Grand prix

F1 hearing set for Mercedes’ new evidence of Verstappen manoeuvre

The championship contenders both ran wide at Descida do Lago on lap 48 of Sunday’s race when Hamilton attempted to overtake Verstappen around the outside. 

Although Verstappen appeared to push Hamilton off-track at Turn 4, the incident was only noted by the F1 stewards and no further investigation was carried out. 

The FIA’s sporting code says: “Manoeuvres liable to hinder other drivers, such as deliberate crowding of a car beyond the edge of the track or any other abnormal change of direction, are strictly prohibited. Any driver who appears guilty of any of the above offences will be reported to the stewards.” 

Hamilton went on to successfully overtake Verstappen several laps later before winning the race but Mercedes boss Toto Wolff branded the decision not to penalise Verstappen “laughable”. 

Conversely, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt the stewards made the right call and said the incident was simply hard but fair racing. 

At the time of the incident, FIA race director Michael Masi admitted the stewards did not have access to the on-board camera from Verstappen’s car when they initially looked at the clash. 

The footage was finally released by FOM on Tuesday and Mercedes subsequently lodged a “right of review” for the stewards to reconsider the matter in light of new evidence emerging. 

A representative of the Mercedes team and up to three witnesses have been summoned to attend a video meeting with the stewards at 5pm local time (2pm) in Qatar on Thursday. 

This will determine whether Mercedes has the right to review the case.

“In accordance with [article] 14 ISC, this hearing is to determine whether the Right of Review exists in this case, i.e. 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.’,” said an FIA statement. 

Red Bull Racing team representatives have also been invited to attend the hearing. 

Verstappen holds a 14-point advantage over Hamilton in the world championship with three races to go, starting with this weekend’s first-ever grand prix to be held at the Losail International Circuit. 

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