Lewis Hamilton facing penalty amid FIA investigation

McLaren racer Daniel Ricciardo was impeded by Lewis Hamilton, with the Brit to potentially face punishment

Mercedes deployed a temporary driver pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nyck de Vries in practice on Friday, looking to fulfil their young driver requirement for the year, giving the AlphaTauri bound Dutchman a final run out in the W13.

Hamilton was the fastest man on track out of the Pirelli tyre test runners in FP2 however he had a close shave with Daniel Ricciardo in the first session of the day which put a dampener on what was a positive day for the Silver Arrows.

The Brit had slowed down and moved to one side to allow Pierre Gasly through, who was on a fast lap, however when Ricciardo followed the Frenchman a couple of seconds after, Hamilton jolted to the left, presumable to react to the Australian and get out of the way but in fact nearly collided with the 33-year-old.

While there was obviously nothing but good intent in the move, it was a heart in mouth moment for both drivers who were lucky to come away without incident.

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The Mexican Grand Prix is the third shortest on the calendar in terms of lap distance, only behind Vandvoort and Monaco, so traffic is always to be expected in practice and qualifying, forcing the drivers to take extra care.

“That’s not nice. I think they’ll [the stewards] look into that,” said Paul di Resta when speaking to Sky Sports after practice.

“I’m not saying anything will happen [a punishment], but it should be used as an example for the rest of the weekend.”

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Ricciardo would have been frustrated by the incident as he was on a fast lap and is in desperate need of a change of luck, with safety cars, damage and technical issues condemning the Australian to a spell of poor results, keeping Nicholas Latifi company at the back of the race last time out in Austin.

Hamilton on the other hand is on the rise, truly challenging Max Verstappen for a win for the first time this season at the Circuit of the Americas and will not be wanted to earn a penalty prior to the race, with Mexico arguably providing the best opportunity for the Brit to get his first win of the season.

Drag has been one of the biggest problems that Mercedes have encountered so with the low air density at the high altitude Mexican Grand Prix the team might have a shot at competing with the front runners without their achilles heel being too much in the way of a problem.