Mercedes has submitted a request for the FIA to review the incident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on lap 48 of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
The incident was noted by race control at the time. However the stewards decided not to investigate whether either driver had broken the rules.
FIA Formula 1 race director Michael Masi revealed afterwards that the stewards did not have access to forward facing cockpit footage from Verstappen’s car when they decided not to proceed with an investigation. That footage was released by Formula 1 earlier today.
Mercedes indicated they intend to submit the footage as new evidence in order to prompt a review of the incident.
If the stewards were to find Verstappen at fault and penalise him it would likely have a bearing on the championship fight. A five-second time penalty in Sunday’s race would drop him to third position and lose him three points. Alternatively the stewards could impose a grid penalty for the next race as they did to Verstappen following his collision with Hamilton at Monza.
On Sunday Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff criticised the stewards’ decision not to investigate the incident, calling it “laughable”.
Masi said the decision not to investigate the incident had been taken in light of the ‘let them race’ principles agreed with teams governing racing incidents. “If you look proximity of the cars heading into the apex, where it is, nature of the corner, the fact both cars went off, neither car lost position, anything like that, that was probably the general view of it,” Masi explained.
However the race director admitted he considered showing Verstappen the black-and-white ‘unsporting conduct’ flag in reaction to the incident. “It certainly came into my mind, and then had sort of looked at it a few more times and it wasn’t far off a black and white flag, to be brutally honest,” he said. Verstappen was shown the flag for another incident later in the race.
Sources at Red Bull indicated they were surprised at Mercedes’ decision to request a review in light of Masi’s comments and having seen the new video from Verstappen’s car.
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