The push to examine the collision between Formula One title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in Brazil last weekend, according to Sebastian Vettel, is “a bit unnecessary.”
Last Sunday at Interlagos, Verstappen and Hamilton went wheel-to-wheel for the win, resulting in both cars colliding at Turn 4 as Verstappen battled for the lead.
Toto Wolf, the CEO of Mercedes F1, called it “laughable” that the stewards did not issue a penalty or even launch an investigation into Verstappen’s manoeuvre, but it was later revealed that race control did not have access to the Red Bull’s front-facing camera during the incident.
Following the release of the footage on Tuesday, Mercedes said that it would seek a right of review for the incident, with a hearing planned for 5 p.m. in Qatar on Thursday.
If the right of review is upheld, Verstappen might face a retroactive penalty, which could have an impact on the outcome of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Verstappen said he struggled with worn tyres before braking for the corner, but he was unable to hold off Hamilton, who eventually passed him 11 laps later for the lead.
Vettel, a four-time Formula One world champion, said that he “didn’t see” the collision between Verstappen and Hamilton, claiming that he was “at least one lap down.”
The Aston Martin driver said he had seen “a little bit” of the footage from the incident, saying: “They were fighting for the lead, so it’s obviously the biggest fight going on in every race.”
A number of teams have utilized the right of review approach to try to spur steward action by requiring new and significant evidence.
“I’m not involved,” Vettel said when asked if he believed the increased use of right of review was a good trend to see. “But I think it’s a bit unnecessary.
“I think time goes one way, so what changes? I don’t think anything changes. I think Lewis drove a great race. He won. He was faster. That’s it.”
Alpine’s Fernando Alonso remained close on the issue, stating he’d “not have an opinion because it’s extremely different from time to time,” but doubted any more action would be taken.
“Nothing should happen now,” Alonso said. “I don’t know exactly if it was too bad, but the stewards, they considered that there was no penalty there, there will be no penalty, I guess.”
Daniel Ricciardo, Verstappen’s former Red Bull teammate, described the duel as “tough” and “tight,” and understood why Verstappen battled so hard to stay ahead.
“Whether the move was call it right or wrong, fighting for a win and I guess the championship at this stage, you’re going to try and fight as long as you can, and try to do everything you can to hold onto that lead,” Ricciardo said.
“Obviously that one took them both off, so maybe that was over the limit.
“I’d say it’s too hard, because no one made the corner. So you could say that. But I think the approach is unchanged.
“I’m not in that position, fighting for a world title, I think you’re going to fight to the end. I don’t know if that will change if that happened again.”
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