Mercedes win right of appeal over decision not to penalise Max Verstappen

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Formula One stewards will review their decision not to penalise Max Verstappen at Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix, motor sport’s governing body has confirmed.

Lewis Hamilton won the Interlagos race following a superb comeback drive, but championship leader Verstappen escaped punishment for running his rival off the road as they duelled for first position.

The stewards noted the incident before looking at the footage and choosing not to launch a formal investigation, but Hamilton’s Mercedes team have won a right of review.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen
Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes team have been granted an appeal over the decision not to punish Max Verstappen in Brazil (Tim Goode/PA)

An International Automobile Federation (FIA) statement said: “In accordance with Art. 14 of the International Sporting Code (ISC), and following the petition for review by Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, lodged on 16 November 2021, the Team Manager and such witnesses as the Competitor may request, up to three, are required to appear via video conference (invitation by separate cover) at 17:00 hrs Local (Qatar) on Thursday, November 18 2021.

“In accordance with Art. 14 ISC, this hearing is to determine whether the Right of Review exists in this case, ie. whether ‘a significant and relevant new element is discovered which was unavailable to the parties seeking the review at the time of the decision concerned’.

“The names and positions of all attendees that the Competitor intends to request attend must be provided in writing no later than 12:00hrs Local (Qatar) on 18 November 2021 to the Stewards Secretary.”

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his victory in Brazil
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton celebrates his victory in Brazil (Lars Baron/AP)

FIA race director Michael Masi revealed after the stewards’ initial decision that the onboard front-facing video from Verstappen’s car was not available when the stewards acted.

The stewards have now considered the significance of the new footage and have decided it warrants an appeal.

A retrospective five-second time penalty for Verstappen would see him drop behind Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to third in Sunday’s result – reducing his championship advantage over Hamilton from 14 to 11 points.

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