Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017

Verstappen denies he ‘gained an advantage’ in disputed Raikkonen pass

2017 United States Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen disagrees with the stewards’ view that he gained a “lasting advantage” in his off-track last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Austin.

The Red Bull driver said he has not changed his mind about the penalty which cost him a podium finish in Sunday’s race.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2017
Poll: Did Verstappen deserve a penalty?
“The punishment was not correct because everybody was running off the track in turn 19, eight and nine, even in turn six when you were behind someone you were cutting the inside, a lot of cars were doing it,” he said.

“I think also the fans like it a lot, it was a great move. And then they tell you you are gaining an advantage while overtaking someone.”

“Well, if I was really gaining an advantage I would do it every single lap. Which you are not. So I don’t think it’s gaining an advantage.”

Verstappen said the initial reason he went off-track was “to avoid an accident” with Raikkonen.

“I think at one point he realised I was trying to overtake him and he tried to close the door,” Verstappen explained. “So you have to avoid it a bit.”

“And then of course the Austin track gives a lot of possibility to run on the inside, like you could see the whole weekend.”

Verstappen defended his response to the incident, in which he described one steward as an “idiot”.

“I think it’s quite normal that a get angry,” he said. “Of course I could’ve used a few different words but at the end of the day I think the decision is not correct.”

However Verstappen refused to be drawn on which of the four stewards last weekend he was referring to. “I don’t want to name any names,” he said.

2017 United States Grand Prix

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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...

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  • 141 comments on “Verstappen denies he ‘gained an advantage’ in disputed Raikkonen pass”

    1. Reducing the distance of the track is definitely gaining an advantage.

      Whether other people were gaining the same advantage (or a different advantage on other corners) is another matter. However it would make sense (and be a lot easier for the stewards) for the rules to be applied consistently.

      1. No, a shorter line does not necessarily mean a quicker lap time.

        Look at how Vettel almost “ran into the back of Hamilton” after the pit stop even though Hamilton had a much shorter line.

        1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
          26th October 2017, 23:11

          The difference being Hamilton was on new tires that weren’t “switched on” yet, and Vettel was.

        2. @patrickl

          A shorter line does not necessarily mean a quicker lap time.

          Indeed it does not, that’s why some other drivers were not penalised for running off the track at times. But the issue is that in this particular case Max did gain an advantage.

          Well, if I was really gaining an advantage I would do it every single lap. Which you are not. So I don’t think it’s gaining an advantage.

          That’s some twisted logic.
          You don’t do it every single lap, because you don’t gain advantage by doing it every single lap. That’s precisely why this is not punishable offense. But overtaking is a different beast. If the driver ahead of you is keeping his line and you cut across the corner you obviously do gain an advantage, as this is something you cannot do within the track limits. Your opponent has to drive defensively, as he is anticipating some kind of move, but he’s anticipating a legal move. Cutting across the corner is not something he should be worried about, and when you do it, you benefit from it.
          The move wouldn’t stick otherwise.

          1. This is a great explanation, it is one of the best comments I have seen in some time.Thank you MaroonJack

          2. he is the one
            27th October 2017, 11:27

            Did Kimmi hold his line??, i think not!! Because of that, Max tried to avoid contact, he moved more to the right.
            Yes Max cut the corner no agrument about that, but the reason why had also to do with Kimmi who was caught by suprise. Why so many people also disagree with the punishment of Max; if you watching a race, packed with action and a driver like Max, who shows his racecraft through out the race and gives every race fan in the world such a fantastic overtake, it’s hard to swallow it was taking away from him. There are rules when you disagree and there is justice. Not Ferrari, Not the race fan, nobody had complaint when the result had stuck. Even Max haters have to agree; F1 finally got a racer again who spice things up, people talking about F1 again, stands in Europe enjoy the rice of tickets sales and F1 Fanatic receive more clicks on there articles with Verstappen.

      2. Here’s the thing. Determining whether Max gained an advantage IN THIS ONE MOVE is admitting bias against him. For the sake of argument, let’s say Kimi cut corners 100 times during the race at different places on track, but never while overtaking someone. At the same time, Max cut one corner while overtaking for podium on the last lap. Who do you punish? Who gained most lasting advantage? How do you determine that? Should you add up all 100 corners Kimi cut, get the average time for driving without cut corners, see what advantage was there if any, and then compare it to the advantage Max got in his overtake?

        Ignoring all other infringements and singling out one overtake is simply wrong. It emphasizes immediate reaction against objectivity in a sport where we count thousands of a second. The fact that Charlie Whiting supports this view is worrisome. We simply don’t know how much advantage each driver got during the race while cutting corners, to properly determine whether Max got the most lasting and worst advantage of all to deserve a punishment. Quite simply it was the most visible in terms of impact – that’s the ONLY reason he got punished.

        You either punish all, not punish anyone, or publish open data showing everyone how the severity of an incident is objectively calculated, to determine that it is the single offense warranting a punishment.

        1. Bravo! Very well said.

        2. Let’s say Kimi cut corners 100 times during the race at different places on track, but never while overtaking someone. At the same time, Max cut one corner while overtaking for podium on the last lap. Who do you punish?


          And here is why. Paraphrasing his own words: “If you’re really gaining an advantage you would do it every single lap. Which you are not”. So by Max’s own admission in this hypothetical situation Kimi did not gain an advantage. Staying on track or leaving it: no difference, no penalty.

          Is there a difference during overtaking? Hell yes. If you can’t make the move stick on the track and you can make it stick by cutting corner there is a difference, there is a benefit, hence: penalty.

          It’s really very simple.

          1. Very simple indeed. The only thing twisted is your interpretation.
            Max would have made the pass without cutting the corner.
            He only cut it to avoid Kimi, which was not necessary after all as Kimi held back when he saw Max was already aside.
            He would have made the pass anyway.

            1. Max would have made the pass without cutting the corner.

              Then he should have done that perhaps.

        3. @zimkazimka By far the best view of this whole issue. I agree 100%.

        4. Dominique Hayon
          27th October 2017, 11:56

          I think Max also cut corners

        5. From the F4 timing sheet at COTA:

          * PENALTIES
          Cars 7, 07 & 61 – Fastest lap time invalidated – Exceeding Track Limits
          Cars 5 & 8 – Fastest 2 lap times invalidated – Exceeding Track Limits
          Car 40 – Fastest 3 lap times invalidated – Exceeding Track Limits
          Car 9 – Fastest 4 lap times invalidated – Exceeding Track Limits

          Corner cutting was penalised the moment an advantage was gained. The FIA has the means (timing system) to quickly establish if a cut corner gained an advantage. Since no laps in F1 were invalidated, you can conclude there was no time advantage in the corner cuts. So all the other infringements were accounted for and Verstappen was not singled out.

    2. Well,by insisting that he didnt gain an advantage,he ruins the great race he did in COTA…The whole incident was pretty easy to judge,he cut the inside of corner 17 & overtook Raikkonen.Most drivers were track extending,but no other driver overtook someone by corner cutting so i dont know what he wants to achieve.The way Verstappen handles situations is a bit strange & this might be an issue if & when he fights for the WDC…

      1. How he handles situations is exactly how Red Bull does it, by never accepting that they were wrong, remember Australia 2014?

      2. What he meant is that it isn’t the fastests way to take that specific corner. Everyone stayed away from that apex taking that corner! The shortest route is not always the fastest…

        1. No but it’s the only way to get past KR’s Ferrari on that corner at that time and that’s the advantage he gained.

          He knows it and has known it since he first sat in a kart. Cutting a corner particularly to get past someone in your way is an advantage. Full stop.

          For goodness sake, you run a great race, you are now looking like a spoilt entitled insulting brat.

          This is not the boys first rodeo – grow up.

          Others have lost entire races and nearly championships for infringing rules that did not even exist until months later without uttering a single word of this ilk.

          1. You seem to forget he did not cut the corner on purpose. He did it to avoid contact as the onboard supports. He was in a passing manouvre and had no other options. He did not cut the corner to pass Kimi, he did it to avoid contact.

            1. Michael Brown (@)
              27th October 2017, 1:02

              He did it to avoid Raikkonen, and then used that avoiding action to overtake Raikkonen.

            2. The move that Kimi made is called “defending a position”, it’s making it slightly more difficult for the following driver to overtake. Because they are racing, you know. Max had two options: overtake Kimi on track or yield. A racing prodigy like the Magic Flying Dutchman, a golden boy, a World Champion in waiting shouldn’t have problem with that.

              If he coulda-woulda overtake on track, then he shoulda.

              But he didn’t and we don’t play that game.

              Overtaking by cutting corners is not allowed. Period. How can anyone call himself a racing fan and justify it? If you can make the move stick, make it stick. If you leave the track, you give the position back or suffer a penalty. It’s a clear-cut case.

          2. The point is that Kimi moved in -changed his line I mean – while Max was already beside him.
            Without that Max would not have clipped the corner.
            The rules specifically allow for avoiding dangerous situations.

        2. Maybe on a clear run it wouldn’t have been the fastest way, but it guaranteed track position for him immediately that he possibly couldn’t have gained over Raikkonen later. Which was an advantage. That’s why it’s a clear-cut penalty.

          1. He had the speed to make it past Kimi anyway, also – even better – on tarmac.

        3. Who care if it’s the fastest way as long as you grain a position?
          Point are given based on position the last time i checked.

      3. On the contrary. Winners don’t take prisoners. It is a testimony to his drive to win, which will lead to.. well Wins.. All greats have been disputed and hated. I would say he is well on schedule

    3. I pass like that in video games all the time, sooooo…. yeah. No real point here. I just wanted to be included. :)

      1. He has been playing too much f1 2017 on standard corner cutting.

        1. You’re kidding! Surely it’s Dick Dastardly and Whacky Racers.

        2. @krichelle That would be illegal on F1 2017.

      2. Lol. Australia, Russia, Canada, Silverstone, Monza, COTA, Mexico, Abu Dhabi. All tracks, you can easily corner cut..

    4. Get a grip, Max

    5. He completed the corner ahead of Raikkonen. Clearly an advantage.

      1. Yep, a better driver than Kimi Clearly an advantage.

    6. Enough already Junior your beginning to sound like 🤡Herman Marco🤡

    7. Max clearly has been promoted to the big boys league way to quick. He still hasn’t learned that there are rules, rules that have been there since the beginning of racing. Like racing happens between the white lines.

      1. He is much better than most “big boys”

        1. In not getting to the finishing line yeah.
          He is a good race driver, but still has much to learn. And needs to start to prove him self to before he gets rated at the level of the Big Boys.

          1. Really? I feel those big boys have been given a few masterclasses lately. He is not in their league, you are right about that

      2. To soon?! Judging on the way he drives we could have been enjoying him 2 years earlier

    8. “I think at one point he realised I was trying to overtake him and he tried to close the door,” Verstappen explained. “So you have to avoid it a bit.”

      Why you avoided on the right instead on the left?

      “And then of course the Austin track gives a lot of possibility to run on the inside, like you could see the whole weekend.”

      That’s a real problem, not only in Austin, that needs to be addressed imho.

      1. @caci99 Because the car you where avoiding was on the left?

    9. “I also think the fans like it a lot”
      So what! Are he fans now writing the sporting regs?

      Max needs to grow up and shut up.

      1. Rick, this is part of the campaign that Red Bull want to wage – trying to exploit the hard core of Max’s fan base and to use the media to pressurise the FIA into making changes that benefit them.

        1. Red Bull are experts whiners.

      2. Yeah, I did like it. When he got the 5 second penalty!

    10. I know you’d love to have some Ferrari parts in your car but colliding with a Ferrari is not the way to achieve it. As you didn’t hit Kimi and your car was not spread in pieces across the Texan tarmac, I’d say yes you did gain a lasting advantage.

    11. Someone from the FIA need to put this spoiled brat back in his place, asap.

      1. 3 points for gaining an advantage + 3 points for calling out officials
        and jos should be banned of fia events till the end of the year

        1. Then take out Vettel forever while you are at it

          1. +1!
            Had Vettel been given a ban for Mexico 2016 then Max should worry, maybe. But they let it pass.
            Has to be said that Vettel was quick to apologize.

            Baku is another story. He hit Lewis on purpose and was slow to apologize; only days after did he really come clean.
            Then the Singapore sandwich – no apology.
            Then Malaysia, overtaking and turning in on Stroll on the outlap – and blaming him to boot.

            And he is not the only one. This is becoming structural in F1.
            But apparently it is only wrong when Max is involved…

      2. As he has been hyped as the new Senna, the FIA has let him get away with way lots of stuff.
        He probably get’s away with bringing the sport in discredit.

        1. Its Hamilton thats being hyped as the new Senna

          1. More or less, all 3 were great in the wet, all 3 are great in qualifying, all 3 are reckless, though hamilton is being a bit more careful this year, see malaysia, all 3 are hard to overtake, they have many similarities.

            All 3 were hated by a large fanbase for example, I like both hamilton and verstappen but they also have a lot of haters, and senna did especially before dying.

          2. He hyped himself wearing Senna racing gear

    12. Some times Max’s immaturity shows and this is one of them. But I have to say I’m surprised RB don’t have someone who will sit Max down, inform him that he will be asked about the last race and then give him the things he will say in response.

      1. Yeah, lets mute those athletes

      2. You really want more PR puppys ?
        No please!

      3. Pretty sure RB do the opposite.

    13. I don’t think he should get penalized for the “idiot” comments post race simply because they did not penalize Vettel when he said what he did last year. And for the record I am a Ferrari fan. The FIA should hire a permanent set of stewards that do all the races. They can afford it. That would help with consistency. I would also like a zero tolerance on track limits at all times. If a driver crosses the white line when not passing, (driving alone) how is that any less of an advantage than what Max did? I miss the days when going off track caused a big loss whether it was sliding in the grass or getting stuck in a gravel trap.I know safety is very important, but there has to be a better way.

    14. Some people do miss the point here.
      The rule is about leaving the track and gaining an advantage,- not cutting a corner inside or outside, or gaining a position.- All drivers did leave the track last time out in search of laptime, only one was punished. If Max was wrong, everybody was wrong. See Fia rule book 27.3 I understand that this feels unfair.

      1. Gaining a position is kind of advantageous in an F1 race, don’t you think?

        1. So is maintaining your position, which you would have lost otherwise, don’t you think?

    15. petebaldwin (@)
      26th October 2017, 19:47

      It’s depends who’s definition of “advantage” you are using. If it’s Charlie’s warped view, you gained an advantage because you gained a place rather and not just time.

      1. Because points are awarded according to the place you finished, not the time in which you finished.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          27th October 2017, 11:12

          Absolutely. And if you are 5 seconds behind someone but keep cutting the track to gain a second a time, you’ll catch up. If you then make the overtake legally, you’ve not gained an advantage?

      2. There is a clear advantage between being in third place compared to fourth… ;)

        1. @ferrox-glideh)
          There is a clear advantage yes but he didnt get that advantage by goin off track.

          1. @rethla Um…yes he did? If he hadn’t gone off track, he would have been fourth. Enough said.

          2. @rethla Actually, Max went well off of the track to make the pass, thereby gaining the advantage of a higher position. He should have immediately given back the place and tried to pass again legally. He didn’t do this, so the penalty is justified, and has plenty of precedents.

        2. petebaldwin (@)
          27th October 2017, 11:17

          @ferrox-glideh – There is a clear advantage between 3rd and 4th.
          There is also a clear advantage in cutting 10m off of the track length every lap.
          There is a clear advantage in having not having a flat-spot because you didn’t try and stay on the track.
          There is a clear advantage in knowing you can really throw your car into the corner and that if it goes wrong, you won’t lose any time.
          There is a clear advantage in taking a wider line to protect your tyres.

          I thought Verstappen should have been penalised at the time and once I saw the replay, it was even more clear. 100% a penalty. I saw another 5 or 6 incidents that where drivers left the track and gained a lasting advantage but there wasn’t even an investigation.

          1. I guess the stewards felt that Max gained a “clearly quantifiable” advantage, while they couldn’t measure the advantage as precisely with cars running wide at turn 19, for example. I favor the idea of huge curbs at such areas.

    16. When a stewards receives death threats for doing their job, it is for Max to come out and condemn those actions, he did not. He however maintained that he was right and as such, will fuel the few idiots amongst his fan base to do the same in the future.

      Monaco 2011, Hamilton had to come out and offer an apology for his comments, Max referred to an appointed official as an ‘idiot’ and in the Dutch press as ‘mongol’, but yet shows no sign of remorse.

      That’s exactly the Red Bull way

      1. He’ll learn. Once he starts winning consistently, there will be a higher level of expectation on him. He’s got a fantastic fan base but needs to understand that with great power comes responsibility. Apparently, one of the stewards, Mika Salo, received death threats. That’s not on – both his father and Ver should have roundly condemned that.

    17. Of course, if it was even one lap earlier, Max would have been told to hand the place back and that would be the end of it – as it stands, he did gain a ‘lasting advantage’ because the race finished before he could.

      I remember a couple of years ago the same issue befell a driver who passed another under circumstances that forced him to hand the place back, but the driver he passed had pitted, preventing him doing the move on the track, thus a penalty was awarded.

      1. I remember Hamilton overtaking Raikkonen by cutting a corner, giving the place back, then overtaking again…. and still being penalised!

      2. @optimaximal I remember Alonso overtaking Kubica illegally in the 2010 British Grand Prix. He didn’t give that place back immediately and soon afterwards Kubica retired, so he got a penalty. To make matters worse, he had to take the penalty right after a caution.
        In the 2011 Australian Grand Prix Button passed Massa by cutting a corner. He tried to give back that place, but at the same time Massa let Alonso past, so Button would have to give up two places. Instead, he decided to take a drive-through penalty.

    18. He’s a racing driver….of course he’s right and the other guy’s wrong. But for serious, just make the tracks so that they naturally penalize drivers for going off limits, end of.

      1. @maciek How can that be “end of” when it doesnt chance a thing about the current situation and its likely to never be implented?

        1. @rethla ummmm you know as in end of my point, since back when circuits naturally penalized drivers track limits weren’t an issue, so…

    19. Hello? Doesn’t any successful pass result in gaining an advantage? Gaining an advantage is what racing is all about… from suspension setups, tire choices, etc, etc.
      When it is done illegally or unfairly, as the case with Max’s pass, it is illegal and penalties are imposed.

      1. @mtlracer
        Thats flawed logic. If everything they do on the track is gaining an advantage then everyone who goes of the track should get penalised.

        Would he have made that overtake without going offtrack then clearly he didnt gain any advantage from going offtrack. The rules is just blindly looking at him going offtrack in the context of making an overtake and then defending it by “he gained an advantage” which is just utter nonsense.

    20. Verstappen has always been like that, amazing talent but embarrassing attitude.

      1. Killer instinct indeed. Nothing like the neat and always cirrect Senna, Schumacher, Vettel,…

    21. GtisBetter (@)
      26th October 2017, 20:25

      No point denying. We have it on tape!

    22. Undeniably quick, but it remains to be seen if this guy has the temperament, judgement and maturity to win a contested season-long championship.

      1. He looks like senna, who won 3 championships with that all or nothing attitude, so why not!

        1. Senna racing ethics would not be tolerated today.

          Before someone comes up with how they should, take a little look at some of his races, his utter disrespect for an other competitors life and then consider the ultimate and tragic end to the story.

    23. “I think at one point he realised I was trying to overtake him and he tried to close the door,” Verstappen explained. “So you have to avoid it a bit.”

      I’ll have to remember that next time I encounter a closed door. Just get a sledgehammer out and make myself a new one to use instead.

    24. Well to be fair he didn’t gain a lasting advantage, before the pass he was 4th and after the penalty he was 4th.

    25. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      26th October 2017, 21:37

      I’ll admit, I’m only referring to the headline, but how can he think that?

      He cut the inside of a corner off (therefore shortening the distance covered) and used that to help him complete the overtake. How was that no advantage?? The big deal him and others are making about one of the smallest of penalties is just stupid. Whoever is in charge is the one who can decide weather anything was worthy of a penalty or not. And as Verstappen got one for what he did in that area at that moment in time and others didn’t get any sort of penalty, then Verstappen is in the wrong and he should accept it. Rather than claiming everybody was basically doing the same. If they were doing something wrong according to the stewards, they will have been punished also….

      Stewards have to do their jobs. It will be hard work but they have to make decisions. People should respect this even if they disagree. If Verstappen is rude enough to call this steward an idiot, then shouldn’t Horner have called his driver an idiot for causing his team mates retirement in Hungary? I don’t think so. But that was much more serious problem than receiving a 5 second penalty for breaking the rules. So he should just get over it.

    26. Well, well. A lot of “haters” do jump at the opportunity i see.

      Come on guys.. it’s racing in its purest form wit a racer that’s not always political correct. I like it.
      It’s no PR puppy like some other top drivers and he has a opinion. Good for him ( and us)

    27. He surely does not understand what “gaining an advantage” means.
      he should just shut up this time.

    28. The only driver punished for the entirety of the race week for track limits was Verstappen and as he rightly says, just about every other driver was leaving the circuit (and gaining an advantage) on just about all of the corners… if other drivers had been punished for exceeding track limits (in this race) then fair enough, but, they weren’t.

      Gaining an advantage does not necessarily mean an overtake happened, but, merely holding a gap whilst exceeding track limits allows for an advantage. In this instance, regardless of the outcomes from previous races, the stewards are very much in the wrong as other drivers should also have been punished.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        27th October 2017, 1:10

        @maddme In the drivers’ briefing, the drivers were told which corners they could run wide on. That doesn’t excuse drivers who left the track to overtake, in my view, however.

    29. I still cannot believe how a person like Charlie Whiting said after the race to justify the decision of the steward, how can a guy like this be the Race Director of F1, the pinnacle of motorsport.

      “Max cut the track so he deserved to be punished , meanwhile all other drivers were exceeding the track limits so technically they were taking the longer route, hence slower” – Charlie Whiting 2017 COTA,

      wow Charlie , your understanding of racing is superb ! Have you considered getting yourself an award ?

      1. I was worried about that one as well. You really express not knowing anything about racing when you say that exceeding track limits on the outside of a corner is slower. Wow, just wow.. Corner exiting speed is clearly not something to taken into account by Charlie. Does he think Vettel would make his first corner pass stick hadn’t he gone of track? What a racing director. Shocking and am sure Liberty is investigating when to get rid of Charlie

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        27th October 2017, 11:30

        @redbullf1 – It’s scary isn’t it that we have people involved very high up in the sport who have such a limited understanding of racing but it does answer a lot of questions about the problems F1 is currently facing.

    30. As fast and arrogant as he is on the track,he seems to be lacking in other departments. This is really disappointing…

      1. Maybe you should read the entire interview.. it’s on

        Nothing wrong with a honest person …

        1. I did and nothing about that interview does him any favours at all.

          The petulance he is showing is ruining his reputation which is a shame.

          1. Yeah, I hate winner mentality too. Wish we had more Felipe Massas in the sport

          2. Petulance didn’t do Schumacher and Hamilton any harm.

            1. petebaldwin (@)
              27th October 2017, 11:34

              I see your Schumacher and Hamilton and I’ll raise you a Vettel and Kimi. :D Or Alonso?

              It would be a much shorter list to adjust the question slightly. Can someone please name me a driver who is one of the worlds best from their era who wouldn’t fit on this list?

    31. Verstappen is a good driver and will probably get better, possibly champion. But he is immature and obviously getting very poor advise. He needs to move on stop worrying about what other drivers are doing and just concentrate on developing his skills.