Max Verstappen will have to be on his best behaviour as the Formula 1 driver closest to the penalty point threshold for a race ban.
Points are handed out by the stewards as punishment whenever a driver is deemed to have committed an offence serious enough to warrant them. And just like any road user, if enough points are collected they can expect a punishment.
Racers are not allowed to exceed 12 points within a 12-month period. They will not lose their licence for collecting that total, as would be the case if a normal driver has enough run-ins with the police, but it could still prove costly.
That is especially true for those like Verstappen, who is in contention for the title. Every point counts for the Dutchman as he hopes to see off the challenge of Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc, so missing a race could be a disaster.
That would be the fate of anyone who picks up 12 points within a 12-month period. To date, no F1 driver has ever accumulated enough points to trigger such a punishment, but it happened in F2 this year when Amaury Cordeel was forced to miss the British Grand Prix for a variety of offences within just six months.
But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen, and Verstappen is one of those closest to a ban. He has seven points against his name, all of which are from incidents during the second half of last season, while Pierre Gasly and Lance Stroll are also five away from a ban.
Three more drivers are just one point behind and therefore halfway to a ban. That trio is made up of Fernando Alonso, Yuki Tsunoda and Alexander Albon – the latter having to be especially cautious going forward having picked up that tally with four incidents that all took place since March this year.
Esteban Ocon has four points on his licence while Valtteri Bottas is just behind with three. Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo, George Russell and Zhou Guanyu have accrued two penalty points each.