Causing collisions

It was pretty hard after the race in Sochi to find anyone (not wearing a red shirt) who was willing to argue in favour of Kimi Raikkonen’s ham-fisted overtaking move which dumped Valtteri Bottas out of the race on the last lap, depriving him of a well-earned third place (and 15 points) and Williams team of a similar number of points, although some were gained as Felipe Massa benefited from the shunt. Nonetheless these points may be important because Red Bull Racing is still within striking distance of Williams and the difference between third and fourth in the Constructors’ Championship is nearly $10 million in prize money. The two men were not only disputing third place in the race, they are also fighting over fourth in the Drivers’ World Championship and, who knows, perhaps both have contracts that mean that this is worth millions in extra bonuses to one or the other.

The bottom line is that Raikkonen took away a bunch of points from Williams and although his punishment took away his some of his own points, he still came away with a reward, while Bottas was punted off the road and got nothing. That is not right.

The punishment – a 30-second penalty – seemed rather lenient, given that others who have caused crashes regularly get grid penalties for the next event. In Singapore, Nico Hulkenberg was given a three-place penalty to be served in Japan for a move that was far less dubious than Raikkonen’s lunge. In Monaco Max Verstappen was given a five-place penalty for the Canadian GP for a move that was no worse than Raikkonen’s. A few years back (in 2012) Romain Grosjean was given a one race suspension for causing a crash and that same year in Singapore Michael Schumacher was given a 10-place grid penalty for causing a collision with Toro Rosso’s Jean-Eric Vergne.

I understand that the FIA is trying to reduce the number of penalties that are carried over from one race to the next, but there should really be more consistency in these matters. Kimi deserved a bigger penalty than he got…

172 thoughts on “Causing collisions

  1. I have never understood, nor been in favour of, this practice of issuing penalties for crashing. These drivers are all deemed to be worthy of superlicences, and thus supremely talented. If occasionally one experiences lapse in concentration or judgement and causes an accident, then so be it. It’s the cost of doing business. These guys are making split second decisions at extremely high speeds, and from time to time mistakes are going to occur which result in some other unfortunate driver losing some points.

    But this namby pamby culture of penalising a driver for getting a corner or an overtaking maneouevre wrong demeans and cheapens the sport. This is not football, where a bad tackle deserves a slap on the wrist. This is Formula One, the pinnacle, in my humble opinion, of all sports on the planet, and it is not for a group of men in suits who have never experienced what it means to drive a grand prix car to decide how to legislate against the occasional lapses of those who do.

    1. moo

      It’s worth remembering that Kimi drove into a gap that was always going to close, it happens a lot. And Kimi’s front wheels were only alongside Bottas’ rear wheels.

      It’s not reasonable to expect a driver who is flat out into a corner to look in his mirrors to see where a competitor is.

      “….group of men in suits….”, this is why a driver steward was introduced.


      1. Martin you obviously haven’t raced cars, if you had you would realise that real racing drivers are well awear of what is going on around them. Kimi was aiming up the inside well before the corner, Bottas would be stupid if he was not awhere of Kimi’s intensions. I give Botas credit for being a skilled compeditor, so I’m pretty sure he knew Kimi was going down the inside of him, so why did he turn in? Because he obviovsly had to stop the red car getting past, irespective of the cost.

          1. I suspect he did know but assumed that Kimi would give him sufficient room since he had the corner – which he (Kimi) obviously did not. I bit of red mist (or red pressure) for Kimi I think and I do think his penalty was a bit lenient. Added time and a grid penalty next time seems more appropriate given the circumstances – and I speak as a bit of a Kimi fan

        1. When Kimi’s left front wheel made contact with Bottas’ right rear, the latter’s right front wheel was already up on the kerb at the apex. Where Kimi thought he was going to fit his car is a mystery. This is the kind of accident you see at club races.

        2. Paul, you are right that I haven’t raced but I have watched, I don’t know how many thousands of miles of racing, and this is a type of accident that I’ve seen so many times – the gap that is always going to disappear that is.

          Elsewhere Bottas is quoted, “I didn’t see anyone there and I was in front, and then suddenly someone hits me”.

          If Raikkonen had managed to get roughly alongside Bottas would have had to yield but the older Finn only ever had his front wheels alongside Bottas’ rear wheels.

          You say, “he had to stop the red car getting past irrespective of cost”. How do you know? And the cost? He lost a third place, Ferrari lost very little, even after the steward’s decision.

          I believe David Coulthard is on record as saying, “You don’t look in your mirrors when you’re cornering” or something very similar.


          1. Yeah Martin, I appreciate your point, but when drivers are racing, especially when they are in serious competition as Kimi and Valtery were, and the driver in front wishes to ensure he is not passed, then he ensures he keeps his eye on what the driver behind is going to/ is likley to do, and he would normally go on the defensive, and by just moveing slightly to his right he is signaling to the driver behind that he is awear he is there and he does not intend to let him past.
            If Botas had done that then Kimi would not have made the move. He would have known Botas would block.
            But Botas didn’t defend or make his intension to do so clear.
            So we have to apportion some blame on him and not just blame Kimi!
            Imnsho, of course!

              1. Kimi made his lunge from so far back Botas could never have expected that Kimi would have along side him at the point of contact

    2. Yeah I think so too. Above all else, I loved the fact that Raikkonen had a go, it produced some real excitement on the last lap, even if the result was unfortunate.

      If the purpose of the penalties is to discourage a driver from chancing a risky move, then we are all poorer for it.

        1. Nearly the last lap, team mate is second, Bottas was lazy into the turn in, Raikkonen had a go…. workable or not, I prefer this to driving by numbers!

            1. It means that I don’t agree with you Joe 😉 But I do respect your opinion, simply I don’t think anyone not in the car at the time can judge. What’s a workable move anyway? Surely you can only know once you’ve tried it. Reminds me of an expression attributed to Gianni Agnelli about unnecessary risk : “There isn’t such a thing as an unnecessary risk, because you only know if the risk was unnecessary after you’ve taken it” But I suppose Agnelli would have worn a red shirt…
              Love the notebook thing you do after the races – thanks a lot for that, it does feel like we should be paying for it to be honest…

              1. Stewards are there to look at this stuff. They concluded that it was Raikkonen’s fault. The problem I have is with the penalty and with people saying that it was not his fault. The stewards ruled that it was his fault. Therefore it was his fault. It was not a racing incident.

          1. All Joe is saying is, be consistent with penalties. Otherwise it’s not fair. Either don’t give penalties at all, or be fair with them.

        2. Agree, but isn’t it good that this happens from time to time? It reminds us of the skill required for an overtake and also provides great drama. A penalty is appropriate, but I think draconian penalties should be saved for professional fouls (a la Schumacher at Adelaide and Jerez)

            1. Kimi went into the turn smoking the R/front tire… no way was he going to make the turn less pass the Williams….just way too optimistic,a mistake that a top driver wouldn’t make…leaves me wondering how good is he now?

          1. @Trent and @Joe
            the Adelaide incident looked pretty much the same as this one.
            Damons move was also never going to work.
            But please note the difference in blame assignment.

  2. I’m one of those people not wearing a red shirt who thinks Kimi did NOT deserve a penalty.
    Just moments before, Bottas and Kimi passed Perez. Perez did NOT shut the door on either of them, and clean passes were the result. Bottas did shut the door (he may not have known it, but he did). When a door is shut, sometimes people kick it in, sometimes they go away. Regardless, it is a racing incident at that point. I like both drivers, I like both teams. I think there should be less penalties and more racing which includes more attempts to pass.
    I spend thousands of dollars to go to F1 races and watch them on TV, I dont go to see F1 parades.

    1. Perez knew he unlikely to be able to keep them back until the end of the race on tyres as shagged as his were. There was every chance that Bottas could keep Raikkonen behind provided the latter didn’t try something silly.

      For some reason my Ferrari shirt is a tasteful shade of dark blue but it was a present so I’m not complaining.

  3. “Causing a collision” is normally a drive-through or 20s time penalty. When a driver does not finish the race before the penalty is applied he is getting a grid penalty for the next race, which happened to Hulkenberg and Verstappen.

    Kimi got a time penalty equivalent to a 10s stop&go penalty, thus was punished even more than other drivers before who finished the race, so I don’t see any inconsistency here in favour of Kimi.

    Whether or not there is a lot of money at stake should not matter in de height of the penalty. Grosjean’s ban was imho also uncalled for, but probably the result of being involved in a lot of (first corner) crashes that season.

    1. This was my thinking too – the differences that Joe has pointed out seem to be due to the rules, rather than the way they were applied.

      It was down to luck that Bottas DNF’d and Raikkonen continued. In isolation it’s not OK that Raikkonen profited over Bottas even after the penalty, but if you accept that luck evens out over time then maybe it is OK.

  4. In Monaco Ricciardo got no penalty for his move… I’ll admit I’m a Ferrari fan but look at me and you’ll not see red t-shirts. I just saw a race accident, I dare say Alo Ham Vet and the likes wouldn’t open a door as Bottas did…

    1. Exactly, something that is conveniently forgotten by most. Even making things worse Inthink Alonso did get a penalty in Monaco for Ricciardo-like move.

      @Joe is didn’t see the gratuitous overuse of the term ham-fisted from younin the Ricciardo move in Monaco. Might that be bedauwde you actually have (an understandble) soft spot for the friendly Aussie?

        1. Firstly apologies for the plethora of typo’s in my first post. I put it down to typing it on my smartphone. 😉

          @ Joe, point taken with regard to not having a soft spot for the amicable Aussie.

          However all this doesn’t explain away the double or triple standards used judging these kinds of incidents. Ricciardo getting no penalty in Monaco for a similar ham-fisted (I like that term, I’ll be using it more often now) move on Raikkonen, Alonso getting a penalty for a similar ham-fisted move on I think Nico Hulkenberg and now Raikkonen getting a penalty for an over-optimistic, ham-fisted move. Can anyone explain the differences (if there any) between those incidents?

          1. The circumstances are all different and you cannot really compare them. Accusations or double of triple standards are simply hot air.

  5. To add further insult to injury, Raikkonen’s 30 second penalty in no way helped Williams – on the contrary, it actually promoted a Red Bull up the result – effectively further harming Williams. A truly moronic decision in context really.

  6. I was to ask earlier – do you think that five or even ten places back would be in addition to 30 sec time penalty (which was the equivalent of stop&go penalty, actually), or instead of it -(which would mean that Kimi would retain his P5 and 10 points)? I must say that in a superior car it could be quite easy to regain these five places in the next race.

  7. Max’s/Nico’s and Michaels punishments were such as they had retired from the race. You cannot give a 30 second penalty to cars that did not finish the race. The 30 second penalty is roughly the equivalent of a stop go penalty.

    And Romains race ban was as punishment for repeated driving offences.

  8. Whatever the rights or wrong, everything has to be swathed in “cotton-wool” these days “for your safety” this “in the best interests of”. It’s all a load of utter bo*****s, usually with a money-grabbing official at the end. And it has F1 firmly in its grip.

    Call Hamilton a “Great”!?. Not publicly, but the few Greats with whom I’ve had the privilege of meeting and talking with, offer a sarcastic verbal one fingered salute, along with a helpless shrug.

  9. Agreed, Joe. I don’t mind “it was possibly on” moves. That was a “never in a million years” move.

    1. As for “shutting the door”. No. Bottas took the racing line. As you would do, given the move was never remotely on.

      1. I’m reminded of previous comments Joe has made along the lines of “the very best drivers simply don’t put themselves into the sort of positions where they can get into accidents”.

        After watching the replay of the Bottas crash repeatedly, I still wonder whether Alonso, had he been in Bottas’s seat, would have held the inside line, driving defensively, and thus ensured the Raikkonen wouldn’t have had a gap to foolishly lunge into.

        I wouldn’t for a minute say that it was Bottas’s fault, in the same way that if you leave you car unlocked and someone else steals it, they’re still the criminal. But there are smart ways to minimise the risks you take and there are foolish ways to invite difficulties.

  10. Joe my view is that the stewards penalized Raikkonen with a time penalty rather than a grid drop as both Bottas and Raikkonen were classified finishers. Had one of or both these drivers not been classified there may have been a grid penalty . As both were classified the penalty was probably seen by the FIA as displaying common sense n my view was correct. Do you not see my rationale here Joe?

  11. Joe what is your gut feeling on the following:
    On recent evidence do you think Ferrari were right for 2016 and if not who should have replaced him?

  12. Joe my view is that the stewards penalized Raikkonen with a time penalty rather than a grid drop as both Bottas and Raikkonen were classified finishers. Had one of or both these drivers not been classified there may have been a grid penalty . As both were classified the penalty was probably seen by the FIA as displaying common sense & n my view was correct. Do you not see my rationale here Joe?

  13. Christ, that last lap was the only thing that stopped me from killing myself from boredom at the checkered flag.

    Encouraging tougher penalties and discouraging these risks is the last thing F1 needs l. That is, unless you want to thump that final nail in the coffin?

    1. Josh

      I think you may need to think about your viewing schedule or viewing another sport.

      Perhaps you are just Joshing or a clockwork Josh that likes winding people up.

  14. What’s interesting about this incident as opposed to others you’ve mentioned – This reminds Senna’s words – ” And if you no longer go for the gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver..” The officials have hit him with a penalty for following this very biblical F1 slogan.
    As I see it, Kimi would have made the corner, it was a lunge but he wouldn’t have missed the corner. Bottas didn’t see him and there is contact, Not saying Bottas should have left him room.. perhaps a racing incident…but I feel for Bottas’s loss!

      1. The Senna quote gets trotted out a lot. People tend to forget where he said it, and why. Besides, brilliant though he was, he wasn’t above some bullshit when it suited him, or the ‘who, me?” attitude all drivers tend to default to.

  15. Totally not agree , if bottas was rosberg and Kimi was Lewis , everybody would blame nico (remember spa 2014). It was a pur race accident , Kimi was to hungry and bottas seems like he have no mirrors , why 30sec???? Normaly its 20 sec???

    1. Nico Misseeeu You are comparing two very different instances. The stewards may not be consistent but I don’t think they base what they decide on who is involved, unless they have past form.

      I think we can safely leave that chip-on-shoulder outlook to fans on the internet…..

      1. There are some things that may help explain the decision:

        Everyone (teams, media, TV, drivers, FIA) constantly say that they want the results finalised on the day if possible rather than things carried over to the next meeting. In other words, a driver should pay the penalty at the event in which the incident takes place.

        The only time penalties are given for the next race, is if the driver who is at fault is no longer racing. For example Nico Hulkenberg in Singapore was out of the race so the only way to punish him was to give him a grid penalty for the next race.

        The stewards have guidelines that were agreed by the teams to promote continuity. There is an order of severity for causing a collision
        a. Reprimand
        b. 5 second time penalty
        c. 10 second time penalty
        d. Drive through
        e. Stop and Go penalty
        f. More severe options.

        Some of the examples cited in these incidents (by me as well) happened before the new F1 Commission guidelines that requested the stewards to “let the racers race”, in the knowledge that this would probably result in more incidents and more lenient penalties.

        1. Joe, on that penalty run-down, is there a direct conversion of Drive Through and Stop-Go to a number of seconds at the end?

          Logically the actual number of seconds lost by the real penalty would vary according to the circuit (length of pitlane, speed of straights) but I assume they’re just direct 20s / 30s penalties.

        1. Rubbish. There was no way he could know Kimi what skidding in. When Bottas turned in, only kimi’s front wheels were there. Bottas could not have seen that, and a driver of Kimi’s experience knows that. It was a thoroughly unprofessional move. GP3 standard.

  16. Concerning topspeeds at Sochi start finish, Kimi was measured fastest with unbelievable 343 kmh, followed by Bottas with 332, Vettel with 325, Hamilton only had 312….So no wonder he was a little impatient. Personally I consider the F1 Rules of Good Conduct-on-track as a little bit exaggerated, whereas off track there is some potential of improvement if you take Mr. Markos exploits in consideration…. 😉 Only if a driver is obviously acting careless there should be punishment. Kimi was not careless, he simply was too optimistic.

  17. Joe

    I think the key comment in your reasoned article was “‘while Bottas was punted off the road and got nothing. That is not right.”

    I absolutely agree.

    The consistency of stewarding is also essential, as you said in your previous sentence.

    Having followed F1 for over 50 years I do not wish F1 to be reduced to multi million dollar stock car racing. The Stewards are essential in ensuring that.

    Whilst wheel to wheel action is what I want to see. The key, and it is very, very difficult, is not to hit somebody whilst you do it.

    Hamilton is a great exponent of this and is the first to confess when he does, even if it is sometimes it not his fault.

    I like Kimi, not least for his non-conformist attitude but that was a lunge too far.

    Bottas deserved better.

  18. I don’t agree, Joe! Wouldn’t you say that it’s pretty stupid for a driver to turn in knowing that a car was comming down the inside? That car can’t just dissapear. And don’t tell me Bottas didn’t know Kimi was there. My guess is that Bottas was instructed to not let the Farrari past under any circumstances so he turned in hopeing to damage the Farrari so Kimi couldn’t finish the race even if it damaged his own car, but sadly it didn’t work .
    I can’t make up my mind as to how I would apportion the blame percentagewise, but although Kimi’s move was a bit risky, it was actually Bottas who turned in and hit the red car. Kimi would have made the corner but when he saw Bottas turning in on him he locked the brakes trying to avoid the colision.
    We’ve seen those moves happen in the past and even commentators have remarked on the “good driving” of the outside driver as he avoided a collision. You can bet your bottom dollar/pound/euro that Jenson and some of the more mature drivers would not have turned in under the same circumstances!

    1. It was Bottas’s line. That’s the end of the discussion. If you have no such rules, fine we can have Ben Hur, but F1 has rules and they should be respected.

      1. You should watch Moto GP, that, (Kimi’s), sort of move has been used frequently by some of the best, (Rossi eg). and is not deemed wrong.
        Wether you think “the line” was Bottas’s or not, the fact is he was not wise to turn in on another car comming down the inside, a wise driver would have avoided a colision!

        1. But a Moto GP bike is about 1/3 the width of an F1 car, so they have a fair bit more space to play with when The Doctor stuffs one down the inside.

      2. Sorry Joe, I really enjoy your blog and your clear analitical ability to interperate stuf happening in F1, but I cannot accept that Kimi is totally to blame for that incident! “end of story” is a bit “one eyed” in my opinion!

        1. That’s fine, after nearly 500 GPs I am sure I have no idea about the subject. I am not convinced it wasn’t deliberate, or at least a “don’t care” kind of move. Kimi had nothing to lose. Read risk analysis comment elsewhere

          1. 500? is that all? I haven’t counted the races I have followed, but you are younger than I am and I have followed from when Stirling was a young buggar and TV hadn’t been invented.
            Doesn’t matter, Bottas was unwise to turn in on Kimi! Doesn’t matter how you look at it, if he hadn’t, then there wouldn’t have been a collision. Simple!

            1. The cars have changed. Drivers have limited rearward vision and Bottas clearly did not consider Raikkonen to be in a position to worry about. It was VB’s corner by the rules of racing since the year dot, so KR was at fault and was ruled to be.

              1. I don’t understand how you can say that, Joe. The fact remains that if Bottas had turned out instead of in there would have been no collision and we wouldn’t be haveing this conversation.
                He must have been trying to stop the red car from passing him.

                1. It was Bottas’s corner by the rules of overtaking since year dot. I don’t understand how a longtime fan does not understand that.

                  1. At very least Bottas should have looked in his mirror, he would have seen what Kimi was up to. Bottas opened the door. It was his mistake that invited the move from Kimi. You would advise Kimi not to take advantage??

                    If it was Alonso, Vettel, Ham, Ros, Butt, and more than a few others, we would have had drama but no crashes. They may have touched, locked wheels, caused damage, but both survived and made p3 and p4, which one ahead unforseeable.

                    Kimi says he knows he would have made the corner. We must believe him.

                    1. False, Off Track. Kimi can hardly afford to say, “sorry, I’m a moron for that mistake!” after another year of being beaten by a teammate, and only retaining his drive for “stability”.

                    2. Joffrey, Kimi is being beaten by his team mate, that’s right. But a further analysis would explain why. First of all, Kimi was very unlucky with reliability. He lost a sure 2nd place in Hungary. Had it been the other way around, Kimi would have won the race and his team mate would have retired. Then his team mate is 8 years younger than Kimi, who is the oldest driver on the grid, so one can assume that his team mate takes more risks. Moreover his team mate is the most successful driver on the current grid and one of the 4 most successful drivers (with Schumacher, Fangio and Prost) in the whole history of motor racing. There is no shame in losing out to such a driver. Often Kimi was more successful that his team mate too, Bahrain, Canada and Belgium spring to mind. Last year Kimi lost out too, but Alonso is no slouch either. Most importantly last year’s car was developed around Alonso and didn’t suit Kimi’s driving style. Before re-joining Ferrari, Kimi was trashing his team mate at Lotus. A younger and highly regarded team mate, who is considered in the run for the seat as Kimi’s replacement. In 2007 Kimi achieved something that Alonso never achieved, a title driving for the scuderia. A goal, that even Vettel might never achieve. Kimi was held at Ferrari in such high regard, that they even traded Schumacher for him.

                    3. Hello Joffrey
                      I don’t think this is about Kimi’s team mates. You may dislike Kimi but Kimi is unique in telling it as it is and not spinning yarns. If he says he was going to make the corner then we have to take that as an honest statement.

                  2. Thanks Joe. I’m not just a fan, having raced Karts, Saloon cars, Motorcycles, Jet boats, a wee bit of Speedway, Drag racing, etc., but I guess my personallity tends to lean towards the underdog, and Kimi seems to be getting most of the blame in this case which I don’t see as being fair.
                    If I was in Botas’s place I would have made sure I had NOT have left the gap on the inside approaching the corner. We call that being defensive, but Botas was NOT defensive.
                    Can you imagine what Arriverbene would have said to Kimi when he got back to the pits if he hadn’t dived up the inside? “Why the Hell didn’t you take the Williams on the inside, you slack Bastard?
                    And how many times have we seen Valintino Rossi make the same move? He’s famous for for that kind of passing manoevour and the crowds love him for it!

          1. Other than that he actually might want to finish the race? Once KR was committed there was no turning back for him, he cannot disappear into thin air. It is all pretty well to be correct and in the right but that didn’t actually bring him a whole lot now did it?

            I can be in my right having the right of way on a bicycle coming from the right (as we do in the Netherlands) but if a car is committed and doesn’t actually give a right of way I am going to be no less dead.

            1. Sure but if he’d taken a slower line through the corner (and surely any other line than the racing one must be slower) and gone over the marbles then he’d have been a sitting duck down the next straight and in future any driver might as well make a lunge at him safe in the knowledge that he will leave room and screw up his exit. He did exactly what he should have done. Kimi, on this rare occasion, drive like a bit of a berk.

              1. Okay, so he wanted to make a point and should accept the consequences of that and stop whining. Mind you, I do understand that, like others before him, KR received a penalty.

  19. Seems to me that the penalty was commensurate with the offense. I think the lack of consistency comes from over-penalizing in other cases. That said, as a Williams fan I was PISSED. Bottas isn’t perfect but a strength is his ability to drive aggressively yet very fairly- he rarely leaves points on the track. Kimi, whom I also like, didn’t pull a bonsai Maldonado move, but it wasn’t far short of it. Stupid move on Kimi’s part. I’m glad Massa benefited.

  20. As an incensed Williams rooter being goaded by a cackling “tifosi” friend, I felt Bottas should have been given Raikkonen’s points and Raikkonen sent to the naughty step with none, and nothing for tea…Nice to see Perez on the podium, though.

  21. F1 penalties have never been consistent. They seem to be based on the size of the accident rather than on the size of the misdemeanour.

  22. In the old days, this was a racing incident. In todays modern formula, drivers get penalized for almost everything – even for trying to do what the sport wants to see most from them: outright on track overtaking!

    The accident was equally avoidable if Bottas had left sufficient room for both to make the corner.

    Generally I’m fine with penalties, but my 2cents is that these should strictly be enforced to avoid drivers drive really dangerously/recklessly and not scare drivers away from trying racing moves which are reasonably do-able.

    1. Bottas’s did nothing wrong, he was simply driven off the track. Kimi then ended up with some points while Bottas’s got nothing. Wrong on a number of levels

  23. It’s the inconsistency. Hamilton in Hungary got the same penalty as Kimi and yet Hamilton’s was a clumsy move that caused Ricciardo no real damage. Kimi’s move was worse than clumsy (desperate) and wiped out a competitor.

  24. Interesting comments!

    My only small contribution on Bottas’ side was that in heading into a corner he would be trying to get round it in one piece, not looking in his mirrors at the last minute to see if Kimi was trying something on, and if he ‘had’ seen Kimi he was too committed to the corner to change.

    Kimi was simply too hungry for that podium position to think about consequences, so he went for it.

    I wasn’t that impressed with Maurizio Arrivabene’s comment that it was a ‘racing incident’, either, there was a lot of ‘noise’ coming out of the Ferrari garage after the race, defending Kimi’s actions.

    Whether the penalty was appropriate or not, it was in the Steward’s hands to decide, at the time and in fairly short order, as the race was finishing and they had to get a decision announced.

    Overall it was a tidy as it can be, Kimi got knocked back but Williams were the losers.


    1. Agree Peter. Two other points.
      Once Bottas turned in, the only view his mirrors would show is off track. If he had the attention span to sneak a peak In his mirror he’d be looking at the runoff area to his left and behind.

      Kimi should have either been DQ ‘d or dropped to 11th. No points for Bottas = no points for Kimi.

  25. Ham-fisted, that’s as optimistic as was Kimi’s attempt at a pass. There were a lot of different lines through that corner, different top-speeds, different tyre strategies, etc. Lot’s of variables. Stuff we don’t see, but the FIA stewards do. Hence, a 30 second penalty. Nothing untoward or clumsy. A racing incident.

    1. It was not a racing incident by definition because he was punished. He caused a collision. That was the ruling. The question is whether or not the penalty was right.

      1. Found this from about 15 years ago from someone named JPMCrew:

        I disagree with this definition. A racing incident is an accident that is a clear and inevitable consequence of racing itself. i.e. an accident that results from the fact that neither cars nor drivers can ever be 100% perfect.


        Jos V taking out JPM in Brazil
        Montoya-Schumacher at the A1-Ring

        It is clear that Jos V holds most of the blame for the Brazil accident, but it was a racing incident nonetheless. The Montoya-Schumacher incident was the result of an error by Montoya, but it was a racing incident as well.

        Actions that don’t qualify as a racing incident would include any accidents intentionally precipitated by either party and accidents that were the result of an unusually unintelligent or naive action by one or all parties involved.

  26. Kimi was clearly to blame, but there was a certain justice in the fact it handed Force India a podium. Anyone else remember Kimi bundling Sutil out in the closing laps of Monaco 2008? Or Canada last year for that matter. What goes around comes around.

    Whilst it was a shame for Williams, with only four races left, all of which are on circuits with plenty of long straights, the chances of RBR overhauling them are slim. Note that Force India have scored as many points as RBR since the summer break…

    1. What about Bottas? VB was ahead of KR, his main rival for fourth place in the World Championship. They have 119 and 111 points respectively. If VB finishes third, he gets 15 points, KR gets 12 for fourth. Thus the score would have become 131 v 126. KR punts him off and gets this penalty, the score is 123 v 111, so KR has a margin of 12 points rather than five.

      A risk analyst would say that eckoning that the points gap stays the same if they both score nothing and any points scored if he keeps going would be a bonus. Risk analysis says do it, if you don’t fear the stewards…

          1. That’s enough Bottas. All we are now doing is highlighting that some people don’t have a clue about racing.

      1. I think the fact that the incident was on the last lap blurs things a little.

        For example, Nico Hulkenberg made a silly mistake on lap 1 (going way too fast into a corner on cold tyres, that move was never going to happen), he spun and punted off Verstappen. Now the damage to Verstappens car was such, he couldn’t even overtake the McLarens. Without that collision he would have finished 6th or thereabouts. So Hulkenberg’s mistake made him lose a lot of points. Does Nico need to be punished?
        And should he be punished if this very incident happened in the last lap instead?

        If the Raikkonen-Bottas collision had occured somewhere halfway through the race, Raikkonen would have had a drive-through (or stop-and-go) penalty and no one would be talking about points or risk analysts.

      2. “Risk analysis says do it, if you don’t fear the stewards…”’re not suggesting…..Ferrari International Assistance to the rescue then?! 😉

        1. No, I am not suggesting that at all. But Raikkonen had very little to lose from the move, because if both failed to score then he would maintain his lead in the championship. If he rejoined and got home and Valtteri did not, he had something to gain.

  27. Is it not a sensible idea that if you are found guilty of causing a crash that you should be placed one place behind the innocent party in the race results.

    1. I agree W-K you should not end up in a better position than the person you hit, and that should be the minimum punishment. So if you make a ham fisted lunge for first, and there is a collision but you both make it to the end with your positions unchanged you should still be punished further, otherwise there is no deterrent to reckless driving.

      I think KR is great but watching him sailing into the corner at such high speed with no chance of avoiding a collision unless Botas turned left and parked out the way was very poor driving, the fact that this driving actually resulted in him being better off than if he had tried for a clean overtake is wrong.

  28. I think this kind of thing is much more likely when you’re playing musical chairs with the stewards… IMO, it should be a professional position, not a grab bag of various stewards du jour…

  29. what would you do, off with his head?

    He tried a move, it didnt work, There is not really much he can do when he is commited to a move. You cant brake more when you are already outbraking someone…

    Bottas could have left space at the apex, but then he would be deemed as a pushover, so he decided not to, and thats OK, just look at Rosberg, he left room for Ricciardo at Hungary when Ricci tried his lunge, and i bet that it was from far more behind than Kimi did his.

  30. My issue with this has its roots more in perceived unfairness and inconsitency in the penalties.

    Hulkenberg got a penalty the other day for “not leaving space” against Massa.
    Now Raikonen gets a penalty for swinging for a gap that wasn’t there (or was closing rapidly at the time the move was decided on).

    Sure, one could argue that Raikonen’s move was from far back and it was very near impossible to make stick.
    On the flip side though, it could be argued that Massa was shown blue lights when he was coming out of the pitlane, and considering how shortly after the pitlane that accident happened, he should probably have yielded, especially since Hulk had the nose in front and the gap that Massa was aiming for was always going to close rapidly.

    For the record: Both were racing incidents in my mind. tangling like that will inevitably happen. I hated the WCC being decided like this, though I wish Bottas would have finished.

  31. maybe KR was too optimistic or risk/benefit conscious, but VB was too optimistic too, I mean he really did not appreciate that KR may attempt a bold move

  32. Hi Joe.

    I’m certain that there is a rule or agreement that the driver in front has to leave a car’s width for his opponent if, and only if the opponent is half way along side as they turn into the corner. Is this correct?

    In this case KR was behind at the point VB turned into the corner and only swept in at the last second to meet at the apex. As the impact was KR’s front wheel on VB’s rear wheel it was clear he was not half way along side. The line was VB’s to take.

    Would this have been the factor that the Stewards used to determine fault?

  33. I’m always amazed by how many folks obviously have no clue and are happy to demonstrate that for the world to see…

  34. Joe, not for the first time, you are among the forefront of those either accusing or insinuating that a driver cheated to get its way in the championship table. Can we assume that, given your insight, most drivers nowadays will just cheat their way into better positions at the first opportunity? It has really came down to this or I still can live a bit in the gentlemanly ways of old that used to inhabit the sport?

    1. I am not saying anything of the sort. There are some who will do what is necessary to get what they want to achieve. Some are more honourable. I am not passing judgment on Kimi. I am saying that there was nothing to lose in a risk analysis of the situation.

  35. I’m surprised at the level of support Kimi is getting for what was a very reckless move. I want to see the top racers racing, and going for a banzai overtake into a gap that’s not there, is not racing, it’s kiddy league karting.

    If it had been the very last corner then OK, but it wasn’t. I was expecting Kimi to have a crack at VB around turn 8. We missed out on an epic last lap of wheel to wheel racing because Kimi had a brainfreeze. there were several other upcoming opportunities for Kimi to try and pass VB he didn’t need an all or nothing lunge on turn 3, turn THREE!

    We don’t want to see moves like that go unpunished because if more people do make moves like that there’s a good chance of wheels tangling rather than banging and then there’s a huge accident.

    VB had the line for the corner, he did absolutely nothing wrong, drove a great race, and got nothing for it. His radio just after the accident (“What the bleep is he doing”) sums things up succinctly.

    I think a better penalty for the incident would have been a small time penalty and a grid drop at the next race, that would have penalised Ferrari and given Williams more chance at better constructors points in the following race, and it would have meant that Mercedes wouldn’t have quite clinched the WCC and would have won it and had more of a visible celebration for it in Austin.

  36. Kimi is a fatalist and I knew he would try something like that because he was too close not to give it a shot. I don’t think it matters to him if there is a gap or not, if it works, fine. If it doesn’t, he couldn’t care less. Hard luck for bottas, a well deserved podium gone. Willams’ loss was Force India’s gain.

  37. My feeling here is that people defending Kimi (and I’m a Kimi fan!) have never driven on circuit competitively.

    Consider bottas didn’t cover the inside or drive defensively as he was far enough in front not to actively take the inside line. So he was on the preferred and fastest line into the corner. The entry speed kimi had to close that distance at the apex means there is no way in hell he would have made the corner and remain on track if he hadn’t had some help to slow down.
    It was wheel to wheel bashing (kimi’s front to bottas rear) so reduced risk of damage to cars but bottas was always going to come off worse. Even if bottas had given space at the apex it wouldn’t have stopped kimi from hitting him – he simply had too much speed. The only thing bottas could have done is to not take the corner and drive straight letting Kimi into the barrier. But as said earlier, these drivers are supposed to be the pinnacle of racing and that skill includes being able to get past a car in front without smashing them off the track.

    To people who think this was a fair move – why not allow boxers to punch each other in the groin? Or football players to double foot sliding tackle off the ball from behind? It’s a sport with rules. Kimi was not in any way far enough alongside to claim that bottas should give him room. Therefore it was a stupid, desperate and correctly penalised move.

    As for the consistency of the penalty… The stewards did what they could but short of a DQ it wasn’t going to change the outcome.

    1. Apart from Joe’s, the best post on here! Spot on. KR tried a similar move on lap 36 when Bottas got stuck behind Ricciardo and had to lift, and even then he was almost out of track limits on the outside, and Bottas repassed him on the undercut. On the last lap, Kimi was so far back that there was no way he was going to take the corner without using the Williams as a brake. I don’t think it was malicious, but boy was it incompetent.

  38. It seems only reasonable to me that if a driver is deemed to be at fault in an accident where another competitor looses out the driver at fault should have a penalty that is greater than the loss to the driver not at fault.

  39. We see plenty of incidents where driver 2 makes an over-ambitious attempt to overtake, and the standard procedure is that driver 1 (if he sees it coming) gets out of the way, driver 2 leaves the road on the exit, driver 1 retakes on the inside, driver 1 retains the lead and accelerates away laughing. It happens all the time, and there is no collision, hence no penalty.
    The difference on this occasion is that driver 1 didn’t get out of the way, so there was a collision and driver 1 was unlucky enough to come off worse and lose his well-deserved points.
    The only question in my mind is why VB didn’t get out of the way. Even though KR was a long way back, it was the last lap, there was a podium at stake and he had tried to overtake on the previous corner. Only a wimp would have hung back from trying again.
    I simply can’t believe that VB didn’t see it coming, and if he had followed what I think of as the standard procedure, there would have been no collision and he would have kept third place. I find it puzzling.
    I agree that the result is unfair on VB, but unfairness is part of the game and heightens the drama. Lack of action is the worst thing about F1 and I like people to have a go. I don’t like to see penalties that discourage attempts to overtake.

  40. I agree that there are fairer penalties (including money).
    However, another problem for me is that there are always many people criticizing stewards’ judgments on accidents, but funnily, I often think that those judgments are right.

  41. I’m not in favor of any penalties, unless there is strong evidence the driver transgressed deliberately. Kimi tried something, thought there was a gap, and made a mistake. Maybe Bottas should have been looking in his mirrors more, or taken more of a defensive line.

    1. It was Bottas’s corner. You cannot blame him for not getting out of the way of a driver who is making a stupid move. The point is that Kimi gained from the accident – after the penalty – and that is wrong.

      1. Joe, you won’t give up will you! Of course Botas knew the red car was comming!
        Why didn’t he open the steering to reduce the severity/avoid the incident?
        Well what would Frank and Clair say to him when he got back to the pits?
        “You wanker, you let the red car past—-you’ve cost us 10 million bucks! From now on you can wash your own bloody overalls!

        1. That move was not workable @Paul Kirk. It isn’t something anyone sensible would do, coming from so far behind so how could Bottas “know” that it was coming?

          That said, the move really spiced up the action, no question about that!

            1. Absolutely. Thing is, Moto GP can provide spiced up action even without these antics, just because they have two wheels less. Today’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island was a classic example…

              1. Wow!!! As the commentators mentioned, PT, that MotoGP race may have been the best/most exciting for decades, I was hoping Ianoni would pull in behind Rossi to assist him in his championship fight, seeing they’re mates from Italy, but sadly no.
                Over and out.

    2. Bottas would most certainly had been looking in his mirrors. But there comes a point where looking behind you isn’t compatible with triple digit speeds approaching a corner. It’s not as if the mirrors have a huge range or are easy to use as they vibrate a lot.
      You look and make a judgement – bottas would have seen the Ferrari several car lengths behind and the corner wasn’t really a super heavy braking point (like turn 1 at Monday say).
      Bottas then would have been (correctly) concentrating at the apex. Importantly (and I think this is key) bottas not only owned the corner but was hit at the apex. The collision wasn’t on corner entry – it wouldn’t surprise me if bottas had finished braking but was transitioning to applying throttle. this makes it cut and dry at best a wreckless or desperate move.

      This isn’t about being namby pamby- close quarter wheel to wheel racing is an absolute joy to watch. But f1 isn’t about bumper cars.

  42. It was a shame that what had been a pretty good ‘dog fight’ between the two for much of the race (I think they swapped position on track some four times?) ended the way it did.

    I think the fairest way to sum it up is to say that it was a misjudgement on Kimi’s part.

    It was extremely exciting.. Both raced their hearts out for that podium.

    Bottas’ move on Perez was right on the line between hero and chump. It was a massively risky move which he actually got spot on and executed it extremely well. Perez on his more worn tyres had to be compliant though.

    Kimi metaphorically fell off the tightrope and landed on the chump side. He needed Bottas to jump out of the way to pull that move off. Bottas could have been more compliant, but if he had been, he’d have got on the marbles and lost out anyway and everyone would have bemoaned him as weak whilst celebrating how audacious Kimi was.

    Was the penalty for Kimi correct? I don’t know, but I believe the reprimand was justified.

  43. Kimi clearly punted Bottas off. Wild and reckless attempt to pass. Much as I love Kimi, it was careless.

    I propose that if there is a clear punt off incident on the LAST LAP, the stewards can award the points to the driver who has been the victim of an obvious T-bone shunt, if the victim (Bottas in this case) had a clear enough lead over the cars behind him. The stewards would have to predict where the victim would have finished.

    On the penultimate lap, same system as above would apply but with 50% of the predicted finishing points.

    This system would not be applied to cars from the same team.
    All other laps the existing rules would apply.

    This would not be applicable for your normal racing collision/wheel to wheel racing, marginal turn ins, etc. Only for careless/wheel locking dive-ins, etc.

    The current rules are totally unfair on Bottas and Williams.

    1. Hey Tait, “The rules” wouldn’t have been “unfair on Williams” if Botas hadn’t left the “door” open inviting Kimi to come up the inside, then turning right to take his normal line to the apex as though Kimi was not there. If Botas had opened his steering a bit the chances are both cars would have got through the corner successfully and Botas might still have been ahead by the next corner as Kimi would have lost speed due to his tighter turn.
      But don’t forget Bottas will have been instructed to not allow the Farrari past at any cost! (Because of Williams and Farrari’s championship battle).

      1. You’re beating a dead horse…

        BTW… if you’ve really been following F1 forever, how come you don’t know how to spell Ferrari?

        1. Har ha ha, yeah spelling is not my best subject but my maths is even wersa!
          Mind you the sckul on Norfolk Island wos not as gud as sum.
          (But the weather was great and there was no thefts or crime as there is here in NZ with all the foreigners taking over.
          And I was the only kid who wanted to race!

  44. I think that the post from Ads is spot on. I think Kimi had a go on the basis that Bottas would see him coming and try to avoid contact. When he realised that he wasn’t going to move off the racing line Kimi tried to back out of it, but it was too late.

    As for the penalty, it is akin to crime in a multistory car park; wrong on so many levels.

  45. For some reason Kimi gets special treatment from the FIA stewards. I remember a race in 2014 where on the first lap Kimi went completely off the track and reentered at full speed crashing into a wall and causing great damage to the Williams of Massa. Noting was done to Kimi, it was as if he did nothing wrong.
    If Bottas had not been at the corner where Kimi crashed into him in Russia the speed of Kimi was such that he would have run completely off the track. Maybe Bottas should have let Kimi pass, right off the track. I don’t get the whole Kimi is different thing.

  46. I really like Kimi… but come on, people, this is getting long past ridiculous…

    Regardless, I expect we can all agree it wasn’t an episode from Clark and Gurney…

          1. I disagree. Competition is a survival issue and survival is instinctive. Instinct is not generally speaking logical. If only logic were applied we would not compete to survive because ultimately we do not survive.

            Competition is a combination of passion, instinct and logic.

            As in; a passion for life, an instinct to survive and the logic of how to achieve it.

  47. Sorry to come in late with this, Joe, but my good wife has just read through the comments and I’m afraid she totally demolishes the argument that KR deliberately took out VB so he can keep p4 in the standings:-

    1 If this was a court case, the judge would want to see evidence of previous. He would find none. Not even in past years when such behaviour might have helped win a wdc.
    2 Kimi does not care if he is p4 or p3 or p5 or any p other than 1. See his own words on this right through the years.

    So the case would fail. Huge costs payout for the plaintiff.

    You can’t argue with that 🙂 🙂
    [she is a lawyer]

  48. the only fair rule would be to throw a bracket around such an incident and award the finishing position to the wronged party, throwing out the offender. Any racing and position changes that take place ahead of the incident still count as do any behind it. its a rule that could be applicable to (plucking a number out of the air) the last three laps of a race only. some will say it would discourage racing but to me, what we saw in sochi, and numerous times in some of the lower formulae this year (especially F3), is very far removed from racing. i can only hope it has little effect on championship positions for both Bottas and Williams but i fear it might

      1. ok, yeah, at least that wouldnt stop drivers from attempting the move in the first place. although in the same way as we’ve got the sliding scale for offenders this rule could include a series of penalties from the one position behind offender , as youve suggested, through an added time penalty, to a total exclusion, depending on the level of bone headedness involved in the incident. i’d go for that (whether the teams would is another matter!)

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