(Reuters) – Lewis Hamilton said Formula One’s racing rules were unclear after Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen went unpunished for defensively forcing him off the track in Brazil last weekend.
The seven-times world champion said a lengthy drivers’ meeting with race director Michael Masi at the Qatar Grand Prix provided no clarification on overtaking and what would be seen as ‘hard and fair racing’ and what would be penalised.
“No. It’s not clear. Every driver I think, except for Max, was asking about it just for clarity. But it wasn’t very clear,” Hamilton told reporters.
“It’s still not clear what the limits of the track are. It’s clearly not the white line any more, when overtaking. So we just go for it.
“We just ask for consistency. So if it’s the same as the last race then that should be the same for all of us in those scenarios.”
Hamilton, who had to run completely off track at Interlagos as Verstappen defended against an overtaking move by braking late and also going wide, said there was no assurance on consistency.
“It’s not clear. It could be different with different stewards, is what they said,” he added.
Verstappen, who leads Hamilton by 14 points, said the situation was ultimately “pretty clear” and felt there was no need to discuss details in the media.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Sky Sports television that the stewards taking no action against Verstappen’s aggressive defence in Sao Paulo could have repercussions.
Mercedes had tried to force a review of the stewards’ decision not to penalise Verstappen but were denied on grounds that new video evidence was not significant.
“In my opinion, what it says is you can just launch yourself into a corner and drag the other car out of line. And that obviously can lead to quite some dirtier driving going forward,” said Wolff.
“We don’t want to have a messy situation tomorrow, in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, because that would be really bad.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)