Mercedes lodge appeal over Verstappen driving standards

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton - Credit: Charles Coates/Getty Images

Mercedes AMG PETRONAS have lodged an appeal to the FIA over the defensive driving standards of Max Verstappen during the Japanese Grand Prix that forced Lewis Hamilton off track on the penultimate lap.

Verstappen appeared to move across on Hamilton as they approached the braking zone of the chicane as the two battled for second position, with Hamilton being forced to take evasive action across the run-off zone.

The Red Bull Racing driver was able to remain ahead, but Mercedes feel the move to cover Hamilton was both erratic and dangerous, and have such appealed to the stewards for it to be investigated.

“A protest has been lodged by Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team against car 33 driven by Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing relating to an alleged breach of Article 27.5 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations, in that he allegedly drove erratically and in a dangerous manner, forcing car 44 [Hamilton] to take evasive action at Turn 16″, read a statement from the FIA, with the article in question stating that ‘At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person’.

It is unclear what, if any, punishment the FIA will dish out to Verstappen, but should he receive a time penalty, it will benefit Hamilton’s ambition’s for the championship as he would gain an additional three points should he move from third to second.