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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on the podium after Hamilton won the Sao Paulo Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton was unable to pass Max Verstappen on lap 48 but did later pass his title rival to win the Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Mercedes have asked for a review of the decision not to penalise Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for forcing Lewis Hamilton wide in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The incident on lap 48 of the race was “noted” by the stewards but no investigation was carried out.

Mercedes have lodged a “right of review” after new evidence emerged that was not available at the time.

This is believed to be on-board camera footage which officials did not have during the race but emerged on Tuesday.

The incident happened as Hamilton was trying to pass his title rival for the lead.

Hamilton’s Mercedes was alongside and partially ahead of Verstappen’s Red Bull on the outside approaching Turn Four.

As they entered the corner, Verstappen ran wide, Hamilton took avoiding action and both cars ran off the track.

Hamilton passed Verstappen for the lead later in the race and went on to win, cutting the Dutchman’s lead to 14 points with three races to go, starting in Qatar this weekend.

The sporting code of governing body the FIA says: “Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited. Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will be reported to the stewards.”

Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff said after the race that it was “laughable” Verstappen had not been penalised for the incident.

Wolff described it as “really wrong defence from Max”, adding: “Lewis just managed it even more brilliantly by avoiding the contact and ending the race that way. But that was just over the line. It should have been a five-second penalty at least.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: “It was two guys racing hard. There was no contact. They both ran wide. I thought the stewards made the right decision.

“It would have been hard to penalise two drivers fighting for a world championship. It was firm but fair racing. They both ran deep.”

Verstappen said: “I braked a bit later to try to keep the position and the tyres were already a bit worn so I was already on the edge of grip.

“I was already not fully on the apex so then it’s a safer way of just running a bit wide there. So in a way I was of course happy that the stewards decided that we could just keep on racing because I think the racing in general was really good.”

At the British Grand Prix in July, Hamilton was given a 10-second penalty for causing a collision with Verstappen in an incident that has some parallels with the one at Interlagos.

In that one, Hamilton was trying to overtake on the inside of Copse corner.

He ran wide at the apex, just as Verstappen did in Brazil, but Verstappen did not take avoiding action as Hamilton did at Interlagos, they collided and the Red Bull crashed.

Hamilton went on to fight back from his penalty to win the race.

Will Red Bull protest?

The weekend in Brazil was soured by controversy between the two title-contending teams.

Red Bull made several visits to the FIA claiming that there was something illegal about Hamilton’s rear wing that was giving the Mercedes a performance advantage on the straights.

This led to the investigation that ended with Hamilton being disqualified from qualifying when his wing was found not to be in compliance with the regulations – although in a different way than the one Red Bull had believed.

Verstappen said the team believed the Mercedes wing was flexing backwards on the straights.

Red Bull are said by insiders to be considering whether to pursue the matter and lodge a protest against the Mercedes rear wing at one of the forthcoming races.

Source: BBC

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