Jolyon Palmer believes that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were both at fault for their collision in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The title contenders had more than one run-in during Sunday's chaotic race, with Verstappen receiving a five-second time penalty for running wide at Turn 1 whilst battling with Hamilton for the lead on Lap 37. There was then another clash when Verstappen slowed to yield position to Hamilton following the illegal overtake. Hamilton was seemingly confused by the situation and ran into the back of the Red Bull driver. Following a stewards' investigation after the Grand Prix, Verstappen was handed a 10-second time penalty for the incident, though this did not affect his finishing position of second. With Hamilton having won the race, both drivers will arrive at the season-closing Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on equal points.
"A real mess"
Palmer has labelled the sequence of events following Verstappen's illegal move a "mess", and believes that the subsequent crash that occurred as Verstappen tried to give the position back to Hamilton was "silly" from both parties. "The next series of moments [after Verstappen's overtake] were a real mess, as the teams and the FIA attempted to resolve matters, with Verstappen having already been deemed to have crossed the line of acceptability twice in wheel-to-wheel moves," Palmer wrote in his column for Formula1.com . "The touch between the two drivers on Verstappen's first attempt to let Hamilton through was silly on both drivers' counts. "Hamilton should have just taken the place rather than slow to a crawl behind his rival in the midst of a Grand Prix, but out of frustration, it looked like Verstappen hit the brakes and initiated contact with his rival in the most unnecessary manner. "Both drivers were trying to be behind at the DRS detection line to gain the advantage on the next straight, but frankly it shouldn't have mattered. "Given the order to let Hamilton through, Verstappen never should have been allowed to take the place back immediately after through that benefit, and I'm sure the stewards wouldn't have allowed it anyway - as was the case a few laps later."
Two drivers with "polar opposite" views on racing
The events of the race in Jeddah highlighted the very different approaches taken by Hamilton and Verstappen, according to Palmer. "All in all, the race, while incredibly dramatic, turned into a messy situation between two rivals who have polar opposite views on racing," the former F1 driver explained. "Verstappen has always been aggressive, but now with the championship on the line, it looks like he's prepared to take more risks, because if both drivers end up out of the race, naturally it suits the driver in the lead of the championship. "Conversely, Hamilton had to avoid contact at all costs, because getting caught up in any incident with Verstappen could have cost him the championship. Heading to Abu Dhabi with an eight-point deficit or more would be very tricky to overcome in one race weekend. It would be out of his hands. "It was a shame that this race was decided by the stewards and not a fantastic on-track battle, but it's hard to argue with the result given everything that happened on Sunday."