Sky F1 commentator Martin Brundle gives his take on the overtaking incident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, which has come to dominate the storyline of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Brundle is the latest to voice his concerns regarding the porous track limit rules in the FIA rulebook. The ex F1 driver has joined the likes of team principals Chritian Horner and Toto Wolff saying that there needs to be more clarity with regards to what constitues an advantage when drivers uses a racing line not within the confines of the race track.
"The sporting and supplementary regulations along with event briefings are quite clear on this, if you gain a 'lasting advantage' off track, which clearly he had by completing the overtake, then you will be penalised unless you hand the place back," Brundle said on his column on the Sky Sports website.
"The Mercedes drivers were off track at this point for much of the first half of the race, so much so in fact that Red Bull instructed Verstappen to do the same.
"The advantage of this is that you can brake less and take more speed into the corner, a 'lasting advantage' in a timed race as far as I'm concerned. Christian Horner reckons it's worth two tenths of a second each lap.
"But how do you quantify a 'lasting advantage' unless it's clearly involving a pass? We are told that the resource is there to watch and police Turn Four, and at other circuits on the fourth occasion of 'cheating' the circuit confines you will be warned and then penalised.
"We really do have to police this issue consistently everywhere and not just in qualifying; it's confusing and annoying for everybody, including teams and drivers I've spoken to post-race."
Brundle also offered some insight into why Verstappen let Hamilton pass the way he did, citing a previous incident of the British driver in 2008 where he was given a 25 second penalty.
"Why didn't he wait until after Turn 13 and let Lewis past by him going offline, and then getting DRS behind him again for the start of the next lap?" Brundle rhetorically asked.
"Or even just stay on-line down to Turn 11 so he would have been given an immediate slipstream as Lewis moved back in front of him?
"We must remember Spa 2008 when Lewis went off track, then let Kimi Raikkonen past by the slimmest margin and then very quickly re-passed him. Hamilton was given a 25-second penalty for this 'lasting advantage' even though technically he yielded the place, and of course, such dramas could have cost him the 2008 world championship."
Despite what transpired, Brundle like many others was entralled by the Grand Prix as a whole. The battle between Hamilton and Verstappen offers a breath of fresh air to a sport that was becoming increasingly stagnant and one does hope the remaining 22 races are equally as entertaining as the season-opener in Bahrain.