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Mercedes claim Verstappen Hamilton swap call came after bizarre collision

Mercedes claim Verstappen Hamilton swap call came after bizarre collision

F1 News

Mercedes claim Verstappen Hamilton swap call came after bizarre collision

Mercedes claim Verstappen Hamilton swap call came after bizarre collision
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Mercedes director of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has revealed the radio call from the FIA explaining Max Verstappen would concede the lead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix came AFTER the contact with Lewis Hamilton.

In a race filled with drama and chaos between the F1 championship protagonists, the biggest flashpoint came on lap 38 in Jeddah when, after leaving the track and gaining an advantage whilst defending the lead from Hamilton, Verstappen attempted to give up his position.

Confusion followed as a slowing Red Bull jolted left and right before braking heavily, causing contact with a slow-moving Mercedes that was left bewildered by the incident.

Verstappen was given a retrospective 10-second penalty after finishing second whilst Hamilton nursed significant wing damage to take the win and fastest lap to set up a title showdown in Abu Dhabi.

Explaining the bizarre coming together, Shovlin said: "The timing [of communication] wasn't great for us.

"The first call was from Lewis saying he has just brake tested me and then Michael spoke to Ron [Meadows, Mercedes sporting director] to say he is being asked to give the position back.

"So we didn't have time to get onto Lewis and say he wasn't expecting it and looking at the video in-car, you can see why Lewis had a problem with it because Max was right in the middle of the track that is almost exactly three-cars wide.

"He had no way of knowing whether Max was going to go left or right, Max stayed very central and braked hard and Lewis was at around 50 bar of brake pressure.

"The car was on the braking limit trying to not go into the back of Max, it was all he could do to stop it.

"It is just not where anyone would expect anyone to let them go by and if you are letting your team-mate go by, we all know how you do that.

"If you are giving up position, it shouldn't be materially different to that, you have to relinquish the position."

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