Former Formula 1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya says Max Verstappen intentionally ran Lewis Hamilton off the road in Brazil, as stewards reserve their decision on a possible penalty for the Red Bull driver.
Nearly a week after Verstappen and Hamilton clashed while fighting for the lead in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, the sport remains divided over how it played out.
Verstappen wasn’t penalised at the time, but Mercedes have asked for that to be reviewed, with stewards to announce tonight whether that appeal will be allowed to proceed.
Hamilton eventually won the race from Verstappen, but if the Red Bull driver is given a five second penalty, he would drop from second to third in the revised Brazilian results, narrowing his championship lead from 14 to 11 points.
According to Montoya, a two-time Indy 500 champion who won five races in his Formula One career, as the championship leader, Verstappen was happy for the pair to collide.
“My honest opinion, the way I think Max looks at it is: if they crash he gains points,” Montoya told This Week with Will Buxton.
“As long as Lewis doesn’t finish ahead of him, he’s in a better situation for the championship.
“Lewis was alongside him and cleared him in the braking zone. There was no way as late as he braked he was gonna make the corner. I don’t think he had much of an intention of making the corner.
“I don’t have anything against Max. I actually really like Max and Red Bull, and they’ve done an amazing job to bring the fight to Mercedes. But I think they’re being surprised of how good Mercedes was.”
Montoyo questioned whether or not the rules are being applied consistently, pointing to incidents earlier in the year where both Lando Norris and Sergio Perez were penalised for doing something similar to what Verstappen did.
“In Austria, when people were going side by side and the guy in the outside wasn’t given enough room in the corner, because there was gravel, they were penalised, the guy in the inside. And here that guy drove him completely off the race track. How do you justify [it]?”
“Why is Max getting away with this and some other guys don’t? I mean, are they applying the rules the same for everybody? Or is Max getting treated different because he’s young or whatever you want to call it?
“I’m gonna put another name out there. If [Nikita] Mazepin did that would he then been penalised?”
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