Why Was Lewis Hamilton Not Given a Race Ban for Causing Max Verstappen’s Crash?

Published 07/19/2021, 12:45 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 18, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen before the race Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron


The British Grand Prix produced a major incident in the title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. While the championship contenders started alongside each other, Verstappen crashed out in Lap one after he made contact with Hamilton at Copse corner.

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Due to the incident, Hamilton incurred a 10-second time penalty. Despite the penalty, the Briton fought back to claim his eighth victory at Silverstone and close the gap to Verstappen to just eight points. However, calls for suspension after the incident marred the Briton’s victory.

What kept Lewis Hamilton away from a possible suspension at Silverstone?

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While the high-speed crash sent Verstappen to hospital for precautionary tests, the consequences were grave for Red Bull. The Dutchman’s DNF didn’t just mean Hamilton moved to within eight points in the driver’s championship. To add to their woes, Red Bull now have a slender four point lead over Mercedes in the constructor’s championship.

Social media went into a frenzy with fans calling on the FIA to dish out harsher punishment to Hamilton. In addition, Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko even called for Hamilton to serve a suspension. However, FIA race director Michael Masi explained the decision-making process of the stewards.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 18, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads at the start of the race ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

Masi admitted the stewards make decisions based on the incident alone without accounting for the consequences. He said“The FIA and F1, and the team principals were all quite adamant, is that you should not consider the consequences in an incident.

“So when they judge an incident they judge the incident itself, and the merits of the incident, not what happens afterwards as a consequence. And that’s been something that the stewards have done for many years.

“So that’s the way that the stewards judge it, because start taking consequences into account, there’s so many variables, rather than judging the incident itself on its merits.”

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Along with the explanation, Masi also admitted that should the stewards take the ramifications of a crash into account, no decision will be satisfactory.

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He said, “I think if you look at it on that basis you’ll never find a penalty that will address an imbalance like that.

“I think the stewards need to remain as an independent judiciary. And I don’t think they should in their capacity should have any pressures, and they should take their time to analyse everything based on its merits.”

While Silverstone is now in the past, Red Bull need to move on to stay ahead of Mercedes. Although Verstappen couldn’t extend his lead, he will be hungrier to bounce back at the Hungarian Grand Prix. And while their post-race reactions added fuel to a raging fire, the championship battle is back on once again.

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WATCH STORY: Lewis Hamilton’s Biggest F1 Crashes

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Sanket Nair

343 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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