Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Red Bull Ring, 2024

Verstappen’s willingness to make contact paid off again, but has Norris noticed?

Formula 1

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Max Verstappen’s vigorous defence of his lead and eventual penalty for colliding with Lando Norris prompted fresh examination of the world champion’s robust racecraft.

Norris complained the Red Bull driver had repeatedly changed his line in the braking zones for corners. Verstappen indeed appeared to do this, but he was confident he had skirted the edge of acceptability with his moves by changing his direction immediately before braking, not during it.

“I know, of course, that in the past has always been a bit of a complaint,” he said afterwards. “But now I always move my wheel before I brake and then, of course, you brake in a straight line trajectory or whatever.”

This is one example of how Verstappen pays attention not only to what the rules state, but also what the stewards have an appetite to enforce. And the stewards have not cited ‘moving under braking’ as a reason for handing down any other penalty so far this year.

Andrea Stella
Stella believes 2021 season explains Verstappen’s strong moves
Afterwards McLaren team principal Andrea Stella claimed the stewards had been too lenient on Verstappen’s strong moves in the past, particularly in 2021. Verstappen’s bitterly-fought championship fight with Lewis Hamilton three years ago featured several on-track flash points, some of which resulted in penalties for the Red Bull driver.

Stella will be well aware of the potency of these comments, raising the spectre of one of F1’s most controversial seasons in recent memory. That season ended so acrimoniously, with a series of poor calls over several races culminating in a notorious conclusion, that the FIA made sweeping changes to race control and dismissed its race director.

His replacement instituted a new set of driving guidelines. F1’s ultra-professional drivers lean on them as if they keep a copy in their cockpits during races – notably Norris’ team mate Oscar Piastri during yesterday’s race.

But few appreciate as well as Verstappen that it’s not just a matter of what the rules state but what the stewards are prepared to enforce. Perhaps only Fernando Alonso has tested the grey areas of the regulations as frequently.

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In Verstappen’s case, he is an extremely skilful performer in wheel-to-wheel combat to begin with. He may have often had the best car in recent years, but he knows how to position it perfectly to frustrate a rival’s efforts to get by him.

But to this he adds an understanding that the stewards are fundamentally reluctant to penalise unless they feel they have to. And what often tips them over the line is contact – and its consequences for the driver considered the innocent party.

Carlos Sainz Jnr observed this earlier in the year after he was penalised for a collision with Piastri in Miami. The Ferrari driver pointed out that while F1 has precise guidelines stating how the stewards will judge overtaking moves, if no contact occurs they are often tempted to say ‘no harm, no foul’.

“We keep thinking we don’t look at the outcome of the [incident],” said Sainz. “In this case I think clearly we’re still looking at the outcome because I’m completely certain that if the front wing [hadn’t been damaged and] Oscar wouldn’t have had to pit, I would not have got a penalty and everyone would be talking about a good overtake and some good action on a track where it proved to be extremely difficult to overtake and you had to go for a move like that.”

“In my opinion, the consequence is still having a bit of an effect on the penalty that you get, which is something that I don’t fully share or I’m still a bit puzzled about and I struggle with sometimes,” he concluded.

Verstappen is not puzzling over the implications of this, he’s turning it to his advantage. He is prepared to risk contact, usually at low speeds, knowing others instinctively try to avoid it.

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This can be seen in Verstappen’s comments after the race. While other drivers try to avoid contact at all, he indicated he had factored in what the likely consequence of an impact would be, and been surprised by the outcome.

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Interlagos, 2021
Verstappen knew Hamilton had to avoid contact in 2021
“It was a bit of an, I would say, awkward angle that we touched, something that is very weird,” Verstappen told the official F1 channel. “Also for both of us to get a puncture with it is really bad.”

Verstappen’s willingness to risk contact was clearest in 2021 because the stakes were much higher. Over the final races Verstappen knew a collision would have been disastrous for Hamilton but arguably beneficial for his championship hopes. This led him to make moves which were given inadequate penalties or none at all.

At Interlagos he flung his car down the inside of Hamilton, ran well off the track and regained a place. The stewards issued no penalty, in glaring contradiction with past practice.

At Jeddah he brake-tested Hamilton as he tried to force his rival to overtake him before a DRS detection line. Norris was among those who remarked on the leniency of Verstappen’s 10 second penalty for a potentially dangerous move.

Verstappen hasn’t needed to push these limits anything like a far in the intervening years. Yesterday, under rare, sustained pressure, he chose to. This was partly because Norris is now his closest rival in the championship, and his car is quick enough to cut Verstappen’s points lead.

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It also happened because Norris was in the unusual position of being able to repeatedly attack the Red Bull. F1 tyres often fade within the first few laps, so if a leading driver makes a strong block and causes a rival to drop out of DRS range, that can be sufficient to end a battle. But that didn’t work for Verstappen yesterday: Norris kept coming back thanks to his fresher rubber and the especially strong DRS effect at the Red Bull Ring.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2024
Verstappen extended his championship lead by 10 points
Although Verstappen was penalised for the incident and lost the victory, the result was a net win for him as far as the championship is concerned: Norris failed to score and the Red Bull driver added 10 points to his tally. Verstappen’s tactics were vindicated again so do not expect him to alter them.

Sure enough, after reviewing the video of the collision, Verstappen’s view that he was in the right had not changed. “Where we touched, honestly, it just felt like it was a bit clumsy,” he said.

“When you’re in the car initially, you think have I done something wrong? Didn’t I leave enough space, like half a car width or whatever? Of course you can always judge or argue about what is a car’s width.

“I honestly think I did leave a car’s width on the white line. And naturally you race hard. I’m not there to give two cars’ width because I know that he’s going to get me on the exit. You race hard for a race win. I think that’s how it should be.”

Being prepared to risk a collision in single-seater cars brings obvious risks. However Verstappen knows that the stewards are hesitant to get involved until they see contact, and turns that to his advantage.

Hamilton seemed to draw the conclusions from that over the course of 2021 and vowed he would be “a more aggressive driver” as a result. However three years of largely uncompetitive cars has rendered that largely moot – one elbow-banging encounter in Brazil aside.

Now Norris is in Hamilton’s position of trying to take the championship fight to Verstappen. Is he prepared to go as far as his rival?

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2024 Austrian 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...

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119 comments on “Verstappen’s willingness to make contact paid off again, but has Norris noticed?”

  1. I don’t think Norris has the attitude to go into a battle with the same attitude as Verstappen.
    Yes, there were a couple of lunges yesterday, but Austria is a very specific track that lends itself to lunges.
    The way Verstappen defends, or attacks, is a very simple statement – you want to fight, we will crash – it’s up to you. And he’s right, most people will back away. He got a shock yesterday when Norris held his ground and I really hope that he continues to do so.

    Verstappen is a great driver, but he’s also a driver who is quite happy to risk everything for winning. A very ugly trait, and the reason that Schumacher has such a blot on his career.

    1. Verstappen defends well, maybe to well, in the same way several other great champions did in the past. Norris lacks tenacity, he looks fragile and breaks under pressure and so on. Is very fast, but that doesn´t make him a champion.

      1. I agree.
        How Verstappen can predict when and how to defend so precisely from looking in his mirrors whilst driving on the limit astounds me. I struggle to adjust the radio when driving!
        Like you say, Lando is fast (and also very likeable) but you need more than that to win against the best in the world, speed is just part of the required package.

        1. False equivalence: Keep in mind you have to factor in a lot of other things, cars, pedestrians, traffic signs, etc, than a racing driver that’s doing laps in a memorized circuit (just look at the videos were they mimic racing outside a car with a lap in a monitor next to them with eyes closed) and (usually) having to preoccupy himself with two cars, one in front and one behind, on top of bing what you do for a living. It’s much easier for your brain to pay attention to just one car than you in your regular street.

      2. Lando seems very adept at moaning on the radio, though.

        1. So is max, altho not everything is suitable for the international stream. Or the diva of radio complaining: lewis

    2. The final outcome doesn’t matter. Norris needed to show Max that he’ll crash before just letting Max bully him out of the way. Something Leclerc hasn’t shown. You had to do the same thing to Schumacher to make him race you even remotely fairly. And Max is exactly like MSC. An utterly brilliant driver but unable to accept being beaten in wheel-to-wheel combat. The urge to prevent or immediately redress it becomes so strong that clean driving goes immediately out the window and if that means taking another driver out then so be it. With his lead right now, it also means he has nothing to lose by doing it.

      1. Max is similar to Schumacher in so many ways, not a surprise when you think that Max was schooled by his dad who in turn was schooled by MSC back in the day.
        I don’t necessarily think this event was a lesson from Lando to Max, I think Lando was a bit surprised by how tough Max was and his demeanour and words at the end of the race reflected that.
        As fast as Lando is I’m not sure he has in him what Max has. We can debate the rights and wrongs of it and of course our own personal beliefs on how we should behave affect our individual opinions.
        If this had been Senna he would have been angry and aggrieved, Lando seemed more deflated like he’d been betrayed in some way.

        1. And if Senna was in Max’ seat, he would have done the same thing to Lando or worse. Max left him room enough room to decide if he wanted to force it or back off.
          It wasn’t as if Lando didn’t have the option of running wide to avoid the crash. If Lando is trying to make a statement to Max good for him.
          But this case is nothing more than hard racing – another case of British bias making a mountain out of a molehill.
          It will be interesting to see who flinches next go round.

      2. Nick T, Leclerc showed Verstappen he was willing to crash in that sort of situation back in karting. He confirmed in Silverstone 2019 (the race after he learned that the stewards were happy to give Verstappen more leniency than others) sufficiently thoroughly that Verstappen hasn’t dared to do a similar move on purpose against Leclerc since (Las Vegas 2023 was so accidental that Verstappen apologised, something rarely seen otherwise). You may not have noticed that this is why they rarely tangle in F1, why their fights are generally clean and competitive, and why Leclerc’s record against Verstappen in wheel-to-wheel fighting is so good compared to the other F1 drivers who have challenged Verstappen that way.

        1. Leclerc is a good example of what Norris is not – incisive. Norris just let chance after chance slip by – as the sprint race showed, sometimes you only get one chance, so to squander so many in the race proper is quite damning.

        2. lol back in karting. I think you need a more recent precedent than when you were both barely out of diapers. The only difference is that Leclerc is better at late braking than Norris. But he’s soft.

          1. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
            2nd July 2024, 3:45

            You missed the significance of what I wrote. Charles proved to Max he was too hard for such tricks to work back in karting, reminded him in the middle of 2019 (I know it’s hard for you to believe but both had made it to F1 that many years ago), so Max had to reduce his use of tactics to a lower level than what he employs for the likes of Norris and the random opponents Max meets on the rare occasions he’s not at the front.

        3. @alianora-la-canta
          I was looking for this comment. Thanks for the insights as usual !

        4. Leclerc had his moment of being pushed off track by Verstappen in Austria 2019. He lost the victory there because of Verstappen “dive bombing” and forcing Leclerc onto runoff. Same move Lando did on Lap 63.

          Difference is that Leclerc did not accelerate onto the runoff and keep the position like Verstappen did. Verstappen probably understands that the situation is debatable and that he can always claim to be pushed off. Stewards being a committee helps him get away with questionable moves because they will have a trouble making a race changing decision.

          After that Austria 2019 moment, Leclerc learned that you need to defend the inside against Max or otherwise you will be forced off. He fights him better now but I am not convinced that the same wouldn’t happen to Leclerc if he was in Norris’s situation. Situation in Austria 2024 was partly because the delta between the cars wasn’t big enough so Lando couldn’t overtake or get alongside on the straight, he had to do it on the brakes and then Verstappen would move and block. In the end one of those moves caused the collision.

      3. With his lead right now, it also means he has nothing to lose by doing it.

        That isn’t necessarily the case, Schumacher finished one season as a DQ, if Max pushes things too far he could suffer the same fate.

        1. In retrospect, what Schumacher did then would probably only get him a 10s penalty nowadays.

          1. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
            2nd July 2024, 3:49

            @asanator Unless it was in front of the stewards who thought Stroll’s deliberate crash in Spain was OK, in which case there’d be no penalty at all. It’s not clear Michael treated the DQ as any more significant than a warning, though. (The one part he thought was a significant part of the punishment was the mandatory road safety campaign day. He ended up so convinced of its importance that he voluntarily signed up for every road safety campaign day the FIA had to offer afterwards during his career!)

    3. It seems does have that ability. If he didn’t he would have run onto the kerb and there would have been no contact. Great to see it

  2. This is a pivotal moment for Norris, there is no point in remarking that he will get some respect back for Verstappen if he recognises what he did and apologises. This is the time for Lando to stand up and say if that’s the way Max wants to play it then he can expect the same in return and more.
    Verstappen is a supreme and ruthless talent, this is the way he races – right on the limit, this is his instinct, he was literally designed to win in F1. Lando is now in a winning car and the cheeky, loveable, charming Lando will need to become a bit more ruthless.

    1. Yes Lando needs to become more ruthless but don’t forget he pushed Max on the grass the last race and raced him hard with some dive bombs this race so he is learning.

      1. Dive bombing is not racing hard, this is the point, Norris leaving it to fate instead of hard racecraft. Pushing you to the grass it also not hard racing, is an infringement on the rules.

        1. Itnwas no dive bomb this time tho. He was properly on the inside and half a car in front, allowing him to let it run in a wide line. Amd so he did

        2. I’m no fan of dive bombs and I would change the rule that they have to leave a cars width even on a divebomb (getting ahead by apex), this should allow us to get some side to side action as cars wouldn’t be allowed to squeeze someone off.

          But, that move is a signature Verstappen move. Dive onto the inside and slow down the car, forcing the other car to take avoiding action by slowing down or going off track.

          Great example is Austria 2019 where Verstappen “divebombed” in T3 just like Norris did, kept it on track just like Norris did in Lap 63 but Leclerc didn’t steam away over the runoff to keep his position (like Verstappen on Lap 63). There was no penalty for that divebomb/force driver off in 2019. In fact, by the rules it is probably a legal move if you are ahead by apex and that is ridiculous, obviously you can be ahead by apex if you are divebombing and not leaving space for the other car.

      2. Dont forget he didnt push Max on the grass in Barcelona, but left a cars width. Max just overreacted and went off all by himself, while there was enough space.

    2. ollie studio45
      1st July 2024, 10:51

      If Norris doesn’t make that statement of intent, the stewards may be disinclined to blame him for future incidents i.e. he can instrumentalise the crashtappen moniker.

    3. “this is the way he races – right on the limit”

      Verstappen does not race on the limit, he goes beyond it. If you want an example of racing on the limit, watch Hamilton vs Rosberg Bahrain 2014.

      1. I can find you footage of Verstappen racing on the limit also. Hamilton himself has also been over the limit when pressured. Albon for example remembers it well.
        Verstappen uses the rules to his advantage, he is always on the limit which honestly is smart. Its what the greats of old used to do. Yes he divebombs also but he actually makes the moves stick unlike Norris yesterday. Same for his aggression vs Hamilton in 2021. There were 2 races where he lost it, i agree with that but his aggression in the beginning of the season was placing the car perfectly and forcing the other to lift because of having the better position for the corner. Thats racing, but people started complaining and going over the limit in response at Silverstone.

        1. One incident with Albon that was clearly a misjudgment and not a ruthless block is all you can produce while Max has endless examples. They had to make new rules for him because not moving in the braking zone had just been assumed as the way things are done. But Max didn’t adhere to that unwritten rule. So, they had to write it down. The problem with F1, unlike NASCAR, is that drivers basically never self regulate each other. So, we just get more rules, which ruins the spectacle even more.

          1. Guess what, thats always been F1. Even the teams do it themselves when developing the car. The fact that they had to make rules for him means that when he was doing it, it was perfectly legal. So what are you accusing of? They made rules about his braking, ok, so now he is moving before braking which is perfectly legal…..
            You talk about ruining the spectacle, i agree these rules ruin the spectacle biut these days it looks like everyone want DRS overtakes only. Anytime someone drives smart, they dont get respect but complaints.
            Fans these days talk about Senna being the best but never seen him drive. Senna, Prost, Lauda etc, those drivers were exactly driving like Verstappen, finding the limits of what was allowed.
            These days people want simple overtakes but then they complain about boring races and nothing happening.
            Take yesterday as an example. 2 aggressive drivers fighting eachother, matching eachotherd energy, 1 made a small mistake which has happened to every driver out there, and people going completely nuts.
            Its like no one wants to enjoy the show

        2. Valinor, if Verstappen stuck to the limit yesterday, the collision would not have occurred. It is far from the only example.

          1. He miscalculated the corner. All drivers have had a moment where they miscalculate and touch wheels. It happens. And yes I agree it was Verstappens fault. But all this out of context nonsense about Verstappens driving is ridulous. Norris himself has been driving aggressively this season.
            Also Norris did the same at the start last race. Even Hamilton was laughing about it previous race. If Verstappen had stayed his line they would have touched. So if you gonna accuse Verstappen of all these things, Norris was doing the exact same thing.

          2. @valinor. “Miscalculated.” Mr. Precision is suddenly miscalculating multiple times in a matter of a few laps?

          3. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
            2nd July 2024, 3:51

            Valinor, touching wheels wasn’t the limit of what Verstappen did, and even this itself demonstrates Verstappen went beyond the limit because F1 isn’t touring cars and its vehicles aren’t designed to hold up to bumping wheels.

  3. I don’t understand why Max defended so hard when he knew Norris had a 5 sec penalty. I guess he could have have let him past and with the help of the long DRS zones stay close to Norris. Also I don’t understand Norris why did he gave that position back for sure Max didn’t return that favor a lap later.

    1. he didn’t know

      1. The stewards took too long to give that penalty – it needed investigation????
        Think the penalty was announced just before the clash but there was no communication from Red Bull to Max.

        For sure Max would have let Norris past knowing Norris had a 5 second penalty and just easily follow using the 3 DRS zones. Max was quickest in the non DRS part of the circuit so getting DRS on the 3 straights would have made it very hard for Norris to break DRS range.

        1. The time it took for the stewards to give Lando a penalty which was a formality and the time it took to adjudicate blame for the collision is quite telling.

          1. pretty much. The Stewards work for Formula 1, and they don’t get to penalize guys like Max, they only get to ensure the status quo.

      2. It took some time for RC but if you listen to Max his board radio he immediately said that is a 5 s penalty for Norris. He knew it would be a slam dunk penalty so he could have anticipated for it and at least take less risks in close racing. Still I like the hard racing form both sides.

    2. Coz he did want to look like a chump who could not keep it within 5 sec of a car whom he outqualified by 0.4 sec

    3. Señor Sjon
      1st July 2024, 11:05

      The penalty was given just after the contact. It took race control about 5 laps between Noted -> Investigation > Penalty, so all of this could have been prevented. He once pushed Verstappen off the track like Hulkenberg did the race before and Hulkenberg got a 10s penalty for that.

      1. Verstappen did the same with Norris the previous lap. Given the number of other investigations, it wouldn’t surprise me if the stewards simply went, “Eh, those cancel out”.

    4. The penalty wasn’t officially issued until 2 corners after the crash (although commentators did seem to be getting alerted to penalties in general before the official issuance, which is something that itself needs to be looked at).

      1. Generally thecpenalty is on thebraving directors message feed a lap before it is shown on the international live TV feed. So officially the penalty is given a lap before its on the tv screens

        1. *the racing director message feed

        2. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
          2nd July 2024, 3:52

          @cdfemke The more it happens, the more important it is to investigate it.

    5. I think it comes down to two reasons.
      1. Max was frustrated that the team had a problem in the box so he lost his cushion, he probably felt he earned the win and thus wouldn’t yield.
      2. This is first time Lando is attacking Max and Max wanted to intimidate Norris.

  4. Allthough understandably, I think McLaren and Lando should also look at their part of the incidents. You could argue that Max avoided two crashes and Lando had space to go when they crashed but chose no to go on the kerbs.

    But that doesn’t probably fit the narrative.

    1. Yeah, Lando did repeatedly dive-bomb and the end result was, ultimately, a crash that led to a DNF.

        1. simply untrue. when you are alongside the other driver has to leave enough space on track. facts stay, no matter how often you spam your biased opinion

          1. Sainz left no room and max avoided contact and made the pass work.
            Norris obviously is not yet able to see that.
            And yes, i do have an opinion..

    2. It depends on how far the attacking car is alongside, for who has right to the racing line.

  5. Thanks @willwood. This is a very good description! I feel this way about racing for a long time but this is te fist time I read it on this website.
    Monza 21 was the best example of this. Low speed, low risk. I will accept a non-finish, do you?

    I like F1 to be hard racing, but this is a bit to hard for me. But if he gets away with it, I guess he’s right. It’s all about the size of their ego’s…

  6. If you closely study Max’s onboard he doesn’t actually move to the left at all. What is actually happening is that the track is angled slightly to the left there he keeps absolutely straight on the steering, it looks as if he’s moving to the left which is possibly what the stewards are looking at but if you look at his steering angle he doesn’t change anything,” Windsor states in his analysis on YouTube.

    Obviously i completely agree with windsor.
    Norris was very frustrated (according to russell even before the race) and overestimated his abilitys and paid dearly for his next mistake.

    1. I just watched that video. So many mistakes in the video. Normally I think PW is decent, but not this time. He starts by outlining how he thinks the regulations regarding leaving space are wrong. It doesn’t matter if he disagrees with that, those are the regulations and the drivers should be held to account when they break them.

      He doesn’t give any evidence so I can’t check to see if what’s he saying about Max not changing his steering angle are correct. He also says the track veers to the left at that point and that’s why it looks like Max moves left. The track would have to veer right for that to be the case.

      He then goes on to confuse Max’s pitstops, claiming that the pitstop that McLaren were calling unsafe release was caused by the delay on Max’s rear left wheel. Max’s slow stop due the rear left wheel was his 2nd stop. The potential unsafe release happened on his 1st stop.

      1. If the track veers right he would have followed the path to the right.
        That was obviously not the case. See the onboards by max to see there is no steer movement.
        His switching of the pitstops does not undo the point max haf two bad stops

        1. That was definitely not PW’s best video. As @gdog pointed out he confuses pit stops and left with right (if the track veers to the right there would be more space on the left and not less if Verstappen had braked in a straight line), but the track doesn’t veer at all at this point anymore. The reason why they touched is because Verstappen didn’t start to brake with his car pointed straight. He started braking in the middle of the track with his car slightly aiming to the left and therefore drifted towards Norris. This misjudgement and
          Norris refusal to take avoiding action lead to the unnecessary contact.
          It’s in line with the steward’s decision to punish the driver who doesn’t leave enough space (look at various Monza incidents from last year) so I’m fine with it.
          Norris driving wasn’t particularly impressive either though as he constantly dive-bombed and ignored track limits. Maybe they should also implement gravel at turn 3 too.

          1. Good find. It pretty much sums up what I mean. Not taking avoiding action contributed to the collision. But it’s still (predominantly…) Verstappen fault as he veered under breaking towards an other driver without leaving a car’s width of space. Would it be smarter for Norris to leave the track like Verstappen did the year before? Probably, but he was in no obligation to leave the track and make way.
            Hadn’t Verstappen done it the Ferrari would have gotten a penalty too.
            It does confirm though that, regardless of what the FIA say, the outcome of an incident does indeed effect the penalty, but we knew that since ALO vs. RUS in Australia anyway, didn’t we.

    2. A posted by @afonic below

      Track looks pretty straight to me at that point, and the lack of space pretty obvious.

      1. Gdog, that was a really informative video, thnk you for posting the link

    3. Verstappen was angled left throughout, Norris was not. Simply because it was the same leftward angle left does not make it a non-leftward movement. Windsor does not appear to have taken this into consideration. (The track does flare at that point, to accommodate a variety of Lap 1 lines, but in a late-race scenario going into that corner following its outer curve would be as good as yielding the corner, which was clearly was not the intention of either driver. That was a crowding action intended to force Norris to yield – until Verstappen braked too late for that to work).

    4. Aside from PW not knowing left from right, his point is irrelevant. If by keeping the steering straight on a slight bend you drive into someone then it’s no different from steering into someone on a straight.

  7. Think you’ve captured it perfectly there Keith. Max is willing to risk contact rather than lose position to Lando, because that McLaren is a serious rival.

    Max probably was within the rules when it comes to moving under braking, but by braking in a “straight line” that is designed to squeeze his opponent’s space, he’s asking Lando a simple question – “do you feel lucky, punk?”

    Lando for his part was too keen to make a move and threw in a few high risk lunges that were never going to come off cleanly and probably made Max even more determined.

    Edge of the seat racing but you could tell it would end in tears.

    1. I don’t really know if it’s within the rules or not but the only driver that defends like that is Max. It was quite obvious that he was waiting to see where Norris was going to go, then turned the wheel in response and brake. Maybe not technically moving under braking but still very dangerous and could lead to serious crashes in other cases.

      Under braking a driver should select a line and defend that. Doing it in a way that you cover both lines should not be acceptable, even if you are not moving the steering wheel while you apply the brakes.

      1. Señor Sjon
        1st July 2024, 11:07

        Not really. There are numerous Magnussen and Ocon defences around that day that made Verstappen look like a boy scout. But they aren’t highlighted as such.

        1. You can just see Max going at the inside line and then braking in a way that he is back at the outside line. I don’t get how people defend that. Other people pushed their rivals off the track on exit but didn’t move under braking.

        2. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
          2nd July 2024, 3:55

          Magnussen is 2 points off a ban and carefully refrained from hitting the cars he defended against on Sunday. Ocon was mostly driving like that around his team-mate, including the one contact he had, and the stewards are more lenient towards intra-team collisions (the basis for this appears to be that few stewards’ penalties sting quite so much as an angry manager’s rebuke).

  8. This is an around about way of saying that Max cheats but does so selectively, based on the likelihood of punishment.

    Sky’s post-race analysis showed very clearly that Max moved in the breaking zone on more than one occasion during the race. This led to Norris taking a far different line (much further away from Max) during a later attempt to pass him.

    And before we hear cries that Sky is a UK channel and therefore partisan when it comes to British drivers, you could literally see Max moving in the slo-mo footage. Every pundit agreed, as did my own eyes.

    Max is an unbelievably talented driver, possibly the best of this era. However, his approach when battling an overtake is outside of the rules. The 2 points on his Super Licence prove that beyond doubt.

    1. I don’t think it’s materially different from lots of other drivers exploiting their understanding of the rules to push the boundaries while trying to avoid being penalised.

      A good example is the “Rosberg” move of trying to squeeze out a driver if he’s to your outside on the exit of a corner. This is generally tolerated as long as you were ahead at the apex, even though on a literal reading of the rules it should be illegal (“All the time you have to leave a space,” as someone once said).

      We see that move all the time – Perez did it to Piastri on the way out of turn four yesterday, for example – because drivers know they’re going to get away with it. So it is a case of learning not only the rulebook, but how it’s enforced, and using that to your advantage.

      The difference with Verstappen is of degree, not of kind. Rather than finding out where the line is and trying not to cross it, he’s happy to use it as a kind of skipping rope, risking the occasional penalty if it doesn’t harm his long-term prospects. I highly doubt we’d have seen that move if he was on eight penalty points already, but two he can probably live with.

      1. You are right – the rulebook says you can’t crowd people off the track yet this is allowed all the time.

        This should be enforced, not because of Norris or McLaren but because this non enforcing makes the racing worse. If you are allowed to force people wide you can’t have side to side battles that last several corners. Any driver who is ahead can just force the other off or there is a crash. Just depends who is more determined.

    2. Whenever someone tries to dismiss something being said with “it’s because you’re [insert nationality here]” I take it as confirmation they can’t disagree with any points risen with any form of reason, instead going for the ‘out of hand dismissal’ approach.

    3. Honestly I have a hard time taking the message that something is out of line because you get 2 penalty points, since when you are at 11 and do the same you will suddenly get 0.

      Penalty points mean absolutely 0 so far and have been like that for over a decade, however long they’ve been around, because the stewards never actually have the courage to give the last point or 2 when it can actually give a ban.

    4. Given how arbitrary the rulings are of the FIA absolutely nothing is beyond doubt.

      This type of hard and aggressive racing is the norm in karting and junior series.
      It’s how all of them grew up racing.
      Just because its F1 and it’s for the world to see doesn’t take away that precedent.

    5. If Max had moved under breaking he would have gotten a warning and or penalty. The Fia must have had a complaint from McLaren so they surely investigated and Max was right.. he chose to move just before and positioned his car on a trajectory to the racing line. That’s within the rules so he wasn’t punished. It may be risky, you can say it is not fair.. but is positioning your car in a no place to go position on the outside and claiming someone pushes you off track better? That seems quite unfair to me…

      1. If this article is anything (and indeed experience) is anything to go by, we can’t guarantee that Max would have received any penalty for moving under braking. (I think he may have done it yesterday, but that the crash itself wasn’t a good example because other errors – his and Lando’s – were more prominent).

  9. Good analysis.

    As Carlos says they do look into consequences. I felt that had Perez stayed ahead of Piastri, he’d have been penalized for pushing Oscar off track while defending out of turn 4. But interestingly, they claimed “no action” just after Oscar overtook him.

    The contact between Max and Lando was tiny but resulted in two cars being damaged and spitting debris all over the track. So they HAD to penalize someone… but if they hadn’t touched, they’d have not done anything…

    1. The hypocritical thing is that FIA always claims the consequences are of no importance to refereeing.
      Yet every time it is the consequences that determine whether it is refereed.

      1. The FIA says that because it’s technically not allowed to judge by outcome. Excessively prominent judgment by consequence risks its very ability to judge future races.

    2. They basically do things halfway: when a crash heavily favours the offending driver (silverstone 2021) they defend the meaningless penalty by saying they don’t take consequences into account, but then they still do in other cases.

      I would personally take consequences into account, and indeed it’s always like that: when someone backs off and there’s no contact, no penalty, but repeat the same action without the driver taking evasive action and there’s suddenly a penalty.

  10. It was one thing when VER was fighting to be a champion and he kept crashing HAM who was the reigning champion but now as the reigning champion, his tactics will be judged differently as NOR, PIA, and RUS try to win. I also don’t agree with VER not getting a penalty in qualifying for driving too slowly exiting the pit. I understand he didn’t impede another driver, BUT he was allowed to build a larger gap than any other driver leaving the pits during qualifying. The stewards don’t have the guts to penalize VER. I don’t know if someone has analyzed the race, but I question whether or not NOR did exceed track limits or if that was the stewards protecting VER’s victory. And if NOR did exceed track limits, was he really the only driver to do so?

    1. Blatant lie. Max didn’t keep on crashing. He for Ed Hamilton wide a few time. But Hamilton was the one making the contacts not Max.

      1. Does parking your Car on someone’s head count as making contact?

        1. The stewards noted that Hamilton “caused” Verstappen to leave the track there.

          As so often, drivers are very selective in when and for whom they leave space.

          Brazil 2021 is the obvious “Max bad” situation. The others not so much.

    2. You do know there were at least four drivers with the same slow pit speed..
      They also are not penalized.

    3. I don’t know if someone has analyzed the race, but I question whether or not NOR did exceed track limits or if that was the stewards protecting VER’s victory. And if NOR did exceed track limits, was he really the only driver to do so?

      So you think Race Control is making up stuff to influence the race? If anything track limits can be objectively measured and checked by the teams.

  11. It is a pity they eventually had a minor contact. Otherwise it was perfect. Seriously, who wants the processional overtakes of 2014-2020 back? Let’s go racing. I couldn’t car less whether Lando or Max would have won yesterday. It is bad enough drs exists and gives an artificial unfair advantage to the one chasing. Let’s at least give the ones defending somewhat of lenience here. If FIA want to uphold the rules then fine. Throw out some 10s now & then, but in this case I saw enough space on the left (over a car’s width) and it was just rather unfortunate they touched. This was not the kind of ‘moving under braking’ that was intended to be covered by the rule (Spa on Kimi was). I am with Peter Windsor on this. Also, it won’t hurt the relation between Max and Lando, no matter how desperately the press will attempt to make it look that way or create it.

  12. I think Verstappen defended that very hard because it was Austria and a clear open goal for Red Bull based on the car’s performance throughout the whole weekend. What I still stand as a massive disappointment, is the FIA not penalizing Verstappen in Brazil 2021 when it was a clear deliberate movement to force Hamilton off the track.

  13. Can someone point out where in the sporting regulations it says you can’t move under braking? I know this was determined in 2016 but that appears to be an interpretation of the sporting regulations as written at the time and not itself an actual regulation. Looking at the 2024 sporting regulations, I can’t find some of the sections that were referenced in 2016 as the basis for not allowing movement under braking. Specifically, article 27.8 doesn’t seem to have a corresponding entry in the 2024 sporting regulations.

    1. 33.4 At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which
      could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.
      Moving under braking is considered erratically

    2. @g-funk This is understandable, the FIA likes shuffling around regulation numbers without saying it has done so.

    3. Appendix L, Chapter IV, Article 2b:
      “More than one change of direction to defend a
      position is not permitted.
      Any driver moving back towards the racing line,
      having earlier defended his position off-line, should
      leave at least one car width between his own car
      and the edge of the track on the approach to the
      However, manoeuvres liable to hinder other
      drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car
      beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal
      change of direction, are strictly prohibited. Any
      driver who appears guilty of any of the above
      offences will be reported to the Stewards.”

      Have to leave a cars width on the racing line if you defended inside (like Max).
      Maneuvers liable to hinder other cars are not allowed (crowding or blocking under braking definitely fall under this).

      1. Is this (combined with what grapmg referred to) really the full text covering ‘moving under breaking’? It can’t be so, since it leaves a very lot open to interpretation. Then I would argue that in this case more than a car’s width (Lando wasn’t even on the kerb when they touched) was left and in a slow speed corner. So this was not what was meant by moving under breaking. Wow, this is quite staggering. Please tell me there is more somewhere else in the rule book.

      2. “More than one change of direction to defend a
        position is not permitted.
        Any driver moving back towards the racing line,
        having earlier defended his position off-line, should
        leave at least one car width between his own car
        and the edge of the track on the approach to the

        So Max went off the racing line to the right to defend the corner. That’s his one defending move. Then he moves to the left which is him moving back towards the racing line. And he leaves a car’s width (on the left of his car). Then what exactly was the problem?

  14. José Lopes da Silva
    1st July 2024, 14:24

    For most of the time, in these comments sections, we see people claiming for hard characters, hard racing, slamming softness, snow flakes, wokeness, and hailing the Seventies. Max Verstappen is a spoilt brat, having a lot to grow.

    Then, when a case like this happens, those people disappear, and we get the people claiming for serious enforcing of the rules. Max Verstappen is then, finally, compared to Michael Schumacher.

    I just hope their not the same. They can’t be. If you want hard racing, this is what you get.

    From the moment crashing stopped carrying the risk of injury, these became the new rules. The driver ahead on points and on track has more to gain then to loose by crashing. Racing is risk taking, so he risks more. Verstappen follows the four-decade-old rules book. Do you want hard racing or not?

    1. This was sloppy racing, not hard racing at all. Hard racing is more or less the opposite of what Verstappen and Norris presented yesterday. (Crashing still carries the risk of injury, it just tends to get forgotten).

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        1st July 2024, 17:38

        Do you consider the Schumacher-Frentzen Canada 1998 incident as sloppy racing?

        We can call it whatever we want. You know that as soon as the stweards start issuing penalties for this sloppy/hard/whatever, people will complain.

        1. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
          2nd July 2024, 4:01

          José Lopes da Silva As it happens, yes. (I’m not sure I was using the term “sloppy” when I did my race notes back in 1998, nor do I have them to hand, but I remember being distinctly unimpressed with the low quality of driving Michael Schumacher displayed in that specific moment. The fact that much of the field seemed to be having trouble with the finer points of driving a F1 car that day may have made it less glaring, however, than a race like Sunday where most of the others were apparently able to avoid egregious collisions and major errors).

          1. José Lopes da Silva
            2nd July 2024, 9:44

            Fine. Seriously, fine by me. The question remains. Should we penalise sloppy racing? Should Schumacher have been penalised for forcing Frentzen out? Or are penalties just snowflake measures and we just have to let them race and take risks? Clearly Frentzen misjudged there, he could have backed off or something

      2. Reported your comment by mistake, just how many times that has happened in this site is beyond me. It was sloppy, but more so on the side of Norris, dive-bombing everywhere and ignoring track limits. And about the collision, this is how you do it.

        And, Alianora, best regards from an old F1NGer!

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          1st July 2024, 21:00

          Indeed. That is another question – I was debating legality and rules, you are talking about racecraft – but you’re right. And in the end, if people want hard racing, elbows and muscles, Norris was definitely sloppy – unable to put himself in a situation where Verstappen defense would risk a lot more than it had where and how it happened.

        2. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
          2nd July 2024, 3:56

          Esteban, thank you. I regard both of them as having driven sloppily, on multiple occasions during their tussle.

  15. José Lopes da Silva
    1st July 2024, 14:28

    Verstappen could also have been penalized with a black and white flag, like Leclerc in Monza 2019 – almost 5 long years since the black and white flag reappeared. It wasn’t because the consequences of the crash, inevitably, matter to the penalization, and that – the penalization calculation – is included in the risk the driver takes. Sorry, Carlos.

    Unless the sport is ready for a serious Grand Reshuffle of the rules book. Then, Leclerc in Monza 2019 and Verstappen in RB Ring 2024 would get the exact same penalty.

    1. There have been a couple of black-and-white flags since then, but we’ve not seen them since – probably because Masi, who was for them, got disgraced.

      1. (That was a clumsily-written sentence. I meant they’ve been seen a couple of times since then for awkward driving – I remember Albon getting one in 2020 – but we’ve not seen them since Michael Masi resigned. I also should have remembered that these days black-and-white flags are still common… as the “last warning” before a track limits penalty is issued).

  16. Verstappen is a case study in what happens when you don’t enforce standards consistently (not the only one by far, but the most prominent one). Some of the moves back in 2021 were a long way over the line and we’re seeing them again now.

    Stella was entirely correct to say that had he been sanctioned more heavily for those repeated infractions back then, he would not continue to pull the same moves now. Norris noted twice before the incident that Max was moving in the braking zone, which is explicitly against the rule put in because of Verstappen’s own driving.

    He doesn’t need to be singled out in any way, the rules just need to be enforced consistently. For example, ue the car sensors to detect whatever is specifically defined as “moving in the braking zone” and put in place a strikes system – warning the first time, 5s penalty for every time after that.

      1. sharing footage of Max not leaving a cars width. good job.
        btw: there is also footage from his onboard, showing him steering left to compromise Norris line, and push him offtrack.

        1. So you see, even facts are fantasy for you ;)
          The ” steering” moment came after the first contact. If you really look at the data you see the puncture was inmediatly rendering the car unstable.
          Try facts next time…

  17. Some of the stuff Max did in the past was so absurd that it goes straight to that area of stewards getting afraid of being way too harsh on the penalty given, and not wanting to deal with it later, just like when a driver is on the verge of getting a race ban and suddenly they stop issuing penalty points to avoid the ban.

    Austria 2019 in which he hit Leclerc and pushed him off it’s an obvious race that it was not taken from him as it should only because a penalty that late would spoil his spetacular performance that day.

    Brazil 2021 pushing Hamilton 20 feet out of the track and Masi saying ‘let them race’ just not to spoil the clash, and so on.

    And Saudi Arabia 2021, which was so absurd it deserves a post of its own, yet he only got some light time penalties, just for the sake of entertainment.

    1. I agree, sadly sportsmanship (or sportswomanship) is secondary to building the viewer base in new markets.

  18. Watching some of the highlights of Euro football matches now, it occured to me how incredibly slow the FIA is in policing the races. Norris’ track limits penalty, quickly applied, would have made it easy for Verstappen to let him by and stick within 5 seconds. Similarly, the preceding scraps in which drivers left the track could have resulted in warnings and prevented the situation from spiraling out of control.

    There’s a lot of money in F1. There’s no good reason to take 10 minutes to come up with a decision on basic incidents. It’ll never be as easy to enforce the rules in F1 as it is in football, but it can certainly be a whole lot better than it is now.

  19. It is not entirely clear to me. When Lando lunged up the inside but couldn’t keep it on track, is that the incident for which people are saying he received a five second penalty for exceeding track limits? Even though Max repassed him and he gained no advantage? If so, that would have been truly disappointing to see the stewards interfering with the race in that way.

    I was also disappointed to hear the Merc pitwall telling Hamilton to give the place back to Sainz at the start of the race to avoid a penalty. In those opening moments, when the track is so crowded, cars are often left with nowhere else to go. Watching that again just now from the overhead shot, I am wondering why you wouldn’t judge that as Sainz forcing Hamilton off the track and Hamilton avoiding contact. It seems that sometimes there is a rule that you have to leave a cars width when someone else is already there, and sometimes the pundits say “well that’s his racing line, you can’t stop him taking his racing line”.

    Whenever it needs slowmo replays and a committee meeting to decide who is in the wrong, the rules have failed. I don’t blame the drivers, I blame the stewards and the track. There is something badly wrong with the track design if a driver can gain an advantage by going off the outside of the track.

    1. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
      2nd July 2024, 4:06

      AlanD, I saw Lando leave the track 5 times during the race, prior to the penalty. Strictly speaking, the penalty only needs 4 to be issued (provided there’s a gap between occurrence #3 and #4 long enough to issue the black-and-white flag, or the last occasions were too close to the chequered flag to issue the white flag).

      It always requires the committee to make the decision because otherwise it would be easy for a favoured driver to force an opponent into getting a penalty by repeatedly shoving them off-track, or any driver to do so by less blatant crowding/forcing actions.

    2. No, norris used those infractions to close in on max. So they were before that moment.
      Looking at penaltys given after the last years rbr norris should receive at least 2 more 5 sec penaltys, excluding the off track excursion when he ruined his car.

  20. Stephen Taylor
    1st July 2024, 21:19

    Even as a Lando I have to say his racecraft needs work . The lunges against Verstappen show impatience and a lack of maturity . If Lando is going to to beat Max he needs to adopt a calm-Piastri like head

  21. Steven Williamson
    2nd July 2024, 12:35

    Lando, proper racing is not possible against this bully. The FIA/stewards are afraid of him, just like teachers afraid of dealing with the school bully. Time to go full Senna on him, start pushing him off the track, with a little contact, every possible opportunity, a public showing, none of these wimpy slight moves under braking, take the penalties as an investment in the future.

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