Max Verstappen has been hit with a 10-second time penalty and given two penalty points on his racing licence after his collision with Lewis Hamilton in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
There was plenty of controversy in Jeddah as the two title rivals battled for victory – and it almost ended in tears in the latter stages.
Verstappen was told to allow Hamilton past after an illegal manoeuvre to take the lead – but the pair collided as the Red Bull slowed down on turn 27.
Both drivers appeared perplexed by the incident and were outspoken after the race, whilst Verstappen was given a five-second in-race penalty.
Hamilton raced clear to take the chequered flag, and after further investigation by stewards Verstappen’s penalty has been increased.
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However, the 10-second penalty means he keeps second place having finished 16 seconds clear of third-placed Valtteri Bottas.
It means the pair will still head into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi next weekend locked level on points at the top of the standings.
A explanation from the stewards read: “At turn 21 the driver of car 33 was given the instruction to give back a position to car 44 and was told by the team to do so “strategically”.
“Car 33 slowed significantly at turn 26. However, it was obvious that neither driver wanted to take the lead prior to DRS detection line 3.
“The driver of Car 33 stated that he was wondering why Car 44 had not overtaken and the driver of Car 44 stated that, not having been aware at that stage that Car 33 was giving the position back, was unaware of the reason Car 33 was slowing.
“In deciding to penalise the driver of Car 33, the key point for the Stewards was that the driver of Car 33 then braked suddenly (69 bar) and significantly, resulting in 2.4g deceleration.
“Whilst accepting that the driver of Car 44 could have overtaken Car 33 when that car first slowed, we understand why he (and the driver of Car 33) did not wish to be the first to cross the DRS.
“However, the sudden braking by the driver of Car 33 was determined by the Stewards to be erratic and hence the predominant cause of the collision and hence the standard penalty of 10 seconds for this type of incident, is imposed.”
Speaking after the race, a furious Hamilton accused Verstappen of driving “over the limit”.
But Verstappen was adamant he was not at fault and showed his displeasure by storming off the podium.
Their season-long rivalry will now come to a head next weekend with the title on the line after a dramatic battle over the last few months.Internet Explorer Channel Network