Formula One fans have called for Max Verstappen to receive a penalty after on-board footage of his tussle with Lewis Hamilton in Brazil was finally released.
Mercedes were furious after a lap 48 incident between the two championship title contenders, in which their man overtook Verstappen, only for him to be forced wide and pushed back down to second place.
Stewards decided that no investigation was necessary with it later being revealed that the FIA did not have all the footage to review during the race.
Fans have called for Max Verstappen (left) to get retrospective punishment for his tussle with eventual race winner Lewis Hamilton
Stewards didn’t have on-board footage of the incident when making their judgement
F1 fans have suggested that Verstappen didn’t attempt to make the apex of the corner and ran wide
Verstappen avoided any penalty for running Hamilton off track during their lap 48 tussle
F1 race director Michael Masi said Verstappen’s on-board footage could be ‘the smoking gun’ that decided whether the title leader was at fault.
That footage has now been released on social media and many have suggested that the Dutchman was lucky to get away without a penalty.
Nigel Hoskins tweeted: ‘Max clearly at fault this from this new video. Something needs to happen.’
Another used posted: ‘Verstappen should get a 5 place grid penalty for next race, not saying because I’m a Hamilton fan but because he didn’t even attempt to hit the apex.’
Jon Richardson commented: ‘If I was Merc, I think I’d be asking the original decision to be reviewed given the new evidence. The only difficulty for the FIA might be deciding the type of penalty needed; 5 secs added to finish time to place after Valterri, or a grid pen for the next race.’
The released footage shows Hamilton overtaking Verstappen around the outside only for the Dutchman to brake later into the corner.
Some fans have suggested that Verstappen let the car run wide and didn’t attempt to make the apex of the corner.
The footage then shows both men running off track before resuming. Hamilton would eventually take the lead from Verstappen on Lap 59.
Dan McMahon tweeted: ‘(Max) Deliberately carried far too much speed into the corner.
‘Only decided to start properly turning left about halfway through the corner, gave no space, knowing full well Lewis would be shoved off track and he went with him. Absolute penalty and should be grid drop in Qatar.’
Race director Michael Masi said Verstappen’s footage could be the ‘smoking gun’ that decided whether he was at fault
Twitter user Leighhow commented: ‘Lets it run wide, then turns the wheel once they are both off. Would he have gone that wide if Lewis wasn’t there? Didn’t do it on any other lap in the race.’
Others compared the incident to the Austrian Grand Prix where Lando Norris got a five second penalty for forcing Sergio Perez off the track into the gravel, before the Mexican was later penalised for forcing Charles LeClerc off the track.
This has led some to question whether there’s a lack of consistency in these types of incidents.
Twitter user DarrowAndrow commented: ‘Think back to Austria and what (particularly) Norris got a penalty for.
‘The only difference here is there’s run-off so the chances of a crash are reduced. But that’s not what the rules are. Sorry, it’s a penalty if the one for Lando was. No consistency.’
There are some fears for Red Bull that Verstappen could face retrospective action
Another user posted: ‘It’s pretty clear what’s happened and it’s pretty clear what happened in Silverstone. End of.
‘FIA either come come down hard on all these manoeuvres or let them race. As long as they’re consistent. But they’re not consistent and that’s the problem.’
However, there was some that said they didn’t think the footage was as bad as what they had expected and that the stewards made the right decision.
One Twitter user commented: ‘This actually doesn’t look ‘as bad’ as I expected.
‘Maybe the stewards’ decision wasn’t so bad after all (although an investigation would have been in place). Too bad we couldn’t see this during it (or) directly after the race.’
In the wake of the Grand Prix, race director Masi said: ‘It is only the cameras that are broadcast that are basically what we have access to throughout. It hasn’t been obtained yet. It has been requested.’
When asked whether he believed that missing footage could be the ‘smoking gun’, he conceded: ‘It could be, absolutely.
‘But we didn’t have access to it. It has been downloaded and once the commercial rights holder supplies it, we will have a look.
‘Absolutely [I will look at it]. We’ve got the forward-facing, the 360… all of the camera angles that we don’t get live will be downloaded and we will have a look at them.’
Masi’s response will come as a worry to Christian Horner and Red Bull, with the potential that their man now faces a retrospective punishment for the incident in Sao Paulo.
Despite losing the race and conceding some points to Hamilton, Verstappen still holds a healthy 14-point lead in the drivers’ championship with just three races of the season to go.