Hamilton escaped Mexican GP ban but Verstappen was penalized

Lewis Hamilton once escaped a penalty for cutting the first corner during the Mexican Grand Prix, while rival Max Verstappen was penalized for doing the same later in the race.

During the 2016 Mexican Grand Prix, Hamilton ran over the grass at the first corner but did not take a penalty and went on to win the race. Verstappen, meanwhile, was handed a five-second penalty for cutting the first corner on lap 68 after stewards decided he had gained an advantage by doing so. The incident saw Verstappen lose his place on the podium, with the Dutchman demoted from third to fourth and he was unhappy with the decision.

“When I went off track towards the end, I think it was quite similar to Lewis on the first lap, corner one,” he said. “He went off and I felt like he took a lead, I didn’t even gain a lead, he was ahead under braking and when I got back on track he was the same distance ahead, so I don’t understand the penalty..”

He was not alone, with Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg and Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo critical of the decision not to penalize Hamilton. “I mean, if that’s not getting an edge, I don’t know what is,” Hulkenberg said. “If there had been a gravel trap or a wall, I would have been in serious trouble. So I don’t know, it seems [the stewards] bent the rule there a bit today.”

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Ricciardo, for his part, fumed: “How can you be leading the race, defend, lock the wheels and go off track and still stay in the lead? I think Lewis deserved a penalty; I think anyone in that position deserves a penalty. a penalty Vi Max cuts through the chicane trying to defend Seb.

“He got a penalty, so I don’t know what the difference was between his movement and Lewis’s. For me, if you lock the brakes and take the corner, it’s a mistake. You have to pay the price.”

FIA race director Charlie Whiting later explained the reasons behind the decisions, stating: “The main difference between the two was simply that in the case of Lewis it was felt that he gained no lasting advantage and in the case From Max, yes. You can see Lewis makes a small mistake early on, he crosses over, gains a significant lead on the track, but then he immediately starts to give it back.

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“And you can see it on the straight between turns three and four. He backs off at 80% throttle to give that lead back because he obviously had a significant lead there. And then about a minute later the Safety Car deployed and that lead was gone. completely, so the stewards did not feel any lasting advantage.

“If Max had done the same thing on the straight between turns three and four, he would certainly have lost the place. So I think that’s why the stewards felt he deserved a penalty because the driver had gained a lasting lead. That was the difference. fundamental”. between the two incidents in the eyes of the stewards”.

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