Mercedes blow as review of Max Verstappen’s driving during Brazil GP rejected

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have been dealt a blow in the race for the Formula One world title, after the FIA rejected an appeal made by the team against Max Verstappen’s driving at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

With things hotting up in the driver standings between Hamilton and Verstappen, the pressure was no doubt seen out on the track in Sao Paulo as the pair were involved in an incident on lap 48 of last week’s race.

It was the Dutchman who held control at the front for most of the race, as the seven-time world champion had to come from back in 10th on the grid to get himself into contention.

After he got within a place of Verstappen, the Englishman looked to go past the 24-year-old on lap 48 but Hamilton was forced off the track as the Dutchman looked to keep hold of his lead.

Following the incident Mercedes were left less than impressed, and a steward’s enquiry was called into deem whether Verstappen should be handed a five-second penalty for his actions.

However, it was decided the evidence on race day was inconclusive and the Dutchman escaped without a penalty, but did end up finally surrendering his lead as Hamilton later went on to collect his sixth win of the season.

In the week after Sunday’s cracker in Sao Paulo Mercedes once again took their concerns to the FIA to complain about the alleged unsporting move, with Verstappen expected to face action at this week’s Qatar Grand Prix in Doha if guilty.

As a result, the constructor champions presented the stewards with new evidence in the form of camera angles that were not available at the time of the decision in Sao Paulo, in a bid to penalise the Red Bull man.

But like in Sao Paulo, Verstappen was once again found not guilty of any wrongdoing meaning he will start Sunday’s race unscathed.

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Following the new footage presented to them the stewards confirmed: “There is nothing in the footage that fundamentally changes the facts.

“Nor even does this show anything that wasn't considered by the stewards at the time."

Despite his disappointment, the decision came as no surprise to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who admitted if the ruling continues to stay this way then overtaking on the outside will become nearly impossible.

He said: “It is more about the principle and the philosophy. If it stays that way, it means overtaking from the outside is pretty much not possible any more because the inside controls the corner completely. You can see some of the drivers have expressed the same opinion.

"It is really important to understand what's on and what's not on because we don't want this championship to be decided by a controversial situation that ends up in the stewards' room. That's why now is the time to clarify the rules."

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