The pair went wide at Interlagos’ Turn 4 fast left-hander, as Hamilton had moved ahead of Verstappen – attacking on the corner’s outside line early in their respective third stints.
The Red Bull driver then responded by braking deeper and sending his car rapidly inside Hamilton’s as they approached the apex, with both going wide in an incident that was not referred to the Sao Paulo Grand Prix stewards as F1 race director Michael Masi deemed it an example of the championship’s ‘let them race’ principle.
But Masi did not have the forward-facing camera footage from Verstappen’s car available at the time he assessed the incident, with F1’s broadcast showing the rearward view from his car and the additional angles needing to be downloaded post-race before they could be released.
After the front-facing footage was released, Mercedes requested a right to review the incident and both it and Red Bull were summoned to a hearing relating to new evidence (the forward-facing footage) as a result of that application, which was held at 1700 local time in Qatar – ahead of the inaugural F1 race at the Losail circuit.
After sensationally winning the Interlagos race having passed Verstappen 11 laps after their Turn 4 clash heading into the same corner, Hamilton said he “didn’t think too much of it” that it is “what a world championship battle should look like” and that “it’s hard battling and wouldn’t expect anything less really”.
In the pre-event press conference in Qatar, when asked about his initial reaction and if he had anything to add now the additional footage has been released – in the context of Mercedes’ requesting the right to review the incident – Hamilton replied: “No, not really, I think the reason at the time I’d say that because that’s the mentality you have to take, right?
“If you sit in the car in the moment and complain, it will only hold you back.
“So, in the moment I just had to keep moving forwards and also it’s difficult to judge on something that you’ve not seen all the angles.
“And of course we have relooked at it and have a different viewpoint naturally now.
“But I’m just putting all my energy to setting up the car and making sure that I’m in the right headspace this weekend. I’m not really given anything to it.”
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B
Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images
Speaking about what he saw in the footage from Verstappen’s car, Hamilton said it was “not something that I really want to dive too much more into”.
He added: “I’ve not looked at all…I didn’t mean I’ve looked at all the different angles.
“I’ve seen the onboard footage, for example, that came out but as I said, last race was just trying to focus on the fact that we did something that was quite remarkable and which was unexpected.
“So, I try not to focus on any negatives. And so right now, I think that the team, I know we’re in discussion [with the stewards] at this point, and so [I’m] just leaving them to it.
“I’ve just been focusing sitting with one of the engineers we’ve got to really start this weekend and make sure that we bring the fight to them.
On Mercedes’ discussions with the officials and the right to review process, Hamilton said he has “not actually been a part of it”.
“Of course, I’m aware of it and I’m fully supportive of my team,” he added.
“But as I said I’ve literally just tried to give all my energy to getting ready for this weekend and making sure that we arrive and hit the ground running.
“I have no idea where they’re going with the discussion or what could be the outcome, I’ve just not given it any energy or any time at all.”