Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021

Wolff fears title-deciding crash if F1 fails to learn from Jeddah controversies

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Toto Wolff fears this weekend’s championship-deciding race in Abu Dhabi could be “messy” following a series of controversial incidents in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are level on points heading into the final race of the season and have clashed on numerous occasions over the course of the year, including in yesterday’s race.

The pair were involved in a series of incidents during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, even colliding with each other on a straight while Verstappen was attempting to give the lead of the race to Hamilton to avoid a penalty for an earlier incident. Verstappen received two separate time penalties from the stewards while Hamilton won the race.

Wolff is concerned the championship-deciding race could prove equally controversial and the title could even be decided by a collision between the pair.

“I would hope that [yesterday]’s race has enough repercussions that everybody’s going to learn from it and adapt for the final race in Abu Dhabi,” said Wolff.

“I think that similar driving – if it were to be deemed by the stewards as being over the line – would then probably also be penalised in Abu Dhabi and it could well end in a messy situation for everybody. And I don’t think that the championship has deserved a result which was influenced by a collision. So in that case I very much trust into the self-regulating system.”

Referring to the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in which Verstappen was neither investigated nor penalised over an aggressive defence of his lead which took both him and Hamilton off-track, Wolff believes the decisions of stewards throughout the season contributed to the tempestuous dynamic between the two rivals.

“I think [with] Brazil, I said that we are setting a precedent if it’s not being investigated, that could end up really ugly for the championship,” explained Wolff.

“And you’ve seen incidents [yesterday] that were pretty much Brazil at slower speeds and we don’t want to have that in Abu Dhabi. The quicker car with the quicker driver should win the championship and not by taking each other off.”

Despite the recurring clashes and escalating tensions between Verstappen and Hamilton, as well as between Mercedes and Red Bull, Wolff believes the rival teams will still be able to show respect to each other whatever the outcome of this weekend’s decider.

“The emotions are running very, very high,” Wolff said. “There is a lot of respect between the teams. Also for the achievements.

“That’s why as long as we have a clean race fighting for the drivers’ world championship in Abu Dhabi, it was a great season.”

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Will Wood
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140 comments on “Wolff fears title-deciding crash if F1 fails to learn from Jeddah controversies”

  1. If Hamilton wins this Championship, it will have been a crash that decided it, no matter what happens in Abu Dhabi.

    1. @proesterchen are you referring to Monza by any chance where Verstappen deliberately took out his rival.

      1. To spell it out for you since you apparently didn’t understand the statement you chose to whatabout to:

        There are no scenarios in which Hamilton wins the Championship and a crash will have decided it, regardless of what happens next weekend.

        There are scenarios in which Verstappen wins the Championship and a crash will not have been the deciding factor, depending on what happens in Abu Dhabi.

        1. *There are no scenarios in which Hamilton wins the Championship and a crash will NOT have decided it, regardless of what happens next weekend.

          1. Hey c’mon, atleast leave some room for yourself to untangle yourself from that word mess.

        2. Proesterchen,you should contact Red Bull and ask them to strongly protest Mercedes Front wing NOT been totaly destroyed after hitting the back of Max.
          That wing should be totaly not functional after such a crash,if not totaly broken
          This is BEYOND any F1 crash tests hence ILLEGAL.
          Moreover,something totally illegal must be going on for Lewis,on HARD tyres,with half of a crashed wing;to post fastest lap of the race as well.
          This is not only totally illegal,but Not normal at all.
          A protest should be made here as well as a new way to measure and homologate front wings at the very least.
          Those Mercedes front wing is simply too strong and too good to be legal!!!

    2. If Hamilton wins this Championship, it will be all Max’s get out of my way or crash incidents Ham has avoided this season that decided it.
      And if Ham does win it it could very well be because he avoided another Max crash in AD.

    3. You are quite right, if Verstappen had given Hamilton a bit more room round the outside of Copse, like Hamilton would have done, he’d be 18 points ahead at this race.

      He’s robbed himself.

      1. @scribe good point, I think this has not been said loudly enough. his mindset is to win races, not titles. verstappen was also very unlucky in Baku so it’s swings and roundabouts.

      2. He might actually have been 32 points ahead with the title sealed heading into AD. As I recall, Red Bull was then the faster car, and all he needed to do was wait a few corners to take Hamilton on the Hangar straight, either that lap itself or in any of the following laps before the chequered flag dropped. Simply put, he was the favourite to win then.

      3. He’d also be up if Ham had not driven off line, obtained dirty tyres and tried to take a high speed corner at a tight angle and understeer into him…

        1. lexusreliability?
          7th December 2021, 8:30

          @nandy

          He’d also be up if Ham had not driven off line, obtained dirty tyres and tried to take a high speed corner at a tight angle and understeer into him

          Hamilton would also be up if Verstappen didn’t try to overtake over a sausage kerb and take his head off. But Silverstone was worse than Monza in your eyes 🙄

          1. Of course Silverstone was much worse than Monza.
            One is a very high speed corner that requires pinpoint accuracy and barely doable to overtake at the best of times let alone with dirty tyres.
            The other is a very low speed chicane that can have two cars going through if both are respecful – see Ham and Norris in opening laps.

          2. @nandy, you said:

            Of course Silverstone was much worse than Monza.
            One is a very high speed corner that requires pinpoint accuracy and barely doable to overtake at the best of times let alone with dirty tyres.

            However, Hamilton managed to overtake Leclerc at the same corner, in the same way, without causing a crash.

            The fact is that Verstappen contributed to his own demise at Copse by not simply taking a wider line.

          3. lexusreliability?
            7th December 2021, 9:25

            Of course Silverstone was much worse than Monza.

            Yup on this note we have nothing further to discuss here. You complain that Max has lost points because of Lewis while also ignoring that Lewis has lost points because of Max. You think parking an F1 car on someon’e head is less lethal than someone crashing into a barrier with the car’s crash structure intact. I understand people having favourite drivers but when one sees things obly through orange tinted glasses it’s a waste of time and it’s not really a debate.

          4. @theskeptic

            Lewis would never have crashed into Max if he had tried to overtake Max like he overtook Leclerc. He took the corner much differently then.

            @lexusreliability?

            With the halo it’s certainly less dangerous. Also, what happened at Monza was one of the most dangerous possible outcomes of the clash, while Silverstone was a much luckier outcome, but you can’t really blame the drivers for it, since that outcome was not predictable. Max could have flipped at Silverstone and Max’s car couldn’t have ended up on top of the other car at Monza. That’s all down to luck, not choice.

            Your use of ‘parking an F1 car on someone’s head’ implies that this was a choice, which just demonstrates your bias.

        2. The steward’s report made it quite clear that car #33 turned into car #44, which failed to avoid contact. Yes, car #44 was taking a wide entry into the corner– but would have still completed the corner. Car #33 turned its wheel in such a manner that car #33 would never have completed the maneuver under any circumstances.

    4. The Bottas bowling-like crash in Hungary will be the deciding factor! He negated Max the chance of score points at all.

    5. F-1 has all the video files;

      Fans should be demanding the following statistics.
      How many times this year L.H. had to take evasive actions from Max’s wrath, versus the times the latter had to do likewise against L.H.

  2. Not been a fan of some of Toto’s reactions and comments throughout the season, but I agree with pretty much everything he said here. The stewards have failed to apply rules consistently across the board and that has significantly contributed to the escalation of aggressive driving. From the situation they are in now, it almost seems inevitable to me that this season is going to end in another collision, with the drivers championship being decided in the stewards room – the exact situation that the stewards have been trying to avoid by sitting on the fence as much as possible throughout the season.

    1. Agree 100%, they had plenty of chances to nip it in the bud but they didn’t

    2. Let’s suppose the Championship ends up being decided in the stewards room.
      If they decide against Merc, Toto could get stroppy and 3 teams will be without engines next year.
      If the stewards vote the other way, Red Bull could get stroppy, and next year there’d be a lack of the (maybe third favourite) fizzy drink in the paddock.
      Which outcome would have the most impact?

    3. Just too bad Formula 1 is at risk of turning into Formula Pariah with such driving standards accepted.

  3. “The quicker car with the quicker driver should win the championship and not by taking each other off.”

    Exactly and not a driver late braking so that rotating normally through a corner would be impossible yet forcing evasive action from another competitor. That is not racing.
    How many times have we seen brilliant execution of proper racecraft in close situations like Monza, second and third chicanes, instead of the dangerous and calculated bullyboy tactics displayed yesterday and in Brazil by the Red Bull.

  4. Max is only ‘leading the champion by virtue of the farcical’ non-race in Belgium, and the animation that is Sprint Qualifying.

    It will be a tainted championship if he wins it.

    1. It will be tainted for Hamilton as well, having shoved off Max at Silverstone..

      1. F-1 has all the video files;

        Fans should be demanding the following statistics.
        How many times this year L.H. had to take evasive actions from Max’s wrath, versus the times the latter had to do likewise against L.H.

        1. There are simply too many new F1 fans that don’t understand the sporting codes and code of conduct of drivers on track.

    2. Others would then point to Hungary, which is inarguably not Verstappen’s fault, and/or Baku (which arguably was Red Bull and Aston Martin taking risks with their camber, given how silent they got afterwards about what happened), it is what it is Stephen H.

  5. The final race will be crucial in two senses, who wins the championship, and how it’s won – on track or in the FIA stewards office.

    Both Verstappen and Hamilton have driven superbly this season. In terms of their speed, they’re on the same level. In terms of incidents, difficult to balance out, Hamilton was luckier earlier in the season, but he’s also been dealing the whole time with Verstappen’s aggressive driving (‘my corner or we crash’) and done so smartly. Since Interlagos, though, the balance has become seriously out of kilter with Verstappen seemingly unable to understand what is legitimate racing any longer- because Masi (or maybe who he works for) allowed that to happen. So we’re going into the final race ‘even’ but with, as Andrew Benson put it astutely today, two drivers heading “into a winner-takes-all championship decider in Abu Dhabi this Sunday with different views of what is fair and acceptable driving.”

    1. COTD right here, supremely put.

    2. Well-said @david-br. I really wanted HAM to go into the last race with 1 point lead so that VER would have the incentive to crash. Bottomline is that VER does not understand when he has lost a corner.

    3. I don’t get the point that Verstappen is all the sudden the aggressor compared to how Lewis is driving. Since Silverstone I’ve seen:
      – Lewis hits Verstappen at Silverstone and sends him in the wall
      – Lewis hits Verstappen at Monza by not giving room and they both tangle
      – Lewis pushes Perez in the pitlane at the Turkey Grandprix
      – Lewis hits Ocon 2nd restart at Saudi Arabian.

      Also, comparing Max his driving is far less reckless then Bottas. He collided with Russel, big crash, he crashed big in Hungary, hits Riccardo in Mexico and nobody cares about that. It’s all single sided to Max and making him the bad guy, but in reality he is just as average as any other driver on the grid.

      1. Hey @ruben!
        Verstappen was given penalty points for Monza, he was judged responsible for the collision.
        The Hamilton / Ocon incident you’re talking about was never noted by the stewards, it’s non existent.
        Same for Pérez and Hamilton in Turkey. By the way, Verstappen pull the exact same manoeuvre in the forst chicane of Imola against Hamilton. Or the first corner of Spain against Hamilton. Or turn 4 in Brazil against Hamilton. I see a pattern here.

        In the end, you only have one point: the collision in Silverstone.

    4. The F-1 Fans on social media ought to be demanding from Formula-1 their
      proposed preventative actions before Abu Dhabi.

      – will they ensure that Max conforms to the driving standards of all the other drivers;
      or, should all drivers embrace Max’s behavour?

      – what will be the penalty, or penalties, if Max unceremoniously takes out L.H., in order to win the championship by virtue of the most season victories?

  6. It’s a shame Hamilton couldn’t have gone into the final race with a point ahead. Perhaps that could have put an end to the “we crash or i get/stay in front” dirty driving from Verstappen. If there would be actual consequences to him not finishing then perhaps he would be a bit more fair? Probably not fully though, but still it might give him pause a little. Like how he didn’t try to bowl through Bottas on the first start.

    As it is, it makes no sense for Verstappen to play fair. If you can be like that and have no morals or shame whatsoever then why not use that fact and use every dirty trick available? Especially when you know you either won’t get a penalty at all or at worst a penalty that simply puts you back to where you were anyway.

    1. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
      6th December 2021, 14:24

      @f1osaurus Exactly. If Verstappen went into the last race behind on points we’d probably get a fair battle. But he’s ahead in the standings and seems to have no problem with cheating. Abu Dhabi is a poor circuit for overtaking, if Verstappen qualifies ahead he’ll most likely win in a better handling car, if Hamilton qualifies ahead he’ll most likely be crashed into by Verstappen, with the latter having no regard for finishing himself.

      If the FIA actually enforced the rules Verstappen would know that cheating doesn’t pay. Sadly the FIA has been teaching him that the opposite is true.

      1. @slightlycrusty Yeah I guess the FIA was trying to allow for more racing by relaxing the penalties, but they have only achieved the opposite

      2. I wouldn’t be so pessimistic. To me, part of Verstappen questionable driving comes from the superior car Hamilton has at his disposal. At Abu Dhabi, S1 is pretty much flat out and immediately followed by that looong straight line. All to play for with that Brazilian engine and DRS.
        I keep telling my partner that Hamilton must overtake Verstappen during an acceleration phase. I’m sure Lewis knows that too.

        1. I have no idea how far back Max has to be before he doesn’t consider one of his impossible dive-bombs against Lewis. It seems Max will always just inside line and force Lewis off at this stage. Perhaps baiting Max into one of his kamikazis and then pulling out, taking the corner while Max cannot and then either get a cut back or wait for the stewards to force the issue.

    2. As it is, it makes no sense for Verstappen to play fair.

      I think this is the sad part. His “driving style” has been legitimised so many times by the officials, and he’s be constantly told by Horner that it’s all fine, that he will not consider anything he does to be wrong. I think this is a “spare the rod, spoil the child” situation: He keeps getting away with this crap, so doesn’t think it is wrong. If he takes both of them out with one of his signature moves next weekend and is actually penalised for it, he won’t understand why because he has been allowed to do this for so long with little-to-no repercussion.

      1. @drmouse Indeed Verstappen actually was extremely upset that he was penalized for his fouls.

        The thing is that when Garry Connelly is one of the stewards you can usually count on the the rules being enforced. So that’s why Verstappen hates him. I’m guessing he helped make sure that the decisions in Jeddah were actually all following the rules for a change. I hope he’s a steward for Abu Dhabi again.

    3. Stop the charade, it’s all in your head. Fact is HAM won all these races where you still accuse VER of crashing into HAM etc etc, in the meantime VER is still listed as DNF at Silverstone because of HAM!!! Sooo, who’s the real loser??

      1. @mg1982 When will you realize that that Silverstone crash was a consequence of the way Verstappen always goes for the crash? And yeah he might have lost the championship by going for that crash.

        While on the other hand, Hamilton did the sensible thing and not keep turning in on Verstappen in Brazil and Jeddah 2 times. And he won both. That’s how Hamilton in the slower car over most of the season is actually tied going into the last race. Verstappen had the car advantage to have wrapped this up several races ago, but he bottled it so many times that he’s now tied on points going into the last race. So yeah if you want to pick the loser then maybe there’s your answer?

        1. Did you really say that the Mercedes has been the slower car?
          Tracks where RB were quicker:
          Bahrain, Monaco, Baku, Austria (x2), Zandvoort, USA, Mexico (8)

          Tracks where Merc were quicker:
          Spain, Portimao, Hungary, Russia, Monza, Turkey, Brazil, Qatar, Jeddah (9)

          Too close to call: Imola, France, Silverstone

          Not counted: Spa

          People seem to think that RB has had the faster car throughout the season which is simply not true – the only reason that narrative still stands is due to pre season testing and the ‘spell of dominance’ from Monaco to double Austria. Apart from that, the cars have been relatively even so far

          1. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
            7th December 2021, 7:40

            Mercedes weren’t quicker in Jeddah, RB fitted the wrong tyres.

          2. In Imola, Portimao, Spain, Hungary, Turkey and Jeddah Verstappen botched Q3. He had the faster car though

        2. Absolutely no way red bull had the faster car in portugal and spain, that’s a joke! Even turkey, they were in general better in quali, but in some of these races merc was so superior verstappen could only beat an average driver in bottas, and he couldn’t even do that in turkey, absolutely makes no sense when you remember the races.

          1. @esploratore1 He was faster in FP3 showing he had the faster car. Then bottled it (as he usually does) in Q3. Like had the fastest lap in Q3 but it was deleted or he set his fastest lap when the track had slowed down a lot. ie Faster car 100% sure in quali.

            During the race he was also faster, but couldn’t make it work. Fastest laps too. Even when both went for it.

            Fact is, Verstappen HAD the faster car for those races, but ruined quali and his strategy.

            With all this blah blah from Verstappen that he would get every pole and win every race if he only had the fastest car like Hamilton does. Reality is that he messes up in at least half the cases when he has the fastest car. Again shown in Saudi Arabia as well. Double fail again both in Q3 and race.

      2. That’s not fully accurate: VER is listed as DNF in Silverstone because of the wall. Seemingly the only feedback he seems to understand.

        1. @Learon

          I don’t remember the wall getting on track and hitting Max. Thanks for the information!

          Your alternative facts sure make you look reasonable.

      1. -1 imo, he’s saying some races where merc was clearly fastest red bull was fastest.

        1. @esploratore1 Because you pretend that when Verstappen doesn’t get pole and the win, the car must have been slower. Verstappen bottling Q3 and race strategies are his own fault.

  7. If the title is won by a crash MB, RBR, FIA & LM will only have to look in the mirror to see who is to blame.

  8. Sadly it feels inevitable. Red Bull and Verstappen accepting no blame or responsbibility for any of the incidents yesterday. Quite stunning to listen to Horner complain about Hamilton pushing Verstappen off at turn 1 while he stayed on track, but then say Verstappen running both of them wide off the track is “just racing”.

    I’ve watched again and am struggling to see what Hamilton did wrong all race, except maybe refusing to overtake in the area of track Verstappen wanted him to. But was that wrong? Bottas did it with Ricciardo, he took him once then got re-passed using DRS, the next time he hung back going into the final corner and took him into turn 1.

    Brazil going uninvestigated has led to this.

    1. Quite stunning to listen to Horner complain about Hamilton pushing Verstappen off at turn 1 while he stayed on track, but then say Verstappen running both of them wide off the track is “just racing”.

      +1000

      1. It is standard Horner logic. RB created a re-enactment video of Silverstone with the goal of having Hamilton punished at the following race for taking a bad line into a corner. Hamilton just barely stayed on the track and made the corner but he stayed on the track and made the corner. Max completely misses corners and goes off track and no investigation or penalties necessary. Just a give back the place at most.

  9. Having seen how Verstappen has driven this season I cannot fathom a scenario in which he lets Hamilton finish in front. He will either have track position or take Hamilton out. He knows even a full DSQ from the race will give him the championship. Mercedes need a stellar quali and then hope Verstappen can’t get around Bottas to hit Hamilton on the first corner, otherwise it’ll be all over.

    1. He can still be thrown out of the championship (Schumacher 1997 I believe)

      1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
        6th December 2021, 15:18

        You really think someone who wasn’t awarded the right penalties for his antics yesterday will be thrown out of the championship?

        1. @asleepatthewheel If its blatant enough they will have no choice, even though I’m sure they would rather not. But if it’s debatable or anywhere in the region of a 50/50 then I’m sure he will get the benefit of the doubt.

    2. @cornflakes He’d get disqualified from the championship if he deliberately caused a crash.

      1. @jerejj
        Not necessarily. Verstappen and RBR would obviously claim that it wasn’t deliberate (like they successfully did in Brazil). Disqualifying Schumacher in 1997 was easy, since he wasn’t the champion.

      2. @jerejj Max deliberately crashed into Lewis yesterday and not even disqualification from race.

        1. @ivan-vinitskyy Slightly different than pulling a Suzuka 1990 or Jerez 1997.
          I reckon these types of blatant cases would cause a championship DSQ also in modern F1.

      3. @jerejj Do you think the stewards have the spine for that? Prost v Senna all over again!

        1. @cornflakes Yes, although FIA would ultimately do that rather than a single event steward panel.

  10. I hope they end this season with a “gentle” big bang.

    That is the only way this farcical FIA/Masi/Stewart situation can be solved. All hell will break lose. And something has to change in stewarding. Both Max and Lewis (yes BOTH) crossed the line this year several times, so nobody knows where the line is at the moment. If everything was clear from the first moment the situation wouldn’t be so far out of control like it is now.

    But then again, This devil on my shoulder keeps saying that this is exactly what the FIA wants. Just controversy. And everyone will talk about this season for years and years to come. They don’t care about the outcome, everything for the show.

  11. Is it not possible to put a stop to it now before it happens? To win a championship by intentionally crashing into an opponent should be a preventable act. Any suggestions as to what can be done now?

    1. @Joe Max would lose all his points if he intentionally caused a crash.

    2. I think it is too late. Race control messed it up. No one knows what is allowed and what not. Silverstone triggered it. How can you survive to win a race in which you were penalised and deemed predominantly to blame for your competitors DNF? That was a huge impact on everything. Then more of these strange decisions followed from which you as a neutral bystander can imagine both sides feel being done wrong by. Then the Brasil incident sealed the deal creating even more chaos. I think the best is to sit this one out, replace Masi and learn from it during the break to not ever repeat this.

      1. lexusreliability?
        6th December 2021, 18:46

        @Mayrton
        You keep going on about Silverstone while also ignoring Monza where Verstappen could have severely injured Hamilton by overtaking on a sausage kerb off the track and parking it on his head. Very similar manoeuvre to what he was penalised for in Abu Dhabi. Your selectiveness is something else.

        1. lexusreliability?
          6th December 2021, 18:48

          *penalised for in Saudi Arabia at T1.

        2. No Monza end result was due to the sausage kerb. Otherwise it would have been a more horizontal bump into Lewis. And all at very low speed. I know the predominantly was at Max this time but still feel Lewis gave him room in the right hander. Once Max is there you cannot close the gap on the inside in the left hander. Then he cant go anywhere but on the kerb bouncing back into yourself.

          1. lexusreliability?
            7th December 2021, 8:32

            @Mayrton

            No Monza end result was due to the sausage kerb

            Exactly which is why it was there- you are not supposed to be attempting an overtake over a sausage kerb off the track.

          2. lexusreliability?
            7th December 2021, 8:34

            Also,

            hen he cant go anywhere but on the kerb bouncing back into yourself.

            Max had enough time to bail out of the move but chose not to. Exactly like he did in Saudi Arabia and got penalised for. Stop defending the indensible and always qualifying Max’s mistakes even when they are clearcut.

          3. No Monza end result was due to the sausage kerb.

            Someone above said Silverstone was because of the wall and I took it as a joke. I hope this is a joke too :-)

          4. A serious look at the rule book might be a good idea. It is one thing that people fall for all the propaganda and narratives and soapiness, but please stay correct on the racing part. Brasil and Saudi Arabia were Max fault, he goes off track in an attempt to overtake. FIA lost the ball there and basically enabled Saudi Arabia. Monza wasn’t the same situation as Max and Lewis individually would have made that corner. They would have easily both made that corner simultaneously as well if Lewis either shut the door immediately in the right hander or give a little more space in the left hander. Please dont listen to armchair experts but try to find some race instructors or experienced guys/girls. You are being played.

    3. The F-1 Fans on social media ought to be demanding from Formula-1 their
      proposed preventative actions before Abu Dhabi.

      – will they ensure that Max conforms to the driving standards of all the other drivers; or, should all drivers embrace Max’s behavour?
      – what will be the penalty, or penalties, if Max unceremoniously takes out L.H., in order to win the championship by virtue of the most season victories?

  12. The quicker car with the quicker driver should win the championship and not by taking each other off

    Toto as always changing stances depending on the situation. It’s OK for Hamilton to put Verstappen on the wall and win the race but now with Mercedes have everything to lose Verstappen is not allowed to do so in Abu Dhabi. What is the logic behind this ? It is either accepted or rejected as a behavior and I don’t recall Toto being upset in Silverstone. In fact I remember Mercedes celebrating that win to the hilt.

    What Verstappen did yesterday is unsportsmanlike behavior and a slam dunk DSQ was the proper penalty for me so not only him but everybody else should be aware that brake testing is a ridiculously dangerous maneuver. Brazil also deserved a harsher penalty for running Hamilton off the track.

    Running a driver off the track kills racing and should be properly punished because the attacking driver who already suffer from tyre degradation due to the dirty air can lose a lot of time and get his car damaged especially if there is gravel trap. Though we have seen a lot drivers pushing other drivers off the track and getting away with the usual 5s penalty (Norris vs Perez in Austira).

    The situation is out of control since Silverstone where in my opinion Hamilton should have been given a drive through penalty to be served within 3 laps of the incident after the SC period. It’s inevitable that the championship will end in Prost/Senna fashion no matter how the FIA will try to warn both drivers and knowing that Verstappen have the advantage of taking Hamilton out of the race, he will 100% commit to it. The only way for this championship to end peacefully is with Hamilton staying out of Verstappen’s reach in both qualy and the race.

    For the next season the first lesson to be learned is to simplify the racing rules, have a proper race direction and stewards that enforces those rules and issue proper penalties whenever those rules are broken.

    1. Exactly, people can blame Verstappen all they want for escalating things, but the stewards started this in Silverstone. Hamilton picks his battles more wisely than Verstappen, but that doesn’t change the fact his actions at the British GP were 100% deliberate.

    2. @tifoso1989 Verstappen turned in on Hamilton in Silverstone. Look at his on-board. He sees Hamilton next to him, a quick reflex to open the steering wheel and then he immediately turns in even sharper.

      That crash is exactly the same thing as happened in Brazil, Monza and Jeddah. Verstappen just does not accept when he’s beaten and always turns in or doesn’t brake hoping to bully the opponent out of the way. Sometimes that ends in a crash.

      1. You fail to understand Max was taking his usual line and Ham was on a tighter line with dirty tyres, didn’t back off and certainly would not have made the corner if not for hitting Max.

    3. Jay (@slightlycrusty)
      6th December 2021, 15:36

      @tifoso1989, as @f1osaurus says, the video evidence flatly refutes your claim that Hamilton was to blame at Silverstone. If you watch the on-boards, Hamilton’s steering doesn’t deviate, whereas Verstappen momentarily steers onto a tighter line to avoid contact, before immediately turning in the opposite direction to force Hamilton to either yield or crash.

      The video evidence is unequivocal, Verstappen turns into Hamilton. You can blame Hamilton for not backing out at that point, but that still leaves Verstappen predominantly to blame for initiating the accident (let’s not pretend the stewards’ *expertise* carries any weight, at this point in the season they are at best a laughing stock). After the race F1 drivers past and present gave their views: overwhelmingly they dismissed it as a racing incident, i.e. deserving of no penalty whatsoever.

      1. @f1osaurus, @slightlycrusty
        We could debate forever about whose at fault in Silverstone with everyone sticking to his argument but that’s not the point. I have been already vocal against Verstappen’s dirty driving especially when he was especially when he was hammering Vettel and Raikkonen. The funny thing is that many who are now vocal against his behavior were hailing him back then.

        Hamilton was found to be predominantly to blame for the incident. The point is you can’t throw put your championship rival on the wall and get away with it. By being lenient with Hamilton they have prepared the ground to Verstappen to abuse the rules.

        Pushing a driver off the track and risking an incident is worth maximum 10s penalty. Now brake testing is worth 10s penalty, you can’t blame Hamilton in Abu Dhabi if he will brake test Verstappen. I know he is better than that but you can’t blame him if he’ll do it.

        1. @tifoso1989 There’s a big difference between a slight misreading of the situation triggering an accident (he didn’t expect Max to turn in as sharply, he got that wrong) and deliberately driving so that either a) neither competitor can stay on track or b) brake testing you opponent intending to cause a collision. Lewis has done things this season that deserve a penalty. Max however, has acted dangerously simply because he thinks he can get away with it.

        2. @tifoso1989

          The point is you can’t throw put your championship rival on the wall and get away with it.

          That’s just nonsense though. It doesn’t matter if it’s a championship rival and it also does not matter if the rival ends up in the wall or just slightly off track.

          Pushing a driver off the track and risking an incident is worth maximum 10s penalty

          Also not how things work

          That’s the problem with most people venting opinions or solutions, they just don’t understand the actual rules.

          1. @f1osaurus

            That’s just nonsense though. It doesn’t matter if it’s a championship rival and it also does not matter if the rival ends up in the wall or just slightly off track.

            It does really matter. To this day we are still talking about the Schumacher/Hill and Schumacher/Villneuve incidents. Grosjean the last driver to be given a race ban if I recall correctly has got it because he took WDC contenders out of the race.

            Do you think if for example in Abu Dhabi an incident with Latifi taking Stroll out of the race for the 14th position will be treated with the same scrutiny as Verstappen taking Hamilton out of the race for the WDC ?

          2. @tifoso1989 It doesn’t matter for the stewards decisions and that’s the topic of discussion.

            Do you think if for example in Abu Dhabi an incident with Latifi taking Stroll out of the race for the 14th position will be treated with the same scrutiny

            It should receive the same penalty yes.

          3. @f1osaurus
            Just want to see your reaction if Verstappen take Hamilton out of the race for the WDC and ending getting a 10s penalty.

          4. @tifoso1989 What are you on about? That’s exactly what Verstappen got (and less) for all his attempts to take out Hamilton over the last few races.

            Are you implying Verstappen should get a drive-through or DSQ because Hamilton is a championship contender?

    4. @tifoso1989 – just wondering what you’d have made of the situation if Lewis had been given that drive through you think would have been fair only for him to still win?

      1. Emma,
        With a drive through penalty that must be served within 3 laps of the incident in a no VSC/SC period. The chances of any driver to win a race even if he was a 1s a lap faster are very slim unless for extraordinary circumstances (red flag, rain, SC…). I will be OK with a drive through penalty regardless of the outcome because it’s a harsh penalty.

        For example Vettel in Spa 2010, lost his car by hitting a bump on a wet track on slick tyres causing Button’s retirement. He got a drive-through penalty after 4 laps of the incident which literally destroyed his race. I can’t understand how drivers in dry conditions regardless of Hamilton/Verstappen saga push their rivals off the track destroying other drivers races and getting away with it with the 5s/10s penalties.

  13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    6th December 2021, 14:52

    I don’t understand how Max is still allowed to participate in this championship. Prost is scratching his head as he knows that Senna was clearly robbed of a championship. Damon Hill is scratching his head too wondering how Schumacher got punished.

    Verstappen has been driving like that for the entire season! I’ve never seen a less deserving championship contender in any sport.

    It’s actually debatable if Lance Armstrong was a more worthy champion than Verstappen. If we accept Verstappen’s behavior, shouldn’t we also accept and celebrate Armstrong’s accomplishments?

    1. @freelittlebirds given that the vast majority of the Tour de France field were doping at the time, and Armstrong at the very least wasn’t actually using any chemicals or drugs to enhance his performance, tell me why we complained about him in the first place?

      And .. Bonds, right? The baseball player who was harassed for his steroid use? When it was pretty clear many others were also on dem roids? The entire purpose of getting Bonds was to find a high profile player that people will actually go omg maybe we should stop doing this! The entire purpose of getting Armstrong was to stop Americans winning, erm, I mean, to find a high profile cyclist that people will actually notice.

      Maxipad is neither Bonds or Armstrong. He neither is in F1 for the love of competition nor to help people with cancer or some other terminal disease. It sucks that all we have in this championship are a driver I never liked (Max) and a driver I liked at first until he started his erratic driving and crybaby ways which worsened when he actually said he was penalized for being black (when it was in reality, his driving) or that he felt someone was deliberately messing with his car when Nico took the championship (or maybe he just drove harder / MB made a weaker car that season / Hamilton just had troubles getting to grips HA! with the clutch, etc???).

  14. The champions is already decided by crashes. Without them Max would’ve already been the champion.

    1. Deliberate is the key word here buddy.

      1. But you can’t know that for sure, right. Only the facts can be known for sure.

        You could argue that Lewis did Silverstone on purpose, or that he didn’t.

        You couls also argue that Max did Monza on purpose, or that he didn’t.

        We simply don’t know.

        Bottas just missed the back of Max’s car after locking his tyres during one of the starts yesterday. Max luckely braked extermely late, that led to him overtaking Lewis of track. Was that on purpose from Bottas? You tell me. There is no way to know this.

    2. @anunaki
      Don’t you think Patrick that Verstappen’s driving approach is problematic?
      Had he conceded copse at Silverstone to fight back later he would be at least 18 points in the lead now. Championship done!
      That’s what Hamilton has done in Imola, then again in Spain, then again in Brazil, then again in Jeddah. That’s from memory, I may have forgotten some races.

      Oh, by the way:

      Bottas just missed the back of Max’s car after locking his tyres during one of the starts yesterday.

      Pérez did the same at the first start. Maybe he wanted to collect Max to let Lewis win?

      1. In fact i do think that Max could’ve done more in Silverstone, but that’s not the point I’m making.

  15. If Verstappen deliberately causes a crash with Hamilton in AD he should be stripped of all points this year. That’s a penalty he’d never forget.

    1. @greenflag That would indeed happen since a precedent for such a thing exists.

      1. @jerejj – *should* happen – but with the way decisions seem to have been pulled out of a hat at random this year by the inconsistent stewards I wouldn’t be surprised if he did it and got away it.

  16. Hate him or love him but I think Verstappen already overpassed Hamilton in terms of charisma and racecraft personality. It’s funny how Senna wannabe has become too Prosty. Remember my words 10-15 years later.

    1. Cheating is not race-craft or personality.

      1. Come on, I bet French people also didn’t like Senna at the time calling him rude, unsportive etc. Even Jackie Stewart started to throw moralizing bombs on Senna but quickly received a rebuff. Of course the fact that Senna tragicly died made him look like a holy martyr but it is what it is: people adore him. Prost has more wins, more titles, he even outscored Senna in ‘88, he wasn’t that aggressive, his driving style and moves were clean enough but still… Senna’s charisma and determination beats it all.

        1. lexusreliability?
          6th December 2021, 19:19

          The thing is I actually agree. But the odd thing is I don’t really find Max charismatic. Senna was a character, highly emotional and very forthright. Max is just very vanilla and when he’s not, just angry.

          1. That’s probably because every next generation seems a little bit dollish and childish. I mean look at these guys like Norris, Leclerc or Russel having fun, playing Eurotruck Simulator, twitching and stuff like that. But it means that fanbase is also changing and every generation has their own heroes.

            You can’t fit Senna’s attitude into 60’s or 50’s. That’s crazy and criminally arrogant, he would be dead. That’s why Stewart was so discordant with Ayrton.

    2. Well, in their defence, there has been a lot of media bias influencing them

  17. Just reading the article and the posts is depressing , but this is where F1 has chosen to let itself be taken. Allowing a single driver and a single team to bully and harass stewards and race officials into accepting their brand of demolition derby racing as if it is normal and proper.

    1. Agree, Mercedes and Hamilton took it to far with all there whining on the radio and emails towards the Stewards. Also their double morale is beneath everything.

      If they have such high standards they don’t need to resort to driving slowly under SC or to the grid. Hamilton doesn’t need to push off max after he was let by. They had it coming the whole race and as I see it, they threw the first stones yesterday.

      Saying you’re better then Max and RB, fine, act like it. And practise what you preach. But they are just calling the kettle black

      1. @hannesch

        But they are just calling the kettle black

        And Hamilton complaining that his car breaks down because of his blackness, which he actually did.

        1. This comment was not about racism. Don’t make it that way.

  18. Can someone make a compilation video of all of the Verstappen vs Hamilton crashes and near misses this season? Would be great to compare them.

    1. Good point. Even the more forgotten moments like lap 1 at Monza 2nd chicane

  19. When both contenders crash & burn in Abu Dhabi I hope that somehow they catch Toto in between them

  20. I don’t remember the last time there was such a big possiblity of a crash between the title contenders. It is a very high possibility that Max will do something like this and Lewis have been avoiding crashes with him almost throughout the season.

    Problem is that what majority of fans are noticing now after watching Max’s questionable driving, some of us have noticed it coming way before, and been warning about it that Max needs to change his mindset of winning at all costs and never yielding or giving racing room to anyone who challenges him. He is still the only guy who crashed with a back marker in years that is how stubborn he is.

  21. It is Bottas’s last drive for Mercedes: overall his performance has been a bit of a curate’s egg. He has, for the most part, conceded track position to Hamilton when asked/told to do so with good grace, but his performance and racecraft have let both himself and Mercedes down on a number of occassions. Despite this Hamilton has lauded him as the best team mate ever, now is his chance to really prove it. Leave Mercedes with a bang, a very very big one, right into the side or rear of Verstappen in the first corner.

    1. He already did that once in Hungary and tried it again yesterday at the start.

      the FIA should make a statement that if a teammate makes a questionable move the team wil lose points and gets disqualified from the whole year.

      And for Mercedes it should be practice what you preach and lead by example. But we all know that’s not going to happen

    2. Best statement would be to take Ham out and put his claim of best teammate ever to the test. Hams real nasty side would be exposed in an instant.

      He’s only loved Bot because he’s never been a threat (unlike Nico) and been there to get out of the way at all times.

  22. All this talk of max being overly aggressive but lewis has his fair share of fault too. Pushing max over the line at the restart, at the final turn, and making him wait on the grid for so long. No wonder max wants revenge and tbh it is really entertaining to watch them make each other tilt.

    1. And ofc toto and horner as well

  23. All these petty issues would not exist if the sport had real competition amongst many drivers.

    Its because there are only two drivers with the machinery to win the title that this microscope of focus has been put on them leading to far too much pressure. Its heightened by the fact they are two man baby egomaniacs who have grown up in a racing bubble and lack real world experience, that they don’t know how to respect a fellow human.

  24. That race was lost by Verstappen in any case – him on the softs, Hamilton on the hards. All this nonsense on the track was immature driving from a sore, spoiled loser. I am not a Hamilton nor Mercedes fan, but track behavior of Verstappen is out of control. It was clearly seen that Ham was pushing Ver hard, staying in, or close to DRS , wasting Ver soft tires, that had no chance lasting to the end of the race. RB knew that they had no chance to stay in front with hard tires – seen at the first re-start, and no chance to overtake Hamilton had he been at the front. The gamble with the soft tires at the second re-start was a desperate decision to try and bully Ham, and definitely not a coherent race strategy.

    1. @cordoba16vt

      Max was on mediums, not softs.

      1. I meant the softer than hard compound, apologies..

  25. I do think that for driving standards (and issues of safety) drive-throughs are more appropriate. Obviously bringing them back widely won’t be popular, but I say instead use the black and white flag more often. One clear warning to send a message that what they’re doing isn’t okay, and that if they do it again they face losing 20-30 seconds with a drive-through. Then we won’t see battles ruined by penalties (something F1 is obviously keen to avoid), but it does send a clear message to incentivise cleaner racing.

  26. I’ve never seen such consistently questionable driving standards in a season, and I do feel like this is a legacy of the introduction of time penalties (as opposed to drive throughs and stop-gos).

    I was under the impression that these existed to punish minor infractions, like crossing the white line on pit entry. But they have become the punishment of choice, and we’re now seeing that these 5 second penalties don’t really incentivise drivers to race fair.

    Thinking back to the recent incidents, and although I do think he’s gone over the limit, I can completely understand why Max drives the way he does. If you’re about to be passed for the lead by the faster car, either you let the car pass without a fight, or you defend with everything you’ve got because even if you get penalised, you’ll still be in 2nd either way. Why wouldn’t you overdefend?

    I do think that for driving standards (and issues of safety) drive-throughs are more appropriate. Obviously bringing them back widely won’t be popular, but I say that, outside of truly dangerous incidents, they should use the black and white flag more often. No penalty applied, but a clear warning to send a message that what they’re doing isn’t okay, and that if they keep doing it they face losing 20-30 seconds with a drive-through. Then we won’t see battles ruined by penalties (something F1 is obviously keen to avoid), but it does send a clear message to incentivise cleaner racing.

    1. Very good point. It has been ages we have seen Drive-through given to anyone. Max actions deserved a Drive-through rather than a harmless 5 seconds penalty and then another harmless post race 10 seconds penalty.

      1. Might have been ages since a drive through, can’t remember well (only 20 sec worth btw), but not since a stop and go, ocon in brazil 2018 for sure and I remember some more recent case but can’t remember the circumstances. Could even be this year.

      2. And stop and go is 10 sec harsher than drive through.

      3. Ah, and hamilton’s actions surely deserved something bigger than a penalty he can still win with at silverstone, as I’m at it, and with the car he had it was obvious he was at least in for the win as soon as penalty was given.

  27. Not the first time F1 failed to learn from this. 1989, 1990 and 1997, everyone.
    The last three ones were different back then – no namecalling and only reactions such as “Racing Incident 100%”

  28. In the early hours of 26 October 1986 I got up to watch Nigel Mansell cruelly lose the world championship in Adelaide because he had a blow out. Ironically, for those that remember, he would have won the championship if the race had been red flagged but somehow he managed to control the car off the track and the race continued. On 7 October 2007 I watched Lewis Hamilton slide into the gravel as he entered the pits and ultimately lose the world championship in his rookie year. In both cases, I was completely gutted being a fan of both drivers. However, crucially, in both cases neither lost the championship due to the actions of other drivers.

    For most even handed F1 fans I believe that Verstappen creates a dilemma. We’re wow’d by his talent yet find it almost impossible to live with uncompromising and at times unfair style of driving. Hamilton has made his share of clumsy mistakes during his F1 career and it’s taken him time to become a more complete driver. However, from day one I believe he’s shown that he is a clean and fair driver. Hard, absolutely, but fair.

    If this season ends with Verstappen taking them both out and winning the championship by default we all lose. Fervent Verstappen fans will feel like justice has been done although it would be a sour win for those of us who wanted the championship to be decided on the track. For the of the sport and its fans, let’s hope this doesn’t happen.

  29. Of course Toto fears that. He is almost there and influenced all he could even leading to in season changes. But he can’t control the other drivers. Must be a nightmare for him.

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