DC: Formula 1 has become ‘F1 UFC’

Finley Crebolder
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen side-by-side. Saudi Arabia December 2021

David Coulthard feels that Formula 1 has been “redefined as F1 UFC” with “pretty much anything” being allowed on track.

The big talking in recent times has been the racing between title rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton with the two going wheel to wheel in Brazil and Saudi Arabia.

At Interlagos, Verstappen wasn’t penalised by the stewards after, in the eyes of many, forcing Hamilton off the circuit when the Mercedes man was trying to overtake him.

At the last round meanwhile, the Dutchman was deemed to have broken the rules when battling the Brit on three occasions, being forced to give up a position and handed five and 10-second time penalties over the course of the race in which the two came together.

Watching the action unfold, Coulthard felt that the sport was becoming “F1 UFC,” referring to the mixed martial arts competition.

“If we look at UFC, as far as I know there’s only two rules and it’s about below the belt and it’s about the eyes, and everything else goes,” the Scot said on the F1 Nation podcast.

“This now feels like Formula 1 has been redefined as F1 UFC, and pretty much anything is going, and then the stewards are stepping in.”

Verstappen ultimately crossed the line in P2 behind Hamilton, and Coulthard feels that, with some of the moves he pulled off during the race such as his dive down the inside to go from P3 to P1 at the second restart, it could be argued that he deserved better.

“I wish I could just give a black-and-white [answer],” he said when asked if it was the right result in the end.

“But I can’t say that. Because I think if you analyse Max’s race, his overtake to go down the inside of both cars, Hamilton and Ocon, and still make the corner, was brilliant.

“His use of allowing Lewis to overtake just before the DRS [zone] and then re-overtake him again and then get DRS was a brilliant piece of lateral thinking.

“I think there’s a lot of things for me where you could say Max deserved to win this grand prix.”

 

That being said, the former Red Bull driver was impressed by Hamilton’s performance too and says the seven-time World Champion is “incredible” in combat.

“He is still remarkable when it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing,” added.

“He had contact with Ocon, but yet not really that damaged. He managed to run into the back of Max and, although he damaged his front wing, anyone else would have knocked their entire front wing off.

“He is incredible at close quarter racing, and ultimately he’s come through and won this race.”

 

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