More tollerance on wheel-banging. That's what Max Verstappen was asking for just a couple of weeks ago after the Canadian GP controversy. And his position hasn't changed since then, in particular regarding his move on Charles Leclerc to take the first win for Red Bull in 2019.
A terrible start from the front row saw Max Verstappen swallowed by the field losing seven positions. The Dutchman himself was sure at that point that the race was over but he still managed to set his mind on 'flawless mode'. Good news for Max is the proof that both Red Bull and Honda are there. In a track that should have perfectly suited Ferrari and Mercedes, no one would have expected Max Verstappen to be the fastest driver on track. An off topic question for sure kicks in at this point: is the true Red Bull potential Max' one or the one of his lapped team mate Pierre Gasly?
On lap 69 the clash took place: Max Verstappen dives down the inside of Charles Leclerc at turn 3 to take the lead after a failed attempt on the previous lap. The #33 goes a bit wide coming to a wheel-to-wheel contact with the Monegasque. Leclerc is then forced to take the escape road and the stewards decided to have a look on the move: at 6pm local time the two youngmen are summoned in the stewards' office. Nevertheless the medias' question covered one topic only.
Speaking in Parc Ferme imemdiately afterwards, Verstappen stated “It’s hard racing otherwise we have to stay home. If those things are not allowed in racing, what is the point of being in F1?"
"Max, how would you describe your move on Charles?" asks Mara Sangiorgio on Sky.
"Racing. If I was in his shoes I would have been disappointed as well for the lost victory, but that [the contact] was just racing."
The stewards agreed with the Red Bull's driver: no further action needed. After two hours on endless waiting the FIA released an official bulletin that exonerated the Dutchman. Will this be the turning point on penalty decisions after the huge outcries of the last couple of weeks? The stewards already announced a change of path before this weekend and this episode might be the ultimate proof.