Merc withdrawal protest of Verstappen move; Lewis tweets about ‘idiot’


While I credit Lewis Hamilton’s recovery drive as a serious potential for drive of the race, there was that moment when the champ tried to make a pass on Plucky Teen Max Verstappen into the final chicane. Many argued he moved under braking which is being naughty by Formula 1 terms. He did get aggressive in the braking zone although Lewis wasn’t alongside of him so the 3-time champ avoided touching the Red Bull by bailing out and taking the escape road at the corner.

It seems that Lewis struggled with social media as much as he did his start at the Japanese Grand Prix as 90-minutes after the race, Mercedes filed a protest over Verstappen’s move. Mercedes argued that Verstappen had “erratically and in a dangerous manner” per Article 27.5 of the FIA Formula 1 sporting regulations.

The stewards convened to consider the matter but both drivers had already left the circuit and couldn’t provide details from their perspectives so they had no choice but to delay any review until the next race in Austin. That isn’t the strange part, the odd issue was Lewis Hamilton’s Tweet which said:

“There is no protest from either myself or @MercedesAMGF1. One idiot said we have but it’s not true. Max drove well, end of. We move on.”

That tweet was then deleted and replaced by this one:

“There is no protest from myself. Just heard the team had but I told them it is not what we do. We are champions, we move on. End of!”

The team then made it clear to the press that they had made the decision to withdrawal the protest saying:

“in the interests of establishing a final official result this evening once it became apparent the hearing cannot be concluded today”.

What’s even more odd is that I read that Lewis was on the plane with Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff, presumably, when he sent the tweets. Not sure how the three of them didn’t quite get their story straight.

I’m not entirely clear on who the “idiot” is in Lewis’s statement but presumably the inner workings of the F1 press know who he was referring to. One thing I did gather from this weekend’s social media fueled brow beating is that Lewis is not at all happy with certain folks in the print media. As such, it’s not going over very well when you penalize all media while trying to send a message to certain individuals. Maybe Lewis should just sit down with the folks that are making him angry and talk it out?

I remember when the worm turned for Schumacher, Vettel and Alonso in the press and it’s not an easy thing to deal with after you were the darling of the media for so long. Each driver manages it in their own way and Lewis is getting resistance about the way he is choosing to deal with it.

The block

So, back to the actual block. I tend to agree with Martin Brundle’s on-air comment about the block. I don’t think it was worthy of a penalty. That’s easy to say from a couch and if I were Lewis, I would be slightly miffed as moving under braking is not a popular thing via the FIA rules. Still, I’m not sure I see a penalty there but many have argued that it’s not allowed and now everyone will be doing it. Do we want them to race or would we like to micro-manage every lap of a race to determine the outcome?

How did you see the block? I think I know how the Dutch will see it and how #TeamLH will see it but as a member of neither mob, I think it was a racing deal. I feel sorry for the “idiot” as he’s on Lewis’s S*** List and that’s probably not a good place to be.

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David Hobbes said it well during the NBCSN broadcast – Verstappen has made a few dodgy moves in races this year to block people (more than one against Kimi in Spain, for example) and has yet to be penalized. He will continue doing it until he is penalized (which at this point, seems to be never).

Fred Talmadge

If you don’t want to deal with the press, all you have to do is be boring. Simple yes-no answers.


1. At least Verstappen is consistent. He has done these moves before and he’ll do it again as long as there is no penalty. I think they are a bit over the line and fear that at some point it will end in an all mighty crash. 2. As for Lewis’ “media strategy”: I share his point, that print media is dying (see buy of the Autosport outlet). But the way he behaved himself is far from clever. You do not burn bridges with people you have to deal with for quite some time into the future. And you do… Read more »

Bryan Beecroft

Hey, journos are journos, they’ll just end up somewhere else.

Paul KieferJr

The block wasn’t dangerous. Single move only. No penalty warranted.

Bryan Beecroft

Forza Max. In a related matter…so much whining about ‘blue flags’. STFU AND RACE.

Max Johnson

Max was one of the whiner, Lewis was the one who wasn’t whining and also was against the appeal.

Alianora La Canta

The strange part was that the drivers had already left the circuit. Drivers are required to stay, and be contactable, for an hour after the race for this exact reason. If they didn’t do that, that’s penalty-worthy in itself (albeit as a fine and non-race reprimand – i.e. it can’t count towards the three reprimands needed for a 10-place grid penalty but can generate penalty points counting towards the 12 needed for a race ban). If the investigation wasn’t announced in that hour, then there can’t be a delay on the case – the protest is invalidated and all parties… Read more »

Dave Domenicano

I thought HAM was a first class prick this weekend, he was being a real baby and the attitude to go with it. This idiot thinks he’s God…


I think he is just feeling left out because he hasn’t had a chance to drink out of Riccardo’s boot yet.

Zachary Noepe

Honesttly Lewis’ attempt there surprised me, to me the real story was he probably had the drs move lined up that lap it was the closest he’d ever been, then he tries that sh*t going into Casio and blows it. The guy seems beaten mentally.

Negative Camber

Yeah, if I’m honest, though, I would have went for it if I were Lewis. He had to try, it was the last lap.

Clayton Brown

If I’m not mistaken it was the second to last lap … or possibly even before that? I remember thinking, “Oh! Why try that?” If you leave the racing line to try an attempt and get it wrong you just fall behind so that’s why I think the timing was kind of important. Yes, I’d try it on the last lap, but on 2nd or 3rd to last lap I’d wait for a better opportunity – which is what LH should have done. From my point of view it was way to optimistic. I don’t think Max had to even… Read more »


In my opinion there are several issues that are sideways here. One is that the rules are too vague, and far too much interpretation is needed to decode the rules. There seems to be favoritism in the doling out of penalties. And the penalties are inconsistent. For example, I here TV commentators say all the time, that the drivers can only make one move in an attempt to keep an opponent from overtaking. Yes but the drivers can make more that one move. If that sounds strange, its is until you read the rule and understand it, than, for me… Read more »


You’re exactly right – the regs allow for 2 moves because they specifically mention a move back to the racing line after a prior defensive move. That’s exactly what Max did vs Kimi at Hungary, although it can be argued that his 2nd move was not even close to his normal racing line – and that it was dangerous. The way the rules are written now, a driver under attack can hang in the middle of the track watching their mirrors. As soon as the car behind commits to one side, the defender moves to block, and then moves back… Read more »

Zachary Noepe

I think he was being sarcastic


You see that is my point. There is too much leeway and interpretation in the rules. The rules also say that you can’t drive in a dangerous manner. The move that Max made on Kimi was on of the most, in my opinion , irresponsible and dangerous moves I have seen on any race track.

Ikke niet

Max left that door on purpose, he knew Lewis wouldn’t make that corner. He plays on the possibility that the pursuer is eager enough to get trapped…. that is the way champions defend..

Meine Postma

Thank you for calling all inhabitants of the Netherlands a mob.

I think your other troubles are beginning to influence your work here.


According to Bild three of the stewards didn’t see a reason to penalize VES, but one steward (Gary Connely) thought otherwise. He then went to Paddy Lowe and convinced him to lodge a protest, without Toto and lauda knowing about it. Apperently its a desperate attempt to overturn the majority vote. (the article is in german)

If this is true this guy should not be allowed to steward again. Connely is australian, maybe he doesn’t like it that Max is turning out to be a real challenge to Ricciardo.

Hans Braakhuis

Idiot? is it Gary Connelly? one of the stewards….unbelievable. Fia will have a chat with him.