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Formula 1

Why wasn't Verstappen penalised for Hamilton shove?

FIA Race Director Michael Masi has explained why the stewards opted against punishing Max Verstappen for a contentious defence against Lewis Hamilton in Brazil.

Hamilton Verstappen Brazil
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To news overview © Pirelli

The FIA's Race Director, Michael Masi, has explained why the stewards decided not to punish Max Verstappen for a staunch defence against Lewis Hamilton during the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Verstappen and Hamilton went wheel-to-wheel on Lap 48 of 71 at Interlagos, with the Mercedes getting a run on the Red Bull along the straight between Turns 3 and 4.

Hamilton tried to go around the outside of his title rival, but Verstappen firmly closed the door and appeared to straighten his steering to push the Mercedes wide. Both went across the escape area and rejoined the track.

Despite it appearing to be a clear-cut penalty for pushing a driver off, the stewards noted the incident and then subsequently decided that it wasn't worth a penalty.

Speaking after the race, Masi said that the philosophy of 'let them race' was utilised as the championship enters the closing stages - an approach he felt was fair for the incident.

"I think if you look [at the] proximity of the cars heading into the apex, where it is, [the] nature of the corner, the fact that both cars went off, neither car lost position or anything like that... That was the general view of it," Masi told select members of the media, including RacingNews365.com.

"Obviously, give or take, [they were] side on side, so I think that, for the benefit of everyone, let them race.

"You judge the incident on its merits, and you have a look at all of it. Let's not forget, we have the overall 'let them race' principles, and looking at it all with all of the angles that we had available, it was that philosophy [that] was adopted."

The crucial angle was missing

Masi admitted that one crucial angle wasn't able to be taken into account, and that was the onboard camera from Verstappen's car.

The stewards didn't have access to it during their deliberations and, as a result, couldn't take into account Verstappen's steering inputs.

"No, it was only... The cameras that are broadcast are basically what we have access to throughout," Masi said.

While there's no chance that a penalty might be retrospectively awarded, he explained that the stewards intend to still review that critical camera angle.

"It [the on-board] hasn't been obtained yet. It's been requested," he commented.

"The forward-facing, the 360 [degree], there's all of the camera angles that we don't get live that will be downloaded and we'll have a look at them post-race.

"But we didn't have access to it. It's been downloaded and, once the commercial rights holders supply it, we'll have a look."

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