The Verstappen and Hamilton incident data

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Sunday - LAT Images

An interesting review of the incident between Lewis and Max during the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. I’ve been challenged by many on social media and our recent race review podcast about not definitively either stating or calling this a brake-testing or brake-checking incident on Max’s part.

I understand that some people feel very strongly that this incident was dangerous brake-testing by Max and other F1 pundits have claimed that it was but I have been careful not to call it that, as were the race stewards, who did not define this as brake-testing in their full FIA review and penalty summary. I don’t have access to all the data so it is difficult for me to say that Max brake-tested Lewis or even that Lewis throttled up and made an error and ran into the back of Max. I don’t work for either team so I don’t know definitively.

The folks over at The Race have done a nice job of looking at the data and while they do show the braking, they also show a throttle acceleration from Lewis and this may be why the two came together quickly. As The Race claim as well, it may be the reason this wasn’t deemed a brake-testing incident by the stewards in their penalty report.

I mentioned the Baku incident between Lewis and Sebastian on our podcast as an incident similar where Seb hit the back of Lewis’s car when he slowed during a safety car restart and for teh same data reasons, they showed he slowed but nothing was leading toward a brake-testing incident based on his previous lap etc. The data is important and I thought his was interesting as well.

Honestly, the way fans have become so tribal in nature about these issues, this may not change anyone’s mind but I found the data interesting nonetheless. you can watch the video on their channel here. 

Big hat tip to the fine folks over at The Race. 

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nice and clear… thanks.


It’s rare that an incident is the fault of just one. Both of these drivers and teams need to look at what they did wrong, otherwise they will never learn and be ripe for it to keep happening.


Didn’t you get the memo? Mercedes and the Brits follow three simple rules:
1) Hamilton is never in the wrong
2) Hamilton is never ever in the wrong
3) In case Hamilton is in the wrong, follow rule 1

Same goes for Max at RBR, but he doesn’t have the backing of the overly biased Bitish media, so most people only follow the above rules

Glen Mhor Whisky

Nothing more insulting than a sweeping generalisation. I’m a ‘Brit’ of the North, but still a ‘Brit’, but logical enough to understand that the data is there and is ultimately the source of the truth. Let’s move on and have a cuppa.

Xean Drury

Even in the case of most road ‘accidents’, fault can be put on both participants:
The first car should have stopped a the red light
The second car shouldn’t have assumed that all cars would stop at the red light

We fall complacent that everyone will always follow the rules at all times. Always consider the exceptions.

G S Brown

First time I’ve listened to that level of detail and repeatedly watched bits… didn’t appreciate the amount of needling, verbal jockeying and physical games that are going on. I guess you win some lose some…


My initial reaction was that Lewis was “confused” but as he realised what was happening he started to accelerate to pass just as Max hit the brakes – watch the closure rate from LH onboard. I don’t get why Max jumped on the brakes for 2.7g other than to make the point of “go past now”

Xean Drury

Of course. Max wanted the ‘Go past now’ and Lewis wanted the ‘No go past now’. Both had the same goal: DRS Advantage (proof that DRS is bad for the sport). ~X8