Mexican GP controversy explained 

What promised to be a rather dull grand prix turned out to be bit explosive, certainly towards the end and for a while after it too. Both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen decided to cut of a part of the track (t1), the first at the beginning and the latter at the end. But what made the stewards decide to give Verstappen a penalty? And why wasn’t it the same for Hamilton? Then there was Vettel, getting caught up by a rule, which he, kind of, helped the FIA build. But even before that we heard him on the board radio making various bleep noises, some of which addressed directly to Charlie Whiting. Once again for one infringement there is a punishment and for the other there isn’t. 

All and all it seems like an understatement to say that the FIA had a rather busy Sunday. Not to say that certain drivers and parts of team management had a walk in a park. But their debates are not even near to the amount of debates seen all over these Internet fora and various social media types. Anyway I’m going to try to explain some of the ‘madness’ and why (or why not) the FIA decided to penalise. Follow me.

First things first, I’d say, so here goes: 

Turn one. Hamilton went, accompanied with a cloud of rubbery smoke, trough the grass and therefore cut off a big part of the track, which gave him a massive amount of advantage on Rosberg, who was in second place when this all happened. The gap after turn one did, however, gave a false confirmation of that. Why? Because Rosberg himself was tangled up with Verstappen and his Red Bull. But back to Hamilton, why did he escape a punishment when he clearly gained time by an unregulated manoeuvre? According to Whiting the Mercedes had cooled off brake discs at the front, which gave us the impression that Hamilton just braked too late. When in fact he did brake on time but it was his car that didn’t want to/could slow down. The reason Whiting states as to why Hamilton didn’t get a penalty for this manoeuvre is that they (the stewards) felt Hamilton didn’t gain anything by it. He was in front of Rosberg before it happened. Just like he was after it happened. –Now, I think this is a rather strange argumentation. Seeing what really happened to Rosberg, which I will cover now.

Turn one (bis) what took place behind Hamilton is this: Rosberg tried to make the turn, clean, and Verstappen needed a NASCAR-like rub to make it through. In doing so Verstappen pushed the Mercedes driver of the track. No big accident or anything just a shove and both of them loosing time. Stewards decide not to award a penalty as they felt, by seeing on-board footage, that young Max didn’t do it on purpose rather than loosing grip and simply sliding in Rosberg’s car. And, they felt, it wasn’t like Rosberg lost his second place. Even when the first comments appeared online, how Rosberg gained an advantage himself by choosing to take a short cut. However helicopter footage showed that the manoeuvre Nico did was purely to avoid a collision. A fair decision. -But now I ask you, did the stewards do the right thing by not taking this action in mind, in regards to Hamiltons case? Would Rosberg got up to p1 if the battle with Verstappen hadn’t happened? 

Turn one  (encore) in lap 68 the duel between Vettel and Verstappen came to its first outburst. An incident which looked the same as the one Hamilton had in lap one. At first glance, at least. Only this time it wasn’t due to a unresponsive front brake, it was down to a driver error. No biggie, can happen to anyone. HAS happened to everyone. Too late on the brakes, not making the corner, Max cuts through the grass and rejoins the track again, still in front of the Ferrari. Still nothing wrong here. Such an event can happen. But here’s the tricky part: this time Verstappen decided not to give his unfair gained advantage up, even after being told so by his race engineer. This time Max is going up against a rule that IS written down. A rule that’s in place for quite a long time now. Meanwhile on Red Bull’s pit wall Christian Horner is fiercely discussing with Whiting that a penalty would not be in order, seeing that Hamilton didn’t get one for the same kind of manoeuvre. He makes the case that it is, once again, Garry Connelly who is treating Max unfair. Like he tried to do in Suzuka. 

To this Whiting states that Horner sees it wrong because of the above mentioned reasoning to not take further actions against Hamilton. Also it was decided by the stewards that Lewis did give up a part of his advantage on Nico soon after it happened. Charlie, however, feels that if Max hadn’t done it the way he did, he would’ve lost out to Vettel, on track, in that particular corner. Thus gaining an unfair advantage, earning Verstappen a five seconds penalty, after the race. 

Meanwhile there’s a storm coming out of the helmet of the German Ferrari Driver. A storm directed towards Verstappen, for not doing the right thing. A storm directed towards Whiting, for not taking action. Pure frustration on Vettel behalf, perhaps the pressure at Ferrari is getting to him? Before all this happened I’d say his drive was one worthy of a champion but you see how quickly tables can turn. As, three hours after the race, the stewards lay an other penalty upon a driver. This time it was Vettel who had the honour. 10 seconds and 2 points on his ‘not-so-good-behaivor’ rapport card. He gets those punishments awarded for his action against Ricciardo in the braking zone. Something to which he was very happy to try and get a rule made out of it when Verstappen did it. A case of wanting to test if the rule works? Or just out of pure anger because Verstappen not only had a unfair advantage but also because Max backed furious Seb in to smiling Danny? I think the latter. 

Whiting states that the telemetry of both Sebastian and Danny shows that during that manoeuvre both were braking hard. Just like the footage showed how Danny gets pushed further and further to the inside of the track, which in turn caused the Red Bull’s front tires to lock up and resulting in contact with the Ferrari. Furthermore the Red Bull was already alongside the Ferrari. Unlike in Suzuka where Max made the move before Lewis could make one on him. According to the stewards Vettel ticked all the boxes as to why this action had all the rights to deserve a penalty. Was the manoeuvre dangerous? Yes. Did Danny have to take avoiding actions? Yes. Did Vettel change direction of an unnatural kind? Yes.

So it came to the strange coincidence that a rule build by the Ferrari drivers and colleagues to try to get Max to behave himself gets enforced on someone else as Max. I call this irony. Certainly because Horner came out after that, saying ‘A rule is a rule’. Now, I’m a Vettel fan, but this made me chuckle a bit. 

So now various rumours are emerging that Whiting and his stewards were acting like they did on Vettel’s destiny because of the way Vettel cursed inside his car. Seeing as he directed multiple bleeps towards Charlie himself. Some of them pretty clear words that would give you a red card and an early shower if it were a football game. But because Vettel apologised to Charlie immediately after, the latter didn’t think it was worth punishing. As he felt that this was a pure ‘during the heat of the moment’ action. Plus Charlie blamed Ferrari because they told Vettel, twice, that Verstappen got the order, by the FIA, to move out of the way but he didn’t listen. To see Max back you up in to Danny right after that should be the drop that overflows the bucket. But the order never came from the FIA. It was red bull who said it once, and when they asked Whiting if he should really give the place back Whiting said: ‘We’re looking in to it.’ Again poor management by Arrivabene…

Of course being the end of the race it brought an amount of chaos with it. Which all of us witnessed. The mobilisation of the masses online began and things got interpreted according to who’s tainted glasses the commenter had on.

Let us hope this article brought some clarification of it all. And don’t hesitate to let me know what you think in the comment section, but remember to keep it clean!

Advertisements

52 responses to “Mexican GP controversy explained 

  1. Max was told by his engineer to keep position untill the Stewards made a call! Next to that he was in front before and after the error so no advantage there either. And I doubt to believe tjst if Verstappen braked in time to make the corner, Vettel could have made it. So in my point of view nothing gained and nothing lost and Max did as he was told ” Keep position!”

    • Hey Lars,
      I listened to it over and over again but Max was not told to hold position. The transcript says: “…give the position, i think you have to give the position…”. However, Horner was still discussing with Whiting and was given the remark that it was to be investigated after the race. Hence, Max did not give up his position.

      What is really interesting is that Whiting says Vettel would have won the duel in that corner had Max made it and I am pretty sure that it would not have been the case so the 5 second time penalty, to my opinion, was not correct.

      Max left the track and rejoined, with exactly the same gap between them as it was before the corner, and the speed advantage to Vettel.


      In general, i think that, if they felt Max should have handed over his position, that decision should have been made DURING the race, effectively causing the rest of the mayhem not to have occured at the first place.

      • Well I’m sure I heard “Keep position” and not “Give position” and the message was repeated several times!

        • The first message right after the incident was his race engineer saying you’re going to have to give that place up, Max.
          Now this is done pure on my memories. Don’t have footage here as I am working. So if I’m wrong I’d happily correct my statement.

          • start correcting i guess……..
            but fair enough it wasn’t on all channels, which is wierd in itself and a bit subjective and doubtfull on the part of Mr E’s broadcasting organisation

            this is the transscript of an article on f1today(dot)net

            Red Bull never forcered Max Verstappen to give up his position
            Published on 31 Oct 2016 15:47

            Christian Horner has revealed that Red Bull Racing never told Max Verstappen to give third lace to Sebastian Vettel.

            A radio message broadcast on the world feed appeared to be a call for Verstappen to cede position after he went of the track, but team boss Horner has now shed more light on the matter.

            “You didn’t hear the subsequent message to him, that was not broadcast, where we are checking with race control, stay where you are. We sought clarification from race control and they said they wanted to have a further look at it and establish who was ahead. So we left Verstappen in position without having a directive to let Sebastian go.”

            “Furthermore, Horner doesn’t believe Verstappen should have been penalised anyway as Vettel was not alongside him coming into the corner and Hamilton went unpunished for an identical mistake earlier in the race.”

            “He’d obviously locked up, gone straight on through the grass, come out ahead of Sebastian. But if Sebastian had been alongside him, or making a passing move on him, then perhaps we would have understood more that penalty. It was no different to Lewis’ issue at the beginning of the race where he actually did come out further up the road.”

    • >Next to that he was in front before and after the error so no advantage there either.

      But if you are “in front before the error” only because you have taken too much speed into the corner, then the “error” has already given you advantage.

      Besides the rule doesn’t say anything about passing, only about gaining advantage. If you prevent a pass by going off-track then that’s still gaining advantage if you’re “in front before and after”.

      • I understand what you are trying to say. But I doubt if Vettel could have made it stick even if Verstappen braked in time and could have made the apex. Looking at track positions I think Vettel still was to far back to make this move.

  2. Vettel should have used his 20 lap tire advantage and have a go at Max again instead of this backing me into Ricciardo bs. He was so busy venting his frustration that he forgot to race Max and forgot how to defend properly against Dan. Many drivers would have just raced and kept their mouths shut, expecting RD to sort it out.

  3. Hi Bruznic,
    Let me get my subjective view first: lately Seb tries to overtake just using his radio. Referring to Whiting directly was “insiderish” and it didnt add value for me: “au contraire” (Call for mamma next time, Seb). I was a Seb fan, but I am more impressed by what Kimi seems to be doing. Max did a lot of stuff other guys wouldn’t have gotten away with.

    Objectively: Whiting said “When in fact he [Lewis] did brake on time but it was his car that didn’t want to/could slow down.” Trying something your car can not or will not do, is in my view driver error. Otherwise one could argument that Max wanted to make his corner braking later then usual, but the car simply did not comply. So from that point of view Whiting’s decision was BS. Same goes for the argument: If Lewis did not gain anything by his move, then the same applies to Max. (I am sure Max took his foot of the accelerator while in the grass)

    My sentiment of the case: Whiting doesn’t want to influence the battle still going between Lewis and Nico. It is all FIA has, otherwise this season would be over. On top of that “first corner scramble is to be expected, so we cut the guys some slack”. Obviously, that last is biting Whiting in the behind,,,

    Max is a tricky bastard, and the second it happened (the cutting of the corner) I already guestimated that given the situation (likely to get a time penalty) Max would back Seb into Daniel. I was on the edge of my seat when Seb turned in on Daniel, and was already shouting he would get a penalty for the maneuver.

    Great stuff! If only we had more of this.

    • Sorry to tell you this but your first comments went in to moderation (you said sh*t) and I don’t seem to get it out. The wordpress app kind of fails…
      I agree about not wanting to interfere with the battle for the championship

    • Everything Max does is under a magnifying glass at this point, and because he is a hot prospect that brings action all eyes (and cameras) are on him. But Max got several penalties and license points last year, where others for the same or more got none! Just to make a point against the youngster to behave….

      And this year he didn’t do stuff where others got penalties and he walked away from it. I think this is a weak argument, he got his share himself like others did as well.

      Raikkonen and Vettel where the drivers who had most comments on the new “Verstappen rule” to come to action. Irony is that the first victim of this rule is one of the great innitiators behind it!

      But agreed I like this stuff, I like it a lot!

      And I think that yesterday none of them deserved penalties (maybe Verstappen, but if Hamilton runs free so should Max) and it was great fun. The tricky bastard stuff I agree on, it was brilliant (thats what I think). This kid with his 19 yrs of age shows so much intelligence if it comes to racing. He still is reckless and agressive and those sharp edges still need some modelling. But damn this guy brings the spice to the dish!!!

    • Doesn’t quite paint the picture though. Both drivers under heavy braking, Seb moved over forcing Ricciardo to change line which would compromise his braking ability. A later shot would also show them much closer to the grass.

  4. I find Whitings comment about Hamilton’s brake temperatures somewhat bewildering…. If Hamilton’s brakes were too cold that is no ones fault but his own, and it’s his own responsibility to realize that and brake earlier. To say he didn’t brake too late is ridiculous! He clearly braked too late for the condition of his car in that moment.
    It’s not like there is a clearly marked braking spot where any car on any tire has to brake for the corner. It’s up to the driver to pick the exact braking-point based on the condition of his car (including it’s brakes and tires) at any given moment, and it’s a constantly moving target as the track and car evolve throughout the race. Hamilton simply got it wrong.
    Not saying it should definitely be penalized, but it WAS remarkably similar to Verstappen’s mistake at the end……

    • Same here. It is a joke. So next time people will drive off in same context. Its pure utter Bullshit.

  5. It should also be mentioned that Max’s tires were fairly heavily worn at the point he made the error. Again you could make the same argument whiting made for Hamilton regarding brake temps… Max didn’t brake too late, his tires were just worn… It’s a stupid argument either way. They both simply braked too late and cut the corner to maintain position.

    • Exactly. Both drivers exceeded the limits of the car at that moment in time. If anything, Lewis seemed to gain more of an advantage when he cut the corner but as there was a VSC just after it was very difficult to tell how it played out.

  6. It looked to me that Hammy got squeezed off the track at turn one. Having deleted my recording, I can’t look at it again.

  7. Hi Bruznic,

    Good article, I enjoyed reading it. Just wanted to add my 2 cts. (adding this for a 2nd time, as I seem to have lost connection the first time)

    Subjectively: I feel Seb tries to overtake just by using his radio lately. Nothing irritating, but it breaks down my image of him. I am more impressed how Kimi seems to be overcoming just by persisting. (Good work, Kimi) Max: has gotten away with to much shit lately (Great stuff Max, I am no longer bored to death)

    Objectively: According to Whiting (at least as you wrote, Bruznic) “When in fact he [Lewis] did brake on time but it was his car that didn’t want to/could slow down. ” Trying to do something your car can not or will not do, constitutes a driver error in my book. Otherwise one could argument that Max tried to make to corner by braking late, unluckily the car did not comply because of blah-blah (fill in whatever excuse)

    What I think happened is that Whiting thinks it is normal to have a first corner scrap, and just cuts the guys some slack. Obviously we can not make this a rule, otherwise the first corner scrap would just lead to more cars being scrapped in the first corner. Otherwise he did not want to influence the Nico/Lewis battle, since this is all what FIA remains. If it wasn’t for that, the championship would be over, and clearly they would like to stretch the battle until the end of the season.

    In the end Max simply counted on Ricci taking of the pressure from Seb, but alas, the brake error (by my definition, not Whiting’s) came first. However, the little shit is a tricky bastard, and found his way back in front of Seb! I already guestimated Max would do even more to back Seb into Ricci. Then Seb turned into Ricci: I was on the edge of my seat, already yelling that he would get a penalty for it!

    What a spectacle!

    • Oh I agree about the driver error. Someone here said it, don’t recall who and I’m a bit to lazy to look it up, but perhaps Charlie doesn’t want to interfere with the championship. I’ve seen the sh*t Mercedes goes through on twitter when Hamilton has a failure. Perhaps Charlie was a bit scared it would be directed to him if he awarded a penalty. (BTW I do think it should be one, without the vsc I don’t believe Hamilton would have given anything back to Rosberg and Rosberg would have been in front of Hamilton if he hadn’t found Max on his way)

  8. Any advantage Lewis got from missing the first turn at race start was negated by the following Safety Car period.

    • So?

      Like Tom Coronel said: It’s like doing something wrong but if this advantage disapears due to external circumstances it’s no longer your fault and advantage! Thats a stupid argument….

      So although the SC came out and his advantage disapeared, it still is his fault and he still had that advantage to begin with.
      If behind Verstappen and Vettel something would have happend and the SC would be deployed over it, Verstappen wouldn’t had a advantage?

  9. > Also it was decided by the stewards that Lewis did give up a part of his advantage on Nico soon after it happened.

    That is a fascinating and very reasonable argument. If he did indeed back off to bring the gap back down, then I take back my prior opinion about his deserving a penalty for it.

    • Because?

      Verstappen was directly in front of Vettel before he went off end got back directly in front of Vettel, so no advantage I would say!

      And I still doubt that if Verstappen would have made the apex, that Vettel could have overtaken him around the outside.

      • Of course there was an advantage! Were this Monaco or Singapore, Verstappen and Hamilton would be kissing concrete. Racing in F1 is supposed to be about racing on the black stuff, not the green stuff. Completely cutting out a corner of the defined racetrack and NOT gaining time on the car behind IS an advantage, because you’re denying the car behind an attempt at a legitimate overtake at that corner. Would Vettel have made an overtake attempt stick? Maybe (probably?) not, but Max unfairly denied him the chance to even try by breaking the rules and exceeding track limits (don’t even get me started!).
        Vettel’s defense of Ricciardo… he can say all he wants that Ricciardo was crazy to even attempt it, but the fact is, there was a legitimate gap in a legitimate overtaking spot. Vettel was obviously caught napping there and reacted on instinct rather than racecraft, too busy staring daggers at Max’s gearbox in front at that point, and ranting, to focus on Ricciardo behind. Yes, there was still room on the inside of Ricciardo, but there should’ve been more had Vettel not moved under braking. He got outfoxed, and panicked.
        However, Max was 100% backing him up, and Vettel’s anger is totally understandable, because Max shouldn’t have been there TO back him up.
        In my opinion, Hamilton, Max (x2, for bumping Rosberg off lap 1) and Vettel all deserved penalties. Denying another driver an advantage on track by going off track, despite not gaining time, is most definitely an advantage any way you slice it. You’re denying them the right to a fair race. Do the crime, you should have to do the time. Burglars don’t get let off because they return your stuff.

  10. Horner told Max to wait for a steward ruling and not let Seb past. Got aired on some tv channels just not on Sky.
    smart move RBR

  11. Well, I just watched it all in real time again with the commentary turned down and I’ve changed my mind a bit.

    Lewis and Nico still go free but now I want to add Max and Seb to that list.

    I don’t think Seb was even lining Max up for the pass that time around. Yh, Max locked up but play on, I reckon.

    And I’m not sure Dan was going to get it stopped anyway. Yh, he ended up on the inside marbles which compromised his grip levels I guess but Seb was braking at an angle right from the start – not deciding to chop Dan after he saw him coming. Borderline but let it go. Dan telling Mum afterwards was a bit tawdry.

    BUT, penalty for Seb for his potty mouth. Unprofessional in extremus. He doesn’t have to press the PTT button. Show pony.

    Penalty for the FOM guy on the radio feed broadcast switch. He’s a sh*t stirring bastard. Kinda funny, tbh, but he needs a clip on the ear. Reality is funny enough without the calculated distortion.

    • “Well, I just watched it all in real time again with the commentary turned down and I’ve changed my mind a bit.”

      Smart move. I tend to have the volume low as well.

  12. this is the transscript of an article on f1today(dot)net

    Red Bull never forcered Max Verstappen to give up his position
    Published on 31 Oct 2016 15:47
    image

    Christian Horner has revealed that Red Bull Racing never told Max Verstappen to give third lace to Sebastian Vettel.

    A radio message broadcast on the world feed appeared to be a call for Verstappen to cede position after he went of the track, but team boss Horner has now shed more light on the matter.

    “You didn’t hear the subsequent message to him, that was not broadcast, where we are checking with race control, stay where you are. We sought clarification from race control and they said they wanted to have a further look at it and establish who was ahead. So we left Verstappen in position without having a directive to let Sebastian go.”

    “Furthermore, Horner doesn’t believe Verstappen should have been penalised anyway as Vettel was not alongside him coming into the corner and Hamilton went unpunished for an identical mistake earlier in the race.”

    “He’d obviously locked up, gone straight on through the grass, come out ahead of Sebastian. But if Sebastian had been alongside him, or making a passing move on him, then perhaps we would have understood more that penalty. It was no different to Lewis’ issue at the beginning of the race where he actually did come out further up the road.”

  13. nice post Bruznic 🙂
    i still think it was a champions drive by Vettel, and unlike you I’m not a fan!!! if only he could have got past Massa at the start, what might have been.
    Just ban him from talking and he’ll get on fine!!

    • That speed of the Williams! 372.5 kph and I agree to some of this. But I can’t judge. I’m someone who is very verbal, in a negative way, in the car. So I sort of understand where he’s coming from. 😎 but I can see why others would find it offending. The f*ck off Charlie was a bit much 😅

      • thats why i say cut the radio broadcasts, i’m okay with the drivers screaming bloody murder into their helmets in the heat of battle (I can relate :-)), but when its being broadcast it does nothing for me!! Problem for Seb was that he knows it will be broadcast so he has no excuse. By all means shout into the helmet, but don’t press the button to send it to the pit wall!!!
        Of course, they didn’t have to play that on the tv now did they…ah well, ratings will be up I suppose.

        • Don’t forget the “message for Charlie” part.

          Although funny, it is like yelling obsceneties to a football referee – as bruznic observed

          • It’s the “message for Charlie” that put it over the line for my part.

            2016’s been an interesting year to watch Vettel. Brings Alonso’s and Schumacher’s (especially the 1990s) time at Ferrari into perspective. It’s not easy; Vettel is rattled somewhat.

  14. What happened, happened, right/wrong does it really matter? What matters in my opinion, is that drivers choose to cut the corner and apparently are willing to accept the penalty. The penalty is 5 seconds and that’s the problem. If cutting corners would be penalized harder, I think this whole farce wouldn’t even have happened.

      • Yes this race, but how many times haven’t you seen a driver picking up a penalty and just keeps on driving till the end (if no pit stops have to be made), get’s his 5 seconds and still keeps his position? The 5 second penalty has no use whatsoever.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s