Max Verstappen Walks a Delicate Tightrope Towards a Race Ban in 2022 F1 Season

Published 01/03/2022, 7:23 AM EST
Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – December 4, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after qualifying in third position Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace


Max Verstappen enjoys his winter break as the world champion. After what would have been a carefree holiday for the driver, soon he would be making his way to Milton Keynes to prepare himself for the next season. However, there might be an unpleasant surprise awaiting the driver in 2022.

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A characteristic of Verstappen’s is his gung-ho driving style- something we’ve seen multiple times in his duels with Lewis Hamilton. Although entertaining, there have been occasions where Verstappen has earned penalty points on his super license.

Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – December 5, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

As a rule, penalty points don’t get erased after the season is over. Rather, if a driver receives them, it stays with him for 12 months. However, if a driver collects 12 penalty points, he is under the threat of a race ban. Max Verstappen enters 2022 with 7 points to his name.

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That is cutting precariously close as the Dutchman inches towards a race ban. If he is involved in more than two collisions, he could get banned from a race. And if driver #1 hopes to hold onto that number, he’s going to have to be awfully careful.

How did Max Verstappen collect 7 points?

Verstappen has to tip-toe around the initial stint as the first of his points don’t expire till 12 September, 2022; by then he would be 16 rounds into the season. Unfortunately, as the 2021 season caught up in intensity, Verstappen began collecting points on his license.

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To put it in perspective, the first points were collected in Monza. Verstappen and Hamilton came awfully close on lap 26 of the race, an incident which ended with Verstappen’s Red Bull atop the Mercedes. The stewards inspected and gave him a grid drop for the next race and two penalty points.

Verstappen collected two more in the race in Qatar, for ignoring double waved yellow flags during the qualifying season. Three points followed in the Saudi Arabian GP, where first, he collected a point for leaving the track and gaining an advantage, and an additional couple for breaking and causing a collision with Lewis Hamilton.

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Thus, Verstappen will have to hold on tight because just as quickly as he collected the points in the end, the genesis of the 2022 season may cause closer battles because of the new cars. With 5 points between him and the race ban, it will be crucial for the Lion to rein it in; just a little bit.

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Shreya Sanjeev

776 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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