Verstappen questioned by Whiting over Hamilton defence

Max Verstappen was spoken to by F1 race director Charlie Whiting and the FIA stewards at the Japanese Grand Prix about his defensive move against Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages of the race.

Verstappen questioned by Whiting over Hamilton defence
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
(L to R): Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing with Gianpiero Lambiase, Red Bull Racing Engineer and Jake Aliker, Personal Trainer on the grid
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12

The Dutchman was defending second place from his Mercedes rival on the penultimate lap when he moved to close the door on the entry to the final chicane.

Hamilton was forced to switch to the left hand side of the track, and ran down the escape road, coming over the team radio to complain that Verstappen had moved under braking.

Although there was no formal investigation of Verstappen's actions, Motorsport.com has learned that both Whiting and the race stewards – including former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro – spoke to the Dutchman about what happened.

It is believed that they wanted to clarify the situation informally with the Dutchman, as moving under braking is something the FIA does not wish to become a common accepted practice.

The incident with Verstappen was viewed as similar to what he did against Kimi Raikkonen in Hungary – rather than his blocking moves on the straight at the Belgian Grand Prix.

No action will be taken against Verstappen for what he did in Japan, but it is likely he will have been told explicitly where the FIA draws the line between what is and is not acceptable.

Hamilton did not make much of an issue with Verstappen after the race

"It doesn't really matter now," he said. "It's done and we move forwards."

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