“We know Max’s moves to be a bit questionable and it was the same today with Seb.
“I love racing hard and even a bit of contact is fine. But this whole moving under braking; I mean if you are going to defend you move early, you make your bed you don’t do it once you have been outfoxed.
“I feel like that’s what happened today. Seb was there, I moved so I had won the chess match, if you like and then he was like ‘I’ve screwed up now I need to repair my mistake’ – and that’s not right.”
The words of Daniel Ricciardo after a controversial end to the Mexican Grand Prix, which saw a deepening of the scourge of F1 drivers moving under braking, despite some action on the topic by the FIA last week.
Sebastian Vettel in the eyes of his former team mate was guilty of the same unsporting move under braking which he and the other F1 drivers have accused Vertsappen of all season and on which an FIA clarification was issued in Austin, which spoke of penalising drivers if their rival has to take avoiding action.
The stewards agreed with Ricciardo and gave Vettel a 10 second penalty after the race, which promoted the Australian to the podium; but too late to enjoy it.
Article 27.8 now prohibits any manoeuvre “…liable to hinder other drivers.”
The problem is how to define racing, when the criteria used by the FIA stewards to judge whether Vettel had crossed a line were spelled out as:
1) Driving in a manner potentially dangerous 2) An abnormal change of direction
3) Another driver having to take evasive action.
The longer the definition fails to cover what is at issue, the more drivers will exploit the area.
Verstappen really put Vettel away in his comments after the race,
“At least I can do it in a good way,” said the 19 year old. “He doesn’t know how to do it. It’s ridiculous. Daniel is alongside him and he turns into him and they touch. He’s shouting on the radio and using very bad language in general, so I think he has to go back to school to get some language. I will speak to him because it’s ridiculous how he is handling it. He’s just a very frustrated guy at the moment.”
Ricciardo spoke to Vettel after the race and told him to look at the video,
“He told me to look at it again,” said Vettel. “I was fighting very hard I am supposed to give him just enough room, which I think he had. I know Daniel is sometimes in going for a gap. I knew he would go for it whatever the cost. I tried to defend. In the end we made contact so it is never ideal.
“So I want to look at it again. if there was something then I will talk to him.”
The matter is certain to drag on into the next race as team sporting directors seek further clarification from FIA race director Charlie Whiting and the Drivers’ Briefing will be heated.
Today’s development shows that the practice is spreading, drawing in a four times world champion.
To complicate the picture further Vettel used very strong language against Whiting for not forcing Verstappen to give the place back at the end of the race when he cut the chicane. Vettel was very frustrated and twice sent a clear message to Whiting to “*** off!”
He went to apologise to Whiting after the race.
There was plenty of emotion and drama, which many would argue has been sorely missing from F1 in the last few years. But the lack of action on moving under braking is a higher level of threat than other controversies of recent times, as many drivers feel that until it’s clarified it will act as a disincentive to try a move. Worse, many feel that the ultimate outcome will be a massive accident.
Jenson Button spoke about this last week: “When you make a move you are on the limit, on the edge of being out of control,” he said. ” If someone moves and takes the space you were going for, you’re screwed. In my 15 years of racing in F1 we have not really had a problem, just in the last two years. So yes I’m happy with it [the clarification].”
Verstappen was penalised because he made no attempt to come back onto the race track into the second part of the corner, when there was a tarmac apron on which he could do so. He just drove straight across the grass and cut the corner. His argument was that if Rosberg was not penalised for doing the same thing in Turn 1 at the start, then he should not be penalised at the end of the race.
He has a point, but the difference is that when Rosberg cut the corner it followed contact with Verstappen which pushed him outwards. Verstappen’s corner cutting was all down to worn tyres and being too late on the brakes.
“It’s not right what Max did, so as you can imagine there was some adrenaline when I was told that they were looking into it for three laps,” said Vettel.
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