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Villeneuve on Verstappen at turn one: 'Dirty driving should be looked at'

Villeneuve on Verstappen at turn one: 'Dirty driving should be looked at'

22-10-2023 10:01 Last update: 10:03

Jacques Villeneuve thinks Max Verstappen is lucky he did not get a time penalty for defending against Charles Leclerc at the start of the sprint race in the United States. The F1 analyst argues that the stewards made a mistake by letting Verstappen off the hook.

"He had to drive hard for that one. It happened on the start. He really squeezed a little bit beyond the limit. That should be looked at because he went more than inside of the pit exit," said Villeneuve, who felt Verstappen's action at lights out was too strong.

The one-time world champion argues that Leclerc had to swerve so much that he ended up on the green section of the track. "He was pushed off the track. That's too much. Yeah, that's not necessary," Villeneuve continued his argument to F1TV.

Stewards do not intervene

In the first lap, race control always allows a bit more than in other parts of the race. Will Buxton wonders whether Verstappen would have been penalised if he had squeezed Leclerc in this way on lap two. Villeneuve: "I don't know why lap one is different because dirty driving or pushing a car up to the limit of the track should still be looked at."

"Now, obviously, two or three cars on an opening lap don't know where everyone is. Brake a little bit too late. These things can happen and maybe shutting your eyes on that a little bit, okay, for aggressiveness, but not for pushing drivers off the track," Villeneuve is clear in his assessment. He therefore thinks: Verstappen should have been given a time penalty. It probably wouldn't have affected him anyway, given his huge lead over eventual number two Lewis Hamilton.

Remarkably, Leclerc himself stated all too well that Verstappen was defending in this way. The Ferrari driver himself said he had done the same in Max's position. As such, he felt a penalty would have been out of place.

Hinchcliffe on defending Verstappen

James Hinchcliffe was also asked for his opinion. The IndyCar driver does not really take sides and also points to the fact that Lewis Hamilton did not stay fully on the track when he overtook Leclerc. "I think that was still a good move. That's a first lap thing. Everyone's jockeying for a position, so I'm glad there was no intervention there."

"But I do love seeing that because Max so rarely gets raced. This year it's so rare. I love seeing that fiery guy. When he does get to race someone, he really loves it. He takes it to that limit. He hasn't gotten soft after all these hundreds and thousands of laps he's led this year."

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