Marko overruled again in Hamilton penalty bid

Jon Wilde
Christian Horner and Helmut Marko at the Saudi Arabian GP. Jeddah December 2021.

Helmut Marko appears to have been overruled for a second time in Saudi Arabia by Red Bull over trying to elicit a penalty for Lewis Hamilton.

On Saturday, the 78-year-old Red Bull consultant had claimed an appeal would be launched after Hamilton escaped without a grid penalty for two incidents during FP3 – cleared of ignoring yellow flags and given nothing more than a reprimand for blocking Nikita Mazepin. But no appeal happened.

After the race, in which Max Verstappen incurred three separate sanctions for incidents that also involved Hamilton, Marko again was seeking punishment for the seven-time World Champion, who won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to draw level on points with his title rival.

The Austrian was unhappy that Hamilton had not kept within 10 car lengths of Verstappen on the lap to the grid for the first restart at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and hinted on ServusTV that an appeal might be forthcoming.

However, race director Michael Masi stated there was no case to answer because that was not actually a formation lap, and so Red Bull are believed to have no plans to seek action against Hamilton.

Marko was also in typically feisty mood after the race regarding the collision in which Verstappen was hit from behind by Hamilton’s Mercedes while trying to surrender the lead to the Briton, a move designed to try and avert the five-second penalty that came his way.

“We hope there will be a re-assessment with the officials when we can back up our view with facts – and hopefully there will then be a punishment for the Hamilton side,” Marko is quoted as saying by Sport1.

Marko believed the evidence lay in Verstappen’s brake pressure during the incident on lap 37 of 50, with the stewards having found the Dutchman responsible of “erratic” driving.

They said Verstappen had “braked suddenly (69 bar) and significantly, resulting in 2.4g deceleration” as the “predominant cause of the collision”.

But Marko insisted: “We feel we have been treated unfairly. We are working to prove Max’s braking pressure did not increase when he crashed with Hamilton.

“Hamilton simply misjudged and drove into Max’s car. Unfortunately, that left two big cuts in our rear tyre. That’s why we couldn’t attack anymore.”

 

Red Bull are understood to have accepted all the stewards’ decisions from Saudi Arabia and will focus their attention on trying to provide Verstappen with a car in which he can finish ahead of Hamilton at the season’s finale in Abu Dhabi to secure a first Drivers’ title.

 

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