Brazil: All about the incident between Verstappen and Ocon

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It was the episode that everybody discussed, also because decided the outcome of the race in Interlagos, the one between Max and Esteban: Let’s analyze it completely.

Among the various episodes that occurred during the race weekend of Formula 1 in Interlagos, there is one that we analyze separately because not only decisive in the result of this GP, but also because it involves many aspects both regulatory and ethical. Obviously we refer to the incident that took place at the beginning of the lap 44 between Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon.  We realized that he did understandably shout to the scandal, since a dubbed has actually sent the pilot at that time in command of the race, condemning him to arrive second. Indeed, it is already so that Verstappen has managed to continue the race, because the contact caused a nice leap of Red Bull and could have more consequences than the bottom damaged.

But the question requires a certain deepening from several points of view. To begin with, it seems that it was not clear to everyone how it came to that situation. Many continue to believe (it is clear from how they comment) that Ocon has not favored the dubbing of Verstappen, resisting unnecessarily with a counter attack. But it just happened the opposite. At that time Verstappen was on track with the soft tires after the stop at the end of lap 35; Instead Ocon had the supersoft just mounted at the end of lap 40. In short, not only fresh tires, but also softer.

So it happens that, returned to the track behind Max (who has passed right at the time to return), Esteban finds himself to be faster, arriving to achieve it with a momentum that can attack, and several times. In fact after the Outlap in 1 ‘ 35 “926 Esteban Ocon Marks 1 ‘ 12” 876, when Verstappen turns instead in 1 ‘ 13 “340 and 1 ‘ 13” 116. To better understand how the situation matures, when he realizes he is faster, Esteban also has time to ask his pits if it is the case to attack Max, receiving a “go-ahead”.

At this point arises a fairly decisive question in its sporting value, namely: a doubled rider has the right to split if he goes faster than the race leader ? Without going into Endurance races, where it is a more common fact than you think, even in F1 the answer can only be one: Yes, it has the right! And not only because the regulation does not prohibit it, but also because every driver has the right (which is also a duty towards his team) to run his race, regardless of what position is at stake at that time.

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Having said that, however, the right to split up also involves a minimum of “duties”, as well. One of which is that in the undubbing manoeuvre you should not go to risk to those who are in charge of ruining or losing the race… In short, in the anxiety to take a pass that would have a certain clamor and maybe relaunched his actions in search of a place in F1 for 2019 or 2020, Ocon has definitely forced the hand too much, exaggerating. And in these cases are not worth even the usual rules of engagement of the trajectory, because even if you (Esteban) are at the side with your car, the other (Max) is actually the same front… of a Ride!

In short, Ocon had the right to attack, but the fact remains that he has absolutely wrong the action, and the result has been seen. Moreover, the Commissioners have also punished him, with the heaviest penalty possible for regulation: 10 Seconds of Stop & go. This means stopping at your box for 10 seconds without being able to perform other operations on the machine, not even the tire change: In practice you lose about thirty seconds in the race, which specifically have removed the pilot French the possibility of arriving 11th  Instead of 15th.

There were those who invoked the use of the black flag in this regard, but this would have been improper. In fact the black flag does not have a punitive purpose, but preventive: it is used to prevent a pilot repeatedly guilty of impropriety can continue in his action “confusing” damaging the race of other riders. And it was not the case of Ocon, which as highlighted at the end of the race had passed several other times at that point (even Fernando Alonso, which is certainly not tender) without any problem.

At this point it is not possible to avoid another important aspect of the matter: the “collaboration” of the same Max Verstappen. Even in the guilt of Ocon, in fact, you do not understand why the Dutch rider has tightened in that way in Turn number 2. It would have been enough to stay a little wider and there would have been no contact, nor (especially) risk for the race. To justify the lightness of Verstappen, there was those who spoke of “unexpected maneuver of Ocon” if not even “Verstappen had not seen it”, which do not stand as explanations. Meanwhile Max had seen very well the arrival of Esteban incidentally, the respective maximum speed in the race on the finish line were 334.1 and 345.8 km/h so much that he moved to the left to try to cover themselves. He did not succeed altogether and the French he overcame it just before he got to the detached point, when the Dutchman delayed his returning to flank himself completely.

The two have so done turn number 1 side by side, arriving to engage turn 2 always paired, although Ocon has lost a few times because he traveled outside. So it is not correct to even talk about “Ocon’s entry” or “unexpected maneuver”, because Esteban has done nothing but continue to stay where he already was, without any further manoeuvre, less an entrance. Indeed, the only action was to raise the foot when it was realized that Max converged to close right, towards the inner curb, with the result of the wheel-wheel contact (the front left of Ocon with the right rear of Verstappen and the part just Front of the bottom) and the next spin of both, with a “jump” of the RB number 33, when maybe a side bump against the side would have been perhaps less gory.

In fact, that of Ocon was a forcing that he could and should avoid when he realized that Verstappen had no intention of yielding, but in turn Max could very well do without closing in that way knowing that right had a pilot to unlap himself. It is not a question of “being right”, because Verstappen had it: but only to be less careless and to think first of all the rest to finish the race in the head, as it was at that time. And he did not do it!

One last note: There has been a talk about blue flags given to Ocon, but it is not true. Apart from that the blue flags are given to those who are going to be passed by a faster driver (it is for this reason that normally in the race they receive the dubbed) and then eventually was getting them Verstappen, since it was him to be attacked, in fact the panels Blue on the left shown on TV and in images from this are “false”. In fact they are not those of the track (which are on the right) but those flashing pitlane, which in the race are lit to remind the riders that they must pay attention to those who arrive launched, entering the track. So nothing to do with Ocon.

Again Verstappen is victim of his own stupidity!

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