Verstappen gets time penalty, keeps 2nd
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Max Verstappen has received a 10-second penalty for causing a collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but he still will be classified in second place after finishing the Formula One race 15.3 seconds clear of Valtteri Bottas in third place.
Hamilton hit the rear of Verstappen’s car on the approach to Turn 27 after the Red Bull driver slowed in front of him.
Verstappen had been told to let Hamilton past after retaining position earlier in the lap by running both cars off the track at Turn 1.
However, he attempted to do so before the DRS (drag reduction system) detection point so that he would gain the advantage of the overtaking aid on the following straight and repass into Turn 1.
Hamilton said he was not sure why Verstappen had slowed on the straight, as he had not been made aware that the Red Bull driver would let him back past, but also said he was wary of giving the DRS to Verstappen on the following straight.
The stewards noted this fact but ultimately found Verstappen was predominantly to blame.
“At turn 21 the driver of car 33 was given the instruction to give back a position to car 44 and was told by the team to do so ‘strategically,'” the stewards’ statement said. “Car 33 slowed significantly at turn 26. However, it was obvious that neither driver wanted to take the lead prior to DRS detection line 3.
“The driver of Car 33 [Verstappen] stated that he was wondering why Car 44 had not overtaken and the driver of Car 44 [Hamilton] stated that, not having been aware at that stage that Car 33 was giving the position back, was unaware of the reason Car 33 was slowing. In deciding to penalise the driver of Car 33, the key point for the Stewards was that the driver of Car 33 then braked suddenly (69 bar) and significantly, resulting in 2.4g deceleration.
“Whilst accepting that the driver of Car 44 could have overtaken Car 33 when that car first slowed, we understand why he (and the driver of Car 33) did not wish to be the first to cross the DRS.
“However, the sudden braking by the driver of Car 33 was determined by the Stewards to be erratic and hence the predominant cause of the collision and hence the standard penalty of 10 seconds for this type of incident, is imposed.
“Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and Chapter 4 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.”
Verstappen was also two penalty points on his superlicence, bringing his total to seven over a rolling 12-month period. If a driver has 12 points within a 12-month period, it results in a race ban.
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