Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2017

Were the stewards right to penalise Verstappen?

Debates and Polls

Posted on

| Written by

Max Verstappen’s five second-penalty for an overtaking move on the last lap of the United States Grand Prix has proved the most controversial decision from the stewards for several races.

Verstappen’s last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen seemed to have earned the Red Bull driver a hard-won trip to the podium after fighting his way forward from 16th on the grid.

However the stewards ruled his turn 17 move was illegal. Verstappen “did leave the track, with all four wheels off the track”, they noted while issuing a five-second time penalty which restored Raikkonen to the podium in his place.

Red Bull reacted to the decision with fury and there has been widespread criticism of the penalty from other racing drivers and motorsport figures on social media. Did the stewards get this call right or wrong?


Verstappen cut a corner, shortened the track and by doing so overtook another car. Surely this should be a black-and-white penalty?

Sergio Perez was given a five-second time penalty and one point on his licence for overtaking Romain Grosjean at Spa with all four wheels off the track. Jolyon Palmer was given a five-second time penalty and one point on his licence for doing the same to Fernando Alonso at Monza. This decision is consistent with these previous ones.


The policing of track limits has been much less strict this year. Drivers have been allowed to run with all four wheels off the track on numerous occasions.

At the Circuit of the Americas drivers repeatedly used the run-off at various points on the track. Probably not many cars were strong enough in turn 17 to use the kerb the way Verstappen did, but if other cars can leave the track elsewhere why shouldn’t he do so there?

I say

Track limits calls like this usually involve drivers cutting across asphalt run-offs through slow corners. It isn’t usually possible for drivers to do the same at quick corners, but a fired-up Verstappen wielding Red Bull’s latest downforce monster found grip at a part of turn 17 few drivers had ventured onto during the weekend.

It was an impressive move and a thrilling culmination to an epic drive. But does that mean the stewards should waive a rule which has been enforced consistently in the past?

This is why I have some sympathy for the stewards. Track design, particularly on relatively new tracks like the Circuit of the Americas, should make it impossible for drivers to gain an advantage in this way.

I think much of the furore surrounding this move has to do with timing. Had it been a few laps earlier Verstappen would have had the opportunity to relinquish the position and have another go at passing Raikkonen. As it all happened in the final seconds of the race, emotions ran high.

It’s an unfortunate decision, but unless we’re going to start letting drivers straight-line chicanes to pass their rivals, it’s one that can’t be avoided until the track limits are enforced by physical obstacles rather than the rule book.

You say

Did the stewards make the right call? Were they consistent with other decisions this year? And what should be done now to ensure track limits are policed fairly?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Verstappen's penalty for overtaking Raikkonen with all four wheels off the track was:

  • No opinion (0%)
  • Far too lenient (0%)
  • Slightly too lenient (0%)
  • Fair (68%)
  • Slightly too harsh (14%)
  • Far too harsh (16%)

Total Voters: 639

Loading ... Loading ...

An F1 Fanatic account is required in order to vote. If you do not have one, register an account here or read more about registering here. When this poll is closed the result will be displayed in stead of the voting form.

Debates and polls

Browse all debates and polls

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2017 F1 season, 2017 United States Grand Prix

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 217 comments on “Were the stewards right to penalise Verstappen?”

    1. By the letter of the law, yes it was totally correct to penalise Verstappen as he clearly left the road to perform the overtake. The inconsistency is frustrating… see Bottas’ defense from Ricciardo, during which he also left the track multiple times… see Vettel’s line at the start and Sainz’s overtake of Perez. Had the track limit been a wall rather than, essentially, more track, then all of these drivers would either have fallen back or retired.

      It’s exactly the wider issue that I’ve been complaining about for years, as Formula One becomes more and more sterile. New circuits have no character and old circuits are being robbed of it. With cars as safe as they are these days, I fail to see the harm in making exceeding track limits a real disadvantage for drivers. Put in a gravel trap on slower corners, add some nice slippery grass on the edge of the straights. Let the penalty for exceeding track limits be enforced by the track itself, rather than in a stewarding office.

      1. Spencer Brandsen
        23rd October 2017, 11:37

        I agree.

      2. Pretty much that yeah @ben-n.

        It becomes infuriating and somewhat unfair when the FIA (after agreeing with the teams not to interfere unless things got dangerous) makes the Stewards and race director more or less ignore drivers ignoring track limits at this track the whole weekend, including cases in volving passes.

        Either find a way to make tracks in a way that gives you a disadvantage as soon as you go wide (i.e. more than a single whole wheel over the wite line), it makes sense, is clearly understandable and not hurt by the need for anyone to notice it (and report it) to stop drivers abusing the track limits.
        Alternatively, if not possible (everywhere), find a technical way to automatically offset the advantage gained (tricky) or at least police it in a consistent and predictable way so that at least it is fair judging and nobody feels bias coming into it.

        But when you look at the rules, yep, Verstappen did go off track to get by, maybe had he waited for the next turn, he would have made a clean pass.

        1. I think@ben-n and @bascb you both, and @keithcollantine said it pretty well, and for that reason I went with fair, as indeed, the penalty is according to the rules, though it isn’t really according to what F1 has been doing this year.

          I too felt very frustrated, but, the fault is not with the penalty itself.

          1. let me add in the reaction of the still current Champion though @bosyber, @ben-n, @keithcollantineRosberg: Verstappen moved aside to avoid collusion with Kimi – No penalty though.

            The first time I saw this (my wifi in the bedroom made for only intermittent footage, so I missed it live) i also saw Max moving further to the side when Kimi was turning in (before Kimi saw him and opened up also to avoid an accident)

            1. I think he has a point, but still, the accepted solution is to avoid the collision, and fall back behind if you weren’t ahead before, isn’t it @bascb? Not quite satisfying if the guy ahead was doing little to avoid that collision, but here both of them did, which is why in the end there was a lot of space between them.

            2. Michael Brown (@)
              23rd October 2017, 14:05

              @bascb I think we’re in agreement that Verstappen took action to avoid a collision with Raikkonen. Raikkonen reacted at about the same time and opened the line, but Verstappen could not rely on that, nor did he have the time to react to Raikkonen to giving him space, so it’s understandable to go off the track.

              Where we disagree is that doesn’t mean he can use that as a reason to overtake Raikkonen, since Raikkonen took adequate avoiding action as well.

            3. Yes that is what i saw too but their was no normal investigation where RB could show this…

            4. I don’t even think we disagree there @mbr-9, @bosyber, I also understand that going off means you have to back off, that is in the rules. That is why I think a penalty was in order as well as you guys.

              But man I agree with Vertappen, that we need far more consistency. And even if what Kimi mentioned in his post race interview with Buxton – that there are certain parts of the track where “everyone knows” you can’t go off etc – would be true (from other drivers, I am not quite so sure it is), than that knowledge should at least be public, and preferrably it would be even visible on the track so that the viewers have a chance of seeing that too.

            5. Oh, we clearly agree @bascb, in fact most of us seem to agree on your second paragraph too, looking at the poll, and the reactions.

              I think Kimi would have been wiser to leave it at ‘I am not they guy to ask that’ because the rest is a bit too self serving to stand much scrutiny, in my opinion.

              One could say he was smart to put Verstappen in a place where he could only pass by going across those lines, in effect, making a mistake and getting that penalty, and so he earned the podium, I guess. At least it was a very good race from Kimi to get him on the podium, that’s a slight consolation.

              In the end the article “Burger advert ruins verdict on Verstappen” rather catches my feelings quite well.

        1. I agree with your posts above. Voted fair. I do see what Rosberg is saying, as I do think Max surprised Kimi, so Kimi was turning in, but only normally.

          Max was the one choosing to make an aggressive move inside, which is great and should be encouraged, but if he needed to go off the track, then was it a viable move after all?

          Really tough one…really on the fence with this one but as I say I voted fair because it is not that guys were going wide all day, all weekend actually, it is that it was for a pass and a podium. And I really really like Max.

          Would Horner et al have been fine if it was Kimi taking Max the same way? Or would they have wanted the same penalty for Kimi that Max got?

          1. @robbie good point. i expect Jos would have been up in arms had it been the other way round. i thought it was amazing live and it really looked like kimi had been mugged – but i think the penalty is fair. it’s not like he got DSQ’d or anything, they just reversed the places. as has been said already the track design is the real villain of the piece.

            1. I think we already have an good example how Max reacts when he is hindered by an questionable action of another.. rember Vettel in Signapore… Max’ comment was.. “It happend… let’s focus on the next race”

      3. Well said @ben-n.

        I initially thought it was harsh, just because it was an awesome move on the last lap for a podium position.

        Having looked at it again, I would say it was a fair call. As Keith says, it was all about timing. On weekend where drivers have taken advantage of the lax rules on track advantage.

        The issue of leaving the track needs to be clear cut. We’ve already talked about this way too much over the past couple years!

      4. @ben-n Seb had already passed Lewis by turn 1, so he was already ahead of him before going a bit wide at the exit of the corner and regarding the Sainz-Perez move: He performed his overtaking move on Perez at turn 19 with all four wheels on the track; he only put two wheels off the track at the exit of the previous corner, so, therefore, he didn’t overtake anyone while being off the track entirely with all four wheels. Yes, he cut the track at turn 15 behind Perez, but that didn’t give him an advantage by the time they reached turn 19 as those two corners are too far apart from each other for that.

        1. This issue always gets on my nerves, where we talk about leaving the track and “gaining an advantage”. If a driver uses more than the track limits during his lap, then he has gained an advantage. Whether that advantage is time gained, a position gained or avoiding a flat-spot or damage is irrelevant to me. Vettel left the track at Turn 1 (as did many others during the race). I agree that this did not affect his taking of the lead, but it did allow him to get a better exit and maintain the lead. Therefore an advantage was gained.

          I understand that mistakes are made and not all should be penalised, but an “advantage” is always gained from leaving the track.

          Please bring back gravel traps! I was at the Formula Ford Festival yesterday and it was such a joy to see drivers punished for mistakes by being beached in gravel. For me, that’s the thrill… the best drivers, the fastest cars, all on the very edge and any mistakes punished, which just isn’t the case in Formula One (or most categories) at the moment.

          1. Japan 2008, ham overcooked the corner, and i think pushed kimi a little off track, and he was penalized in the first lap! first corner!

            Spa 2008, kimi pushed ham off track, ham joined track gaining advantage, gave the position back, yet penalized for trying overtake without waiting 2 corners (which there was no mention of this officially anywhere!) after ham penalized, they clarified the rule and added officially!

            So RULES in FIA are JOKES, and applied LAUGHABLY!

            MAX’s case (which i dont like normally and not a fan off either) was not a gaining advantage intention! If anyone watch the video in slow motion, you can see a very gently contact and after which both drivers took avoiding action, since max was at the edge already, he had no where else to go! He was more than half car along side when kimi tried to turn in on him! and i can guarantee both saw flashes of Singapore at that moment!

            This penalty is at best farce, at worst almost seemed a ferrari paid/fan steward changed the result unfairly!

            1. I think it is clear for unbiased observers that 2008 wasn’t always the most internatlly consistent and unbiased stewarding @mysticus, but it is also now 9 years ago and rules and stewarding have changed/evolved quite a lot in this area, so I’d say it isn’t a very relevant comparison anymore.

      5. Spot on. I didn’t vote because there are two questions that I would give different answers to. Yes the penalty was fair given the existing rules, but a big hell no to are the rules being enforced consistently.
        I also strongly agree with your suggestion to modify the tracks to “impose” a penalty for exceeding the limits. Then hopefully it will be the same for everyone and not left up to interpretation. (I say hopefully because there is the chance that later in the race the penalty may be lesser or greater depending on what is placed at the track limits.)

      6. Raikkonen did the exact same thing on Turn 10 just a lap before, to gain a 1.2 second DRS advantage over Verstappen so Verstappen couldn’t use DRS in that lap. It makes no sense that Verstappen subsequently was penalized for returning the favor. You can see very this happen very clearly in the video replay because coverage was showing the images from Verstappen’s camera right behind Raikkonen and you can see all four of Raikkonen’s wheels go off track. Verstappen should be allowed to appeal.

      7. Lennard Mascini (@)
        24th October 2017, 6:58

        Completely agree. Consistency needs to be taken on track limits. Please. And if they don’t want to change the tracks, they need to give a defined penalty (5 seconds maybe) for every time a driver leaves the track limits, unless they like spin off or something similar, or don’t give any penalties at all. It shouldn’t matter whether you take a small advantage without being in the middle of an overtake, or whether you are not gaining any advantage whatsoever but being alongside another car. Even with Bottas’ off track excursion and overtake on Ricciardo, I felt that was getting more of an advantage than Max’ pass on Kimi. I will concede that I am Dutch so have pro-Verstappen bias.

    2. A great last minute attempt but overtaking with all 4 wheels off will be penalised! If it hadn’t been last lap Max would have had to give place back.

    3. I voted NO, way to harsh. But I would have voted Yes, correct, had there been some consistency in the penalties. Literally the entire weekend track limits were not enforced, except this one. The stewards are really becoming a joke.
      (For all the examples of other drivers that should have been penalised, see the post above, or listen to what a lot of F1 champios had to say.)

      1. If you look at it as an isolated incident then I think it’s certainly a penalty. I think it says a lot for the inconsistency of stewarding this weekend that I hadn’t even considered that there might be a penalty until there was.

        1. Agreed 100%.

      2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        23rd October 2017, 12:29

        @murph spot on

      3. I don’t think anyone else gained a position by cutting a corner though did they? Track limits or not. Completely fair.

        1. As above.. Sainz on Perez and the defending Bottas left the track but stayed ahead.

          1. @seth-space Sorry, but I have just watched the Sainz on Perez move again and didn’t see Sainz CUT a corner anywhere!

            1. He had 4 wheels outside the track and gained an advantage. That’s the rule.

          2. Sainz didnt gain anything on Perez in what you have pointed out. In fact he lost momentum.

        2. @asanator – we saw lots of drivers put four wheels off the track while defending a position, clearly gaining an advantage. We don’t get to see every tussle at every corner, but I’d bet that going too deep over the kerbs happened multiple times without any action from the stewards.
          The reason I was affronted by the decision was less to do with rule consistency and more to do with trying not to alienate a huge chunk of the viewers in a country where F1 desperately needs a stronger presence. I could troll these comments sniping at people making grammatical errors, and be technically “correct”, whilst also missing the point completely. Common sense tells me that this was a bad decision, irrespective of the exact wording of the rules.

          1. @tribaltalker I’m sorry but I don’t think that sporting/stewarding decisions like this one should give any consideration to alienating viewers and definitely not concern itself with the approval or not of the host nation.

        3. What about all the corner cutting in qualifying… How many people gained a place there?

          Limits need to be enforced around the entire circuit at all times. Drivers warned if they’re cutting excessively and punished if it continues like back in Spa at the top of the hill. They quickly paid attention and stopped doing it.

      4. This is my view, too. Taken on it’s own, this was a correct decision. In the context of the race weekend, it was way too harsh.

        The question needs to be, how can enforcement of track limits be made fair and consistent? Let’s face it, it isn’t right now, and we’ve all discussed this over and over again. Physical deterrents are discouraged because of their potential danger, and because they make the circuits less appealing to other Motorsports.

        With that in mind, I say turn the rule on it’s head. If you leave the track, you get penalised unless there is a clear natural penalty (spin, crash, lose several places etc). You don’t see refs in football or rugby saying “well, the ball went it if play, but they didn’t gain an advantage so we’ll let them play on”. The track limits are just that, and they lose all meaning of not policed*.

        I would be in favour of an immediate technical imposed penalty (5s waste gate locked open, disabling the turbo, for instance), but penalties issued by the stewards (time penalties etc) would also work.

        People will not like this idea, but think about it: these are the best drivers in the world. If they know that they will be penalised for leaving the track, the won’t leave the track (where possible). We would see real racing, within the defined to limits.

        * Seriously, of thy are going to say they won’t penalise for leaving the track at corner x, then the limits at corner x should be adjusted. What’s the point of having track limits if the stewards will just ignore them?

      5. IMNSHO the penalty was fair because there is a significant difference between running wide on the exit of a corner in general qualifying or racing conditions – and cutting the corner to overtake a rival.

        That said – I agree that the stewards are inconsistent and that all track limits should be enforced as though they were grass. For example, Bottas should have been forced to yield the place (or face a 5 second penalty) to Ricciardo when he retained a place by accelerating off track at turn 1.

    4. I understand why Verstappen and Red Bull are angry, emotions ran high and the timing of the decision was poor, but rules are rules. He shortened the track and put 4 wheels off the track passing a rival, he had to be penalised. As soon as they showed the onboard from Verstappen’s car I shouted “track limits” at the TV and I was not surprised to see the penalty applied. It was fair.

      The issue here is track design and the acres of tarmac run off, not the move Verstappen pulled. Had there been a jagged kerb and grass, rather than an inviting flat kerb and some tarmac, Verstappen would not have tried the move or if he had he would have been putting himself and Raikkonen at risk so probably would have thought better of it.

    5. I must say, it’s quit telling that none of the “Fair” voters commented and explained their reasoning.
      Also Keith, I read your reasoning, and I can’t quite understand it. Do you actually believe it is fair to penalize one driver, instead of every driver who did the same?
      The inconsistency is what makes this penalty a joke, not the reasoning behind it.

      1. @murph My argument was that Verstappen’s penalty is consistent with relevant previous examples of drivers cutting the inside of corners. If you’re going to let him off, don’t you also have to let Perez and Palmer off? If you do I think that’s where things get tricky.

        But as I also said I would far rather the circuits were designed in such a way that this doesn’t keep coming up. Mexico is next, there was a stinking row about this exact same subject there last year, hopefully they’ve learned from it.

        1. Totally agree with Kieth here, I voted fair as the incident has to be looked at in isolation and judged by the current rules. Yes it was a sad end to an exceptional race from Max but rules are rules.

        2. @keithcollantine we’d all rather see grass and gravel and I also think we all agree Verstappen passed Raikkonen off track.

          BUT why aren’t you adressing @murph‘s point on inconsistancy? If you let other drivers gain an advantage in terms of laptime (during quali and closing up to rivals during the race) or while defending (like Bottas keeping his place against VER sololy because he left the track entirely and kept his foot planted) then why all of a sudden it’s not OK when VER passes RAI. Imho the stewards can’t do that, no matter how right they are when viewing the incident in a vacuum.

          1. @jeffreyj I did address @murph‘s point, though only in one of two respects.

            You could either let them all off for going off on the inside and outside of the track (see my previous comment for that). Or you could penalise them all. The latter is closer to the situation we had last year which prompted of complaints and led to the relaxing of the rule interpretation we’ve seen this year. Would going back to that be an improvement? I think we’d just end up having far more tedious arguments about track limits. It just brings us back to the point that people want track limits being enforced by the track, not by the stewards.

            On the point about consistency, I’d be interested to know if there were any other incidents this year besides the Verstappen one and those referred to above involving Perez and Palmer where a driver passed another on the inside with all four wheels off the track but did not get a penalty. Are there any?

            1. Perez, 1st corner Singapore 2017

            2. @keithcollantine Let’s just talk about this race, shall we. ( The complete lack of consistent steward decisions throughout the season is worth another article tnh.)The entire weekend the subject off track limits was a non-issue;during qualifying as well as during the race, and then, completely out of the blue, this decision comes. Inconsistent as it can be. There is no reasonable argument for this penalty being the only one given for this type of offense during the weekend.

            3. @Murph I think if you ignore all precedent prior to last Friday you could infer all manner of ways in which the stewards are being “inconsistent” based on such a limited data set. But I don’t think it would be a valid argument.

            4. @keithcollantine It’s not about gaining an inside/outside, it’s about gaining an advantage by going off track, period.

              The inside of turn 7 was molested all weekend long for gaining laptime, as was the outside of turns 10 and 19. During the race it was done too and not just for gaining laptime but also during wheel to wheel situations. For example Bottas gaining an advantage by going outside and failing to lose a position (against RIC in T1 at the beginning and VER at T 17 towards the end).

              If you want to talk ‘precedent’ you have say that not doing anything at all about track limits all weekend (and this is hardly the only race where it’s ignored) IS setting a bad precedent. You can’t just pick and choose who/when you apply the letter of the law too.

            5. @jeffreyj Since this was written Whiting has referenced the same two previous incidents, and the distinction between cutting the inside of a corner and running wide on the outside, in his explanation for the penalty:


          2. It was all 4 wheels over therefore a penalty should be served but there are inconsistencies in this rule which need to be addressed.
            As for the BOT, VER move, there may have been consistency with this move if he had not completed the overtake at the next corner. This happened early enough in the race for the penalty to have been for BOT to give the place to VER but that change had already taken place by the time any review could have happened.

          3. Gravel might do it, but grass is not enough. Watch the Mexican 2016 cross-country race and see what little deterrence grass makes. A nice Shanghai-style gravel trap (and no nearby cranes) might have made 44 hesitate.

      2. Not all ‘off track’ moments are the same.

      3. @murph it’s incredibly simple. Max performed the act of going from behind to infront of Kimi off the track.

        This is somewhat more damning than drivers munching some extra curb to carry more speed or Bottas using the extra width to slingshot himself better against Danny Ric (although that one was very marginal)

        But the actual action of passing a car, from behind, ending up in front was done completely OFF TRACK. That’s case closed for me and I’m a great fan of Max.

        1. And might I add, not the greatest advocate of Kimi either, but to me this is just clear as day unfortunately.

          1. That is the case. He did the pass cutting the racing line and went out of the track. In defensive moves, sometimes they had no choice. If you look at the replay, you can see Kimi turning sharply to the left and opening the door when he sees what he is doing. Kimi had no fuel, an coasted to the finish line. He would have passed him anyway if he had been patient.
            Anyway, if I have been driving, I would have been penalised also….

          2. I think the most important part of this issue is the lack of investigation as Horner said. Normally if a last lap (or last 5 lap) incident occured, the information states: “further investigation after the race”. The drivers couldn’t react on the issue, where normally this occured via team radio. In this case a penalty of 5 seconds + 1 point on license was given right away. It’s really Mexico all over again and it’s a disgrace to the F1 company. The FIA is only looking at itself instead of the sport.
            The punishment for Verstappen is fair, only the extra point on license is too harsh imo. He did an illegal overtake, if we follow the rule book, and had to give the taken position back. But all in all, I think stewarts should consider last laps as first laps. It was the final opportunity and made the race really exciting.

        2. This is somewhat more damning than drivers munching some extra curb to carry more speed or Bottas using the extra width to slingshot himself better against Danny Ric (although that one was very marginal)

          That is probably more like the battle between Verstappen and Vettel at Silverstone, where Verstappen ran well off track at Stowe allowing him to keep his momentum up and battle Vettel into Club. That battle got heaps of praise from all sides and no one suggested Verstappen should get a penalty for that.

        3. Your right ofcourse but what i find hard to swallow is that Max only left the track to aviod an collision as Kimi turned in (did not saw that move) but check Nice Rosberg comment with picture.
          Max was holding his left side on the track untill that moment he reacted on Kimi turning in.

        4. >This is somewhat more damning than drivers munching some extra curb to carry more speed or Bottas using the extra
          >width to slingshot himself better against Danny Ric (although that one was very marginal)

          “Very marginal”?!?!?! Bottas was absolutely, utterly and completely OUTSIDE as well as OFFSIDE the track when he regained the lead over Ricciardo, who had fairly & squarely overtaken him just before. But I guess mr Conelly was, just by chance, wiping some dirt out of his eyes when thàt happened. Unbelievable!

      4. Michael Brown (@)
        23rd October 2017, 12:13

        I must say, it’s quit telling that none of the “Fair” voters commented and explained their reasoning.

        @murph Your comment comes 20 minutes after this article was posted, and there are only 5 comments on this article so far. You should wait before making a statement like that, which is not an argument.

        It is entirely fair to penalize Verstappen since he cut the track to gain a position. It was a correct application of the rules. Nobody else gained an advantage by cutting the track to overtake like Verstappen did, as you claim.

        I think the penalty is fair, but the bigger issue is the year after year inconsistent enforcement of track limits from the stewards. Sometimes they get really prickly about track limits, going as far as to have sensors installed in the final two turns of Austria to inform them of track extending. Here, they didn’t care one bit about the track extending throughout every single session.

        They even allowed things that Bottas did when he was battling with Ricciardo and Verstappen. In both cases, he was run wide (a legal move) but he kept racing them off the track and rejoined wheel to wheel with them. That should also be illegal. If Verstappen and Ricciardo can overtake Bottas while staying within the track, then Bottas can’t leave the track to try and keep his position.

        I imagine if Bottas managed to overtake them in this way then he would be penalized, but in both cases the Red Bulls passed him.

      5. @murph

        I must say, it’s quit telling that none of the “Fair” voters commented and explained their reasoning.

        It is a clear cut infraction of the rules, what is there to explain? Drivers have been penalized before for such overtakes. It didn’t came as a surprise to me when penalty was given, it is bitter I know, but that’s how it is.

        1. The penalty was given for “leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage”. Thus, everybody who left the track to keep momentum, for example Vettel in the first corner, Bottas, sainz, should have been awarded a penalty to. Either the rules apply to all, or they should not apply to anybody.
          And besides that; he got a penalty point. What a joke, and really unfair.

          1. @murph Okay, let’s not penalize Max for overtaking by cutting a corner. Next year let’s some F1 cars in the shape of off road cars and let the drivers cut left and right and use the track just to get some relax by the bumping roads because that’s where we are heading.

            In the article above, you have examples of the rule being applied in similar situation. You are confusing drivers going out of the track on the outside of corners without doing any overtake with the one who gained a position by cutting the corner. One other example that springs to mind is Alonso vs Kubica in Silverstone 2010, I have it in my mind because it was clear Alonso gained a position by cutting the corner and he was rightly penalized, despite his “crying” over the radio that Kubica pushed him wide.

            1. The issue is not him leaving the track, gaining an advantage and getting a penalty. The issue is that everybody exceeded track limits throughout the entire weekend, and no one else got a penalty. That’s the issue. Had there been more penalties given, none would have cared about this one.

      6. I believe the stewards have been consistent in handing out inconsistent penalties :D

        Track short-cuts have been ignored by stewards and it appears certain drivers are are being penalised more than others ….

      7. Yes, it’s quite telling that most people are sensible and don’t feel the need to vent their emotions in the comments section.

        1. @keithcollantine Since there is no consistency in the stewards decisions, there is no precedent to rely on. Basically it’s all a joke, and it seems to be of more importance who you are and what team you drive for.
          (And as far as I know, track limits are set per track, and implied throughout the weekend.)

          1. @murph except when someone passes someone off track, it’s a penalty. Doesn’t happen much but when it does, its a penalty.

            Going off track to keep your momentum or straighten up your line is the part that is inconsistent.

      8. I’m little confused, I see a lot of arguments why the “fair” was the right answer. I will give you one, but you will easily find more :)

        1) Track limits. Going over the track with all 4 wheels while doing the overtake -> penalty, or you give the position back. It is easier to understand with bigger corners but it shouldn’t be dependent on the “size” of the corner of how many meter drivers goes wide. Track limits.

        Counter-argument to “But everybody was doing it but only Max was penalized” -> Before every race the drivers are told are there certain areas where the stewards will allow going over the line. But overtaking while doing it is still wrong. With Riccardo-Bottas battle Riccardo pushed Bottas out and had 2 wheels outside when Bottas had to go all 4 wheels. In Kimi-Max battle Kimi was ahead all the time before the corner cut and kept his line, even turned left when noticed Max going all-in to the inside.

        + I think in future harsness of the track limits rules should be in balance with how much elbows drivers are allowed to use when fighting, to prevent what for example Perez used few years ago a lot, “I will push you wide so you have to give me the position”.

    6. To me there were two scenario’s:

      1. Verstappen left the track to overtake Raikkonen. That is the prime example of ‘leaving the track and gaining an advantage’. So the penalty is fair.
      2. Verstappen anticipated on a defensive move from Raikkonen and gave room to prevent a collision. Going off track to prevent a collision should not result in a penalty (see Bottas with Ricciardo and Verstappen).

      I can live with both scenarios and therefore a penalty or no penalty is evenly fair to me.

      1. 2. Verstappen anticipated on a defensive move…

        I was thinking along these lines. watched a few angles. It seemed as if Max could have braked there. He just carried too much speed and committed to the overtake. I think, Max thought Kimi would leave room on the inside (provided kimi had noticed him in his mirrors–am not sure about whether Kimi saw him). Nonetheless, there wasn’t enough room on the track and hence he was forced (by his own actions) to go outside. Had it been Daniel instead of Kimi, we would have probably heard this on the radio ” [Censored by FOM] sore loser ” !!!

      2. As he got past, he should have given the place back, even if it was due to Rai moving in whatever way he did, or Horner would have been told to instruct him to do so. Last lap and neither happened, hence penalty, but it was still a horrible end to the great race.

      3. Kimi did leave room on the inside though, there was more than a tyres width between Kimi and the inside white line.

        If Max had kept just the edge of a tyre within the track limits all would be fine I think.

        1. There was almost an car width (70%) and Max took that line then Kimi start to turn in when they almost hit Kimi start to turn back but Max jerked at that moment his car to the right as reaction.

    7. Alex McFarlane
      23rd October 2017, 11:47


      That the stewards got 9/10 things wrong, doesn’t make the one decision they actually got right, wrong.

      The inconsistency is utterly infuriating, absolutely, and the stewards have brought this negative publicity on themselves, but it doesn’t change the fact that Verstappen gained a podium position he probably wouldn’t have got if he hadn’t cut the corner. And no, it shouldn’t matter who it is and what position they’re fighting for, but that’s human fallibility for you.

      1. This. Correct decision but terrible stewarding. They got this one right and basically almost everything else wrong wirth regards to track limits.

        I think what’s more infuriating is that he might still have made it stick while still keeping two wheels inside the track.

      2. There lines the basis of most of the too harsh arguments. Not ONE addresses if it is actually a penalty, they decide if X, Y and Z don’t get penalties for A, B, C violation than this one must not. Were any of those previous at 17? Were any of those a full pass inside the corner or were they running wide on exit?

        Having not seen it yet I couldn’t answer any of those but as someone who hasn’t seen the pass I can tell you from the comments here and other sites you would swear everyone was cutting 17 to pass all day and only dear Max got a penalty for it.

      3. They didn’t get it “wrong” 9/10 times at all. The stewards announced they were not going to police track limits according to Crofty during FP1 coverage. Hence all drivers going off track and gaining an advantage during qualifying and the race (especially being able to keep position by going off track)

        To then all of a sudden decide to do police this one instance is a very strange and sketchy descission.

        1. Alex McFarlane
          23rd October 2017, 13:38

          In the absence of evidence for what was actually said by the stewards, I’m going to presume that the intention of the stewards was to err on the side of leniency for drivers pushing for lap times, not that anything and everything would be considered acceptable and especially not overtaking outside of track limits.

    8. The penalty was correct, he clearly gained an advantage by cutting the corner as he was able to carry much more speed through it.

      Also, some rather sad statements for Max afterwards, I understand his frustration and that bpm were still high, but wishing that “nobody comes next year” at COTA because he got a penalty? And he kept saying the crowd loved it, well Max guess what, F1 is *still* a sport, it doesn’t matter if the fans love it, the fans would love an offside goal as well, nobody says “lets count it, it was a great shot”.

    9. Consistent no but correct decision yes

    10. I understand hot – headed Max comments, but the penalty was right and it was fast! He could easily pass Kimster in the following turn, so…

      1. Easily?

    11. It’s the stupid design of the circuit that makes this happen. That giant red border around the track invites cars to drive into it. If there was the curb and then grass he wouldn’t have been off the track.

      Unfortunately he was off the track while he made the overtake so he had to have the time penalty. Yes I realise that everyone was running wide at 19 and 9 and I’d have liked to see them penalised there too but they weren’t making overtakes while doing it.

      1. Blastermaster
        23rd October 2017, 16:45

        Perhaps the red section on all corner exits and apexes should consist entirely of rumble strip curbs, with the track limit being the outside white line.
        Surely that would naturally deter any thought of cutting the corner.

    12. The hysterical rants of Horner and Jos are unfortunately, nonsensical. Max completed the actual pass off the track, if you do that in F1 2017 you get an instant warning to hand the place back.

      As much of a fan of Max and grandstand finishes as I am, this is a non debate imho.

      1. @offdutyrockstar
        Christian Horner is trying to use press as a tool as usual, clearly helped by commentators who are on his payroll.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        23rd October 2017, 12:16

        @offdutyrockstar The game is more consistent in applying track limits rules than real life F1. So unrealistic.

        1. @mbr-9 ooh I dunno mate, you can near enough lop off the entire final chicane in Spain and get no penalty yet I got penalty for repeatedly sticking 2 wheels on the white line in Hungary. Seems the stewarding is modelled realistically also! ;)

      3. @offdutyrockstar I’ve been in agreement with your points and others, but now I think you are being unfair and unreasonable. Calling Horner’s and Jos’s reaction ‘hysterical rants’ that are ‘nonsensical,’ is indeed hysterical and nonsensical on your part. Try putting yourself in the shoes of the lad’s father and his team principal who just re-upped him through 2020, and tell me you’d be calm, cool, and collected. Just because you think this is cut and dry, doesn’t mean that everyone sees it the same way, nor that the emotions of the two closest people to Max, in the heat of the moment, we’re ever going to anything but supportive of their man.

        1. @robbie it’s exactly because of their close relationship with Max that I think their arguments hold no water.

          I’m not saying that their reactions are particularly bad in any way, just outrageously biased, as would be expected.

          Trust me I wish Max had 2 wheels just outside the edge as well, unfortunately he had 2 wheels just inside.

          1. @offdutyrockstar Fair comment. Still don’t think their commments were ‘outrageous’ but biased of course, and you acknowledge that was to be expected.

    13. Sainz, bottas, Kimi(while defending against Max on last lap) and Vettel all had gone off the track to overtake none got penalties.

      1. None of them completed the act of passing from behind to in front of the opponent off the track though, big difference.

        1. Not really. This is a bit like running a red light. It’s not allowed and up for a fine. Not hitting anyone while doing so doesn’t make it ok and not up for a “penalty”.

          If track limits are enforced with a time penalty,it shouldn’t matter if it was during an overtake or not. Anyone doing so should get the same penalty.

          I also think it always way to harsh. Mostly as Lauda mentioned the stewards weren’t suppose to intervene unless it was dangerous. It clearly was not, so no penalty should have been awarded.

      2. None of them cut a corner to do it though did they?