Hamilton: Consensus on F1 overtaking rules "doesn't apply to one of us"

Lewis Hamilton has suggested there is only one Formula 1 driver who doesn't understand you cannot overtake off track, after the latest clashes between himself and Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia.

Hamilton: Consensus on F1 overtaking rules "doesn't apply to one of us"

Verstappen pushed Hamilton off the track during last month's Brazilian Grand Prix, but FIA race director Michael Masi decided not to refer the matter to the stewards, the incident therefore not being investigated.

After the race Mercedes feared the non-call would set a precedent by suggesting that henceforth they would be allowed to leave the track to gain or keep a position.

At Sunday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Verstappen ran Hamilton wide at Turn 1 on two separate occasions to stay ahead of the Mercedes, with the FIA twice ordering him to give the position back.

The first time the order was reset on the grid after a red flag, the second time Verstappen and Hamilton collided on the straight in an apparent miscommunication over giving the place back, Verstappen being handed a post-race 10-second penalty for "erratic" braking.

It's the latest episode in a long series of incidents, which also includes crashes between the two at Silverstone and Monza.

Hamilton, who said after the finish Verstappen was "over the limit" with some of his actions, thinks the lack of clear guidance from race control has muddied the waters and opened the door for more controversy in Jeddah.

He said all other drivers understand they can't overtake off the track and keep the position but suggested that consensus "doesn’t apply to one of us", implying Verstappen.

"I don’t think I’ve changed the way that I race," he said.

"I think we’re seeing multiple incidents this year where even with Brazil we’re supposed to do our racing on track in between the white lines and the rules haven’t been clear from the stewards, that those things have been allowed, so that’s continued.

"From my understanding, I know that I can’t overtake someone and go off track and then keep the position but I think that’s well known between all us drivers but it doesn’t apply to one of us, I guess."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, make contact as they battle for the lead

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, make contact as they battle for the lead

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

He also added: "It was clear that others around us were willing to take it to all sorts of levels in order to overtake, so I just tried to keep it on the track and stay out of trouble, which meant avoiding incidents if I could."

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Right after their collision on the straight, which both drivers somehow escaped without terminal damage, Hamilton called Verstappen a "f****** crazy guy" on the team radio as tempers flared.

When asked if he was worried the clash between the two could put him out of the race and therefore hand the world title to Verstappen, Hamilton admitted that was the case, but said his comments were made in the heat of battle before he recomposed himself.

"I definitely feel that there were scenarios where that was the case," he explained.

"This is not the first time that I’ve had to avoid a collision and yeah, that’s how I felt at the moment.

"But you know, sometimes you say things in the heat of the moment and you go back and re-watch things and then you maybe feel differently, but in the moment that’s how it felt."

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