“We judge it on the incident itself” – FIA Race Director Michael Masi explains the reasoning behind Lewis Hamilton getting a 10-second time penalty for colliding with Max Verstappen.
Michael Masi has spoken out on the collision between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, which sent Verstappen crashing into the side barriers and out of the race.
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 18, 2021
Hamilton was awarded a 10-second penalty, as he was adjudged to be “predominantly to blame”. Masi essentially ruled out the incident to be completely the Mercedes driver’s fault.
“I haven’t had the opportunity, because I have been going through a whole load of other things to actually read the decision in full. But the big part was, similar to what happened with Charles [Leclerc] later on, he could have, say, tucked further to the apex.
“That was where they found – the wording was quite clear as per the regulations – that he was predominantly to blame. He wasn’t seen as wholly to blame for it but he was seen as predominantly to blame. He could have tucked in further and that could have changed the outcome. But we don’t know, we judge it on the incident itself.”
Hamilton win didn’t affect FIA ruling
Masi also confirmed the decision was taken entirely on the merit of the incident. Fans have been crying foul as Hamilton won the race, helping him cut the gap to Verstappen by 25 points.
But Masi asserted the decisions don’t take into consideration what happens after the incident. In this case, Hamilton winning the race doesn’t necessitate him getting a heavier penalty.
“One of the big parts that has been a mainstay for many many years, and this came through discussions prior to my time between all of the teams, the FIA and F1, and the team principals were all quite adamant, you should not consider the consequences in an incident.
“So when they are judging incidents, they judge the incident itself and the narrative of the incident and not what happens afterward as a consequence. That is something the stewards have done for many years and have been advised from the top down.
“That’s the way the stewards judge it because if you start taking consequences into account there are so many variables instead of judging the incident itself on its merit.”