FIA race director Michael Masi has defended the stewards’ decision not to penalise Max Verstappen in the Austrian Grand Prix after Ferrari complained the rules were interpreted differently when Sebastian Vettel was penalised in Canada.Lewis Hamilton to take evasive action when he rejoined the track after going off. Verstappen was cleared after colliding with Charles Leclerc while overtaking the Ferrari to win yesterday’s race.
Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto criticised the outcome, saying yesterday: “We believe that interpretation have been different in these two cases, why I think again we are unhappy with what has been the decision.”
“I think the rules for us are clear,” he added. “A collision has been created and [Leclerc] has been pushed off the track.”
However Masi pointed out the two incidents were not comparable as Vettel, unlike Verstappen, had gone off the circuit. He compared it to Daniel Ricciardo’s similar penalty for forcing Lando Norris wide on the final lap in the French Grand Prix.
“The incident in Canada, Sebastian went across the grass, was in front, it wasn’t an overtaking manoeuvre,” said Masi.
“The one with Daniel, with particularly Lando, was very much as part of Daniel going off the track and rejoining. Whereas this here was both cars were on the track, it was an overtaking manoeuvre.
“Trying to compare the three of them, they are three very different incidents. So from that end it was an overtaking manoeuvre and as the stewards rightly pointed out in their view it was a racing incident and it was one of those it was just good hard racing from the perspective that they saw.”
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