Red Bull’s Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen said he did not expect to be punished retrospectively for a defensive move against Lewis Hamilton at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, and would do it again. Hamilton’s Mercedes team have requested a review of the incident, with stewards hearing representatives of both teams on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix to decide how to proceed. The governing FIA said the stewards would publish their decision on Friday. Both drivers went off track as Verstappen defended, with Mercedes feeling the Dutch youngster should have had a time penalty. Hamilton ultimately overtook his rival anyway and won the race at Interlagos.
Verstappen, now 14 points ahead of the seven times world champion, said last Sunday’s race had been a good battle between the two contenders.
Asked whether he would repeat the move in the same circumstances against Hamilton, Verstappen replied: “Yes.
“As a driver I think we know exactly what we can or cannot do in a car, and we were fighting hard, braking late into the corner, the tyres were quite worn. If I would have turned more abrupt to the left, you’d just spin off the track.”
The 24-year-old said he was not worried about a retrospective time penalty that would cost him points.
“I don’t even think about that,” he said. “Also — if if if. I mean, it’s not the end of the world. But again, I don’t expect that to happen because I thought it was fair, hard racing between the two guys who are fighting for the championship.
“So it wouldn’t have been anyway an easy pass, because that’s not how I am and I don’t think how it should be when you’re fighting for the title.”
Verstappen was asked also whether he had seen the video footage from his own car’s forward-facing camera, images that were not available at the time to stewards.
“I didn’t need to look at the footage because I was driving the car,” he replied.
Hamilton told reporters separately that he was focusing on the weekend ahead.
“I’ve literally just tried to give all my energy to getting ready for this weekend, making sure we arrive and hit the ground running,” he said.
“I have no idea where they’re going with the discussion or what could be the outcome.”