LeClerc defense was that he thought he had left enough room for Hamilton.
Verstappen’s defense was that he thought he left Bottas enough room.
Saying you think something was a fact when it wasn’t is not a defense. It is a reason for doing something but it does not excuse that action.
Verstappen said in 2018 that the FIA is doing a great job of killing racing and I have to agree.
Where I don’t agree is squeezing people onto the grass in a braking area. That is not racing, that is unsporting.
Racing would be giving the guy room, and running out wide on the exit to force the guy to get out of the throttle.
Running people off the road in a braking area is stupid.
LeClerc, for sure he came back to the right under braking, if there was gravel instead of tarmac in the run off area, the outcome would have been the end of the race for Hamilton.
You could argue that Hamilton should not have been there anyway, there was no way he was going to make it round the outside of LeClerc.
That maybe so but LeClerc had moved to the left, if Hamilton wants to occupy the road to the right of LeClerc he had every right to do so. Again, LeClerc would have taking the racing line out of the first left of the chicane and Hamilton would have had nowhere to go.
The difference here is that would be the racing line, the line that LeClerc would be expected to take. What is not expected is for LeClerc to move back to the right and squeeze Hamilton onto the grass in the braking area. It was unnecessary.
We must take into consideration that the two drivers are racing, adrenaline is high, emotions are high, they are in a fight.
We also have to take into consideration that Hamilton is extremely cunning and deliberately put himself in a place where he thought he might be able to get a penalty inflicted upon his opponent.
For once the FIA has a sensible ruling regarding people changing their line under braking,
Don’t change your line under braking.
Simple. For once, something sensible from the FIA. You could argue they should not have needed to come up with a ruling like this because no driver would do it but Verstappen proved the case otherwise.
LeClerc moved under braking, ergo a penalty.
But what penalty to give?
Drive throughs and stop gos are draconian and spoil the race, especially if one of the drivers getting penalised is fighting for the lead.
A five second time penalty is easily the most stupid penalty in the world of organised sports. The guy has a penalty but he can still fight with people who are five seconds up the road from him according the official scoring. The guy has a penalty but he can still destroy of the race of the driver that he wronged.
What the F1 needs is a joker section of track, a section of track where the driver must drive through, a section of track which adds a second to his lap time.
For minor infringements, this would be perfect. For bigger infringements, say a situation where you want to give a driver a five second penalty, let him or her drive through that section of track on five consecutive laps.
Where could you put the extra joker section?
In the case of Monza, it is easy, the joker section already exists, it’s the end of pit straight, the section Hamilton drove through when he missed his braking point chasing LeClerc.
On other circuits, lets be honest, there is so much paved runoff on a modern F1 circuit, a joker section would be too easy to implement.
And because the penalties are served immediately and because they are small, more penalties could be issued whereas now, they can’t because a small enough penalty does not exist so things have to be ignored.
So that is my opinion of the LeClerc’s squeezing of Hamilton.
Yes he should have been penalised but as things stand at the moment the FIA does not have an appropriate sized penalty in their rule book. A five second time penalty would have been an utter disaster for F1.
You would have had Hamilton hounding LeClerc for the final laps with LeClerc coming across the finish line in the lead. But the fans are told LeClerc finished third.
A PR disaster. You could hear the booing in Maranello.
A drive through penalty would have been too much. the FIA knows this hence Verstappen’s five second penalty last year.
Yes LeClerc should have been penalised but because the FIA does not have an appropriate penalty, the Black and White flag was the next best thing they could do. Given the alternatives.
Bring on the joker section!