Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver in Formula One history, but Mercedes-AMG Petronas wants to review his recent behaviour. While McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has been more than happy to back up that opinion with a contract worth $38 million for next year and beyond, it remains unclear how much longer Lewis will remain at Mercedes.
The “f1 news” is a story that has been circulating around the internet. The article states that Mercedes wants Lewis Hamilton to review his contract with them.
Toto Wolff, Mercedes team chief, compared his team’s racing weekend in Sao Paulo like getting hit in the face many times. He said that he was “mad” that the FIA stewards’ judgments had continually gone against his team, and that the time for “diplomacy” had passed him by.
Given the force of his statements, it’s no wonder that Mercedes sought a review of one of the race’s most contentious moments in a letter to the FIA on Tuesday. The stewards’ decision not to examine the near-collision between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on lap 48 was characterized by Wolff as “the tip of the iceberg” and “laughable.”
But you have to go back to Friday afternoon in Interlagos and the first decision that went against Mercedes to understand how we got here.
Hamilton had taken pole position by 0.4s in qualifying for Saturday’s sprint race, only to be disqualified from the session after his car’s drag reduction system (DRS) failed a routine test. The rear wing flap, which expands to decrease drag and boost maximum speed, expanded 0.2 mm wider than the 85 mm allowed by the rules. It was just on one side (the right when seen from behind) and only when pressure was applied, but it was a fail in the black-and-white world of technical requirements.
Mercedes felt the breakdown was caused by wing damage, but technicians were not permitted to check the components until after the race weekend, or to try to repair the damage to demonstrate that the wing was supposed to be legal. In reality, the stewards never questioned Mercedes’ legality, and they all agreed that the bigger opening was most likely due to damage. However, a failed test is a failed test regardless of how it is presented, and the stewards have little option but to follow the regulations and disqualify the vehicle when it is presented to them.
On Friday evening, it was revealed that Hamilton’s championship challenger Max Verstappen was the last person to touch the wing before it failed the test. The Red Bull driver claimed he was looking for proof of a different rule violation to explain Mercedes’ impressive straight-line speed at Interlagos, but his involvement forced the investigation to be postponed until Saturday morning in order to obtain video footage and summon Verstappen to the stewards’ room. Verstappen was penalised €50,000 for breaking parc ferme rules, although both the stewards and Mercedes concluded that the failed DRS test had nothing to do with it. Due to the DRS test, Hamilton was banned from the qualifying results shortly after Verstappen was fined.
Mercedes asked for a review for a reason.
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