F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar
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Mercedes have confirmed their intention to appeal the incident which occurred on lap 48 of the Brazilian Grand Prix between title challengers Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The Dutchman appeared to run Hamilton wide as they fought for the lead, although the stewards decided that no punishment was necessary due to the footage available to them at the time.
It was a battle for the ages between Hamilton and Verstappen, with the Brit eventually coming out on top to narrow the gap in the Championship race.
Amid a dramatic weekend, Hamilton was disqualified from Friday qualifying and given a five-place grid penalty for changing power units.
All told, that saw him start 10th on the grid after an impressive Saturday qualifying sprint, but fighting back to take victory was always a longshot.
Still, the Silver Arrows enjoyed tremendous straight-line speed in Sao Paulo, and after a contentious incident on lap 48, Hamilton later made the crucial pass to eventually take victory.
At the time of the incident, the stewards looked at the footage available to them and decided that Verstappen need not be punished for appearing to push Hamilton off track.
However, new footage emerged on Tuesday which showed the incident from the Dutchman’s perspective, sparking fresh anger from the Mercedes camp.
Their official statement reads: “The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team confirms that we have today requested a Right of Review under Article 14.1.1 of the International Sporting Code, in relation to the Turn 4 incident between Car 44 and Car 33 on lap 48 of the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix, on the basis of new evidence unavailable to the Stewards at the time of their decision.”
Hamilton himself was subjected to punishment after the race for taking his seat-belt off during the celebrations.
Although there was brief concern that the seven-time world champion would be hit with another damaging punishment, the FIA eventually handed him a £5,000 fine.
As such, the gap in the Drivers’ standings narrowed from 19 points to 14 in Brazil, despite Mercedes suffering a catalogue of mishaps over the course of the weekend.
Team boss Toto Wolff’s built up anger became obvious when Hamilton made the crucial race-winning overtake, pointing angrily down the camera in defiant jubilation.
Hamilton himself was understandably delighted after a precious victory, and things could get even better if Verstappen is handed punishment for his role in the turn 48 incident.
“Coming into this weekend I never ever thought we would be able to close the gap like we had today,” he said.
“Then these things that just kept going against us but it really shows for everyone, never give up. Never, ever stop fighting and that’s how I’ve really approached this weekend.
“It feels like the first because I don’t feel like I’ve had a win for a long time.”
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