Mercedes have requested a review into the Turn 4 incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at Interlagos.
It comes as a result of the newly-released footage of Max Verstappen’s forward-facing on-board camera at the time of the close call between he and Hamilton, as that angle was not available to the stewards when they decided no investigation was necessary as the two drivers went off the road at Turn 4.
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 16, 2021
A statement issued by Mercedes said: “The Mercedes AMG-Petronas F1 Team confirm we have today requested a Right of Review under Article 14.1.1 of the International Sporting Code, in relation to the Turn 4 incident between Car 44 and Car 33 on lap 48 of the 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix, on the basis of new evidence unavailable to the Stewards at the time of their decision.”
Opinion has been split on whether or not Verstappen should have been penalised for his part in the move. Hamilton had tried to make his way around the outside of the Red Bull to take the lead, his car was almost fully ahead at Turn 4 and Verstappen braked late to re-take the inside line.
He is accused of not making enough effort to take the apex of the corner as he ran wide, leading to both drivers running off the track before rejoining.
Hamilton eventually got past his title rival to take the race victory on Sunday, but any retrospective time penalty would benefit Mercedes as Valtteri Bottas finished under five seconds behind the Red Bull. A reversal of the second and third placings would cost the Dutchman more points in the World Championship battle, with Hamilton now 14 behind with three races remaining.
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) November 16, 2021
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said it was a “laughable” decision for the stewards to not penalise Verstappen in the wake of the incident, while Red Bull boss Christian Horner felt a punishment for his driver would have been unfair given there was no contact between the two drivers.
Further reports suggest that Red Bull are surprised at the Mercedes’ decision to take up an appeal in the matter, given their belief that the footage of Verstappen’s car proves the theory of race director Michael Masi that it was hard racing, but ultimately fair between the two drivers.
Mercedes’ request to review the decision of the stewards mirrors the decision Red Bull took to appeal the punishment given to Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone, after his and Verstappen’s infamous collision at Copse that left the Dutchman suffering a 51G impact.
Hamilton was given a 10-second time penalty for that, but still won the race and Red Bull ultimately failed in their aim to have the Briton’s punishment upgraded upon a review by the stewards and the FIA.
The matter is likely to be resolved by a hearing between senior members of the two teams and the stewards ahead of this weekend’s race in Qatar.