Marko calls for a Hamilton ‘grid penalty’

Date published: June 22 2019

Helmut-Marko-and-Max-Verstappen

Helmut Marko says by the letter of the law set out in Canada, Lewis Hamilton should have been penalised for an unsafe return onto the track in France.

Unsafe returns have dominated Formula 1 headlines since the Canadian GP, a race in which Sebastian Vettel was hit with a five-second time penalty during his battle with Hamilton.

The stewards stood by their decision to penalise the Ferrari driver during a review in France on Friday.

A short while later Hamilton courted controversy for a similar incident when, in FP2 at the Paul Ricard circuit, he went off, hit a bollard and returned to the track in Max Verstappen’s path.

The Red Bull driver was forced to take avoiding action.

The French GP stewards, however, decided not to penalise Hamilton, which Red Bull advisor Marko says was the wrong call given what went on last time out in Canada.

“We must not forget that we are in a Formula 1 race,” he told the Express.

“This is not punishable for me but somehow there must be a consequence.

“If we continue on the line of Canada, then Hamilton should also be punished.

“Maybe even with a grid penalty.”

But while Marko wasn’t impressed with the stewards’ call, he says Verstappen didn’t complain about the Mercedes driver’s antics.

“Max thought he [Hamilton] simply had not seen him,” Marko added.

“That’s why Max went wide, he didn’t complain at all.”

Explaining why he didn’t kick up a fuss, something F1 driver Karun Chandhok says drivers are doing too often these days to get others into trouble, Verstappen said he had no reason to “screw” Hamilton.

Verstappen told  Ziggo Sport: “When something like that happens, I’m not going make any problems out of it. In the end we don’t fight with them anyway.

“If it’s for the championship or if you expect to really fight with Mercedes this weekend, then you maybe try and screw them. But I don’t feel like doing that at this moment.”

He added: “It’s just the decent thing to not whine about it like ‘yes, he held me up’”.

“It can happen, that he doesn’t see you in the mirrors because you could see that he was looking.

“But those mirrors aren’t very big and that part of the track is very wide. So he wasn’t able to see me in the mirror.”

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