The Red Bull driver was deemed to be “predominantly” at fault for the incident because he had “braked suddenly and significantly” in front of Hamilton before the Briton ran into the back of him on the approach to Turn 27.

Hamilton and Verstappen were involved in several controversial clashes during the inaugural Saudi Arabian GP but it was their lap 37 collision that proved to be the major flashpoint. 

The stewards' said Verstappen was told by Red Bull to hand the lead back to Hamilton "strategically" and noted how neither driver wanted to take the lead before the DRS detection line. 

“At turn 21 the driver of car 33 was given the instruction to give back a position to car 44 and was told by the team to do so “strategically”. Car 33 slowed significantly at turn 26. However, it was obvious that neither driver wanted to take the lead prior to DRS detection line 3,” the stewards verdict read. 

“The driver of Car 33 stated that he was wondering why Car 44 had not overtaken and the driver of Car 44 stated that, not having been aware at that stage that Car 33 was giving the position back, was unaware of the reason Car 33 was slowing. In deciding to penalise the driver of Car 33, the key point for the Stewards was that the driver of Car 33 then braked suddenly (69 bar) and significantly, resulting in 2.4g deceleration. 

“Whilst accepting that the driver of Car 44 could have overtaken Car 33 when that car first slowed, we understand why he (and the driver of Car 33) did not wish to be the first to cross the DRS. 

“However, the sudden braking by the driver of Car 33 was determined by the Stewards to be erratic and hence the predominant cause of the collision and hence the standard penalty of 10 seconds for this type of incident, is imposed.” 

It was the second penalty that Verstappen recieved during the race, with the Dutchman also picking up a five-second time penalty for going off track and gaining a lasting advantage during a wheel-to-wheel battle with Hamilton at Turn 1.

Despite the pair of penalties, Verstappen has kept his P2 finishing positon behind Hamilton. The result sets up a winner-takes-all showdown at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend with the two championship contenders level on points.

Verstappen has also recieved two penalty points on his licence, taking his total up to seven for the current 12-month period.