F1 drivers have mixed respond to lack of severe penalty to Max Verstappen for impeding in Singapore GP after Pierre Gasly raised a query.
Red Bull’s Verstappen had three impeding cases against him after qualifying in F1 Singapore GP. He was cleared for one and reprimanded for two but it raised query among drivers, especially Alpine’s Pierre Gasly who has had gotten grid penalties previously.
He noted that he will ask the FIA about the differences which he is likely to this weekend during Japanese GP. Before the drivers briefing takes place at Suzuka, other F1 drivers were asked about the lack of severe penalty against Verstappen.
Most pinned the pitlane slowing/stopping of the Dutchman as the bigger case. The FIA reprimanded him noting that once in the fastlane, a driver cannot stop to create a gap. The stewards let him off considering how the pack eventually lined up.
But there is still confusion among F1 drivers. Some didn’t see the incident, while some are fine with how things panned out but there are handful to raise some questions around it. In fact, Lewis Hamilton had an interesting back and forth with Sergio Perez about it.
Perez: “Nothing to say on it.”
Hamilton: “Are you sure? You always have an opinion on things.”
Perez: “Not on this one. What should I say on this one? I pass it to you.”
Hamilton: “Are you allowed to park at the end of the pit lane on the way out?”
Perez: “Not wait for that long but it’s something that probably in the future we’re allowed now.”
Hamilton: “Just asking, because I didn’t know. I don’t really know what to say. I didn’t really see them. Obviously I was in the pit lane when everyone stopped and I couldn’t see what was happening up ahead. And we always push and work as closely as we can with the FIA to have consistency and there is some variation so we have to continue to work on it for sure.”
Other F1 drivers on the case –
Nico Hulkenberg: “You mean the pit lane stuff on Saturday? I mean, I’ve seen it. I know too little about it. What Pierre wasn’t happy about it? He felt it should have been penalised – or what? I don’t know everything about it. I think it’s a fine line there. I think Pierre is probably pushing for what you can do. But, I mean, they looked into it and yeah, that’s it.”
Alexander Albon: “Yeah, I think it’s quite a tricky one because I think consistency is… we push on it a lot as drivers, I think as teams as well and viewers as well, but it’s a tricky one. For example, you could take my incident with Checo, when he has a five-second penalty, it’s consistent with everything else, but is it really fair? Maybe not. So I do think there needs to be flexibility in some ways. To answer the question about Max, same as Nico, I haven’t really seen it but I do think things don’t need to be as consistent as they are right now.”
Lando Norris: “I don’t want to say too much because I’ll just create controversy. I think the blocking one on track should have been a penalty. He blocked someone: it’s not just down to the team. I know the team got the fine in the end of the day, but it should be down to the driver as well to look in his mirrors and see if someone’s… you’ve got nothing else to do the whole lap but look in your mirrors and it seems like a lot of people struggle to do that. But I think, yeah, it should just be harsher penalties for blocking people, because so many people do it, it ruins your lap, it ruins your Qualifying.
“It put Yuki out in Qualifying and he was P1 in Q1. Probably would have been P1 in Q3 if he went all the way. Just no one seems to care enough. It’s happened a lot this season, happened to me quite a few times, especially with certain teams – but it’s also down to the driver to look in the mirror, like they got nothing else to do but hit the recharge button and look in your mirror and people seem to struggle to be able to do that in Formula 1, which is a surprise. But yeah, I’ll probably block someone out this weekend and make myself look stupid.”
Yuki Tsunoda: “I don’t want to really talk about like Singapore… but in general to be honest it feels like I’m quite getting consistent penalties, to be honest. So yeah, but it is what it is. I spoke with FIA actually in Monza, so I understand what they were thinking in general.”
Esteban Ocon: “I haven’t seen the incidents I have to say. No, honestly, I was focused on myself more than on Max.”
Charles Leclerc: “Yeah, I was a bit surprised especially the one in the pit lane because that could open quite bad situations in the future. But again, as Lewis said, it’s always an open discussion with the FIA and trying to explain them what our point of view is and improve and I’m sure we’ll have that discussion tomorrow evening at the briefing.”
Valtteri Bottas: “Yeah, I also haven’t actually seen the incident so we need to have a look first to comment.”
Here’s Pierre Gasly along with Max Verstappen on the case