MAX VERSTAPPEN has sarcastically compared his Brazilian Grand Prix fine with Lewis Hamilton’s.
Max Verstappen has aimed a sarcastic jibe at Lewis Hamilton over their FIA fines from the Brazilian Grand Prix. Verstappen was fined a hefty £42,000 (€50,000) for touching Hamilton’s rear wing during a controversial qualifying in Sao Paulo – after which the latter received a five-place engine penalty.
In the Sunday race, Hamilton fought from 10th on the grid to record a stunning victory, which he celebrated by holding a Brazilian flag aloft from his car after taking the chequered flag.
But in doing so, he breached the International Sporting Code rule surrounding seat belts, which the FIA took action on.
An FIA statement read: “The driver of car 44, Lewis Hamilton, undid his seat belts on the in-lap at the end of the race.
“While the Stewards are sympathetic to the desire to celebrate, it is fundamentally unsafe to undo the seatbelts while the car is in motion. Slow speeds in these cars are very fast for an unrestrained occupant.
“Further, Formula 1 drivers set the example for junior categories. It is critical that junior category drivers learn the importance of using all the safety devices of the car at all times.”
Hamilton was fined £3,700 (€5,000), with a further £14,900 (€20,000) suspended through 2022, for his actions in Brazil.
It’s a significantly lower fee than Verstappen’s on the same weekend, and he has recently taken a dig at the decision.
Ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Verstappen has sarcastically joked he’ll consider driving without a safety belt in future as it’s cheaper than other offences.
He told DAZN: “I’m not allowed to touch a rear wing anymore, that’s for sure. If you do, you have to pay a big fine, but apparently it’s cheaper to drive without the belts. So I’ll think about it.”
Hamilton built on his phenomenal win in Brazil by cruising to victory in last weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix.
The Brit’s recent success has closed the gap on Verstappen at the summit of the Drivers’ Championship ahead of the season run-in.
Verstappen is now just eight points ahead of Hamilton, with two races remaining in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
A win in Jeddah on December 5 for the Dutch hopeful would likely wrap up the duo’s battle and secure a maiden world title.
In doing so, Verstappen would end Hamilton’s dominant era, including four successive world titles and six in the last seven years.
He would be the first Red Bull champion since Sebastien Vettel in 2013 and a welcome change for many F1 fans.
However, Hamilton won’t give up on a record eighth triumph, which could take him ahead of Michael Schumacher in all-time world titles.