David Coulthard believes that the Turn 1 incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on Lap 37 of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a "racing incident".
The title rivals were fighting for the lead when Hamilton edged ahead on the pit straight, whilst Verstappen braked later than Hamilton to take the inside line into the corner.
However, a snap of oversteer sent the Dutchman skittering across the escape area and he resumed, still in the lead. Behind him, Hamilton had also run wide, albeit to a lesser extent, after taking avoiding action from the Red Bull.
Verstappen was handed a five-second time penalty for the incident, and later said that he felt it was "unfair" that he received this punishment whilst Hamilton was not investigated.
"You could argue it's a racing incident"
There has been criticism of Verstappen's driving in Jeddah from some F1 pundits, including Johnny Herbert and Martin Brundle, but Coulthard has taken a more neutral view of what happened and argues that it could be seen as a racing incident.
"There's no question that Lewis could argue he only ended up there because Max was coming in all locked-up and sideways," Coulthard told Channel 4 F1.
"But the fact is, he did end up beyond the white line. So in that case, you could argue it's a racing incident.
"But, that said, the stewards made their call, [and] that was a five-second penalty in their book."
A "harsh" penalty
Coulthard's fellow pundit Alice Powell has also taken this stance, and believes that the penalty given to Verstappen was "harsh".
"Personally, I think that's a racing incident," W Series racer Powell said.
"They're both going in, they both run wide off the track. Max has a kick of oversteer there. Lewis, okay, doesn't cut the whole corner, Max does, but they both went off track at the end of the day.
"So I think the penalty is harsh."
It wasn't the only punishment that Verstappen received for his actions in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the Red Bull driver having also been given a 10-second time penalty after the race for a collision with Hamilton at Turn 27.
The title contenders now head to the season finale in Abu Dhabi on equal points.
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