FIA rules in favour of Lewis Hamilton after Max Verstappen penalty call

Max Verstappen had complained that Lewis Hamilton failed to follow the regulation requiring him to stay within 10 lengths of the safety car.

Lewis Hamilton has avoided a penalty from the FIA over his behaviour behind the safety car, as drivers headed to the grid before the first red flag restart. 

Max Verstappen called for the stewards to look at Hamilton’s actions, believing he should be penalised for failing to follow the regulation requiring drivers to keep within, at least, 10 car lengths of the safety car.

The FIA confirmed that a report had been made that accused Hamilton of breaching Article 58.8 of the sporting regulations which relates to “failing to follow the safety car no more than 10 lengths apart”.

However, the stewards have decided that the incident does not warrant a punishment, as the regulation does not apply when cars are heading to the grid for a standing start after a red flag.

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Siding with Hamilton, the FIA’s report said that, as he was the leading driver, Hamilton could “dictate the pace and, if necessary, fall more than 10 lengths behind” the safety car.”

Hamilton’s actions didn’t inhibit Verstappen’s charge to the front, as the Dutchman slipped past the Brit on lap 12, maintaining P1 for the remainder of the race.

The Red Bull driver’s performance wasn’t without its own criticism though, as Formula 1 fans called for him to be stripped of the victory and penalised over a grid box infringement.

According to those watching the broadcast, Verstappen was not lined up correctly, which, based on precedent, would carry a five second penalty.

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However, Sky Sports presenter David Croft, having reviewed the footage, claimed Verstappen didn’t break a rule, as his wheels were touching the line, rather than having crossed it.

Verstappen’s success, his 37th Grand Prix victory, extends his lead in the Drivers’ Championship.

With 69 points, Verstappen is pulling away from his teammate Sergio Perez, who sits on 54 points, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso who’s on 54 and Hamilton who’s on 38.