Max Verstappen has received a three-place grid drop for the Russian Grand Prix after being found to be at fault for his Monza clash with Lewis Hamilton.
The World Championship rivals had their second major collision of the season during the Italian Grand Prix, Hamilton having been penalised by the stewards for the Silverstone collision after which Verstappen was taken to hospital.
This incident was at slower speed, in the opening chicane as Verstappen tried to squeeze his Red Bull up the inside of the Mercedes. The two cars made contact as the Red Bull breasted the sausage kerbs and came to rest partly on top of Hamilton’s car in the gravel.
Lewis Hamilton on Sky F1: "He just didn't want to give way today, and he knew when he was going into (Turn) 2 what was going to happen. He knew he was going over the kerb, but he still did it. We'll speak to the stewards and see."
This isn't the last we're hearing of this. #F1 pic.twitter.com/9EhOdq3elF
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) September 12, 2021
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The stewards announced an investigation would take place after the race and when the verdict came through, they found the Dutchman was “predominantly to blame”.
“Car 44 [Hamilton] was exiting the pits,” began the stewards’ statement. “Car 33 [Verstappen] was on the main straight. At the 50m board before Turn 1, Car 44 was significantly ahead of Car 33.
“Car 33 braked late and started to move alongside Car 44, although at no point in the sequence does Car 33 get any further forward than just behind the front wheel of Car 44.
“During the hearing, the driver of Car 33 asserted the cause of the incident was the driver of Car 44 opening the steering after Turn 1 and “squeezing” him to the apex of turn 2.
“The driver of Car 44 asserted the driver of Car 33 attempted to pass very late and should have given up the corner either by backing off sooner or by turning left behind the kerb.
“The stewards observed on CCTV footage that the driver of Car 44 was driving an avoiding line, although his position caused Car 33 to go onto the kerb. But further, the stewards observed that Car 33 was not at all alongside Car 44 until significantly into the entry into Turn 1.
“In the opinion of the stewards, this manoeuvre was attempted too late for the driver of Car 33 to have “the right to racing room”.
“While Car 44 could have steered further from the kerb to avoid the incident, the stewards determined that his position was reasonable and therefore find the driver of Car 33 was
predominantly to blame for the incident.
“In coming to the penalty, the stewards emphasise they have only considered the incident itself and not the consequences thereof.”
With both drivers scoring no points from the race, Verstappen will take a five-point lead in the World Championship to the Russian Grand Prix – but now has his work cut out to retain it at Sochi, which is traditionally a Mercedes stronghold.
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