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F1 drivers ‘don’t fully understand’ rules after Max Verstappen verdict


George Russell and Carlos Sainz have both expressed their confusion at the FIA’s decision not to penalise Max Verstappen after he ran wide and forced Lewis Hamilton off the track in Brazil.

Russell, who will join Hamilton at Mercedes next season, said Verstappen’s tactics were “well beyond the line” and claimed the only reason the Red Bull driver escaped punishment was because Hamilton still won the race.

“I think unfortunately there was no outcome,” he said, “but I do appreciate that you need to treat every single case by case and circuit by circuit.

“For me, that was not even close to the line, it was well beyond the line what went on. If this was the last lap of the race, in my mind that would have been a slam-dunk penalty for Max.

“You can’t just out-brake yourself by 25 meters and do that. Max wasn’t punished purely because Lewis won the race, but the consequences shouldn’t be a factor in the punishment for the judgement of the incident.

“You have to judge the incident on a case-by-case basis. That’s what they’ve always told us, it’s not the consequence of that incident, it is the incident itself.”

Sainz was also left perplexed by the lack of action and said drivers now “don’t fully understand” what is permitted.

Verstappen forced Hamilton off the track at the Brazil GP (Getty Images)

Verstappen forced Hamilton off the track at the Brazil GP (Getty Images)

“It looks like over the winter there’s going to be some more deep conversations about how we go racing as a sport,” said the Ferrari driver.

“We need to rethink the whole approach because the way it’s been working this year, it’s clear that the drivers don’t fully understand what is going to happen depending on what you do.

“I need to know if I can push the car on the outside wide and what am I going to get if I do so.

“Do you have a warning coming? Can you do it once? Do you have a possibility to do it a couple of times and then you get a warning, and then you can do it a fourth time? Are you going to get a penalty straight away like in Austria?

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