Ex-Bridgestone man questions ‘bias with certain stewards’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappens walks away from his crash with Lewis Hamilton. Italy, September 2021.

Max Verstappen walks away after crashing with title rival Lewis Hamilton. Italy, September 2021.

Adamant that Max Verstappen did not deserve a penalty for what he saw as a “racing incident”, Kees van de Grint has questioned the “bias of certain stewards”.

Verstappen clashed with his title rival Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix, the duo having their second big crash of this season.

While they have traded paint, and the occasional piece of front wing, several times, it was at Silverstone and again at Monza that the battle went a step too far.

Verstappen came off second best at the British Grand Prix while next time around at Monza both cars retired, Verstappen’s RB16B sitting on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.

The stewards declared Verstappen was “predominantly” to blame for Sunday’s crash.

However, former Bridgestone F1 tyre man Van de Grint disagrees, saying both drivers could have done something to avoid a collision.

“If we have to describe the crash, I think it’s a racing incident,” he said in RTL GP’s Slipstream podcast.

“What you can expect, what we predicted months ago. These two didn’t give anything.

“Max could have used the escape road, Hamilton could have left a bit more space. Neither wanted to. Each had their reason for that too.”

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Adamant in his belief it was a racing incident, Van de Grint questioned Verstappen’s three-place grid penalty.

“To then say afterwards Max gets that penalty, and Hamilton is a little bit guilty and doesn’t get it… I don’t want Hamilton to get a penalty. This is just a race incident,” he said.

“Next race we’ll be back at it in full force and these two will fight it out again. But this is biased.

“And then I wonder…isn’t there a certain bias with certain stewards?”

FIA stewards chairman Garry Connelly was joined by Tim Mayer, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Paolo Longoni as the stewards for the Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen left Monza five points ahead of Hamilton in the title race.


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