Later today, the FIA stewards will hear new evidence over the incident between Verstappen and Hamilton on lap 48 and Turn 4 to judge if it needs to be investigated after the controversial clash wasn’t referred for an stewards’ investigation during the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Mercedes requested a right to review the incident after new evidence came to light, primarily the forward-facing camera footage from Verstappen’s F1 car which was published on Tuesday after the race.
Given the high-profile collisions between the F1 title rivals throughout this season, Mercedes were surprised the incident wasn’t deemed worthy of an investigation, with FIA race director Michael Masi revealing after the race Verstappen’s onboard footage wasn’t checked before ruling out an investigation.
Immediately after the race Verstappen said his worn tyres were the reason why he ran wide at Turn 4.
Speaking on This Week with Will Buxton about the incident, Montoya felt Verstappen was taking the F1 title fight implications into consideration, knowing Hamilton needed to finish ahead of him to strengthen his championship hopes, and that he wasn’t going to make the corner due to how late he braked when fighting Hamilton.
“My honest opinion, the way I think Max looks at it is: if they crash he gains points,” Montoya said. “As long as Lewis doesn’t finish ahead of him, he’s in a better situation for the championship.
“Lewis was alongside him and cleared him in the braking zone. There was no way as late as he braked he was gonna make the corner. I don’t think he had much of an intention of making the corner.
“I don’t have anything against Max. I actually really like Max and Red Bull, and they’ve done an amazing job to bring the fight to Mercedes. But I think they’re being surprised of how good Mercedes was.”
Montoya also felt it was inconsistency from the FIA over on-track incidents, pointing to the penalties handed out to Lando Norris and Sergio Perez (twice) during the Austrian GP earlier this season.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, battles with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
“In Austria, when people were going side by side and the guy in the outside wasn’t given enough room in the corner, because there was gravel, they were penalised, the guy in the inside. And here that guy drove him completely off the race track. How do you justify [it]?”
Montoya added: “Why is Max getting away with this and some other guys don’t? I mean, are they applying the rules the same for everybody? Or is Max getting treated different because he’s young or whatever you want to call it? I’m gonna put another name out there. If Mazepin did that would he then been penalised?”
While he felt an investigation would have been expected for the incident, Montoya also believed Verstappen was within his rights to defend his lead against Hamilton.
“When I’ve done it, I got in trouble for it!” Montoya said. “Did Max do the right thing to defend that? Yes. Max did the right thing to defend the situation and the position.
“It was either to duel or let him win the race, at the end of the day he still won the race. But was he in a position to go that far on the braking zone?
“I think he was expecting for Lewis to turn and worst case scenario Lewis doesn’t finish the race and he finishes the race. Because Lewis is around the outside. So Lewis had a lot to lose.
“I think Lewis was really smart not to even try to turn in, because Max was going for the crash. It was a little bit of a return move at Silverstone. Yes, it’s a lot slower corner, but the precedent was kind of the same thing. He missed the apex.
“Look how Lewis got criticised for the crash in Silverstone – a really fast corner – because he missed the apex. Max didn’t even try to make the corner.”
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