Max Verstappen believes it was "unfair" that he was penalised for the first-corner incident between himself and Lewis Hamilton when the pair fought over the lead on Lap 36/50 of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Verstappen had come under pressure from Hamilton down the pit straight and fell behind the Mercedes driver, but braked later than his title rival to take the inside line into the corner. However, a snap of oversteer sent him 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.
"I don't think it's fair"
Speaking afterwards, Verstappen argued it was "unfair" that he picked up a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage when Hamilton wasn't investigated for the same incident. "Yeah, so he had the run, a bit like Brazil, and I braked late and I think I got a little bit off-line at one point, I guess, and I had a moment," Verstappen told media, including RacingNews365.com , after the race. "I went wide, but he also didn't make the corner, so we both basically missed the corner, and I don't think it's fair to then just say that I get a penalty but, yeah, it is what it is."
The clash with Hamilton
Verstappen went on to explain the contentious moment of the Grand Prix from his perspective, as Hamilton ran into the back of the Red Bull when Verstappen attempted to yield the position. Verstappen was later given a 10-second time penalty for the clash. "At one point, they [Red Bull] told me I had to give the position back," he explained. "That was, I think, just before [Turn] 22. So after [Turns] 22-23, I went to drive to the right side, I slowed down and I was braking and downshifting, and he just stayed super close behind me, and I don't really understand why. "I was just trying to let him by. I'm just going slower and slower, pulling the downshift. We had a… oh I don't know, a miscommunication or whatever, and he ran into the back of me, and that was it."