collision which also resulted in him being forced off the track.

    It was Max’s over ambitious defence of the corner which caused both drivers to leave the circuit.

    It was Max’s unrealistic defensive move (because he was unable to stay on the track) ensured that his track position wasn’t lost.

    It cannot be right that forcing an opponent off the track to maintain position can occur without penalty!

    Reply moderated
  21. Matija Majdanac
    19th November 2021, 9:24

    Not even in a Merc seat yet and already doing the dirty work for Lewis. If this keeps going then race winners should be declared after qualifying, when did F1 become a pot of whiners, it is tough sport and hard racing, leave it like that!

    1. dirty work? for telling the truth?

  22. Already a sucker Russel ?

    Reply moderated
    1. No, Enemy “alex” is the sucker and he still is for the constant namecalling that happened after the Imola racing incident.

      by the way i destroyed alex so many times

  23. Everyone’s been talking about it as a ‘forcing off the track’ offence, but perhaps consider it another way, as ‘leaving the track and gaining an advantage’.

    If a driver gains a position or doesn’t lose a position by going off the track, that’s usually a penalty or at least an instruction to give the place up. Whilst that’s usually cutting a corner, it rather looks to me as though in this case Max kept his position by leaving the track.

    Reply moderated
  24. So, what kind of penalty other than monetary or driving points could they give VER and maintain the overall battle fair since for taking VER out of the race at 250km/h in Silverstone HAM only received 10s?? 1s penalty at max?

    1. No, probably 5s if it was during the race. So now 1 penalty point on his license should do the trick.

  25. Well George has done his homework from the Lauda / Marko school of motor mouthing !

    Reply moderated
  26. Max didn’t win Brazil, that’s it.

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