FIA race director Michael Masi came close to issuing Max Verstappen with a warning for his defensive move against Lewis Hamilton in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, but opted to stick with the philosophy of letting the drivers race.
Verstappen tried to outbrake Hamilton into Turn 4 as the Mercedes driver looked set to take the lead after using DRS on the outside of the Red Bull. While Hamilton appeared able to make the corner Verstappen ran wide, forcing them both off the circuit. Masi noted the incident but decided no investigation was necessary, and says it was a consistent approach with what the drivers have asked for.
“I disagree it is inconsistent,” Masi said. “If you look at it, as I’ve said many times before, you judge the incident on its merits, and you have a look at all of it. Let’s not forget we have the overall let them race principles. And looking at it all, with the angles we had available, that was the philosophy was adopted.
“I think if you look at proximity of the cars heading to the apex, where it is, nature of the corner, fact both cars went off, neither car lost position or anything like that, was probably the general view.
“I looked at it a few times, (it) wasn’t far off a black and white flag to be honest, for Max.”
Despite making a decision at the time, Masi says he will look again at the incident from a personal perspective once given more camera angles, as he only had the ones seen on television available to him.
“It was only the cameras that are broadcast, as I’ve said before, is what we have access to throughout. (The forward-facing camera) hasn’t been obtained yet. It has been requested.
“We have the forward facing, 360, all the angles that we don’t get live will be downloaded and will have a look at them.”
When it was put to Masi that Verstappen’s steering input could be telling, he replied: “Could be, absolutely, yeah … but we didn’t have access to it. Once we do it from the commercial rights holder we’ll have a look.”