The most repeated question after the Formula 1 British GP is clear: “Who is to blame in the incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton? But there is more. Was Hamilton justly penalized for his touch on Max? Those are the two million dollar questions after Sunday’s race. ? To answer it, you have to analyze several important points. We do it next in this article.
Lewis hamilton I tried to pass to Max verstappen on a curve of Copse, where Formula 1 cars reach over 300 km / h to trace, in eighth gear and alone taking your foot off the gas pedal (without braking),
at about 290 km / h. Hamilton was on the inside, the car slightly behind Verstappen’s front wheels. Verstappen was tracing around the outside, and as Max rounded the corner, he found Hamilton hitting him with his front left wheel on his rear right tire. The impact caused Verstappen to lose control of the car and become a mere passenger, slamming against the tire guards with a force that according to Red Bull was 51 G. An outrage.
In that sense, it is important to note that Hamilton had to play it and this curve was possibly one of his last chances to win. If he didn’t pass Verstappen in the first few corners, Max had more race pace and would have won easily. Lewis had to overtake yes or yes. I needed to risk too much.
For its part, Verstappen did not think about the championship. He could have opened his line and gone off the track to return the overtake immediately or do it later, for better race pace or strategy. But he also risked drawing the curve unceremoniously.
Copse, a very dangerous point to overtake
One of the most relevant points to analyze what happened is to understand in which corner Hamilton was trying to overtake and the line of the two drivers. If the same incident had happened in a slow-speed corner, things could be very different. But it was a very dangerous curve, where the cars only have a natural line possible to be fast. The correct line was that of Max verstappen, opening to make the curve more quickly and be able to open gas earlier. Hamilton was on the inside, forcing Hamilton to brake far more than Max because he had to turn more if he wanted to avoid going off the track.
Thus, if they had not collided, it is clear that Verstappen I would have come out ahead of Hamilton.
Telemetry data would prove Verstappen right
To understand what happened and find culprits, it is key to understand the telemetry data of the two cars. These data were published by the Italian specialized portal ‘Formulapassion.it’. Very clear conclusions can be drawn from them. On the one hand, it can be seen as Verstappen, that he was on the right path in this fast corner, he accelerated much before Hamilton.
On the other, that Hamilton came into the corner at a much higher speed because he caught the slipstream from Max. First he threatened to go outside and then he got inside, reaching the curve on the inside, due to the bad line, at too much speed, past.
braked for 1.2 seconds, something key to understanding that
entered past. And this made him unable to follow the inner line, glued to the line, and had to open up a bit, finding the Dutchman’s car. This is a key element. On Copse, the cars slow down, but they don’t usually touch the brakes. Hamilton
activated the brake 1.2 seconds
s. And if I had rounded the curve without braking I would have gone long. Verstappen, in fact, only lifted his foot without touching the brake to make the corner.
The data shows that when Verstappen lifts his foot, he is going 301 km / h, which indicates that at the moment of impact he should have been going at about 290 km / h.
Interestingly, Hamilton lifts his foot off the gas sooner than Verstappen, something that would show that Lewis realized he was in a dangerous situation as he rounded the corner and entered at such speed. And the fact that he touched the brake for so many seconds would indicate that Hamilton realized too late that he was in the risk zone, so he braked, something that prevented him from turning and made him go to the outside, opening his line to impact with Verstappen.
Could Verstappen do as Leclerc later did?
At the end of the race, it was striking that Hamilton made the same maneuver in his overtaking with Leclerc. He passed the Monegasque through the interior at the same bend, at Copse.
But in this case, Charles, so as not to meet Lewis and colliding with him, he went off the track to continue accelerating. In that same action, it is clearly seen how Hamilton, when entering from the inside, through the bad line, has to open a lot later, braking more than he would have done if he had had the correct line from the outside to the inside.
Should Verstappen lengthen his line and go outside? I could do it. But that would have hurt him, possibly handing over the position to Hamilton. Verstappen was the one who was correctly drawing the curve. Why would it open up? He had to do it for safety and there is his share of fault in the collision. But the fact that it was Hamilton who entered past the wrong line, makes Lewis the one who was much more to blame.
Who was at fault according to the commissioners?
Although many pilots indicated that for them it was a clear race incident, in which both Hamilton
he was to blame for the wrong cornering on the inside, and Verstappen for not opening wide enough and possibly go off the track to avoid the hit, the commissioners were clear. They decided to penalize Hamilton because they found him guilty of the crash. This is how they expressed it:
“Car 44 (Hamilton) was on a line that did not touch the apex of the curve, with space available inside. When car 33 (Verstappen) turned the corner, car 44 did not attempt to avoid contact and car 44 contacted the rear of car 33 ”. Masi, therefore, said that “Hamilton is predominantly guilty.” That is, it is not entirely to blame, but most of it.
How did Hamilton defend himself?
“I try to measure how I get into fights, especially with Max, who is very aggressive. Today I was by his side, he did not leave me space “said Hamilton. But looking at the images, it is clear that Max did leave space for him. What happens, as we have said before analyzing the telemetry, is that Hamilton could not draw the curve on the inside without opening because, first, he was on the wrong line, second, he arrived too fast, and third, because of the enormous speed at which this curve is drawn, always on the outside line.
What does the regulation say regarding sanctions for racing incidents?
Next, we detail exactly what the sports regulations say in terms of the sanctions that can be imposed on a driver for a racing incident.
38.3 Stewards may impose any of the following penalties on any driver involved in an Incident:
a) A five-second penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at their pit stop position for at least five seconds, and then rejoin the race.
However, the relevant driver can choose not to stop, provided that he does not make any more pit stops before the end of the race. In such a case, five seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of the driver in question.
b) A penalty of ten seconds. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at their pit stop position for at least ten seconds, and then rejoin the race.
However, the relevant driver can choose not to stop, provided that he does not make any more pit stops before the end of the race. In this case, ten seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of the pilot in question.
In both of the above cases, the driver in question must execute the penalty the next time he enters the pit lane and, for the avoidance of doubt, this includes any stops the driver makes while using a VSC or safety car procedure. .
c) A drive-through penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane and rejoin the race without stopping.
d) A stop and go of 10 seconds penalty. The driver must enter the pit lane, stop at his pit stop position for at least ten seconds, and then rejoin the race. (In this case, the mechanics cannot change anything about the car)
If any of the four penalties above is imposed on a driver, and that driver is unable to serve the penalty due to retirement from the race, the stewards may impose a grid spot penalty on the driver at their next.
If any of the four above penalties are imposed during the last three laps, or after the end of a race, Article 38.4 (b) will not apply and five seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of the driver in question in the case of whichever is the case (a), 10 seconds in the case of the case (b), 20 seconds in the case of (c) and 30 seconds in the case of (d).
and) A time penalty.
F) A reprimand.
g) A drop from any number of grid positions in the driver’s next event.
If any of the seven previous sanctions is imposed, it cannot be appealed.
h) Disqualification of the results.
i) Driver suspension for the next event.
So that, After reading what the regulations say, it seems clear that the 10-second penalty that Hamilton received was not the harshest penalty that could have been imposed. Verstappen’s father asked for disqualification. But if Race Direction hadn’t wanted to go so far, they could have applied a harsher penalty, such as, for example, a stop and go of 10 seconds. By means of this sanction, he would have to have entered the pits, stop for 10 seconds, and not be able to change tires, forcing him to have to enter later to change tires, losing the corresponding time of the meters traveled at low speed through the pit lane on two occasions . However, with the 10 seconds they imposed on him, he was able to change tires just after taking the 10-second penalty, which gave him time to come back.
“Did you have a 10-second penalty? I did not know, I did not know it. Did you win the race anyway? So it doesn’t change much, “said Fernando Alonso laughing after the race, ironic. With that phrase, he said it all.
If you truly consider that Hamilton is “mostly to blame” for a collision, putting 10 seconds on one of the most competitive cars in the championship, which is used to doubling multiple cars race after race and taking advantage of much more than 10 seconds, is a punishment that falls too short.
However, as Fernando Alonso said, the main factor of all was the incredible luck that Hamilton had. “I saw it on the replay, and it’s difficult to assess because Lewis was already half a car inside, not that he threw himself like crazy. Max knew it was there … and well, I think Hamilton was very lucky to continue because it is a touch where normally the two cars go outside, “said the Spaniard.
If the accident were repeated, in most cases, Hamilton would have dropped out. But He was extremely lucky to be able to continue on the track and that the same accident caused a red flag. With a red flag and the race stopped, you can return to the pit lane to repair the damage to the car and return to the track. The race was thus able to resume with Hamilton’s car in perfect condition.. And it is that Mercedes already said it: without red flag, Hamilton would have to have retired by the damages of the car.
Where is the error in the regulation?
Precisely the error would be in this last point: That a car that has caused a collision can repair the damages with the red flag. If prohibited, Lewis would have already been punished for his action for his own car damage.
The regulations should not allow a driver who has thrown another off the track, serve his sanction and win the race, benefiting from the collision by taking 25 points while his rival leaves his scoreboard at 0 due to abandonment.
F1, the most benefited
Was Hamilton really the one who benefited the most from the accident and its penalty? It was especially F1. The reason is simple. Had Hamilton not passed Verstappen in the first few corners, Max would have won the race at his faster race pace and left Silverstone 40 points clear of Lewis. After the accident, the excitement and rivalry increased. Hamilton is now only 8 points behind and the duel is approaching the epic of other great historical battles. That should increase audiences. Business for F1 was good.