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In the history of Formula 1, it has not been unknown for teams to on occasion take a step slightly beyond the prescribed rules of the sport.

A quick check of the Wikipedia category “Formula One controversies” gives results that include such illustrious events as “2007 Formula One espionage controversy”, “Renault Formula One crash controversy” and “Allegations of cheating during the 1994 Formula One World Championship”, otherwise known as “Michael Schumacher controversy, part 1”.

So, when you’re on a non-competitive F1 team that’s owned by another F1 team (that happens to be leading the championship), and you find yourself in the middle of unusual events that happen to be of some benefit to your parent team, you certainly cannot be surprised to find accusatory fingers pointed squarely in your direction.

Yuki Tsunoda, who has been experiencing a disastrous second half of the season and seemingly somewhat forgotten at Alpha Tauri as rumors regarding other drivers play out, stopped on the side of the track on Lap 42 of the Dutch Grand Prix exclaiming “tires not fitted!” over the radio.

Before the track could go full yellow, the team instructed him to continue back to the pits, and that the tires were okay. After the car reached the pit area, the tires were replaced again, and the team then began the process of re-tightening Tsunoda’s safety harness, which he had apparently loosened after expecting his race to be over during the on-track stoppage.

After leaving the pits he then bizarrely almost immediately stopped again on track again, this time for good, and bringing out a virtual-safety car condition.

The upshot of all of this was that race leader Max Verstappen, who was likely going to surrender the front to Lewis Hamilton on his next pit stop, instead received the advantage of changing tires under the VSC and maintaining first place. At this point, while bemoaning his luck, Hamilton also was praising his team on the radio, as Mercedes changed strategy to go to new tires to at least have a chance to compete from behind on pace.

The good feelings between driver and team wouldn’t last for long. Twelve laps later, Alfa Romeo’s Valterri Bottas’ car lay unmoving on the front straight with a dead engine, creating a full safety car condition.

Verstappen changed to soft tires, willing to surrender the race lead and bet on his own ability to re-overtake the two Mercedes. But George Russell, who had inherited second, called into the pits to change to soft tires as well, which meant that rather than Mercedes having Russell between Hamilton and Verstappen as a buffer, the Red Bull could restart right behind the Hamilton, who was now carrying older, medium tires.

As the race went green, Verstappen had both better tires and the slipstream from Hamilton, and predictably had passed for the lead by the time they reached Turn 1. That was all she wrote for both drivers, as Verstappen once again drove away from the pack for the victory, and the then tire-disadvantaged Hamilton would get passed by Russell and also Charles Leclerc, ending up finishing off the podium.

Post-race, Hamilton had less than kind words for his team on the radio, using terms censored for broadcast, but when interviewed after the race did admit he would have been unlikely to hold off Verstappen even if Russell had stayed out and kept between them at the start.

In contrast, Hamilton and Mercedes felt the Tsunoda incident might have taken victory out of their hands. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff even implied that he might ask for an investigation of the incident if it would have had implications on the championship.

Of course, for the same reason an investigation would likely turn up nothing – there would be no reason for the Red Bull organization to attempt an illegal action affecting the race outcome with the season already so firmly in their grip.

What precisely happened with the Tsunoda car, seatbelts and driver in Sunday’s incident will be left as a matter for the team to sort out.

Ferrari Gaffe(s) of the Week

In what is becoming an absurdly regular feature of this year's Formula 1 events, the Ferrari team once again managed to lose points due to blunders, which this week were committed by the crew in the pit box, with Carlos Sainz being the victim.

On Sainz’ first stop, the team managed to successfully bring three new tires to the pit box to be put on the car, which is unfortunately one fewer than generally necessary. Sergio Perez exiting the pit box behind actually ran over the Ferrari tire gun, which without having a tire to be applied to was left lying casually on the ground.

The FIA took pity on the team and did not issue a fine, declaring the wheel-to-gun contact was the result of the short Zanvoort pit boxes, but the team lost considerable time retrieving the missing tire.

After their second attempt at a tire change went without incident, the team was given one more opportunity to damage their driver's chances when Sainz came in for a third time, and the team did not disappoint, releasing the car directly into the path of the oncoming Fernando Alonso, earning the driver a five-second time penalty.

With the late safety car having bunched the field up, the extra five seconds translated into a drop from fifth into eighth in the final standings.

Through The Field

Lance Stroll had his fifth points-scoring race this year on Sunday – for a total of five points. Stroll’s Aston Martin team is going to need to pull out a big result or two to catch Haas or Alpha Tauri, who are currently nine and four points ahead of them, respectively. Valterri Bottas’ Alpha Romeo team looks fairly safe in sixth, but if their Ferrari engines would work for the full race distance a bit more frequently, it would help their team’s cause. Lando Norris, who finished seventh, is trying to keep McLaren afloat as a one-car effort – Daniel Ricciardo didn’t do his search for future employment any favors with a 17th-place finish. Oscar Piastri’s contract situation probably makes it impossible, but you have to wonder if the team would consider making a driver switch this year if they had the opportunity.

Up Next

The results may not necessarily change next week, but at least the color scheme will, as the stands which have been full of orange for the past two weeks will be replaced by the Ferrari-red adorned Tifosi as Formula One finishes the European section of the schedule at Monza.