Lewis Hamilton breaks silence on FIA rejecting Mercedes appeal on Max Verstappen incident

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Lewis Hamilton has given his opinion on the decision not to penalise Max Verstappen for their incident at the Brazilian Grand Prix last weekend. Hamilton is hoping to defeat Red Bull star Verstappen to close the gap at the top of the Drivers’ Championship.

Mercedes requested a ‘right to review’ the decision following Hamilton’s win on Sunday. 

After being awarded a five-place grid penalty, Hamilton had one of his great drives to climb from P10 and take the chequered flag at Interlagos.

The result means the Brit has closed the gap on championship leader Verstappen ahead of the final three races.

On lap 48 on Sunday, the two rivals were battling for the lead with Hamilton’s Mercedes appearing to narrowly edge ahead of the Red Bull, which was on the inside. 

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Verstappen ran wide and the move forced both drivers off the track, with the Dutchman holding the lead for a few more laps before the seven-time world champion finally took the lead.

While Hamilton took the lead and win anyway, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Verstappen should have received a penalty. 

An investigation was deemed unnecessary after the FIA consulted footage provided by broadcast cameras – but Verstappen’s on-board footage shows the Dutchman clearly didn’t turn as aggressively as he could have, forcing Hamilton from the road. 

Mercedes submitted a ‘right of review’ after seeing the footage, which officials did not have during the race but emerged on Tuesday.

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On Friday, the FIA announced that Mercedes’ request had been denied, which means the Dutchman will not receive a retrospective penalty for the incident.

Hamilton was frank when asked about the FIA’s decision.

“I don’t have any thoughts on it,” the seven-time world champion said.

“Because I was not a part of it and I’ve been focusing on my weekend.”

Red Bull were reportedly surprised their rivals have protested as they believe the on-board camera from Verstappen’s car supported the view of race director Michael Masi that it was simply hard racing.

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

However, the Austrian admitted the German manufacturer expected the FIA to reject the review. 

He insisted the action was to instigate conversation about such manoeuvres to clarify the rules ahead of the final three races of the 2021 season.

Formula 1 travels to the Losail Circuit for the Qatar Grand Prix on November 21, with Red Bull star Verstappen holding a 14-point lead over Mercedes’ Hamilton.

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