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Verstappen Hamilton crash 'part of an intense title fight' claim FIA

Verstappen Hamilton crash 'part of an intense title fight' claim FIA

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Verstappen Hamilton crash 'part of an intense title fight' claim FIA

Verstappen Hamilton crash 'part of an intense title fight' claim FIA

FIA race director Michael Masi has claimed the numerous clashes between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to be "part of an intense championship battle".

Title protagonists Hamilton and Verstappen will arrive at Abu Dhabi level on points after the Mercedes driver's dramatic victory in Saudi Arabia.

Simply glancing at the results sheet for the Jeddah race fails to even begin to tell the story of a chaotic and, at times, controversial race with tensions boiling over on lap 38.

After defending aggressively from Hamilton one lap earlier, Verstappen made use of the turn one run-off to retain and extend his lead.

Instructed to concede the position and allow Hamilton through, Verstappen tactically slowed before a DRS detection line into the final corner, confusing Hamilton who ran into the rear of the Red Bull.

Verstappen received a post-race 10-second penalty for the incident and although this had no effect on the result, Masi was dismissive when asked his view on the driving standards of the pair.

“It is an intense championship battle between two fantastic drivers and two great teams," stated Masi.

"That is part of an intense championship battle on both sides.

“The incident at turn 27, having discussed it with the stewards which is why they waited to investigate that until after the race, just to get the full perspective of both drivers involved, to understand the entire situation.”

Questions were raised with regard to the on-track code of conduct after Verstappen escaped sanctions in Brazil for running Hamilton off the track and Masi is braced for further questioning from the drivers ahead of the season finale.

“I think the drivers’ briefings, there is always discussion on various things," explained Masi.

"If it is or not, that is part of why we have a drivers’ meeting, to have an open and frank discussion between us and exchange views."

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