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Formula 1 officials reject Red Bull’s call for review


Formula 1 officials reject Red Bull’s call for review
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen came together at the British Grand Prix. (Reuters)

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London – Red Bull’s request for a reassessment of the penalty given to Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix has been rejected by Formula 1 officials.

The Mercedes driver was judged “predominantly to blame” for a first-lap collision with title rival Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

Hamilton received a ten-second penalty.

Stewards in place for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix ruled there was no significant additional evidence to take into account.

Verstappen, 23, crashed out of the race, while Hamilton recovered to take a dramatic victory.

The decision leaves Verstappen with an eight-point lead over Hamilton, 36, in the championship heading into this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the last before a three-week summer break for F1.

Mercedes “welcomed” the decision but called the appeal and the documents submitted “a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton”.

What did Red Bull argue?

Red Bull presented a series of pieces of information they regarded as new evidence to the hearing, including the GPS data from the cars showing their positioning.

They also presented similar data, car speeds and simulation information of Hamilton and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the manoeuvre in which the Mercedes driver passed for the lead with two laps to go.

Red Bull used the Leclerc pass to argue Hamilton would have made contact in that move too – if he had been on the same line at the same speed as he was in the Verstappen incident. And they claimed Hamilton needed to brake 23m earlier than he actually did to make the corner.

Their aim was to establish ground rules following the collision for the rest of the season, as the title battle between the two men reaches a climax.

Red Bull also wanted to understand how the decision was made after such a major accident.

Verstappen suffered an impact of 51G when he hit the barriers at the 190mph Copse corner and was taken to hospital for tests. He was released later that evening uninjured, apart from bruising and aches and pains.

Why was the case rejected?

To reassess the case, the stewards would have had to deem the evidence to be “new, significant and relevant”; that it had been “discovered” rather than created, and been unavailable at the time of the decision.

They ruled that there was no element unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time.

And they said the GPS data submissions were “created based on evidence that was available at the time of the decision”.

The stewards said they “noted with some concern certain allegations” raised by Red Bull. They refused to comment further, and Mercedes also declined to address what Hamilton had been accused of by Red Bull.


Formula 1 officials reject Red Bull's call for review
Lewis Hamilton. (Internet image)

Hamilton’s view

Both drivers held their news conferences on Thursday – before the hearing was held – and were asked further questions about the incident by the media.

Hamilton said he had called Verstappen in the days following the crash.

“I did give Max a call to check he was OK,” Hamilton said. “And to let him know the respect is still there. Obviously it’s perhaps not reciprocated, but that’s OK.”

And he said he had no regrets about the move.

“I would do it exactly the way I did it last,” Hamilton said. “In terms of how I have reviewed it or analysed, from all my experience. And my experience over the years speaks for a lot. I wouldn’t change it.”

Hamilton rejected accusations made by Verstappen both on the evening of the incident and again on Thursday that he and the Mercedes team had been disrespectful in celebrating their victory while the Dutchman was still being checked over in hospital.

“I don’t believe our behaviour was disrespectful,” Hamilton said, “but it is one thing knowing and then celebrating what happened and one thing not knowing and celebrating. And I wasn’t aware [he was in hospital].

“Emotions were running high. It wasn’t an intentional celebration. It was just the joy of seeing so many people together and celebrating. It was the natural emotion. I am not going to hide my emotion.”


Formula 1 officials reject Red Bull's call for review
Max Verstappen (Internet image)


Verstappen’s view

Verstappen said: “One guy is in the hospital and the other is waving a flag around like nothing has happened after he pushed a guy into a wall with 51Gs. Not only that but the whole reaction of the team besides that.

“That’s not how you celebrate a win, especially how they got it. It shows how they really are. It comes out after a pressured situation. But I wouldn’t want to be seen like that.”

Verstappen said he believed Hamilton had “just misjudged the moment in that corner” and added that he would not change his approach to racing Hamilton following the incident.

“Of course people easily say I am an aggressive driver or whatever, which I don’t think I am.

“I am a hard driver, I race hard but I think I know quite well how I have to position my car.”

Verstappen repeated that he still believes the penalty should have been more tougher, but added: “We are racers and we just keep on going.

“Of course, I am not happy with what happened there. But just keep on pushing. We are still fighting for that championship together. I will race in the best manner.” (BBC)