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Column Max: You don’t get presents in Formula 1

Max Verstappen almost weekly causes commotion in the world of Formula 1. With his daring style, he constantly pushes the boundaries of his car, of himself and of the regulations. Not everyone handles that well, least of all the FIA:

“In the Japanese Grand Prix I was in second place when Lewis Hamilton tried to overtake me in the second-to-last round. I defended well, and he wasn’t able to pass. Many drivers had a problem with the way I defended, the moving under braking. Apparently not everyone likes a sporting challenge.

There was a request to adjust the rules, with which the FIA complied. As a result, since that race, the regulations clearly state that it’s no longer allowed to deviate from your line in the braking zone. Even though other drivers also did this regularly, its popular name is the ‘Verstappen rule’.

The problem with these kind of rules is that they complicate the sport. For the viewer, but for the stewards themselves, too. This became apparent during the Mexican Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton cut a corner in round 1 and did not get a penalty. That’s fine, but when I did the same thing during my duel with Sebastian Vettel, I got a five-second time penalty that cost me my third place.

That is a ridiculous situation. Lewis and I both miss our braking point, in the exact same turn. I had just as little advantage as he did, because I entered the corner first, and left first as well. The fact that I get penalised but Lewis doesn’t, indicates that there are double standards.

It was also unpleasant for Sebastian, because he was apparently expecting me to let him pass me. But I wasn’t going to. I don’t give presents. In his frustration, Sebastian threw the door shut for Daniel Ricciardo by doing exactly what is now forbidden by the Verstappen rule.

Of course it feels like justice that Sebastian was eventually penalised for his actions. But it is strange that this was only looked at later, meaning Daniel didn’t get to enjoy his moment on the podium. The most important thing is that we fortified our position in the constructors’ rankings, and Daniel is certain of a third place in the driver’s rankings.

The current season only has two more races. I think the winter should be used to have a good look at the rules and create more clarity. Because of course rules are necessary and I’ll always respect them, but it’s only honest if they are applied in the same way to everyone.”




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