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F1 Japanese GP: Mercedes protests Verstappen, no decision until Austin

Mercedes lodges a protest against Max Verstappen for his defence against Lewis Hamilton for second but no decision will be made before US Grand Prix.
UPDATE: Mercedes withdraws protest 'in the interests of establishing a final official result once it became apparent the hearing cannot be concluded today

Mercedes has launched a protest against Max Verstappen for his move to defend second position from Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix, but no decision will be made for two weeks.

The Dutchman came under pressure from Hamilton late in the race when the Mercedes driver attempted a pass down the inside of the chicane on the penultimate lap.

With Verstappen moving across, Hamilton switched back to the outside but would out-brake himself and take to the escape road.

With Hamilton complaining over the team radio at the time that Verstappen moved under braking – a criticism levelled at the youngster this year already -, Mercedes has now formalised its complaint in the hope it gets the Dutchman penalised and potentially promote Hamilton to second.

"A protest has been lodged by Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team against car 33 driven by Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing relating to an alleged breach of Article 27.5 of Formula One Sporting Regulations, in that he allegedly drove erratically and in a dangerous manner, forcing car 44 to take evasive action at turn 16.

"The Stewards are conducting a hearing. The results are still provisional."

However, with the late protest coming after both Hamilton and Verstappen had left the circuit, the FIA will be forced to defer the hearing until the next round in the United States.

As a result, the current results remain provisional

Though Hamilton himself shrugged off the move when asked about it in the press conference, Wolff did say he felt Verstappen needs 'reminding' of his conduct after Charlie Whiting discussed with him in Monza.

“I'm biased obviously, and you will be surprised by my response, at heart I'm a racer and I love hard racing, and he's refreshing. He defends very hard, the rule book says something else.

“The rule book says you can't move under braking, but it hasn't been penalised until now, so I think we just need to know what is permitted or not, again, from my perspective, hard racing is OK.

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benignlyindifferent

October 09, 2016 4:51 PM

I know Mercedes has now withdrawn their protest but Toto is looking foolish. He supported Max in his crazy moves against Kimi but now feels this move deserves a penalty. Lewis and Brundle have it correct. This was a firm but clean racing defence and well done by Max. Toto should review the tape a few more times before launching protests.



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