Max Verstappen avoids punishment after review of Lewis Hamilton incident rejected at Brazilian Grand Prix

Race stewards have rejected Mercedes’ right to review the incident from the Brazilian Grand Prix which threatened to see Max Verstappen hit with a time or grid penalty.

He was fastest in first practice at the Qatar Grand Prix on Friday, ahead of Pierre Gasly and Valtteri Bottas.

Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have had several run-ins this season, with their on-track racing as closely fought as the battle in the driver standings for the 2021 title.

Sunday’s race in Brazil saw another coming together, albeit a less-dramatic one than in Monza, as Hamilton was forced off the track when he tried to overtake his rival and the pair ran wide, the manoeuvre ultimately costing the Brit more time.

Initially, stewards opted against investigating the incident, leaving Toto Wolff in particular unimpressed, but Mercedes appealed the decision once it became evident that a piece of video footage from Verstappen’s car had not been available at the time.

The FIA agreed to consider the additional evidence, although Martin Brundle suggested Mercedes would be unlikely to win the appeal and he has now been proven correct, as Verstappen faces no further action with the right to review denied.

Andrew Benson reported that F1 stated the “on-board camera footage was ‘new’, ‘unavailable at the time’, and ‘relevant’, but it did not meet the test of being significant” to deciding a different outcome.

Speaking on Thursday, the Dutch racer was unrepentant over his approach, dismissing talk of needing to review the footage or change his style.

“I didn’t need to look at the footage because I was driving the car, so I know exactly what happened,” he said.

“And like I said last time out, I thought it was a great battle and I had a lot of fun as well out there. At the end of the day they won the race, fair enough. They were faster than us. But I thought it was a good battle.

“As a driver I think we know exactly what we can or cannot do in a car, and we were fighting hard, braking late into the corner, the tyres were quite worn. If I would have turned more abrupt to the left, you’d just spin off the track.”

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