‘That is incredible. What are they doing here?’ Max Verstappen and Red Bull FUME as stewards do not order Lewis Hamilton to give his place back after he ran wide following first-lap collision with his title rival
- Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton sensationally touched in a first-lap collision
- Verstappen dived inside at Turn Seven, bumping into the Mercedes of Hamilton
- The Brit was forced off track, very wide up the escape route, and retook the lead
- Stewards decided Hamilton did not gain an advantage and did not investigate
- Red Bull felt the world champion got an unfair leg-up by going off the track
- But Mercedes claimed that Verstappen’s deliberate lunge forced Hamilton wide
Max Verstappen has furiously questioned the stewards after Lewis Hamilton was not ordered to give first place back following the title rivals’ first-lap collision at the winnter-takes-all Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After Hamilton overtook Verstappen on the first corner, the Red Bull driver dived up the inside at Turn Seven and the cars seemed to be level as they touched, with Hamilton forced off track and wide up the escape route, easily retaking the lead.
And when stewards did not tell Hamilton to return the advantage he gained and ruled there was no investigation necessary, the Dutchman and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner reacted angrily.
Max Verstappen and Red Bull reacted angrily after his first-lap collision with Lewis Hamilton
Verstappen (right) dived up the inside of Hamilton (right) at Turn Seven, the cars touched, and the Brit was forced off track, running wide up the escape route and easily retaking the lead
Verstappen said on team radio: ‘That is incredible. What are they doing here?’
Horner then added on Sky Sports: ‘We are a little bit shocked at that because apparently Lewis gave his advantage back, which we have failed to see yet… It’s a total lack of consistency. We are focused on the race and still a long way to go.’
F1 Race Director Michael Masi, explaining the decision to Red Bull, insisted Hamilton did enough to show he didn’t gain an advantage.
Defending world champion Hamilton overtook Verstappen, on pole, before the first corner
Three former world champions gave different views on what happened in the controversial incident.
Nico Rosberg said: ‘So difficult. I think it’s OK what they’ve done. Max was a little bit too lungy and too aggressive, forcing Lewis out too strongly, even though he had a right to the corner there. Then Lewis didn’t give back everything he gained.
Damon Hill added: ‘You have to say Lewis had to basically move out the way because otherwise he was going to collide with Max, who made a very uncompromising a late lunge, left no room for Lewis to make any accommodation and had to leave the track.
The two fierce rivals are battling for the world title at the winner-takes-all Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
‘But I have to say I’m surprised they didn’t say give the place back.’
Jenson Button continued: ‘It was a very late lunge but it was always going to happen, Lewis knew he was coming. He pushed Lewis off the track – I guess – but he stayed on the track.
‘I’m struggling to understand the regulations right now because obviously in Brazil there was no penalty, but they both drove off the circuit. Max stayed on the track this time.’
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