Mercedes wanted a review of the moment between the two on lap 48, which saw the duo drift off the track. After much deliberation, the stewards have decided that a new hearing is not necessary. It is acknowledged that there will be new images after Sunday, but the evidence is not seen as significant.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also did not expect a penalty for Verstappen. “We don’t expect anything from our Right of Review but we are concerned with the principle and the philosophy. It is very important what is allowed and what is not allowed during this kind of fight, the upcoming races. We don’t want the championship to be decided by a controversial moment, we have to go back to the stewards and then there’s a lot of polarization.”
View the preview of the race in Qatar with Formula 1 follower Erik van Haren here. According to him, the atmosphere between Red Bull and Mercedes has deteriorated. Article continues below the video.
Verstappen cheerfully expressed the expectation on Thursday that he will be acquitted. “And if that doesn’t happen, it won’t be the end of the world. If I get the chance, I would repeat that action,” he also replied when asked.
Mercedes, the racing stable of title holder Lewis Hamilton, made a formal request last Tuesday to reassess an incident in Brazil on the basis of new evidence. On lap 48 at the Interlagos circuit, the faster Hamilton wanted to pass leader Verstappen on the outside, but the Dutchman did not allow that. The two drove wheel to wheel into the corner, with Verstappen forcing his British rival to drive off the track to avoid a collision.
Max Verstappen congratulated Lewis Hamilton on his victory afterwards.
Race management investigated the incident during the race, but saw no reason to intervene. Two days later, Mercedes signed an official protest. According to Hamilton’s racing stable, Verstappen should have at least received a time penalty for his action. Mercedes requested that the case be reopened, based on video images taken from Verstappen’s cockpit that were not available to race officials during the race.
Hamilton won in Brazil after overtaking Verstappen on lap 59. The Dutchman finished second and saw his lead in the World Cup standings fall to 14 points, with three races left.