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Stewards didn't have access to all Turn 4 footage

NEWS STORY
15/11/2021

Race director, Michael Masi has revealed that the Interlagos stewards did not have access to all the available footage when making their decision over Max Verstappen's move on rival Lewis Hamilton.

On Lap 48, Hamilton made his first attempt at the race lead, pushing Verstappen hard into Turn 1, as he sought to go around the outside, and all through the Esses.

However, while Verstappen held his position, on the long run to Turn 4 the Red Bull and Mercedes were side-by-side. Going into the left-hander, Verstappen, with the inside line, went wide taking Hamilton with him.

As the stewards announced that the incident had been noted, TV pundits immediately judged the Dutch driver as the guilty party.

As Valtteri Bottas was subsequently advised that things were "hotting up at the front" and that there could be penalties, Red Bull's sporting director, Jonathan Wheatley politely informed race director, Michael Masi that it was "all about letting them race".

The stewards subsequently ruled that no investigation was necessary, essentially declaring it a racing incident, a call that didn't go down well with Mercedes sporting director, Ron Meadows, or indeed Hamilton himself.

Hamilton subsequently made another move on Verstappen in Turn 1, this time timing it perfectly and sweeping past the Red Bull to the cheers of the crowd.

In between the two attempts, Sky Sport's Anthony Davidson had analysed the incident and admitted that the one angle he wished to see it from was inside the Red Bull cockpit in order to watch Verstappen's hand movements on the steering wheel.

It was later revealed that this particular footage had not been available to the stewards either. Indeed, other than the forward facing footage from Verstappen's car, the 360-degree camera from the RB16 was not available.

"It hasn't been obtained yet," Michael Masi later told reporters. "It's been requested. It's only the cameras that are broadcast is basically what we have access to throughout the week."

Asked if the footage might give more insight into the incident, the Australian admitted: "It could be, absolutely, potentially, absolutely.

"But we didn't have access to it," he continued. "Obviously, it's been downloaded and once we do, and once the commercial rights holder supplies it, we'll have a look.

"You judge the incident on its merits," he insisted, "and you have a look at all of it. Let's not forget, we have the overall 'let them race' principles, and looking at it all, with all of the angles that we had available, it was that philosophy was adopted.

"They're give or take about side-on-side, so I think that for the benefit of everyone, it was the 'let them race' and we let them race."

Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff was not impressed.

"The whole weekend went against us," he said. "We had a broken part on our rear wing which we couldn't look at, couldn't analyse, failed the test and got disqualified, it was very harsh.

"And then you see on the Red Bull, repairs three times in a row on their rear wing whilst being in parc ferme with no consequence."

Asked specifically about Verstappen's move on Hamilton, Wolff said the Red Bull driver deserved a 5s time penalty "at least".

"Just brushing it under the carpet is just the tip of the iceberg," he said. "It's laughable.

"I think the stewards have a difficult life anyway, whatever decision they take, one team is going to be grumpy," he admitted.

"In a certain way, when you are taking punches all weekend and then you have such a situation on top of everything, you are just losing faith in a way."

Asked about the incident, Hamilton later said: "In the heat of the moment, it doesn't... I don't really know. I think I was ahead initially, and I think he held his ground and we both ran out of road.

"Well, I think he was running out of road," he added, "so I obviously had to avoid to go out of road.

"I didn't think too much of it and obviously I'll have to watch the replay, but it's hard battling and wouldn't expect anything less really. We didn't touch wheels, which is good."

Asked if he felt Verstappen should have been penalised, he said: "I'm not going go into that. I need to look back at it, but I mean, it's a racing incident at the end of the day, probably.

"It doesn't really matter, as I got the result I needed," he grinned.

"We both of course, tried to be ahead into the corner," said Verstappen, "and so I braked a bit later to try and keep the position. The tyres were already a bit worn, so I was really on the edge of grip, so that's why I think I was already not fully on the apex.

"It's a safer way, of just running a bit wide there," he added. "In a way I was, of course, happy that the stewards decided that we could just keep on racing, because I think the racing in general was really good today."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Interlagos, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 16/11/2021 10:56

"@ Superbird70....and your point is?"

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Superbird70, 16/11/2021 2:02

"@kenji, "However, while Verstappen held his position, on the long run to Turn 4 the Red Bull and Mercedes were side-by-side. Going into the left-hander, Verstappen, with the inside line, went wide taking Hamilton with him." Pitpass 2021-11-15"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by kenji, 16/11/2021 0:36

"@ Superbird...my eyes are not what they used to be but IRCC, Verstappen was in front of Hamilton when they both went off track and they were in the same position when they re entered the track. Where in the rules does conflict with your decision?"

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Superbird70, 15/11/2021 21:33

"Somewhat surprised that Verstappen didn’t get a penalty for exceeding track limits to gain an advantage, albeit a brief one."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by GreenFlag, 15/11/2021 19:41

"Masi is a joke. He never had any international racing experience (only in Australia, probably with kangaroos), and he's caused all manner of cock-ups since Whiting died. But his Brazilian GP bias towards Red Bull should be the last straw. Get rid of him, FIA."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 15/11/2021 17:57

"For the car on the inside to be off circuit as well as the car on the outside then clearly the car on the inside line has not been able to make the corner while defending his position.
I'm all for "letting them race" however, let them race on the track.
"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by Spindoctor, 15/11/2021 10:13

"Nice to see Max, despite his usual "aggressive teen" demeanour has a sense of humour (or "British" understatement):

"..The tyres were already a bit worn, so I was really on the edge of grip, so that's why I think I was already not fully on the apex..." (Max Verstappen)

From the outside it looked suspiciously like he made virtually no effort to make the Apex. It might be instructive to analyse his braking-points on other laps to see if this effort was consistent with them. Maybe we'll get to see what he did (or didn't do) when the missing in-car footage surfaces..."

Rating: Positive (6)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by Mad Matt, 15/11/2021 7:56

"Obviously I haven't seen all the footage either but I will say the decision didn't seem consistent with other taken this year."

Rating: Positive (9)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

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