Max Verstappen moves closer to race ban after Lewis Hamilton incident

Max Verstappen's penalty points total has increased to seven following his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Brazilian GP.

Max Verstappen has edged ever closer to a possible race ban in 2023, after the Dutchman was awarded two penalty points by the FIA following his Lap Seven collision with Lewis Hamilton at Turn Two.

The 2021 rivals collided for the second consecutive Brazilian Grand Prix; however, unlike their incident last year, the governing body determined that it wasn’t a racing incident.

Hamilton and Verstappen found themselves in second and third as an early Safety Car period came to an end, following a collision between Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Verstappen reacted to the restart better than the Mercedes driver and dived around the outside of the Brit at the opening corner.

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Whilst the Dutchman did get some of his car ahead, Hamilton regained the position as they flicked right down the hill for Turn Two.

The seven-time World Champion took the racing line at the corner after expecting Verstappen to yield; however, the 25-year-old didn’t.

With Verstappen having opted to remain on the inside, the Red Bull driver went over the kerbs as the gap between himself and Hamilton closed, resulting in impact.

The collision broke Verstappen’s front-wing and slightly damaged the floor of Hamilton’s car, with the 37-year-old arguably losing a potential victory as a result of the collision.

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Opinions amongst fans, pundits and ex-drivers were divided as to who was to blame for the collision; however, the FIA decided that Verstappen was “predominantly at fault”.

Whilst Hamilton should’ve given the double World Champion more room, the governing body decided that Verstappen entered the corner too quickly, thus causing the collision.

“The stewards determined that Verstappen attempted to pass Hamilton on the outside of turn one by braking very late,” the stewards noted.

“He did not complete the pass in turn one and his excess speed compromised his entry into turn two, at which point he made contact with Hamilton.

“While the stewards recognise that Hamilton could possibly have given a little more room at the apex of turn two, the stewards determined that Verstappen was predominantly at fault.”

Verstappen was awarded a five-second time penalty as a result, but he still managed to recover to sixth, although, he was also awarded two penalty points.

His tally now sits at seven, meaning that if he gains five more then he will be banned from a race.

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This is incredibly unlikely, though, as he is set to lose five of those points imminently due to them expiring.

Each penalty point remains on a driver’s licence for a full year, from the date on which they were awarded.

Given that Verstappen gained five from the 2021 races in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, his total will drop to two imminently, with those races happening at the end of last season.