Lewis Hamilton claims certain rules aren’t applied to Max Verstappen in the same way as the rest of the grid and that the way his title rival slowed in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was “dangerous.”
Verstappen was handed a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when he forced both himself and Hamilton off track defending at Turn 1, in what was a similar situation to the one seen in Brazil two races ago. On that occasion no investigation was deemed necessary but in Jeddah Verstappen was told to give the place up, with Hamilton stating the way the Red Bull driver races is because stewards aren’t consistent with their decisions.
“I don’t think I’ve changed the way that I race,” Hamilton said. “I think we’ve seen multiple incidents this year — even Brazil where we’re supposed to do our racing on the track in between the white lines — and the rules haven’t been clear from the stewards that those things have been allowed, so that’s continued.
“From my understanding, I know I can’t overtake someone and go off the track and then keep the position. That’s well known between us drivers. It doesn’t apply to one of us I guess.”
When Verstappen originally tried to let Hamilton take the lead on the run to the final corner, Hamilton ran into the back of the Red Bull and called Verstappen “f***ing crazy” on team radio, something he stands by as a “heat of the moment” reaction even though he admits he himself wasn’t keen to overtake at that point for tactical reasons.
“I definitely feel there are scenarios that that was the case. This is not the first time I’ve had to avoid a collision. That’s how I felt in the moment –sometimes you say things in the heat of the moment and you go back and re-watch things and maybe you feel differently. In the moment, that’s how it felt. But I really just try to recompose myself, chase down and keep fighting.
“It really wasn’t clear. There were two scenarios — one it wasn’t clear and two I didn’t get the information. Then it became apparent that he was trying to let me past, which I guess he had been asked to do, but before the DRS zone. That meant he would’ve DRS’d back past, follow me through the last corner and then DRS me into Turn 1.
“So that was a tactic. But the worst part was just the steep, heavy braking that then happened at one point, which is when we collided. That was the dangerous part.”