Five hours 30 minutes after the race

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 16.49.23Once we knew that Lewis Hamilton would be taking a series of engine penalties at the Belgian Grand Prix, we knew that the chances were that Nico Rosberg was going to win the race, even if Max Verstappen had the Mercedes boys worried with his pace in qualifying. Max was second on the grid and the estimated 50,000 Dutch fans who flocked to Spa, clogging the roads on Sunday morning, were desperate to see their hero do well. Alas, it was not to be. At the first corner Sebastian Vettel made a fairly a wild move, slicing across when he had no real right to do so. The result was that he ran into his own team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, who then hit Verstappen, who was on the inside and in the right place to make the corner his own. Nico must have chuckled into his helmet if he was watching his mirrors as his primary rivals tumbled over one another. Nico was four seconds clear of Nico Hulkenberg at the end of the first lap with Daniel Ricciardo third. There was a Virtual Safety Car on lap 3 after Carlos Sainz suffered a puncture and then on the fifth lap Kevin Magnussen dropped it in his Renault in Eau Rouge. It was a huge crash and after several laps of Safety Car, during which many of the cars pitted to get themselves on to better tyres, the red flag was shown, as the barriers need to be repaired. It took 17 minutes before the mess was cleared up and then the race was on again with Rosberg being chased by Ricciardo, who had snuck ahead of Hulkenberg in the rush into the pits. By that point Lewis Hamilton had driven from the back of the field to fifth place, with Fernando Alonso, who had started with him at the back ahead on the road, the two having started on harder tyres. When the race got going again. Lewis overtook Fernando and then Hulkenberg to rise to third, but there was not much more that he could do after that. Still, a third place finish from the back row of the grid was a great job, with a little help from the Safety Car. Rosberg was able to control the rest of the race, but was gracious in victory admitting that it had not been a difficult day and congratulating Lewis on his performance. Dan Ricciardo was second but never really challenged Nico, while Max and the Ferraris spent the afternoon trying to make up for lost ground, falling over one another as they jousted. There was a lot of whining noises from the Ferrari cockpits… It was a big day for Force India, which picked up a bunch of points and overtook Williams to take fourth in the Constructors’, while McLaren jumped ahead of Toro Rosso thanks to Fernando Alonso’s solid seventh, further evidence that McLaren is starting to get there… Vettel finished sixth and overtook Raikkonen in the Drivers’ World Championship, while Kimi was ninth and Verstappen a miserable 11th, despite some hard driving.

Also in GP+ this week…

– The silly season in F1
– We remember Chris Amon
– We look at the Belgian GP of 1966, a race that changed F1 forever
– JS explains why he loves Spa
– DT reflects on a painful August
– The Hack recalls the lucky Mr Amon
– Plus the usual fabulous photography from Peter and his team of snappers

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146 thoughts on “Five hours 30 minutes after the race

      1. As it looked to me, only way kimi could get past max was with some banger racing, and at end of kemmel, thats just calls for huge accident.

        I get that he is the new hot thing, but his driving etics are dirty, and that will not change until he is in huge accident.

        1. @Number:

          Don’t be fooled by the radio rants. Raikkonen complains of being run off the road while in reality he just seems to be very good at positioning his car in these kind of positions where he has no claim on the corner and gets (aggressively) squeezed. He does not need ‘some banger racing’… he tried that on Guttierez a few laps later by the way and that didn’t work out for him either… He needs to make a move where he is ahead so he has a claim on the racing line. My guess: he is used to the old times where any hint of hard racing was penalised.

          1. When someone pulls out to pass you at 250km/h+ and you pull across his nose forcing him to swerve and brake hard on a straight that’s a little dangerous. Hopefully when he has a big one he’s the only one that gets injured. He needs to learn that skillfull & brave is good but stupid & reckless is bad. Wasn’t Button pissed off at his driving recently as well? It’s takes something serious for JB to lose his cool.

            1. So why no penalty. The stewards watched the same incident. They had far more information than you did. No penalty.

    1. I think it will depend on how angry or reckless the person he’s racing against is. As long as he’s making these daring/borderline-naughty moves against sensible, experienced drivers he’ll be fine as they won’t want to risk crashing.

      1. It’s my thoughts on it as well. This is F1 with some of the best drivers so they can deal with driving on the edge like that. I would advice him to not do such moves with some of the drivers on the lower end of the table though. I’m betting he knows where and with whom he can do that though.

        I did think he was a bit of an arse with his driving at times but I have to admit I love that kind of racing. It brings excitement into the sport. Some of my other F1 heroes in the past were like that as well.

        That first corner incident I blame on Vettel. Steering in like that would almost always cause problems in that turn. Sure Verstappen’s move was aggressive but he and Kimi seemed to be able to handle it and it’s what I want to see in F1. Right on the edge.

        Some of Max his words in interviews were badly chosen though (Just sounded a bit too sharp/dangerous in the Dutch ones).

        Kmag’s crash looked proper scary, glad he came out alright.

    2. I agree. He pushed at least two other cars off the track (not allowed) and the zig zagging (not allowed) in front of Kimi was darn dangerous. I do not understand why race after race the stewards apply different set of rules on Verstappen than the rest? I understand that the sport needs new ‘heroes’ that bring eyeballs to races and in front of the TV, but I do not think that needs to be achieved by jeopardizing the whole credibility of the sport.

        1. Since when would the stewards have been in any way consistent with penalties? That’s one of my pet irritations of F1 that the stewarding is totally amateurish. Considering what level the sport is supposed to be, the stewarding is below club sport level. At least per the US broadcast there was no indication that the stewards would even had looked at Verstappen’s antics.

          1. Since quite a long time, they have been working to be more consistent and generally they are. I keep a close eye on this stuff and it’s a lot better than it used to be

            1. Maybe it’s better but far from the level it should be. There has been penalties this year for pushing another car off track. Verstappen did it 2 or 3 times and nothing happened. Indeed, how come no penalty? The answer IMO is continuous inconsistency in stewarding.

                    1. ??? What I meant was that writing to Jean Todt would not change anything. As he isn’t doing anything for F1. He’s just happy with his road safety career. Also, I doubt he would ever see the email… I’m sure your suggestion was not a serious one.

        2. And BTW I has no issue with the 1st corned dive Verstappen did. If Vettel did not turn in so tightly and there was no contact, the exiting order from that corner would likely have been Vettel – Raikkonen – Verstappen. Just because the closer to the apex you were, the tighter turn you had to do. Unless there’s a major difference how well RB puts traction down vs. Ferrari.

        3. Were there any race penalties on Sunday? I didn’t see any on-screen notifications of any incident being investigated, not even the obvious, to me, unsafe release of Alonso when he sideswiped Nico Hulkenberg, who was forced to cross the pit exit line. Others noticed a lot of drivers getting away with exceeding track limits too. Was Charlie Whiting locks away during the race?

            1. @Joe Saward: the penalty Nasr received (5 sec) was for ‘leaving the track and gaining an advantage’ I recall

        4. Doesn’t matter. A slap on the wrist with a wet piece of paper usually has little impact anyway. His penalty will more likely come the old fashioned way. Someone will lose patience with his ‘driving’ and accidently put him into a wall at an uncomfortably high speed. Accidents happen.

        5. You are right Joe. I guess the stewards, who have always been known for their consistent and even-handed rulings have indeed deemed the Kemel straight incident a non issue. On to Monza.

  1. “the Ferrari’s ruined my race in the first corner. then I will not let them past. i’d prefer to run them off the track instead. let them rage over the team radio”.

    1. Exactly. Vettel came in tight but there was room for Kimi at the apex had Verstappen not forced his nose up the inside. Look at the vector trajectory of VES at the apex; he would have taken out everyone behind him had he completed that line.
      Joe, I recommend spending a few seasons running long circuit shifter karts to gain some perspective from the seat.

      1. I work in F1 not shifter karts. So does Max Verstappen. He and Kimi would have made the corner no problem but Vetttel made what I think was a desperate move

        1. Sticking your nose into the inside of T1 at La Source at the start of a Belgian GP has always been a low percentage move. Max had 43 more laps to regain the places he’d lost with his poor get away. He’ll learn.

            1. I don’t disagree that he’s done well since he came into F1. There’s no doubt in my mind though that he still has a lot of learning and maturing to do.

              And I’m convinced he’s going to be involved in a big accident in the not to distant future if he keeps defending by moving after people have committed to a move.

              I’m not sure why he wasn’t penalised for pushing two cars off at Les Combe as the rules state that if a car is alongside they are supposed to be left a car’s width room. Both Kimi and Perez where clearly alongside into Les Combe. Contrast that with Massa who did give Perez room. Strange application of the rules by the stewards. They aren’t there to make their own interpretations – the rules are written in black and white.

              Hamilton has been getting away with it for years on Rosberg as well. Hard to have fair wheel to wheel racing when one party’s idea of wheel to wheel is his wheel on the track pushing the other car off it.

        2. This is how I saw it. Max came up the inside, which is a normal passing maneuver. Sebastian came from way outside and effectively cut across 3 lanes, disallowing for anybody who might have been inside Kimi. Seb should know better than that.

          However, Max’s defence against Kimi later in the race was not cool.

        3. I think both Vettel and Verstappen made moves which were straightforward gambles – Vettel gambling on Verstappen not being there, and Verstappen, in full knowledge that both Ferraris were alongside each other, gambling that Vettel would leave room enough for two cars.
          Can’t really blame either of them – if you’re gentlemanly every time, you’ll always finish behind. Racing incident.
          The real cause of the incident was Verstappen making a rubbish start, and then trying to reclaim it all at the first corner.

      2. If I push someone against a wall, and there was a nail sticking out of the wall, causing the person I pushed grievous injury, is it the fault of someone who left the unexpected nail there?

    2. T2, let’s ask all the drivers to make room when these red cars approch. Sorry, but I thought we are talking about racing…..not giving each other space like driving on the highway. Look in slowmotion at the start again and you will see the strange lines Vettel was driving….he caused it all and nobody else…it ruined Max his home race so of course he was frustrated about that. That is called human emotion. Max had every right to drive on that spot in the first corner but the red’s had no right to run into him. Kimi is a great driver but he should make a definite move when he wants to overtake instead of hesitating and then complain over the radio. This whole discussion is blown-up and we all need to enjoy the racing again. See you in Monza.

  2. I listened to it on Radio5 Live, and gained the impression that it was all Max’s fault. Then I saw the video of it, and realised there was enough room for all three of them, if only Vettel had not chopped across Kimi (it’s a Grand Prix start, right? Lot’s of cars funneling into the 1st corner…) Vettel would still have most likely come out ahead due to his momentum and the wider line.

      1. Verstappen would have caused a multiple car wreck regardless of Vettel. VES’ line was going to carry him into Kimi regardless, and his trajectory would have carried straight from his early apex to the outside of the corner, cutting across the lines of the next ten cars. Verstappen drove like an 18 year old racing go karts. Oh, yeah…

        1. VES didn’t lock up in the first corner so he was well within control. He was able to brake later then Kimi and still not lock up, that tells you something. Kimi was perhaps already on the braking limit or was taking it more cautiously in his approach to the corner then VES. VES felt he could dive deeper and still make the corner (no lock up in braking, so seems he was right) as he seemed to think braking a bit later was still possible, to position himself on the inside.

          Also, please do not ignore the fact VES was on the inside, hence “owning” the racing line at least a bit more then Kimi (as one usually is on the inside).
          Yes, VES took a risk. But taking a risk does not equal causing a collision. VES was always more then partially alongside Kimi and would prolly have pushed Kimi to the outside on corner exit. Vettel’s chopping shortcut that flow of events.

          But I repeat: taking a risk (like: inside at La source in Spa) is a risk, as Paddy Lowe also stated (and many drivers too), but taking a risk does not mean others are allowed to not leave you room. Every overtake is a risk, but there we have a rule about leaving a car space too. The same rule applied here, only Kimi couldn’t because he was being squeezed by VET imho.

  3. Verstappen made the first corner his own…really??? That corner on the first lap, he was in a dumb place. All 4 wheels on the inside curbing, it was never going to end any other way. He needed to chill and get his place back going up the straight after Eau Rouge. That move and his constant running people off the track at turn 5 showed just how immature his driving can be.

    1. I disagree. Verstappen made a great recovery and had won the corner from Kimi. It was a very good move and Kimi was giving him the room to complete it. The fault lies with Vettel, who took them both out. Max was blameless.

      1. Race stewards aroundformer F1 driver Sullivan don’t seem to agree with you. And they have all the data plus all camera angles, besides being experts on accidents.

        1. Did they punish anyone? No. So, clearly they felt it was a racing incident but there is still balme that is placed in racing incidents.

      2. (Verstappen) “who was on the inside and in the right place to make the corner his own”.
        Go ask Nike Lauda if he thinks Verstappen was in the right place at the first corner.

          1. Verstappen four wheels were inside of the white line at that corner, was he supposed to be there?, does that make his track position right?.

      3. That is not how Martin Brundle called it on Sky. In his opinion Max was over-aggressive in squeezing up the inside, rather than conceding the losses caused by his poor start, and put himself in a position where there was at least a 50% chance that he would end up being hit by somebody. Yes, without Seb’s careless move he probably would have gotten away with it, but it arguably still represents poor judgement, or poor racecraft in Brundle’s words, to put himself in that position in the first place. So was he at fault for the accident? No. But was he at fault in unnecessarily attempting a high-risk manoeuvre? Probably.

        1. Martin may have called it that way. Others called it differently. And Martin is calling thing on the spur of the moment under pressure. It was a neat move, which I think showed good race craft. Kimi knew he had to leave room and was doing so. Vettel was clearly at fault.

          1. We are talking about 2 separate incidents here. The first lap collision was clearly Vettel’s fault though – he should’ve known better; turning into Kimi and then claiming they were in his blind spot – I expected better from a 4-time WDC. Kimi was clearly giving Verstappen room but Vettel turning into them leaving the Finn with no where to go.

            I am more concerned about the KIM vs VER incident on the Kemmel straight and after watching interviews there, I noticed VER smart enough to divert attention from that during his interviews – the dude is sharp and TV savvy (no doubt his RBR media training).

            VER shouldn’t have moved over after Kimi committed to the move. For comparison, check HUL vs HAM where HUL forced HAM to commit to a move on the outside. That is fair racing. VER swerved over after Kimi committed to the move and in my opinion, that is not cool. I can draw parallels to Schumacher vs Hakkinen Spa 2000 and though I am a big Schumi fan, I knew he was in the wrong there.

              1. Glad to see Joe talking sense (as often). I admit I was gasping for air when it happened and thinking “ooow, that was a bit naughty”, but after some reflection I found peace with it because I tried to answer the following questions: why did Kimi leave it that late? Waiting longer gives you more attach speed, but less time to react. VES hadn’t yet moved/defended. Was Kimi ever alongside with a reasonable part of front wing/car? Glad to see the stewards letting the racing be racing.

            1. Kimi, and a few others, know to expect this from Max. They need to up their overtaking game. Gone are the days when people just drive past with DRS. Need to throw Max a dummy and make him commit to a line for the corner.

          2. The opinion was given after watching a number of replays, but regardless I guess what it boils down to is that Martin as an ex-driver states he wouldn’t have attempted that move, as in his opinion the risks outweighed the potential gain, but obviously other drivers may see it differently, as Max clearly did. The same applies to the block on Kimi on the Kemmel Straight. Technically it’s legal, since he only moves once, but in moving so late he forces Kimi to brake or have a massive accident. Kimi backed out, others may not have done. Max is free to choose to drive the way he does, given so far he’s stayed within the letter of the rules ( if not always the spirit), and I think however you judge his moves he’s really not doing too much wrong, but if he keeps pushing the boundaries he may eventually pay a bigger price than a damaged front wing. Perhaps more than anything he might do well to drive with less emotion and childishness too – comments like “after Turn 1 when they (Seb & Kimi) do something like that, I’m not going to give up my position that easily afterwards” suggest a sense of grievance that is probably a liability at 300 kph more often than not.

          3. Sorry, but there’s no way it was “good race craft”. He threw away a probable podium for a throw of the dice. If you are going to blame Vettel for not being aware of there being two cars (rather than the visible one) inside him then you have to also accept that Verstappen must have known he was making it three wide and hence a pure gamble.

            As for the deliberate block of Kimi on the straight, well that will cause a huge accident if he does it to someone with his own level of aggressiveness. Full marks to Kimi for being able to react in time. I was really nervous about what might happen in the following laps in a way I’ve not been for many years.

            FWIW, I’m saying this as someone who has never much liked Kimi, is indifferent to Seb and who likes the racing spirit that Max has shown. But there’s no point F1 adopting the halo, sanitising circuits, etc if they are going to allow drivers to show such disrespect for each others’ safety. I would much rather have dangerous cars & circuits with drivers showing due respect for that than the other way around.

      4. I would put it as two thirds Vettel, one third Verstappen, with Raikkonen blameless – and a racing incident, as held by the stewards.
        It’s his subsequent driving, particularly the block at around 200mph, that was not smart, to say the least. When drivers are going for position at that speed, there has to be some degree of trust, over and above the letter of the rules. Verstappen showed he does not merit any trust at all. That will work for him in some situations, but he’s not going to be extended any professional courtesy in future by other drivers, I think, which will probably cost him more.

        1. The stewards did not object to his driving. It was hard, close to the limit, but that is what racing is about.

          1. Verstappen said in interviews after the race that he brake tested Raikkonen at 200mph in retaliation for the first corner incident – for which Raikkonen was entirely blameless (as Verstappen must have known having reviewed it during the red flag).
            Marginally within the rules perhaps, but immature and dangerous. And it’s not even as though he was defending a position of great significance at the time.

                  1. How about this one ?
                    “I mean what is he doing? It’s dangerous. I’m riding over 300kph and he’s blocking me….”
                    Verstappen, FP2.

      5. My view is that, if Vettel hadn’t been there, Max would probably have run into Kimi further round the corner. That was risky, but it could still have come off with a bit of wheel-banging. Vettel would have had no idea Max was there so would have assumed Kimi would take a tighter line, so should not be taking all the blame. In other words… racing incident.

        What wasn’t a racing incident was Verstappen weaving towards Raikkonen on the Kemmel straight at 200mph. In my view, it’s the first time he has overstepped the mark and it was downright dangerous. He deserved a penalty for it and probably points on his licence. We all love his exciting driving but it does not set a good example to aspiring drivers in lower categories to say that is acceptable. He was lucky that Kimi reacted in time. Joe, is your view that it was acceptable?

  4. Verstappen was not at fault for the first corner incident. It was all Vettel’s fault. He was half a car length ahead and did not need to be so aggressive with Kimi. His line and momentum would have carried him through to second place. Wonder why he was so aggressive.
    The second incident is the one that bothers me. Kimi trying to overtake and Max moving under braking at 340 plus km/hr. That could have ended in tears I think. This is the only area I think he needs to work on.
    Max is a driver who will have a cult following. People will either love him or loathe him. But he is what F1 needs at the moment. Aggressive and risk taking. Races would have been so dull without him (overtakes and clashes included).

    1. I agree with the first paragraph. The second was a tough racing move. If it had been deemed dirty by the stewards it would have been punished. People go on about there it being enough racing in F1 and when they get it, they complain….

      1. Joe, I do think that the stewards are not consistent in their decision making. Hence, I do not trust them completely. Kimi was sensible enough to brake when required. The same cannot be said of some of the other drivers.
        On a side note, may I politely say that I didn’t exactly complain about it. Rather, it makes F1 more exciting to say the least.

          1. Why do you say that Joe? Personally I’d rather the same stewards at each event. At least there would then be consistency – or some semblance of it.

            There is demonstrably no consistency to the application of the rules currently. It varies from race to race depending on who the stewards are. At least if there were one set of stewards for the whole season, their viewpoints would remain largely the same.

            1. Because we tried that 20 years ago and teams complained that they were biased and wanted a rotational system

          2. Nothing plausible really. The stewards’ system is decent as it is. What I have observed is that the stewards were ridiculously strict 2-3 years ago. This year they are a bit more lenient that required. Maybe a note to the stewards to be stricter in the case of incidents occurring at higher speeds (esp above 340 km/hr)?

  5. How many times this year has one or both Ferrari’s crashed on the first lap of a race?


    Re Max. My view is it was a daring but risky move. La Source lap1 is always going to be pincer effect if cars go in more than two abreast.

    He will always try a move though, it is his style so in doing so he must be prepared to accept that they will not always come off.

  6. The Verstappen move on the Kemmel straight worries me. Here is a driver who has learnt from the worst excesses of Michael Schumacher.

    You simply cannot move like that on a straight. Personally, I’d have black flagged him for it. if behaviour like this is not dealt with the sport will be the poorer for it. Any idiot can do what Max did, I prefer to see my heroes duke it out into Eau Rouge (like Webber & Alonso a few years back).

    And to think the Halo is coming… perhaps the sport should concentrate on avoiding the accidents in the first place…

      1. Stewards do not always get it right. Hamilton got penalised at Spa in 2008 for cutting the chicane and allegedly gaining an advantage, even though he was forced off the track. Raikkonen won at Spa one year thanks to simply ignoring La Source and driving right up to the barrier before accelerating back onto the straight and overtaking everyone before Eau Rouge; it was a blatant track limits violation but completely ignored. Their word is not gospel.

        I like Verstappen. And I like good hard racing. But it should be fair. Webber was able to overtake Alonso in Eau Rouge in 2011 because he knew Alonso would be fair, give him room and not suddenly cut across him. That’s what Verstappen should aspire to, not the Michael Schumacher attitude of “if you try and overtake me I will just cause an accident”. I think he would do well to listen to some of the “advice” his rivals will inevitably give him at Monza!

      2. Joe as a Dutchman I am not inclined to cut Max a lot of slack but he was on the limit in Hungary and over the limit here. Your argument that the stewards didn’t punish him so everything is okay is besides the point. Stewards’ or referees’ can aso be wrong (just look at football). One has to accept them but it doesn’t make it right per say. I know for a fact a lot of ex-drivers and a lot of your peers don’t share your view or your unwavering confidence in the stewards’ judgement.

          1. Naturally I meant that I am inclined to cut him a bit more slack because he is a fellow Dutchy.

            I understand you disagree Joe but from where does your unwavering trust in stewards’ decision come? They’re human and therefore by definition fallible. It is not like we haven’t made see make strange decisions in the (recent) past. Naturally it is perfectly okay to agree with them in this case (or disagree for that matter) but to use the absence of a punishment as a blanket excuse seems a bit simple and easy.

            1. I watch and analyse stewarding and have done for years. It’s getting better and better. You get one or two odd decisions but if you look at who is involved you generally see how a daft decision came about. The stewards at Spa were Danny Sullivan and Felipe Giaffone, both professional racers at a top level in their day and Germany’s top motorsport judicial figure – who also happens to be a professional judge.

      3. The stewards were correct because Max made one move (which is acceptable under the current rules. I’ve banged on for years that if drivers are going to interpret the rule like that and fly aggressively once across the track, they shouldn’t be allowed to come back onto the racing line for (in this case) Les Combe. Verstappen wouldn’t have moved as much if he’d just get done on the way down to rivage instead!

  7. The only innocent party at La Source was Raikonnen. Vettel should have allowed more space but had absolutely no way of knowing that Verstappen had darted up the inside which was a hugely ambitious move. Verstappen’s subsequent darting around on the way to La Combe was similarly extremely dubious.
    I fear he will end by hurting himself or someone else. He has to learn to play the percentages. He fluffed the start and ended way down the field when he could easily have finished on the podium.
    The young have to learn discretion as was also shown by Wherlein. It ain’t bumper cars !.

    1. I do not agree. Verstappen and Raikkonen were disputing the corner, when Vettel arrived with what I felt was a desperate move. Vettel had seemed a little desperate this year because I think he realises that his career path is not great

      1. I agree Joe. It seemed to me that the line that Vettel chose was not about maximising his own corner, but about compromising the others.. Quite desperate.

      2. Except that Vettel was at the corner before Kimi and Max. It went Seb-Kimi-Max, in that specific order. So in fact, it was Max who did the “arriving”.

  8. If you see the angle of the line that Vettel used to come across it would have been difficult for Kimi to avoid him, even if Max wouldn’t have been there. This was totally unnecessary. If i was Sergio i would bevvery pissed off.

  9. Thanks Joe! Finally someone who dares to have his own view. I think that Ferrari tries to influence the public opinion with blaming Max and call his driving too agressive. A cheap, but effective communication strategy to put extra pressure on RBR and Max. Could it be that Ferrari is feeling the heat of RBR too much?

  10. Recorded it as usual, and since it looked like some usual Spa dingdong, i watched later and could rewind the viewing. Have to say that Max was being adventurous at the very least at the start. Kimi allowed him just enough space, another 1cm or 2 and they would have collided, but Vettel was also being a tad hasty alongside…maybe with the restricted vision they have ( which won’t improve with the Halo ), he might not have guessed that Max was inside Kimi and thought he had space to push against Kimi. However, i doubt it was malicious, just bad timing.
    However Max vs Kimi later was rather Senna/Schumacherish….and had Max been racing say Lewis at that point, i rather think both would have had a very, very big off! Max is clearly a big talent, but i tend to think that he is having too much success too early and too easily, and that it is not just a case of hard, elbows out racing. If he doesn’t calm down a notch or two, i think it will be a case of when the huge accident happens, not if the huge accident occurs!

  11. I would coin Max “infant terrible” in a mild ironic sense, he was driving balls out trying to give Spa Orange fans value for money!

  12. I think more disturbing than Max’s incidents (I agree with Joe on that other than the change in direction at speed) was the crowd’s booing of Nico on the podium. Not even any chastising from the other drivers or Mark. I suppose we’re now seeing the result of a years of parents pampering, making kids the centre of attention and showing no respect for others. I was never a fan of Senna and his questionable moves but I would never have show him such disrespect. Shame on those involved.

    1. I agree. Booing is rude except in very extreme circumstances when someone deserves an indication of public feeling

      1. Any thoughts as to any specifc faction of the crowd which was booing… On the TV ROS did look a little sour faced even though he aced the race without a foot wrong ?

        He doesn’t seem to “mix” with the other drivers in the anti room before the podium either, when you see ROS in the paddock does he seem aloof or superior…..???

        It interesting how your(my) view of people changes with the passing of time. From really disliking Vettel and Horner in the height of the Red Bull pomp they have both a had dose of humility and seem all the better for it. From my perspective they both come over better on TV now than they did not that long ago.

        ROS on the other had seems to be distancing himself from the fans with every passing race… is this just me, TV editing or what. Insights welcome….

  13. A huge crash will bring Max to heel. He is wearing the driver’s patients and one of them is going to put him in a wall if he continues his “Senna/Schumacher tribute act.” The ideology that seems to be instilled in him is that he must make drivers fearful of over taking him and therefore prove they are weaker than him. That will work on some, but not others.

    His attitude is also, a bit immature at the moment understandably so, given his age. However the praise poured over him by people like yourself and Buxton can only serve to enlarge his ego and opinion of himself. If people treat you like the second coming, before long you start to believe it and think you can do no wrong, a dangerous attitude on the race track.

    Hopefully he will be make more stunning overtakes than incorrect defensive manoeuvres, as that can only sour him to fans. His defence against Nico in Canada was wonderful, his defences against Kimi have been too much.

    I think he is great for the sport but we can see that being talented enough to drive in F1 doesn’t necessarily meant you are mature enough to deal with life in F1. A little humility after the facts will do him more good than harm in the long run.

  14. Joe’s analyses of Vettel’s actions and motivations are correct. And, the car directly behind Verstappen was on much the same line as Max, a further indication that Max’s line was reasonable. The world-feed camera angles clearly led NBCSN commentators Steve Matchett and David Hobbs to initially see Verstappen as the instigator, but on reflection they both pulled back from that view and assessed Vettel as over-aggressive. Sebastian attempted to rehabilitate himself in the media during his post-race interview with Will Buxton in the corral, where he commented that racers are not crying little babies who need constant correction, but are men who can resolve differences directly between and among themselves (paraphrased). A laudable comment albeit somewhat self-serving. At this point Arrivabene must be drinking espresso with one hand and popping antacids with the other! Perhaps he can consult with Toto on how to manage unruly drivers…

  15. Sorry, Joe, but as someone who has first hand racing experience from the drivers seat, I am curious to hear how you think Max was going to make the exit work with the line he picked into turn one.

    Pretty amazing mental gymnastics you and Christian Horner must have done to arrive at the conclusion that it’s acceptable to push your way through a gap that was closing (a gap already occupied by the car in front, Kimi). A tap of the brake and he would have slotted in neatly behind Kimi, Kimi would have been able to tighten his line and make it around the corner with the room Seb left him (room that is CLEARLY visible from the inside camera angle at the apex of T1), and Max might have earned some points.

    No. What happened is Max botched the start, panicked, experience a moment of cognitive degradation, and made a ballsy move in a ham-fisted attempt to recover and please the crowd. It backfired. He ruined his own race and the race of two others.

    I really, really like Max Verstappen, and I have from the beginning. He is nothing short of incredible, his car control exceptional, and his ruthlessness in the face of giants of F1 is admirable. But this was an honest to god mistake that comes from the mentality of karting, where the shunt and run is prevalent, and the Senna “go for gap” quote dictates the strategy always.

    It is a shame then that Christian Horner is going to publicly praise what is a dirty tactic, and groom Max to accept it in himself. This not acceptable.

    I respect your insight on F1, but I regularly disagree with your input in regards to race craft.

  16. I think that Verstappens move in La Source was ambitious, so was Vettels turning. Raikkonen was in the middle, but he gave space to Verstappen to make the move. Let’s call it a racing incident. So did the stewards.

    As long as Verstappen doesn’t get penalized for his defending, it is allowed. Same as in Germany and Hungary. The older, established drivers are all complaing but they are paid well to race. We want to see good races, don’t we?

    I llike to see a driver defends his position as hard as possible. It isn’t a parade. Same as overtaking. I love to see drivers make a move with the risk in can go wrong. As Verstappen did in Blanchimont last year. He deserved the price of best overtake of 2015. It also was a risky move. Could have easily gone wrong, and than we would have said all sort of things that I read here now. No guts no glory! Thank god someone is shaking up things.

  17. What I really dislike are these grid penalties due equipment failure. A driver should not be penalized for it. His penalty is enough if he has a DFNF due failure. If more than allowed number of engines or other components have been used, that is IMO the teams fault, not the drivers. Mac & Merc made FIA look really stupid with their meaningless grid penalties (after the penalties had already put them in the back). And rightly so.

    My proposal is as follows: After exceeding the allowed number of components, instead of penalizing the driver (and the team at the same time of course as well), penalize only the team. And you do this by a monetary penalty. For example, a new engine beyond the allowed number costs 5% of the annual budget of the team.

    This way the penalty is equally hard to the big teams and the small teams. And I seriously doubt any team would bring in 10 new engines under this rule…

    I would place any funds collected this way to ‘fighting fund’ that would be used to rescue small teams that are about to go under. I’m sure that would cause a lot of whining from other teams, but we need a full grid. The rescue money could also be a loan that would need to be paid back eventually.

    1. Getting a true handle on what a given percentage of their budget is would be tough.

      Instead, simply hit them with the FOM payouts – penalize them a set number of constructor points. If you want to make the punishments progressive, since a 5 point hit will hurt Sauber a lot more than Mercedes or Red Bull, multiply the point penalty by a coefficient that reflects their standing in the previous season’s constructors table.

      Say if there 10 teams who get payouts from FOM based on their constructors finish, flip that around and make the top team attract a penalty that is ten times more severe than the tenth placed team would get. So an engine change for Mercedes would, say, get a 10 point penalty while the same for the team finishing tenth last year would only attract a 1 point penalty. The team(s) finishing outside the top ten need all the help they can get and wouldn’t attract any penalty for equipment failures and resulting changes.

      Or you could even scale it progressively if you want to make the penalty for the top teams even more biting than that given the lower ranked teams.

      1. That would work too. Or simply reduce the FOM payout. One engine change will reduce the FOM payout by x%. Then you do not have to relate it to constructors points. And if you are the last team and do not get FOM money, then you get no penalty. And as you said, that team needs all the help they can get.

        1. I don’t think the FIA can have any involvement in commercial matters such as FOM payouts. They do have control of the point allocations (which FOM uses to base its payouts on).

          1. True, today. But I wasn’t thinking within the limitations of today, but rather what would make sense and would be easier to manage.

  18. It was not Verstappen his fault, but if it was a wise move of him getting the 1st corner in that way is a discussion. In the 1st corner no races are won than only on the Monaco track. If Max did stay behind the Ferrari’s no harm was done than maybe still a collision between the 2 Ferrari’s and he had the room to go on. The only one who made a profit of this accident was Riciardo who became and finished 2nd..

  19. I feel like we are living in some bizarro world where the fans are more concerned with driver safety than the commentators. Hearing all the Verstappen apologists in the media makes me wonder what kind of Christmas presents Jos has been buying them.

    Seriously though, forget about T1 from Max which was a low percentage move at best, his defence against Raikkonen and hitting both Kimi and Perez off the track at Les Combes was simply overly aggressive. One day Max’s defending will cause a tyre on tyre collision and send the car behind into the air. It could have easily happened to Kimi in Hungary, Rosberg in Germany or Kimi again at Spa. God knows what could happen to the drivers or fans if a car gets launched doing 300+ km/h alongside them.

    As far as I’m concerned, those defending this type of behaviour have no right to comment or make demands of safety in F1.

  20. I think Verstappen made a good move into turn one, but the only reason he could ever have pulled it off is that Raikkonen is a fair driver who gives others racing room. Had he and Raikkonen been the other way around, Verstappen would have just closed the door and caused a crash.

    I guess it’s a lack of maturity though, which is forgivable. His comments afterwards gave it away. He swerved at Raikkonen because the Ferraris ruined his race, even though he knew it was the other Ferrari he should have been angry with…

    Still, I remain a Verstappen fan, but I hope he learns some class as he gets older and more experienced.

    1. I don’t know how you can speculate like that. Max is a fair driver and he scores points with remarkable regularity. He’s hard but he’s fair

      1. I don’t know how you can think that jinking into Raikkonen’s path at 200mph and forcing him to slam on his brakes is a fair or acceptable move… But each to their own!

        Max is a remarkable driver, I completely agree. He has incredible car control and an unbelievable awareness of where others are on track, which enables him to judge overtaking moves to perfection. He’s probably the most naturally gifted driver I’ve ever witnessed. F1 needs more like him.

        I just don’t like his recent tendency of unpredictable movements towards his rivals. He knows what he’s doing so he should know it’s dangerous. In America they call it blocking and it’s banned for a reason.

          1. I think you should explain to me why there was no penalty, given that you think it was correct decision! All I’ve read so far is that you think it was hard but fair, but no further justification beyond the argument that stewards are not wrong… Please could you go into more detail as to why, with your years of analysis of stewards’ decisions, your view is that this was the right decision? I’m not being argumentative… I would just like to understand the counter-argument better.

            As it happens, I did explain why I think there was no penalty in my other (earlier) post below. But now I think on it further, I don’t recall the stewards even looking at it… so a penalty may not have even been considered!

      2. I think the lack of penalty is because the rules themselves do not specifically outlaw this type of move. If he has broken anything, it is racing etiquette / code of conduct. Perhaps it’s the fault of the rules, but they cannot cover every eventuality, so there should be some flexibility to punish dangerous driving.

        I think there’s a parallel with Rosberg and Hamilton’s crash in Spain. In my view, Rosberg made a dangerous move and should have been punished. But his move didn’t directly result in a crash (that was only because of where Hamilton’s car ended up going after it went off), so it’s a bit of a grey area.

        If the offence is not causing a collision, maybe reprimands and licence points are the answer, as a means of enforcing “code of conduct”-type offences, and improving driving standards and safety?

        It’s an interesting debate.

  21. All I can say concerning the Max incidents, if Lewis had pulled of the same moves in 2008 against a Ferrari, he would have definitely been penalised by the stewards.

  22. So much discussion about what Max did do or didn’t do. It was clear from the video replay that Vettel caused it all with a surprisingly dumb move for him.

    That said, Hamilton was the star of the race for me, and I’m not a regular fan of his. But, I came away from this race with a new-found respect for his obvious talent. He had a mature, smart drive that stood in contrast to his occasional impetuosity. It was very impressive.

  23. I think the biggest laugh is Lewis virtually predicted this massive furore above and deliberately came last on the first corner to keep away from trouble – and his interviews after the race are such a mix of Toto and Niki with a little bit of himself………… so un-Lewis.

  24. Not a great thing to see the head restraint come out in Kevin Magnussen’s crash.
    If I had a dollar for everyone that said he crashed at Eau Rouge, I’d be able to buy F1.

    Whats the odd’s of you doing a Shoey by the end of the year?

  25. thank you joe

    …one red bull starts in p2 and finishes p11 with no points…. the other starts behind and finishes p2 with 18 points……horner said verstappen’s damaged floor was costing him 1.5 secs/lap because of the aero effect ……where did the damaged floor come from ……. from the kerb at the entrance to the turn one la source hairpin ?

    fully agree that vettel failed to give his team mate sufficient space ….the slow motion playback clearly showed his contact with raikkonen came prior to the latter’s contact with verstappen…..

  26. Nothing wrong as far as I’m concerned. Max is racing hard. Should be more of it, I say. You’re right on the money Joe, VET is looking more desperate with each race.

  27. Engine penalties.
    What’s the greater point is that Merc drove a horse and cart through the spirit of the regs to get Hamilton a stockpile of 3 new engines.
    The 5 engine rule is now useless, if penalties are managed like this.
    We want to see drivers racing, including Alonso, at the front, so it’s about time to leave the driver alone – he did nothing – and punish the constructor.
    Change the penalty to a ‘fine’ of loss of constructors points. It may hit the teams in the wallet at the end of the year. Either 10 point fine for every new component, or percentage of their current points score, say 2% of points scored, so all teams are penalised in ratio to their performance level.

    1. Absolutely agree! The Engine penalties were a complete farce with LH taking three engines through in that manner….but those are the rules and it was successfully managed and even more successfully delivered with that third place, Merc and LH looking good on engine penalties going forward. You cant blame them when the rules are laid out in such a manner!

  28. While on balance it was probably a good decision not to penalise Verstappen, as he was right on the limit, the law of averages means that at some stage in the future he is going to have a big accident either on his own or with someone else. Once you take out the language that was used by Raikkonen for the sake of Charlie Whiting, his point that the move was a stupid one to make at 200mph is a valid one. Verstappen’s response that it was payback for earlier, doesn’t really wash as the TV feed clearly showed him looking at the first turn move on a monitor, he knew exactly what had happened, if he thinks that is justification for a stupid move from Vettel shows his lack of maturity. He is terrific box office though as is shown by comments on here, but I would hope that RBR management would be having a quiet word with him about where and when to take things to the limit and I don’t expect he is looking forward to the driver briefing at Monza!

    1. I approved this comment to make the point that links are not allowed in the comments. If you allow one, everyone wants them. And it is best that it is left unlinked.

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