Max Verstappen has been found at fault for the collision with Lewis Hamilton on Lap 37 of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and handed a penalty - but not one which affects the standings in the championship race.
The duo collided after Red Bull driver Verstappen was ordered to cede position to Hamilton, braking in the centre of the lane and causing his Mercedes rival to run into the back of his car, with some damage resulting to Hamilton’s front wing.
A stewards’ investigation suggested both drivers could have evaded the incident but found Verstappen “predominantly at fault” and suggested “erratic” braking undertaken “suddenly and significantly” caused the eventual impact.
The result is a 10-second time penalty for the Dutch racer, but with Valtteri Bottas finishing 16 seconds behind him in third, it means he stays second in the final race standings. Verstappen was also handed two penalty points on his licence.
Hamilton winning the race put him level on points in the driver standings with Verstappen, ahead of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
After the collision he was heard on the radio calling Verstappen “f****** crazy” and labelled it “dangerous driving” from his adversary, while also suggesting the Red Bull man employed on-track actions which were a step too far.
“He’s over the limit, for sure. I’ve avoided collision on so many occasions with the guy. I don’t mind being the one that always does that because you live to fight another day,” Hamilton said after the race.
Red Bull chief Christian Horner acknowledged the team were “lucky to come away with second” after damage to Verstappen’s car, but put the blame for the collision on Hamilton instead.
“I don’t know what Lewis was doing because Max was trying to give the place up as instructed by Race Control, he lifted and you can hear that, it was clear we were trying to give the place up and we’d informed Race Control,” he said.
“I don’t know if Lewis didn’t want to pass before the DRS zone, but it was very strange to have him drive straight up the back of Max. We got a five-second time penalty, I thought it was on the harsh side, they both went wide and were racing. Max has fought like a gladiator this weekend and given it everything.”
The chaotic and incident-filled 2021 title will be decided next weekend in Abu Dhabi.
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