FIA use Max Verstappen to justify Lewis Hamilton penalty decision

Lewis Hamilton opens up on difficult season for Mercedes

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Lewis Hamilton avoided a penalty at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after FIA stewards used a previous Max Verstappen example as a precedent. Hamilton passed an AlphaTauri and a Haas on the run to turn five moments after the red flag was displayed. 

The FIA confirmed the incident would be investigated after the session with the team issued an official summons. There were fears Hamilton could be slapped with a three place grid penalty at a circuit Mercedes hoped to challenge this weekend. 

But, the team didn’t issue a penalty after using Verstappen as a guideline. The Dutchman had passed Lance Stroll in Friday practice when the red flag was introduced but avoided the penalty as it emerged the Red Bull driver was not aware. 

The FIA report read: “There is no dispute that car 44 passed car 20 directly after the track was placed in a Red Flag condition. The driver of car 44 stated that he was on a fast lap, he saw the red light, immediately completely lifted the throttle and applied the brakes, whilst checking his mirrors for cars following in close proximity.  

“He stated that he had, in doing so, gone past car 20. The stewards took note of the precedent in relation to the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix (Max Verstappen), where no action was taken against the driver under similar but not identical circumstances. 

 “The telemetry evidence was sourced directly from the live data available to the FIA not from any evidence provided by the team.”

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