Mercedes F1 team protests against Max Verstappen in Japanese GP

Mercedes has lodged a protest against Max Verstappen's defensive driving during the Japanese Grand Prix that forced Lewis Hamilton to take evasive action late in the race

Mercedes F1 team protests against Max Verstappen in Japanese GP

Hamilton was pushing Red Bull driver Verstappen for second place at Suzuka when he made a move on the 19-year-old into the chicane on the penultimate lap.

Verstappen, who has been criticised for his aggressive driving this season, then made a defensive move to his right under braking into Turn 16 to cover the inside line.

UPDATE: Mercedes withdraws Verstappen appeal

This forced Hamilton into taking the escape road before rejoining the track, losing time and with it the possibility of another attack on the final lap.

Via a statement the FIA has stated that "A protest has been lodged by Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team against car 33 driven by Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing relating to an alleged breach of Article 27.5 of the Formula 1 sporting regulations, in that he allegedly drove erratically and in a dangerous manner, forcing car 44 [Hamilton] to take evasive action at Turn 16".

The specific article states that 'At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person'.

FIA Formula 1 race director Charlie Whiting spoke to Verstappen ahead of the Italian Grand Prix in early September after an aggressive defensive move in the previous race in Belgium that angered Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Whiting stated Verstappen risked getting "a bad name" for himself unless he curbed his aggressive style on-track.

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