Mercedes' Verstappen protest to be heard at next F1 race at Austin

The investigation into Mercedes' protest of Max Verstappen's defensive driving with Lewis Hamilton in the Japanese Grand Prix will not take place until the United States GP later this month

Mercedes' Verstappen protest to be heard at next F1 race at Austin

Mercedes lodged a protest long after the event had finished at Suzuka over the way Verstappen fended off Hamilton for second place in the closing laps.

Hamilton was forced to take to the escape road at the chicane after Verstappen moved to the inside to defend his position, with Hamilton claiming at the time the Red Bull driver moved in the braking zone.

However, despite the stewards convening on Sunday night in Japan, the matter will not be resolved until the F1 paddock sets up at Austin as Hamilton and Verstappen were unable to attend.

UPDATE: Mercedes withdraws Verstappen appeal

An FIA statement read: "The stewards convened a hearing of the protest lodged by Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula 1 team against the driver of car 33, Max Verstappen of Red Bull Racing.

"The protest was lodged in accordance with article 13.4.4 of the International Sporting Code.

"At the commencement of the hearing the stewards noted that neither driver was in attendance and hence was unable to give or refute any evidence.

"After hearing initial comments by representatives of Mercedes, the stewards decided that in order to ensure fairness and afford both drivers the opportunity to be heard, the matter should be deferred.

"In accordance with article 11.9.2.s of the International Sporting Code, the stewards delegate their authority to the stewards of the 2016 United States Formula 1 Grand Prix.

"Both team representatives agreed to this."

WOLFF LOVES HARD RACING

Verstappen and Hamilton finished second and third, with the latter now 33 points adrift of team-mate Nico Rosberg in the drivers' standings following his victory.

Prior to the protest, Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff had stated that "hard racing is OK".

"I'm biased obviously, and you will be surprised by my response," he said.

"I'm a racer and I love hard racing, and [Verstappen] is refreshing. He defends very hard.

"The rulebook says something else - the rulebook says you can't move under braking, but it hasn't been penalised up to now.

"We just need to know what is permitted or not."

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner defended his driver.

"The lead car's always going to go for the inside line there so I thought it was firm but fair," he said.

"I really didn't see any issue with it. I thought it was good racing between the two drivers.

"Lewis didn't seem to have any problem after the race. Apparently he said well done to him."

The decision to delay the the matter means the Japanese GP result remains provisional.

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