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Verstappen facing "weak penalty" for "very serious" Hamilton incident - Stewart

Verstappen facing "weak penalty" for "very serious" Hamilton incident - Stewart

Verstappen facing "weak penalty" for "very serious" Hamilton incident - Stewart

Verstappen facing "weak penalty" for "very serious" Hamilton incident - Stewart

Three-time F1 champion Sir Jackie Stewart believes Max Verstappen has been handed "such a weak penalty" by the FIA stewards following his Italian Grand Prix collision with Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull driver Verstappen will drop back three places for the next race in Russia after being deemed "predominantly to blame" for the lap-26 incident at Monza which resulted in his car landing on top of Hamilton's Mercedes.

Hamilton and team principal Toto Wolff both claimed the halo saved the life of the seven-time champion, an indicator to Stewart of the serious nature of the accident.

While the stewards only judge an incident in isolation, away from any outcome, speaking to Talksport, Stewart said: "It was yet another experience of the two drivers being a little bit over anxious to get on with the job.

“It was an early part of the race and not something you want to push too hard on to begin with. It’s a circuit where there is an opportunity to pass in one or two other areas.

“As in Silverstone, when there was a collision between both drivers, I think both of those cases could have been avoided.

“They were both too early in the race to be really pushing in that fashion and situations where anybody could have been thrown in the air, upside down, it could have been very serious.

“It would have been very difficult to say who was guilty. The governing body has made a decision.

"But it was such a weak penalty, only three places at the next grand prix Verstappen will have to move back. That’s a very small penalty.”

Verstappen 'still in the puppy stage'

Stewart feels, however, "both drivers have to take some responsibility" for what took place.

He added: "It was a corner they all know because that corner simply wasn’t there in my day.

“It has been put in because the race track was so fast and dangerous that they had to carry out slowing down procedures. That’s what that corner has done.”

With neither driver scoring a point from the grand prix, and Hamilton failing to finish for the first time in 63 races, Verstappen heads to the Sochi Autodrom with a five-point lead.

Stewart, though, is undecided as to whether Hamilton will win a record-breaking eighth title or if Verstappen will claim his first.

"They [Mercedes] have the best package at the moment, but Red Bull have really shown themselves to be hot," assessed Stewart.

“Verstappen, I think now is the fastest driver in the business, but is still slightly in the puppy stage.

“At the same time, Lewis may be approaching the end of his career in Formula 1, so I think the future holds more in the Verstappen field, but don’t count out Mercedes and Lewis is an extremely good driver.”

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