Max Verstappen cops penalty over nasty crash with Lewis Hamilton

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·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
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  • Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen
    Dutch-Belgian racing driver
  • Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton
    British racing driver
Max Verstappen was handed a 10 second time penalty for causing a collision with Lewis Hamilton in the Saudi Arabian GP.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen had a 10 second time penalty added after the Saudi Arabian GP after stewards deemed him predominantly responsible for a collision with Lewis Hamilton. Pictures: Getty Images

Stewards have handed down a postscript to Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton's spiteful duel at the Saudi Arabian GP last weekend.

The Red Bull and Mercedes rivals collided when Verstappen was told by his team to hand first place back to the chasing Hamilton.

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Verstappen had managed to overtake Hamilton but cut part of the Jeddah circuit's turn two in order to do so.

Red Bull instructed him to hand the place back 'strategically' however, resulting in Verstappen braking very hard prior to the DRS detection zone heading into the final corner.

It was clear the Dutch championship aspirant was hoping to fulfil his obligation under the rules by letting Hamilton pass, only to then try and power right back with the aid of the drag reduction system down the start-finish straight.

Instead, Verstappen's sudden braking caught Hamilton by surprise, with the Red Bull driver ultimately handed a 10 second time penalty for his trouble.

An investigation by race stewards ultimately found that both drivers could potentially have avoided the collision, but it was Verstappen's braking that was judged to be 'erratic' and the main contributor to the coming together.

The penalty did not change the outcome of the race, with Verstappen comfortably ahead of third-placed Valtteri Bottas by well over the ten second penalty.

Verstappen had earlier been handed a five-second penalty during the race for leaving the circuit and gaining an advantage - the exact penalty the Red Bull team was trying to avoid by letting Hamilton through in the first place.

Speaking after the race, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner insisted the blame lay at Hamilton's feet.

“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.”

Max Verstappen shredded over 'pathetic' podium act

Several controversial moments throughout the season have led to an increasingly bitter rivalry developing not just between Hamilton and Verstappen, but between the Mercedes and Red Bulls teams as well.

Sunday night's Saudi Arabian GP was no exception as far as generating yet more controversy between the two title rivals was concerned.

Tensions were already high between the Mercedes and Red Bull camps leading into the race, and will no doubt be at a fever pitch after another controversial round of battle on the new Jeddah circuit.

Hamilton described Verstappen's attempts to fend him off as 'f***ing crazy' and said after the race. that the young Dutchman's aggressive driving style too frequently crossed the line unto being unsporting.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen walked off the podium without making eye contact with race winner Lewis Hamilton after a controversial Saudi Arabian GP. Pictures: Getty Images
Red Bull's Max Verstappen walked off the podium without making eye contact with race winner Lewis Hamilton after a controversial Saudi Arabian GP. Pictures: Getty Images

Verstappen was booed by some sections of the crowd while speaking to broadcasters after the race, but it was a petty move on the podium that earned the ire of F1 fans around the world on social media.

After the trophies were presented to the top three, Verstappen simply picked up his bottle of champagne and left the podium while the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Valterri Bottas, who finished third, indulged in the customary spraying of bubbly.

Verstappen's move was slammed by commentators and fans alike, with the move described as 'pathetic' and 'childish'.

Sky Sports commentator Martin Brundle quickly picked up on Verstappen's swift exit on the live broadcast.

“He walked off the back. He does not want any part of that. He clearly feels very aggrieved that he had to give the lead back — having offered the lead back, but there was contact," Brundle observed.

On social media, fans were scathing.

The F1 title for 2021 will be decided at the season finale in Abu Dhabi on December 13.

Hamilton and Verstappen will enter the grand prix exactly even on points after the longest F1 calendar in the category's history.

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