Mercedes to make case for review of Verstappen non-penalty

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Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton, of Britain, waves at the fans after coming in first in the Brazilian Formula One Grand Prix in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (Lars Baron, Pool Photo via AP)

PARIS – Mercedes will argue Thursday for a review of the decision not to penalize Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen at the Brazilian Grand Prix for an incident in which Lewis Hamilton was run off course as he attempted a pass for the lead.

The FIA said Wednesday that Mercedes won the right to review the incident in which Verstappen appeared to force the seven-time champion off track. The stewards noted the incident at the time, but ruled it a racing incident and took no action against the Red Bull driver.

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Hamilton made the race-winning pass 11 laps later to win at Interlagos on Sunday. It cut Verstappen's lead in the standings to 14 points with three races remaining.

Even though Hamilton won, Mercedes believes Verstappen should have been penalized.

The hearing on Thursday ahead of the inaugural Qatar GP is to determine if Mercedes has met the criteria for a review. Mercedes has based its challenge on “new evidence unavailable to the stewards at the time of their decision.” It is believed to be onboard camera footage of the incident from both cars.

If the stewards find Verstappen should be penalized, he could receive a five-second time penalty applied to last Sunday's race. He finished second ahead of Hamilton teammate Valtteri Bottas, and the time penalty would drop him to third. It would cut his lead from 14 points to 11.

The 36-year-old Hamilton is bidding for an eighth world title to break a tie for most all-time with Michael Schumacher. The 24-year-old Verstappen is seeking his first.


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