Lewis Hamilton teases Sergio Perez over Verstappen Singapore impeding controversy

Verstappen was investigated for three separate incidents at the Singapore GP but escaped all without significant punishment.


Lewis Hamilton has teased Sergio Perez over Max Verstappen‘s escape from a grid-drop penalty at the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix for impeding Yuki Tsunoda.

The Japanese driver had to move off the racing line for Verstappen in a braking zone before abandoning his lap, which many anticipated to be a three-place grid drop for the race – but the world champion was let off with a reprimand.

The decision caused controversy as the FIA stewards accepted a defence that the Dutchman’s team didn’t tell him Tsunoda was there, although they punished other drivers with grid-drops despite the same reasons earlier in 2023.

With teams said to be demanding clarity and consistency of the rules, Perez elected to avoid giving his thoughts, prompting Hamilton to tease the Red Bull driver about why he kept tight-lipped on the issue.

“Nothing to say about it,” Perez said when asked earning some laughs from the room, before Hamilton responded by teasing: “Are you sure? You always have an opinion on things.”

Verstappen was also investigated for holding up three cars in the pit-lane by waiting for 20 seconds, despite no apparent issues, which is also something discouraged by the regulations – but yet again he was let off with a reprimand.

This was controversial, with social media discussing how this can potentially be exploited in order to hamper others’ qualifying by forcing them to push harder on out-laps to recover time.

“I didn’t really see them [impeding incidents],” Hamilton continued. “I was in the pit lane when everyone stopped and I couldn’t see what was happening up ahead.

“We always push and work as closely as we can with the FIA to have consistency and there is some variation so we have to continue to work on it for sure.”

Hamilton excited for Suzuka

The Japanese GP is often a driver favourite thanks to the fast, winding sections of Suzuka and the gravel traps and walls that offer punishment for mistakes.

From the first turn to the final chicane the lap comes quick and fast with little chance to recover, proving to be a challenge for drivers that they relish.

“It’s one of the favourites,” Hamilton added. “I think for all the drivers just because it’s that figure of eight, it’s that historic circuit where you saw Ayrton [Senna] and Alain [Prost] racing on many years ago and it is an incredible track to drive on.

“It’s [Japan] such a beautiful country as well. It’s just overall a great trip, great food, amazing hospitality and then the track is one of the greatest layouts that we get to experience in the calendar.”


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