'Laughable': Damning footage in Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen duel

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Max Verstappen's dashboard footage over the incident involving Lewis Hamilton at the Brazil GP where he was forced off the track.
FIA hasn't reviewed Max Verstappen's dashboard footage over the incident involving the Red Bull driver and Lewis Hamilton at the Brazil GP. (Images: Fox Sports)

The FIA has admitted they didn't review all the footage during Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton's duel on the weekend, which saw the world champion forced off the road in a thrilling battle.

As Hamilton celebrated his 101st win, and possibly the greatest race of his F1 career to revive his hopes of a record eighth world title, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff vented his feelings.

The Austrian spoke of Hamilton’s ‘harsh’ disqualification from Friday’s qualifying and the stewards ‘laughable’ decision not to penalise Verstappen when the Dutch driver “forced” the champion off the road on Sunday as he tried to overtake.

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The incident took place on lap 48, turn 4, when Verstappen and Hamilton were neck-and-neck.

Verstappen took the inside lane in an attempt to go past the world champion, but ultimately pushed Hamilton off the track.

While Verstappen avoided a penalty, dashboard details from his car wasn't reviewed by officials.

Verstappen's dashboard would have revealed his speed and steering movement during the encounter.

Broadcaster Sky Sports analysed the incident and F1 commentators agreed Verstappen appeared to fail to turn his wheels in the direction of the turn.

Wolff agreed he would like to see the footage, after the FIA declared it a 'racing incident'.

His sense of injustice was palpable, as well as the feeling that Mercedes were fighting forces greater than Red Bull even as Hamilton closed the gap to Verstappen to 14 points with three races remaining.

“The team has always been together but these decisions have brought us so close together,” said Wolff.

“It’s against us and I think this is what Lewis felt all his life and we now feel it together as a team and we’re going to fight. And we are not going to be the victims. That is the emotion we’re feeling in the garage at the moment.”

F1 racing director Michael Masi said they hadn't seen the footage yet, but the dashboard footage could be a 'smoking gun'.

“The forward facing, the 360, there’s all of the camera angles that we don’t get live that will be downloaded and we’ll have a look at them post-race,” he said.

“It hasn’t been obtained yet. It’s been requested.”

Red Bull hit back at Mercedes

Despite Mercedes' issues with Verstappen, Red Bull were also questioning Mercedes.

The Dutch driver was filmed by a fan checking out his car in parc ferme after they had parked up post-qualifying.

He then casually walks over to Hamilton's Mercedes, takes off his gloves and appears to touch the wing.

Verstappen was later fined 50,000 euros on Saturday for the clear breach of the sporting code.

The gesture reflected the questions being asked at his team about why the Mercedes was so fast and what was going on with its wing.

Wolff’s tone was steely on Saturday, after Hamilton went from last to fifth in a sprint race setting the grid for Sunday.

He was particularly vexed by Hamilton’s car failing a rear wing inspection, when Red Bull had been allowed to tape theirs’ up without penalty previously.

The demotion from first to last cost him any chance of the three points available to the Saturday sprint winner, points that could be crucial at the end of the season.

Wolff spoke of a previous “commonsense buffer”, a ‘modus operandi’ that he said had been dismantled in a break with the past.

Max Verstappen (pictured) was captured on camera touching Lewis Hamilton's car, which has sparked an F1 investigation. (Image: @frd182)
Max Verstappen (pictured) was captured on camera touching Lewis Hamilton's car, which has sparked an F1 investigation. (Image: @frd182)

“If the modus operandi is different now, you maybe need to look at others also with a more strict and severe eye,” he declared.

“I can tell you that in the next few races we are going to look at every single race tape that’s going to fall off a car and ask questions.

“If such a thing as a gentlemens’ agreement exists in Formula One, because there ain’t no gentlemen, then now it doesn’t any more. You have no millimetre of leniency of fixing things on a car.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said the straight line speed of the Mercedes was eye-popping and something his team wanted to understand.

“It’s up to the FIA to police the sport and to govern it,” he said when asked about a possible protest in future. 

“We trust in them and their tests and their investigation.”

with Reuters

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