Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Interlagos, 2021

Why drivers backed Hamilton’s call for clarity after meeting over Verstappen incident

2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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The decision of the Interlagos stewards not to penalise Max Verstappen for his controversial lap 48 incident with Lewis Hamilton caused consternation among their rivals.

Verstappen was overtaken on his outside by Hamilton approaching Descida do Lago, but braked from a long distance back and ran off the circuit, taking his rival with him, keeping the position. To widespread surprise not only was Verstappen allowed to keep his place but the stewards declined even to investigate the incident.

On Friday in Qatar the stewards spurned an opportunity to reconsider the hotly-disputed decision, which was brought about by Mercedes proffering previously unseen onboard footage from Verstappen’s car as new evidence. With that, the hope they would publicly clarify the call was gone.

However the matter was raised by many drivers during their regular briefing with FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, held on Friday evening in Qatar, which lasted over an hour. Unsurprisingly, the two championship contenders subsequently gave very different accounts of what was discussed.

Verstappen and Hamilton’s differences were clear
Verstappen gave the impression of productive session. He said the meeting was “all about sharing their opinions, and then the FIA explaining their process of thought behind it.” The Red Bull driver felt “we came a long way, it was a very long briefing, I think at the end it was pretty clear.”

Hamilton flatly contradicted Verstappen’s claim, and indicated their rivals felt the discussion failed to clarify a decision which contradicted past precedents, creating confusion over what is deemed fair racing. “No, it’s not clear,” Hamilton insisted. “Every driver, except for Max, was asking just for clarity. Most drivers were asking for clarity, but it wasn’t very clear.

“It’s still not clear what the limits of the track are. It’s clearly not the white line anymore, when overtaking. But we just go for it. We just ask for consistency.” Decisions “could be different with different stewards, is what they said” Hamilton added.

At this point Verstappen expressed his displeasure that the contents of the meeting were being shared publicly. “We discuss these kind of things and they don’t need to go to the media,” he said.

“We talk to the experts and I think it’s more important that we discuss these things with the experts and not just throw things around on social media for nothing.”

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But many of their rivals were quite happy to air their views on the discussion. Several of them shared Hamilton’s view that the meeting had failed to clarify an important area of the regulations.

“I don’t think we got really an explanation like what we actually can do, or not,” said Valtteri Bottas. The Mercedes driver felt the discussion at least meant drivers “know what Lewis and Max ended up having in Brazil, that is okay”. But others didn’t even feel that much had been established.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021
“They are always right” – Alonso
That included some drivers with no connection to the title contenders. Fernando Alonso, who has repeatedly aired grievances of his own over stewards’ decisions this year, reiterated his view that there are too many grey areas in the rules. “I think we are all agreed on that we need more consistency,” he said.

“We need black and white rules because when they are grey sometimes you feel you are benefiting from them and sometimes you’ve been the idiot on track again. So it’s better when it’s black and white.

“Let’s see if we can improve altogether. I think it’s not only an FIA issue, it’s drivers, teams, FIA, all we need to work together to have better rules.”

Justifications for the Verstappen decision had been given, said Alonso, but drivers had highlighted inconsistencies with past calls. “Obviously when they explain it they say why they do this and with the reason. So, okay, understandable. But we are all saying ‘but why other times you thought the opposite?’

“But they are always right,” he added, laughing: “That is the problem.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr believes the matter is far from settled, and expects more discussions over this fundamental aspect of the racing rules.

“It looks like over the winter there’s going to be some more deep conversations about how we go racing as a sport, if the car in the inside should leave space to the car on the outside, in any case or not,” said the Ferrari driver.

“We need to rethink a bit the whole approach because the way it’s been working this year, I think it’s pretty clear that the drivers really don’t fully understand what is going to happen depending on what you do.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Losail International Circuit, 2021
“I need to know if I can push the car outside wide” – Sainz
A comparable case from the Austrian Grand Prix, where Lando Norris was given a five-second time penalty after being ruled to have forced Sergio Perez wide into a gravel trap, was highlighted as an example of how the Verstappen decision contradicted past rulings of the stewards.

“Let’s see [in the final races], hopefully there are not too many more episodes like this, like what happened in Brazil or in Austria to the contrary, and see if we can improve as a sport for next year,” Sainz said.

“We need to know, I need to know if I can push the car on the outside wide, and what am I going to get if I do so,” he continued. “Do you have a warning coming if you do it once? Do you have actually a possibility to do it a couple of times and then you get a warning and then you can do it a fourth time? Are you going to get a penalty straight away, like in Austria?

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“This is what we don’t know as a sport or as drivers. We were seeking for answers. We more or less got some from Michael, but we know that sometimes Michael and stewards are not always exactly the same. So we will see going into next year. I think next year we should do a good step. These last three races we will see.”

Hamilton “avoided a crash”, said Tsunoda
Norris said the meeting led him to conclude the reason Verstappen went unpunished in Brazil, while he was penalised in Austria, was that the run-off at Interlagos was asphalt rather than gravel. The McLaren driver felt it was unfair to penalise him because there happened to be a gravel bed where Perez went wide in Austria, a view Sainz agreed with.

“In my humble opinion as a racing driver, it should be no difference because [of the] outside of the track,” he said. “We’re always going to have different run-off areas and we should try, for the fans to understand the sport, for the drivers to understand the racing, it shouldn’t [be affected by] what’s on the other side of the kerb.”

Others pointed out Hamilton used the asphalt run-off to avoid a collision with Verstappen. “Lewis was watching the mirror and avoided a crash,” pointed out Yuki Tsunoda, who was penalised after a tangle with Lance Stroll in the same race.

“If he was not looking, like Stroll, definitely they would have had a crash. And they didn’t give any penalty and I get 10 seconds penalty, which is a massive difference, so it’s quite inconsistent, to be honest.”

Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Report: Stewards now accept Stroll’s Styrian GP pass wasn’t legal – Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo, said the issue “still seems unclear” following the meeting. However he felt another incident involving the Ferrari drivers in Brazil was comparable to the Verstappen-Hamilton encounter.

“In a way they were consistent with two of the same moves in Brazil, with Charles [Leclerc] and Carlos, and Max and Lewis. They didn’t give penalties or make them swap positions for those two. Whether that was right or wrong, at least they showed consistency in two very, very similar incidents.”

He compared the Interlagos incidents to Stroll forcing him off in Austria last year. His rival gained the position and the stewards allowed him to keep it, but a subsequent meeting with Masi led Ricciardo to believe they later changed their minds over the decision.

“I think the fact that he attempted the past and didn’t make it – he went off track and that’s not a pass,” said Ricciardo. “So there’s no way someone should be able to keep a position by lunging from miles back and not stay on-track.

“Now if he stayed on track and I went off, that’s hard racing, but that’s fair. He still made the corner and it’s my fault for leaving the door open. But if I had less awareness and just turned in on him, then we have a crash and he probably is getting a penalty and it’s maybe the same as the situations [in Interlagos].”

Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez also wants more consistency and clarity from the stewards. “Just the same penalties throughout, you know, no difference from one race or the other,” he said.

“What we’ve been trying to push is just to have more consistency out there, which is obviously very hard because every circuit is very different.”

Lando Norris, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Report: Norris believes stewards let Verstappen force Hamilton wide because run-off wasn’t gravel
Masi acknowledged there had been disagreement over the call, but said “it’s been made clear to them what is expected.”

“I think the other part is some of them agree, some of them disagree, and always with each and every one of them they have agreed and disagreed all the way through. We’ve given them some overall guidance but also been very clear on the fact that each and every case will be judged on its merits.”

He confirmed the question of when drivers were allowed to force rivals wide would be influenced by the type of run-off at the corner. “You need to look at the whole situation and scenario: weather, run-off et cetera, et cetera,” said Masi.

However, as the race director, the ultimate question of what constitutes a legal move rests not in Masi’s hands, but the stewards’. As the Verstappen incident was not investigated, there was no explanation from the stewards to indicate why they waved ‘play on’.

For example, did they feel Hamilton had over-committed to the corner and wasn’t going to make it whatever Verstappen did? “I don’t know,” said Masi, “I can’t give you the exact consideration. I wasn’t sitting in there when they made that decision. I was sitting in the first part of the right of review as an observer but nothing more.”

A legal move – if the run-off’s right?
“There is a panel of independent stewards,” he explained. “Contrary to what many people think, I’m not the one sitting there as judge and jury, we have a panel of stewards that review each and every incident, and then as we saw last weekend, they determine if it’s worthy of an investigation. If they do, it gets investigated and then determine if there’s a breach or not a breach.”

The decision not even to investigate the incident left a cloud of uncertainty over the racing rules which Friday’s meeting apparently did little to dissipate, despite Verstappen’s insistence otherwise.

The Losail International Circuit was not expected to produce much wheel-to-wheel racing, and so it proved. The Interlagos case which puzzled so many drivers was not tested.

The question now is whether it will be over the final rounds of the season, and even play a role in deciding the finely-poised championship fight.

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2021 Qatar Grand Prix

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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...
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...

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97 comments on “Why drivers backed Hamilton’s call for clarity after meeting over Verstappen incident”

  1. Remember in 2017 when the F1 youtube channel released some footage from inside the drivers briefing? I’d love to see that again. It showed Charlie at his best. So respectful, always saying “we’ll have another look at that”. Never refuting anyone, just open to discussion.

    I’m not a fan of Masi. And I doubt the meetings are as peaceful at those with Charlie…

    1. @fer-no65 I also liked those, but unfortunately, filming a briefing, even a single one, again is unlikely because allegedly or at least people claim drivers were more unwilling to open up on matters because of being filmed, although a few did so anyway.

      1. I agree that they shouldnt broadcast the meeting, but at least share the jist of what was discussed. That way fans know, otherwise, like Brazil, theyre all watching and confused. But the whole stewarding situation needs to be fixed. It should be consistent from race to race, and clearly communicated, and in a reasonable time. That the Ferrari and McLaren mechanics were in the wrong spots on the grid just before Martin’s gridwalk shows how much of a farce it can become.

        1. I think the stewarding situation IS fixed. Thats the problem.

    2. no.65 charlie was great because he made sure penalties was handled out fairly (if you dismiss the 2008 clown show) and kept the lottery randomness and external meddling to a minimum(the fixed fixed Maldonado 2012 Spanish GP race win was all on bernie who arranged it as a present for Frank Williams 70th birthday) but what is unforgivable was his botched handling of the 2014 Japanese GP, the unnecessary delay to race start and not ordering a safety car out when Sutil crashed towards the end of the race and the resulting tragedy of Jules can never be forgiven imo.

      Regarding Masi, hes hopeless! why does Liberty think pit to steward radio was a smart idea? He sounds like hes suffering from a panic attack when he talks, not exactly confidence inspiring.

      I guess the questionable stewarding is down to the new US owners Liberty medias influence who want to “Americanize” the sport to make the drivers championship as close as possible with questionable stewarding and more random Mario kart outcomes to create more ‘drama’ and controversy in hopes to bring in more casual viewers to F1 and ultimately increase their bottom line.
      skys owner Comcast who are the official broadcast partner will love this too because more casuals will sign up to watch the “drama” as soulless corporate bootlickers like david croft will gleefully pimp sky Q , sky glass , sky red button plus “brought to you by amazon aws” between artificially trying to stir up the next controversy.

      TL;DR

      Liberty has made great changes to F1 post dinosaur bernie CVC ownership especially on the media and accessibility side but STOP the dumbing down down of F1 with fake reddit tier astoturfed hollywood drama and meddling with the sport to create wwe style suspense when it isn’t needed.

      1. JOAQUIN F CORREA
        26th November 2021, 8:02

        “soulless corporate bootlickers like david croft…” I am glad someone said it. I hate him with a passion.

    3. Is it just me or has this site lost alot impartiality lately? Poor journalism…..

      1. I agree, and worse. Some frazes stimulate toxic topics and toxic followers.
        Not a good development.

    4. I miss Charlie Whiting. And I’ll never forget what Michael Masi did at the qualifying session at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix. Masi will remember that on his dismissal.

      Reply moderated
    5. Hopefully they release those again….my understanding is few drivers namley Romain Grosjean who headed the drivers assoc were displeases with it being published even years later as it made some drivers look bad…they need to publish them again….even if years later

  2. It appears that the only solution is for the drivers and teams to meet with the stewards before each race and confirm what that group of stewards will and won’t allow. If the stewards rule contrary to what they said in the meeting, then an appeal can be submitted. I also think that meeting should be recorded and shared with the public pre-race so we all know what the rules are for that particular race.

    1. Maybe after they show the three pirelli tires sky should introduce the three stewards and then post up their judicial records. AWS can give a likelihood of them issuing any penalties.

      1. That is an awesome idea. Finally a good use for AWS graphics.

    2. @velocityboy You’d think they have some sort of set of rules which need to be applied similarly by all stewards.

      Yet somehow the stewards think they can make up their own rules. Or just don’t know which rules exist.

      I remember Hill once claiming that the only penalty they could give Schumacher in Monaco was a 20 second penalty. Which dropped Schumacher back by a lot of places. When in fact they can give position drops and time penalties of whatever number they deem fit and could have simply placed Schumacher behind Alonso.

  3. There was a conversation between Horner and Masi. Does Masi communicate that to the stewards or can they hear it?

    Because that can affect the outcome more than anything as can the delivery. Isn’t Masi literally in the same room as the stewards sitting next to them?

    1. @freelittlebirds I doubt they’re in the same room, i.e., the people around Masi when he gets screentime would be the stewards, although I could be wrong.

      1. I think the reason why no penalty was given was that the incident involved the title contenders in one of the last few races and the stewards didn’t want to be seen as affecting the title by a decision off the track.
        If a non-contender had done that to Hamilton (or Verstappen),or if the incident had been in the first 17 races or so, the transgressor would have been duly penalized.

        Reply moderated
    2. I think it was between Jonathon Wheatley – who job during the race is to guess what Horner would say and impinge that on Masi before he gets a thought of his own.

      Reply moderated
  4. “No, it’s not clear,” Hamilton insisted. “Every driver, except for Max, was asking just for clarity. Most drivers were asking for clarity, but it wasn’t very clear.

    Max is playing his game here, just like Lewis was. The problem is that big media will naively portrait only one of them as solely fighting for his interests and the other in a “noble mission” of fighting for the “good of the sport”. And now Alonso became some kind of soap opera good guy just because his point lies on Wolffie and Hammy’s side, but he wasn’t seen as so benevolent back then in Sochi, Instanbul and COTA controversies. Of course it would be a stretch to say that British media was always against Fernando on those questions, but they made it clear anytime they could that he was a racer putting his interests above anything else, and only after defending stewarding consistency for everybody. As for Lewis, there’s still a veil of selfless “social justice” around him, such beleif which doesn’t survive even against the most limited scrutiny.
    Of course most drivers want clarity about the rules, and for sure they’re not clear enough for everyone to understand. But to imply that the rules aren’t consistent simply is not the only legitimate point of view and never was. In fact it became the only defensible stance everywhere on worldwide F1 media only when Mercedes screamed it out after feeling so aggravated by the stewarding, so what a “coincidence”!

    Reply moderated
  5. I’m convinced what this boils down to is that at that particular moment for that particular incident the stewards decided to let them race. These two particular drivers. As they race for the titles. I don’t see any need to rewrite the rule book, nor to ask for more clarity than that. Masi said it on the radio right after it happened. Let them race. Why have others been penalized for something similar earlier in the season? Because they weren’t racing for the Championships with only a few races remaining. Sometimes blokes have gotten away with things just because it was in the first few corners of the first lap. That’s a known unwritten rule, isn’t it? They have a little leeway off the grid start. That sound too inconsistent? Welcome to F1. Things such as this have happened for decades. Just You Tube Villeneuve/Arnoux.

    My advice to the drivers would be to still go by the rule book as it stands, and don’t assume that you can just take things into your own hands, just because Max and LH had their incident. Don’t assume some precedent has been set. I doubt even Max thinks he can keep moving wide off the track with someone beside him and expect the same ruling again. I doubt Max ever really wants to do this at all. It was two blokes fighting for the Championships who went into a corner very hot, came out unscathed, and this is what happened. And it was allowed this one time for the sake of Let Them Race. Imho if the Championship has to end up interfered with and/or decided in the stewards’ room, this was not the incident upon which they needed to dwell.

    1. That’s garbage though. That’s not rules, that’s just the whim of whoever happens to be steward that day. Everyone – drivers, teams, fans – should push back against this.

      This is akin to the argument of not wanting the race/championship to be “decided by penalties” – which is just another way of saying cheating is fine as long as you win.

      The lack of critical thought that’s gone into this topic – particularly from a certain team principle – is astonishing. Although in his case, I’m pretty sure it’s just bare faced lying to gain an advantage.

      1. @fluxsource Well, it happened. The stewards collectively made a decision, and Masi had a chance to review it once Mercedes requested that, and that was denied as well.

        This was hardly ‘cheating’ as I have explained that we see license with this sort of thing taken all the time, such as during race starts.

        Not sure what TP is ‘lying’ as this is about two drivers and their interaction at a corner and how the stewards dealt with it.

        1. @robbie I thought it was the stewards who refused to review it. But regardless – just because some poor decision making has enabled the cheating doesn’t change the fact that it’s cheating. Verstappen quite clearly broke the rules, and it wasn’t even investigated. That’s broken governance – and the positions of those involved in the championship is not relevant. If you’re not going to race to an agreed set of rules, then it’s no longer racing.

          1. Both left the track, so both should be penalised. No use in doing that.

          2. Let’s remember that contrary to what erikje wrote, Hamilton went wide only to avoid a collision with Verstappen. That’s what Tsunoda acknowledges, and he can’t be accused of bias toward Hamilton, having stated publicly that he wants Verstappen to win.
            Max Forced Lewis off track.

    2. @robbie Hmmm, so it wasn’t a legit move then, but the stewards allowed it because they (‘we’) wanted the show? A bit like disallowing a perfectly good last minute winning goal in the 95th minute of the World Cup because FIFA thinks the watching millions want to see extra time! I don’t mind the decision too much because I think you’re right and, indeed, Masi and the stewards (a) saw Hamilton’s car didn’t pick up damage, (b) like all of us assumed Hamilton was faster and would be able to try for another pass. Kind of cynical but I get it. However that cynicism inevitably generates confusion and inconsistency. Again, to be cynical, perhaps not something FIA and Liberty find too objectionable.

      1. @david-br Fair comment. I do think it was a legit move in the context of hard racing, for the moment, given the Championship context. If one wants to take the approach that Max was simply trying to drive LH off the track, I just don’t buy that, and for sure that is not legit. I think he was ‘simply’ trying to keep LH behind, and I think that is how the stewards saw it too. Not done in an ideal way. Not done the way Max himself would prefer. Just not the incident that should play a role in deciding the Championship, is how I see the stewards lack of call. Confusing and inconsistent? Sure. But rocket science? I don’t think so. Again…Villeneuve/Arnoux. At some point an incident is just more enthralling for the sake of hard racing than needs be interfered with for Championships. Yeah…for the show. Sports is entertainment as well as a show, or we wouldn’t watch sports.

        1. @robbie Where we differ is that I think it was entirely deliberate (controlled) by Max, so, yes, he did intend to drive Hamilton (and himself) off track by braking too later – basically the assessment of Driver61, for example. In my view, there’s just no way Max was out of control of that car. His own argument was that he was late on the brakes (‘hard racing’) so it was ‘safer’ to go off. Of course he also included Lewis in that assessment of braking late/hard racing, but I think that’s just clearly convenient – Hamilton could and would have made the corner. So was the move legitimate? If I’m right, no. Was it better to see the positions ‘resolved’ on-track without steward intervention? For the race/championship, yes. And I’m sure Hamilton preferred relishing the eventual pass more than having to discuss the merits of a Max penalty. But for Formula 1 going on? We’ll see I guess. It seems to me that clarification of racing rules will have to come.

          1. If you think this was deliberate then Silverstone, with the signature Hamilton move was criminal.
            Be careful what you wish for.

          2. erikje, as ridiculous as ever.

          3. Erik, Didnt you just comment above about “Toxic comments and commenters”? Ironic, no?

    3. Drivers start racing for the championship at the beginning of the season. Driver (A) and (B) are later on fighting for the championship. If driver (A) get penalised at race 3 and loses points, then driver (B) doesn’t get penalised at race 17 for the same incident then the stewards have influenced the championship.
      All drivers are fighting for their finishing position, the rules should be the same for all.

      1. Exactly; the provirus view is for those with short memories that only go back a couple of races.

        Reply moderated
    4. @Robbie So what would they have done if Hamilton picked up a puncture after being run 25m off track?

      1. @scbriml I think Max would have been penalized.

        1. Which is then inconsistent with Masi’s own rule of “the outcome does not affect the penalty”. You see the problem?

          Reply moderated
          1. I think you mis-understand Masi’s meaning of ‘outcome’.

            Afterall the ‘outcome’ of max braking so late was that he never made the corner and ran off track. Maybe that shouldn’t be a consideration either.

    5. Robbie, this is by far the best verbalisation of this situation that i have read. Totally agree with you.

    1. This one is better. Lewis fan on repeat.
      https://youtu.be/6VF5P7qLaEQ

  6. I don’t really know why we haven’t heard some sort of explanation. The only one I can think of is that they think HAM was heading off-track anyway, which would be debatable in itself, but at least that would preserve consistency if they gave that as their reason.

    Part of me thinks that this was a decision for the show. Max vs Lewis is always box office, and they didn’t want to kill off the battle by dishing out time penalties.

    If it is a case, as was said at the time, of “letting them race”, then it’s a bad time to do it. With all the talk lately of title-deciding accidents, for the rule makers to just wave off contentious incidents without investigation or reason doesn’t do much to discourage any desperate driving. I’ve wondered for many years whether the FIA would have the guts to strip a driver of the title for deliberate accidents; off the back of this I suspect not.

  7. VER has clearly shown that he cannot be overtaken into a corner — inside (Silverstone) or outside (Brazil) or combination (Italy). So, if VER is leading or equal in points to HAM going into the last race, he wouldn’t hesitate to take each other out. FIA would really stoop to any level to get a new driver’s champion. So, I really hope we go into the last race with HAM leading the WDC points.

    1. These kind of toxic reactions are called for by these kind of articles.
      Shame!

      1. I dont consider the last reply to be toxic. Verstappen is driving to the numbers. If he can win by crashing into them so they don’t over take, or take points from him, then in his book that is entirely fair. If he is ahead, and can win the championship by taking out a faster rival, then he will.

        You call this the shumacher factor, since there’s already that presidence for this. It would be interesting to learn what the FIA did back in the day when Shumacher crashed into his rival to win the championship, and attempted the same thing again when Jacques Villeneuve beat him to win the championship.

        This isn’t me being toxic, just being a realist, even if that means considering the motives of those who’ll bend the rules.

        1. How do you know hamilton wouldn’t do that? He hasn’t found himself in that position, has he? In 2016 it was rosberg being ahead in the championship at the last race.

          1. Sure, HAM could do it as well. But, my *opinion* is that VER is more likely to do something stupid to get his first WDC than HAM to get his 8th. Ideally, it would be good going into the last race, whichever driver finishes ahead gets the title. But, given the points situation that cannot happen.

          2. He is doing it all the time, no need to be down to the wire for the title. T-boning the opposition wrecking their car while going ahead unharmed is pretty hard to do but over the years he has mastered it, maybe the only thing he is really good at.

        2. And Hamilton played the numbers at Silverstone and Bottas played the bowling ball in Hungary…..

          1. Hamilton was sufficiently enough alongside at the braking point.

  8. Interestingly there are two cases at hand here.
    Because the stewards decided there was no incident there is nothing to clarify. Even Lewis, the master moaner, did not saw it as an incident. Only after influenced by his team he changed perspective.
    The second issue is the inconsistencies of stewarding. We never will find a common ground as long as there are different stewards at different races.
    So it will always rules in context of the situation (let them race) or the interpretation (mostly clouded by social media after the fact).
    Mercedes used a presentation of 2,5hours to try to get a penalty for the non incident.
    The fact is, nothing happened no contact and no advantage. They regained in the same order they both left the track.
    Lots of drivers, like Alonso and ricciardo (ignored in the colored articles about the non incident on this site) shared the let them race attitude. But still call for consistent stewarding. There is no conflict between those two approaches.

    1. No advantage? You were on a roll until that.

    2. Of course, if Hamilton had driven Verstappen 25m off track and Verstappen picked up a puncture that cost him the WDC, you’d be fine with that. Lol

      1. Something like putting a driver in the wall with +300kph.
        Criminal intent… The Hamilton move, his signature action to get rid off the competition.

  9. I’d like to know who’s pulling the strings here, because Masi cannot be as inept as he’s coming across. To me it smack’s of FOM/Liberty driving their entertainment agenda over FIA officials enforcing regulations. I hate how Masi continues to vacillate and deflect, and stewards remain unaccountable and permitted to make arbitrary decisions, and don’t start me on the pit wall lobbying. I can’t now watch a race weekend without thinking i may not know the result for a day or two should there be an incident.

  10. I think drivers should question what is acceptable and unacceptable. I think what Max did in Brazil was a sure fire penalty as he clearly drove into the corner expecting to drive both him and Lewis off course. Lewis was ahead going into the braking zone so it should have been up to Max to ensure that he raced him clean and fair. Looked like Lewis expected the challenge from Max and gave sufficient room (racing Max clean and fair). I think many have lost sight as to what clean and fair racing looks like. Max’s move is what a petulant child would do when they are not getting their way. We saw some hard and clean racing in the first two corners at several point in Qatar this past weekend. That should be the standard, not what Max did to Lewis in Brazil and what Lewis did to Max in Silverstone.

  11. Norris’s comparison fails because had gravel been there, Verstappen would have been off on it too. So he’d have tried pushing Hamilton out while staying on – just as he did with Perez. Whether that’s a fair move or not is another issue.

    1. @david-br I don’t think gravel outside T4 at Interlagos would have changed Verstappen’s driving. It would have probably made him more determined that they both end up out there!

      1. @scbriml It’s possible. However deliberately taking out Hamilton to win the title could tarnish Verstappen’s name forever. Is it worth it? Could he help himself? I don’t think even he could answer that one. According to Ross Brawn, Schumacher, after trying to take out Villeneuve in the 1997 finale, only recognized he’d done the move ‘deliberately’ some time after. In fact, if you look at the Jerez incident, it’s far less blatant than Verstappen’s block of Hamilton! Schumacher was disqualified from the championship and he wasn’t even successful in the attempted block. So that could be a championship contender’s fate if they attempt the same – go down in Formula 1 history as a deeply questionable character.

        On the other hand, Verstappen’s block at Interlagos was so wildly obvious – yet approved by FIA – I kind of wonder whether a Schumacher Jerez 1997 type incident would be punished this time round, successful or otherwise? It’s like we’re living Formula 1 Fake News now where we asked to disbelieve what we can plainly see on track. That’s a worrying precedent.

        1. @david-br I’m far from convinced that Verstappen has developed as a driver to the point where he can “see the bigger picture”, where it’s possible to lose a battle but still win the war. He only drives one way, regardless of the situation. Rightly or wrongly it’s served him well, but sooner or later it will bite him in the proverbial.

          I do believe if presented with the opportunity in the last two races, he will happily put himself and Hamilton in a “crash or let me through” situation. I don’t think it will bother him one bit if he wins the WDC by taking Hamilton out in one (or both!) of the remaining races. “That’s what happens when you don’t leave me space.”

          1. @scbriml I think it’s possible after years of being enabled by his Red Bull team and FIA, in recent years, yes.
            Liberty, Netflix etc. will just lap up the controversy.

          2. This is not so recent. Before Ayrton Senna divebombing was seen as unsposrtsmanlike and rarely done. But Ayrton built himself a career on it, as the Master Divebomber.

            Nowadays, crowding out the other guy is pretty much unremarkable and happens almost in every race, several times (not only at the top positions, certainly. Remember Fred vs Kimi).

            Max’s divebomb in Brazil would have been also business-as-usual, the only peculiarity was that he went off after the overtake, he braked way too late to stay within the track limits. Did he get an advantage for that?. Not directly, as he was already well ahead when he went off and simply kept the position. It is of course argueable that indirectly he won a lasting advantage because he could get ahead only by braking so late, and it forced him off. Well, everybody can argue about this until the Sun goes nova, but an indirect advantage is clearly a much weaker case than a direct one and everything in the worls has plenty of indirects causes.

            The other thing: In the end this is only a thunderstorm in a teacup. The cars did not touch, didn’t even lose speed in that humongous tarmac runoff and no harm was done. The #44 rocketship was momentarily denied the overtake but inevitably got it a few laps later and the end result was the same. So keep arguing, fanchildren.

  12. I’ve learned that Norris is still vex about Austria and Tsunoda is beginning a campaign of grievance against Stroll for Brazil. There must have been so much side-eye going on in that briefing. (Except for Max who just looked straight ahead.)

  13. Red Bull is really to blame for all of this. Their post Silverstone video reenactment explained in painful detail how the inside driver needs to make the apex and leave room on the outside. That is the standard as explained by Red Bull. There was runoff at Silverstone yet the argument is that the inside driver must leave room on the track.

    1. Lewis is the first to complain and complains a lot if things go bad.
      Moaning.

      1. Duplicate comment detected.

        1. you gotta be a mental person to call lewis a moaner, while blindedly supporting someone whose every other word starts with “f” when things dont go his way…

          1. Mystic one “fool” is the word you missed.

  14. I’ve come round to believing the Interlagos stewards bottled making a big call and got away with it because Hamilton eventually passed Verstappen anyway. The ‘wrong’ was eventually righted, so that one incident could reasonably have been (and was) swept away under the carpet by the FIA/Masi. But they’ve now created a mess for everyone else by letting go a move that, any time in the last five or so seasons, would have obviously been a penalty…

    So now, according to what seems to be the official response to this, the drivers go into every weekend and buy a ticket for a stewarding lottery. No idea what the consequences of doing a certain move might be, no solid rule on anything, just take a punt and wait and see what the ever-variable stewards decide this week.

    Five second, 10 second, nothing, black and white flag, drive-through?

    Ridiculous position for a sport of F1’s stature to be in, and it’s there because everyone with any sort of power just elected to grab a spade and keep digging rather than hold up their hands and say ‘OK, maybe we got one wrong’…

    1. Nail hit firmly on the head here @neilosjames my COTD

    2. Indeed. If there are nails whose heads require hitting, @neilosjames has got it covered.

  15. Max wants more gifts from the FiA and the Stewards, he feels he doesn’t get any. He said “Hi”.

    What an embarrassment to the sport this has been. Not only the clear double standards, but that they weren’t’ even willing to knowledge they made a mistake, or that someone was really pissed off still from Massa not winning in 2008, whatever. I’m not even the biggest Lewis fan, but at this point, I hope he can win thing simply because Red Bull just feels like a slimy team and Max is covered in slime and gravel from having run Hamilton off the road and and not even given a wrist slap. It’s a shame because he’s such a good driver, but Red Bull have a way of making everything feel duplicitous and hypocritical and that extends to their coddling of drivers.

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  16. The problem is, no matter what people above have said, a precedent has been set. Many drivers will read this as, ‘you can push someone off, as long as you don’t crash.’ That hands the advantage to whoever is ahead in the standings. If they both ended up out of the race Max had more points and Lewis had fewer races to catch up – Max wins. Max could afford to crash, Lewis could not. If that move had been with Lewis in front pushing Max off – they would have crashed because it would have benefitted Max to do that. The only thing that saved Lewis from impact was him being savvy enough to decide to live to fight another day. Until that perception is shown to be wrong they will exploit it, if they want to win they will have no choice.
    Already several drivers have said they will change their driving style in similar situations. The problem now is Masi and co have given the green light to dangerous driving. They have seriously damaged the credibility of the series, which was already damaged by inconsistent rulings. I hope that no-one gets hurt due to this but, if someone gets seriously injured or killed, I hope they or their families will sue the sport for every penny they can get. Maybe then Liberty, Masi and the stewards will put driver safety ahead of the show.

    1. @lass321 – Agree completely. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to a gruesome ending.

    2. The problem now is Masi and co have given the green light to dangerous driving.

      Verstappen’s driving at least, I agree. They seem keen to let other drivers know ‘these exceptions do not apply to you.’

  17. Clickbait and bias title. Only Sainz and Bottas actually think Brazil was a thing. Consistency is key and there are many many occasions when this was a problem.

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  18. Clicky and by as title. Only Sainz and Bottas think Brazil was a thing. Everyonr is looking at the other 50 odd questionable rulings.

    1. As often on this site.
      All bad things are because of max
      And the fundies love it…

  19. So if i was walking on the street and a car veers off the road towards me i dive out the way but theres a soft lovely bed for me to fall onto. Then there should be no investigation because i had a soft landing… Or wait i go to shoot a someone i aim and i miss i should not be arrested and or investigated because well i didnt cause any1 to die. Thats soo logical.

  20. As a viewer, I like to know what the rules are too. That’s part of the enjoyment, knowing if a driver made a brilliant move… or cheated.

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  21. Back in the old days when this one is regarded as one of the best racing in F1 history (Rene Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ii6H0MktrOg&ab_channel=antares

    Now picture this in a today setting jump to the last lap 1:50 and tell me who will get a penalty and why. I guess we will all disagree and It would have killed the action.
    This is why I don’t like this penalty system it kills racing and turns F1 into a jurysport.

    Second example (Raikonen / Hamilton 2008 SPA) after the race Hamilton got a 25s time penalty (Massa won) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7njqB0G0-aE&ab_channel=McLaren-HondaFormula1Team

    1. @grapmg Villeneuve is fully alongside on the outside of the corner. Nothing going wrong there. Then Arnoux goes in to hot and goes off track and loses the position. Again, nothing wrong there. Then Villeneuve turns into Arnoux, but goes off himself. Yet he manages to get past again a corner or two later.

      None of this would be penalized according to the actual rules/guidelines that the stewards are supposed to apply.

      However people would complain that the slipstream effect is too great and that cars simply swap position every lap and therefore it’s boring. It was actually sometimes better to not be in the lead.

      Second example depends on the stewards. If it’s a Ferrari consultant deciding on his own about the penalty then it would be a 25s penalty. If it was the stewards at COTA (who decided Raikkonen was fine to overtake Alonso off track as Alonso was purposefully going off line to push Raikkonen off) then there would be no penalty.

      1. @f1osaurus So you think it was only noted and no Investigation necessary? Here the one with comments form top gear
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sDtn8QnpFg&ab_channel=DavidPrince

        1. @grapmg What would even need to be noted?

          The only thing marginal I see is then coming together when going side by side on the last lap (2:07), but Arnoux doesn’t seem hindered about that and Villeneuve also recovers. Or do you mean that Villeneuve went off after that and a corner later makes the pass?

          Yeah Clarkson is utterly useless with his commentary on modern F1. He’s like one of those old muppets in the balcony/rafters booing everything the youngsters do. I guess he’s used to staged video clips where he sits in a hotel while other people drive the car for him so the camera’s can film it.

          1. @f1osaurus Interesting view. Although I personally agree with your view I think the stewards wouldn’t as they both touched more than once Arnoux went off track and gained a position.

          2. less with his commentary on modern F1.

            Ah since he did not adored Saint lewis that is of course.
            Unimaginable a brit not supporting Saint Hamilton.

          3. @grapmg Arnoux lost the position right after. Only Villeneuve gained a position a corner later after going of track, but it’s not like he overtook because of that

          4. What is your problem now erikje? He was all up in Hamilton when he was on the show. Did you listen to that commentary and you thought it was funny? Or rang true at all? He IS a sad old relic that lives in the past dreaming everything was better then.

          5. @f1osaurus @erikje come on guys have some respect for each other and don’t take it all to serious it’s just F1.

            The point I was trying to make has nothing to do with Lewis or Max. Its the penalty system. So I gave the two examples of good hard racing with and without the penalty system in place. There are plenty more examples. In my opinion the sytems fails and doesn’t provide any additional value.

            I thought the Top Gear comment was funny and didn’t hear anything about Lewis in that video but maybe I missed something there. To be completely clear I support Max but as a F1 fan I also have huge respect for Lewis and his achievements. Just enjoy the last two races this year and relax :-)

  22. Regardless of what the stewards do there will always be a significant number of people complaining in the forum. It just will be different people depending on how the steward’s decision panned out.

  23. What also surprises me is that they have (ex) F1 drivers related to the teams fighting for the championship as stewards.

    A Red Bull driver as steward deciding not to even investigate such a clear cut penalty for Verstappen? Of course there are two other stewards, but Liuzzi should just not be in that position.

    1. I guess corruption is normal for you in your dimension. It will not be easy to find stewards without any f1 connection. If desirable even, they should know how things work.
      But it tells a lot about you.
      Integrity is not so strange in functions.

      1. I guess corruption is normal for you in your dimension. There are plenty drivers with no direct affiliation to the two top teams.
        But it tells a lot about you that you like to pretend that a decisions totally against what is in the rules and guidelines does not reek of lack of integrity. Just because you like the outcome of this anomalous decision you don’t care how it came about.
        You are such a despicable hypocrite. When Hamilton “gets away” with a 10s penalty for a lesser offence (Hamilton made the corner) then you scream incompetence.

        Ugh it just the creeps me out when you write to me. Everything you say is so cringeworthy and obviously hypocritical. Just get back under your rock

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