Surprise at decision not to punish Hamilton: "Did I miss something?"

06-12-2021 18:06 | Updated: 06-12-2021 18:30
F1 News
Surprise at decision not to punish Hamilton: Did I miss something?

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix has been quite divisive. The stewards were criticised again, but there were also some notable moments between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. In his column Michael Schmidt points out that Hamilton is to blame for at least one incident.

Schmidt is not happy with the penalties the stewards handed out to Verstappen. " Both penalties had an aftertaste," he writes in his column for Auto, Motor und Sport. "The first because it was given despite Max Verstappen wanting to give up his place to Lewis Hamilton on three occasions. The second because it was based on a serious error of thought. It is not surprising that Christian Horner finds sympathisers for his contention that decisions usually turn out to Red Bull's disadvantage."

'Hamilton was to blame for collision with Verstappen'

Schmidt believes the five-second time penalty was fine in principle, as was the deal Red Bull Racing were offered by race director Michael Masi. "However, Verstappen then wants to pass Hamilton once, twice, even three times and still gets a time penalty."

He continued: "Okay, the first time it went wrong. But Hamilton was not completely innocent. The second time doesn't count because Verstappen used the same trick as his opponent did in Spa 2008. The third time the switch was done, albeit with a lot of delay." That a time penalty was added on top of this is unjustified in Schmidt's opinion.

Reasoning misses the point

"The inglorious climax, however, was the second time penalty for Verstappen," he continued. Verstappen was singled out as the main culprit and Hamilton got off without a penalty. "The stewards acquitted Hamilton because they understood that he did not want to overtake Verstappen before the DRS measuring point, to avoid a counter-attack."

Here Schmidt no longer follows the stewards. "Did I miss something there? Hamilton supposedly didn't know Verstappen wanted to pass him, so he didn't have to worry about the DRS line," he explained.

"Verstappen could also have been forced to slow down because of a technical problem. So would Hamilton have also waited until the DRS measuring point? Probably not. If he knew, he wouldn't have had to wait in the Red Bull's slipstream until the measuring point. If he didn't know, he had no reason to wait behind Verstappen and then it's his own fault," Schmidt concludes.

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