Max Verstappen says he wasn’t surprised Mercedes have asked the stewards to review an incident between him and Lewis Hamilton during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver said he doesn’t expect to be penalised for the incident which occured on lap 48 of last weekend’s race. Verstappen and Hamilton ran wide when the Mercedes driver tried to overtake his rival around the outside of Descida do Lago, turn four on the Interlagos circuit.
The stewards chose not to investigate the incident at the time, but Mercedes have requested a review claiming they have new evidence relating to it. A Red Bull source said the team had been surprised by the development, but Verstappen was not. “No [I’m] not really surprised by that, but that’s how it goes,” he said.
He said he hasn’t considered the possibility of a penalty, which could cost him a place in the classification of last week’s race and therefore reduce his championship lead over Hamilton.
“I don’t even think about that,” said Verstappen. “‘If, if, if’, it’s not the end of the world.
“I don’t expect that to happen because I thought it was fair and hard racing between two guys who are fighting for the championship. So it wouldn’t have been, anyway, an easy pass because that is not how I am and I don’t think how it should be when you are fighting for the title.”
Verstappen said he would do the same again in similar circumstances. “As I driver I think we know exactly what we can or cannot do in a car,” he explained.
“We were fighting hard, braking late into the corner, the tyres are quite worn. If I would have turned more abrupt to the left you just spin off the track. So that’s why we are the drivers, you try to control the car.”
If the stewards agree to investigate the incident, a likely focus of their discussion will be whether Verstappen running wide prevented Hamilton from staying on the track. “I think we both braked late so it would have been very difficult to make the corner,” said Verstappen. “But it’s always afterwards, isn’t it, it’s difficult to know.”
The call for a review is the second involving the championship contenders after Red Bull attempted the same following the collision between the pair at Silverstone. The two drivers also crashed into each other at Monza.
However Verstappen said he isn’t concerned the championship fight may be taking an ugly turn with three races to go. “I don’t think about it too much because it’s not in my hands these kind of things,” he said. “I’m the driver and I just need to focus on what’s happening on-track.”
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