Formula 1's stewards have announced a penalty in the clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in a battle halfway through today's Italian Grand Prix. As part of the ruling, Max Verstappen will be penalized three spots on the grid of the upcoming race at Sochi.
Hamilton led into turn 1 just before the crash with Verstappen along his sidepod on the outside groove; Hamilton then took a standard racing line through turn 2, where Verstappen would have had just over a nose to Hamilton's inside. Rather than lift, Verstappen chose to dive to the runoff area inside of the corner. This led his Red Bull to leap over a sausage kerb, bounce into the air, and slam onto the top of Hamilton's Mercedes. The penalty indicates that the stewards have determined this action, not the original block by Hamilton, was the moment that created the actual crash.
It also means that Verstappen has been assigned blame in what some, including Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, saw as a racing incident. When these two crashed fighting for the lead in the British Grand Prix earlier in the season, the stewards ruled the other way in a higher-speed collision and gave Lewis Hamilton an in-race time penalty. Hamilton won anyway, so Red Bull team officials spent the next two weeks lobbying for an additional penalty well after the final ruling.
The penalty also comes with two penalty points, the counters that determine total incident participation over the course of a calendar year. A driver is suspended after accruing 12 penalty points over that span, but Verstappen has no other active points and would need to collect a staggering 10 in the next 12 months for that total to matter.
The points do, however, give him an interesting honor. The two extra penalty points are his first since 2019, but they push Verstappen to 23 over his career. That breaks a tie with Romain Grosjean for the most total since the system was introduced in 2014.
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