Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Verstappen told the US fans to stay home next the USGP promoter loses their shirt and the USGP dies
    Verstappen told the US fans to stay home next year… the USGP promoter loses their shirt and the USGP dies. He will pay a fine for that and other things he said.

    Verstappen in trouble for calling steward 'idiot'

  • Sainz Jr. made Kvyat look 'not good enough' – Montoya
  • Vettel defends Arrivabene amid ax rumors
  • Bottas says he's learning from recent setbacks
  • Wehrlein unimpressed at Magnussen move
  • Raikkonen 'surprised' by Verstappen attempt
  • Wolff: Mercedes to keep foot on Ferrari's throat

Verstappen in trouble for calling steward 'idiot'
(GMM) Max Verstappen could be in trouble for insulting an FIA steward.

A controversy erupted when the Dutchman was penalized for his exciting last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen for the Austin podium.

The Red Bull driver's father Jos was particularly furious, declaring on Twitter that the FIA should stand for 'Ferrari International Assistance'.

But Max himself also let his fury rip.

"I feel robbed," Sport Bild quotes him as saying.

Verstappen, 20, accused one steward in particular – believed to be Australian Garry Connelly – of always penalizing him for overtakes.

"He's an idiot who always decides against me," he said.

"I hope the fans don't like the decision and don't come back next year," Verstappen said before leaving Austin.

Now, British and German media sources report that the FIA could look into whether Verstappen's criticism of the steward brings the sport into disrepute.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner doesn't think so.

"If Lewis Hamilton is allowed to criticize the US president, then a frustrated driver is allowed to express his opinion," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

As for Verstappen's actual overtake, expert opinions are mixed. Some say it was clearly illegal, others think officialdom should butt out, and many argue that tracks should be modified so that breaching 'track limits' is not possible.

And some pundits say the real problem is that only certain breaches of 'track limits' are penalized.

F1 race director Charlie Whiting defended the Austin stewards' decision.

"In all other cases where the drivers left the circuit, they went a longer distance. Max on the other hand cut the corner with all four wheels," he said (and went a shorter distance, not longer).

Sainz Jr. made Kvyat look 'not good enough' – Montoya

Sainz Jr. buried Hulkenberg on his Renault debut
Sainz Jr. also buried Hulkenberg on his Renault debut

(GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr. received widespread praise for his impressive Renault debut in Austin.

As he switched from Toro Rosso to start his new works Renault adventure early, the Spaniard outperformed his experienced teammate Nico Hulkenberg in the US.

"His first weekend with Renault was almost perfect. Fast and aggressive," said the French sports daily L'Equipe.

Also impressed was former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya, who was in the Austin paddock as a guest.

"I was really impressed with what he did," the Colombian told Spain's AS newspaper.

"It is not easy to get into a new car, not make mistakes and be competitive," Montoya added.

"Clearly Sainz Jr. is now among the best."

Renault's bosses were also happy with the 23-year-old's performance.

"Carlos was extremely motivated and very prepared, and he was aggressive but also very intelligent," team boss Cyril Abiteboul said.

However, Montoya thinks Sainz's performance might actually have contributed to the demise of his former teammate Daniil Kvyat.

Kvyat has again been dropped from Toro Rosso's lineup after Austin, even though the Russian performed well last weekend alongside new team recruit Brendon Hartley.

Montoya said: "I think it's sometimes not fair for the drivers in the Red Bull program.

"Carlos beat Kvyat and it was said that maybe the Russian is not good enough. Perhaps what happened is that Sainz did a great job, not just at Toro Rosso but now at Renault, a works team.

"For Carlos it's very good," Montoya added, "because at Red Bull there are drivers that are sometimes wasted. But Sainz has managed to continue in F1 and with a great team."

Vettel defends Arrivabene amid ax rumors

Vettel defends the man who writes his paycheck
Vettel defends the man who writes his paycheck

(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has backed Ferrari's reportedly endangered team boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

After Vettel's title campaign collapsed amid a car reliability crisis, rumors emerged that team president Sergio Marchionne was eyeing technical boss Mattia Binotto to replace Arrivabene.

But Marchionne said in Austin: "We created continuity with the renewal of Kimi and Seb, and for now I don't want to say anything else except that continuity is essential."

Vettel, meanwhile, is emphatic about the good job Arrivabene is doing.

"In the past, Maurizio was often criticized," the German is quoted by Auto Bild.

"But he does a good job and has become a real leader."

And when president Marchionne was asked specifically about whether Arrivabene carries the can for Ferrari's technical problems, he is quoted by Turun Sanomat: "No, no.

"Both Mattia and Maurizio were involved in the process. To assign guilt would be pretty idiotic. Technically as CEO I am also involved," Marchionne is quoted by the Finnish newspaper.

Ferrari's ultra-successful former technical boss Ross Brawn urged the Maranello outfit to buck the storm of its late-season title collapse.

"The team is under unnecessary pressure," Speed Week quotes the F1 sporting director as saying. "They should now be calm and focus on the end of the world championship."

Marchionne agrees: "The important thing is that the problems are solved and that we win. It is never about one person.

"The three Asian races were the sum of unlucky events, and the likelihood of a recurrence is low.

"We have made one change to the organization by bringing in an experienced expert to strengthen the quality side of things. This team knows how to win," he insisted.

Bottas says he's learning from recent setbacks

As Aldo Costa developed the Mercedes to make it faster and defeat Ferrari Valtteri Bottas could not adapt his driving style to work. He was 34 seconds behind Hamilton in Austin
As Aldo Costa developed the Mercedes to make it faster and defeat Ferrari, Valtteri Bottas could not adapt his driving style to work with the car. He was 34 seconds behind Hamilton in Austin

Valtteri Bottas insists that he is still making progress with Mercedes, and regards his recent difficult string of races as an opportunity to learn.

Bottas, having joined Mercedes from Williams, emerged as a front-runner during the opening half of the campaign, and thrust himself into title contention via victories in Russia and Austria.

However, Bottas has not finished on the podium in the past three events, and slipping to fifth during the closing stages in the United States means he is now out of running for the championship.

Despite the recent challenges, Bottas insists that he is still developing both as a driver and with Mercedes.

"I feel that there's definitely progress," he said.

"From every struggle I've had I will always learn something. I think this weekend… the qualifying performance was not maybe ideal, but I think in general this weekend, looking at the race pace etc, was a step forward.

"In the high-speed [corners] the car was feeling very good, very stable, on both of the stints the balance was very good in the high-speed.

"But in slow-speed [corners] I really struggled, especially the second stint, with the rear-end, with the same issues that I've been struggling… a bit of overheating issues.

"The set-up is still not as I want. We can change the set-up of the car to be better balanced and nicer to drive but then it's slower, so we need to make a compromise – that's something I've found more difficult this year."

Bottas nonetheless added that it was "special" to be part of Mercedes as it clinched its fourth straight Constructors' crown.

"With the team celebrating, it starts to feel real that I've also been part of the team getting the Constructors' [title], so it's a good feeling, and it's special as the first one, being part of that," he said.

"But still we need to have a look at everything from this weekend."

Wehrlein unimpressed at Magnussen move

All the other drivers complain about Magnussen - one of the American Haas team's non-American drivers
All the other drivers complain about Magnussen – one of the American Haas team's non-American drivers. Team manager Steiner hates Americans so instead runs two wankers who can't get out of their own way

Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein believes it was "quite an effort" for Kevin Magnussen to crash into him on the opening lap of the United States Grand Prix, an incident which ultimately caused his retirement.

Magnussen and Wehrlein battled on the first lap of the race and came to blows at Turn 12, with the Sauber driver pitched into the run-off, his C36-Ferrari damaged in the clash.

Wehrlein continued for a handful of laps before pulling into the garage due to the floor damage on his car, while Magnussen pitted after sustaining a puncture in the clash.

"I had a good start then at Turn 12 after the back straight, Magnussen tried to overtake me on the inside," said Wehrlein.

"I left him a lot of space on the outside, I even didn't see him when he crashed into me.

"It was quite an effort from him to still manage to crash into me.

"On a positive note, we will be back in our cars in Mexico in just a few days, and I hope to have a better race there."

Marcus Ericsson was encouraged by his level of competitiveness, despite placing only 15th, having been penalized for a late-race collision, also with Magnussen.

"We could fight with our direct competitors throughout most of the race, and were able to keep up a good pace," he commented.

"Unfortunately, it became difficult to keep that up after having a collision towards the end of the race.

"Overall, the weekend was positive, and the race was one of my best this year."

Raikkonen 'surprised' by Verstappen attempt

Kimi Raikkonen just too slow
Kimi Raikkonen just too slow

Kimi Raikkonen says he was "a bit surprised" by Max Verstappen's last-lap maneuver through Turn 17 as the pair battled for third at the United States Grand Prix.

Raikkonen came under pressure from Verstappen during the closing stages as their strategies converged, with the Red Bull driver on fresher, softer rubber.

Verstappen launched a move inside of the Turn 17 right-hander and netted the position, but stewards deemed that he had exceeded track limits to do so, and issued a five-second time penalty.

Raikkonen duly climbed onto the podium, his first top-three finish since Formula 1's summer break.

"I saw him in the mirror and I tried to slow down the whole thing before the previous corners just to try to save enough fuel to be honest," said Raikkonen.

"Then I thought I had enough cover on that corner, and I lifted because for the obvious reason that I said.

"Suddenly I saw a bit of him in the mirror and I was a bit surprised.

"But obviously at that speed I was more looking forward than rearwards so I was pretty pissed off that he got past me but I didn't have a chance and I slowed down."

Raikkonen was also encouraged by the speed he was able to display during the race.

"I don't think my tires were at all in a bad shape," he said.

"It all felt good and it wasn't really any problem to push harder but, like I said, I had to fuel-save quite a bit in the end and that was the only limitation.

"For me, all race, the car was very good, so no complaints."

Wolff: Mercedes to keep foot on Ferrari's throat

Wolff (white shirt center) wants his team to beat Ferrari in everything
Wolff (white shirt center) wants his team to beat Ferrari in everything

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the team will "keep our foot on the gas" after completing "half of the job" by clinching the Constructors' title at the United States Grand Prix.

Of course what he really means is he wants to keep his foot on Ferrari's throat until they are destroyed.

Ferrari needed to out-score Mercedes by 17 points at the Circuit of the Americas to keep its slim title hopes alive, but left with an insurmountable 147-point deficit.

Lewis Hamilton converted pole position into a fifth win from six races at the venue, recovering the lead after initially falling behind Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel.

Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, held second for the majority of the race, but was overhauled by Vettel, Kimi Räikkönen and Max Verstappen, amid high tire degradation.

Wolff praised his team's efforts for winning a fourth successive title, under new regulations, though stressed that there will be no let up over the final three races.

"The first words today go to our team – in the factories in Brackley and Brixworth, as well as the fantastic support we receive from Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart," said Wolff.

"I am so proud of what has been achieved.

"Winning across a rule change, something has never been done before in the sport, and doing it because every team member has dug deeper to find performance, been even more diligent on reliability and this has come together in the most special way.

"We had the quickest car out there in the race – Lewis did a faultless job, picking off Sebastian and then managing his one-stop strategy to perfection.

"Valtteri had a tougher time: running in dirty air meant he couldn't convert his good pace into what would have been a deserved podium finish.

"Overall, we must be satisfied that we have got half of the job done; one title down and one more still to win.

"Our target must to be to keep our foot on the gas and win each of the next three races."

Hamilton, now 66 points clear of Vettel in the championship standings, will secure a fourth world title if he finishes fifth at the Mexican Grand Prix.

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