Verstappen slapped with further 10-second penalty for second incident in dramatic Saudi Arabian GP

By Sports Desk December 05, 2021

Max Verstappen received a further 10-second penalty plus two penalty points following a wild Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where Lewis Hamilton levelled the Formula One title race with victory on Sunday.

Verstappen had already been slapped with a five-second penalty for the Turn 1 incident – the Red Bull star and championship leader was deemed to have gained an unfair advantage going off track.

The stewards imposed a further punishment after the race for a Turn 27 collision, which ultimately did not impact Verstappen's finish, having crossed the line in second behind Mercedes rival and reigning F1 champion Hamilton.

As a result, Hamilton and Verstappen will still head into the final Grand Prix of the 2021 season, Abu Dhabi, level on 369.5 points.

Verstappen's secondary penalty was for causing a turn 27 collision with Hamilton when he braked suddenly, causing the Briton to clip the car head, damaging his front wing.

Hamilton was critical of Verstappen after the race, saying his driving was "over the limit" while claiming he brake-tested him in the Turn 27 incident, leading to the 10-second penalty.

"I definitely feel that there were scenarios where that was the case," Hamilton told reporters when asked if he thought Verstappen drove dangerously.

"This is not the first time that I've had to avoid a collision, that's how I felt at the moment, but you know sometimes you say things in the heat of the moment and you go back and re-watch things and then you maybe feel differently but in the moment that's how it felt. But I really just tried to recompose myself and chase down and keep fighting."

The incident was the latest flashpoint between the two title rivals, but Verstappen indicated he felt he was harshly penalised.

"I find it interesting that I am the one who gets the penalty when both of us ran outside of the white lines," Verstappen told reporters after the Turn 1 incident. "In Brazil it was fine and now suddenly I get a penalty for it.

"You could clearly see both didn’t make the corner, but it's fine. I mean I also don’t really spend too much time on it. We have to move forward.

"We're equal on points on now and I think that's really exciting, of course, for the whole championship and Formula 1 in general but I said it earlier on my in-lap, I think lately we're talking more about white lines and penalties than actually proper Formula 1 racing and that's, I think, a little bit of a shame."

The stewards report on the Turn 27 incident said: "In deciding to penalise the driver of car 33 [Verstappen], the key point for the Stewards was that the driver of car 33 then braked suddenly [69 bar' and significantly, resulting in 2.4g deceleration.

"Whilst accepting that the driver of car 44 [Hamilton] could have overtaken car 33 when that car first slowed, we understand why he [and the driver of car 33] did not wish to be the first to cross the DRS [line]. However, the sudden braking by the driver of car 33 was determined by the stewards to be erratic and hence the predominant cause of the collision and hence the standard penalty of 10 seconds for this type of incident, is imposed."

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