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Verstappen blamed for Hamilton collision as stewards hand out time penalty

Verstappen blamed for Hamilton collision as stewards hand out time penalty

Verstappen blamed for Hamilton collision as stewards hand out time penalty

Verstappen blamed for Hamilton collision as stewards hand out time penalty

Max Verstappen has been handed a 10-second time penalty by the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix stewards for being "predominantly at fault" for his collision with Lewis Hamilton.

A stewards' investigation was sparked by a Hamilton move on Verstappen into turn one, with the duo narrowly avoiding a crash, leading to the seven-time champion proclaiming of the Dutch driver "This guy is f****** crazy man!"

Shortly after, Verstappen was instructed to hand over the lead to Hamilton by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase, seemingly to avoid a penalty from the FIA.

On lap 38, Hamilton closed in again only to hit Verstappen from behind, leading to the former claiming he was being "brake tested", albeit unaware Verstappen had slowed to allow him by.

The incident caused damage to the front-wing endplate on Hamilton's Mercedes, with Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff reacting with fury by removing his headset and smashing it on the floor.

Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows made clear to FIA race director Michael Masi he and the team were only informed a place was being handed back just as Hamilton tried to make a move.

Verstappen was subsequently handed a five-second time penalty for the incident on lap 37.

In reviewing the collision, the stewards have determined Verstappen was again to blame and have handed him a further 10-second penalty, albeit he retains second place.

A stewards' report read: "At turn 21 the driver of car 33 [Verstappen] was given the instruction to give back a position to car 44 [Hamilton] and was told by the team to do so 'strategically'.

"Car 33 slowed significantly at turn 26. However, it was obvious that neither driver wanted to take the lead prior to DRS detection line three.

"The driver of car 33 stated that he was wondering why car 44 had not overtaken and the driver of car 44 stated that, not having been aware at that stage that car 33 was giving the position back, was unaware of the reason car 33 was slowing.

"In deciding to penalise the driver of car 33, the key point for the stewards was that the driver of car 33 then braked suddenly [69 bar] and significantly, resulting in 2.4g deceleration.

"Whilst accepting that the driver of car 44 could have overtaken car 33 when that car first slowed, we understand why he [and the driver of Car 33] did not wish to be the first to cross the DRS.

"However, the sudden braking by the driver of car 33 was determined by the stewards to be erratic and hence the predominant cause of the collision.

"Hence the standard penalty of 10 seconds for this type of incident, is imposed."

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