Max Verstappen weighs in on Lewis Hamilton penalty decision

Lando Norris reveals the advice Lewis Hamilton gave him

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Max Verstappen insisted it does not matter whether Lewis Hamilton will serve an engine penalty at this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix. The Red Bull star is two points behind his rival as Formula 1 arrives in Istanbul.

Hamilton returned to the top of the standings when he preyed upon Lando Norris’ error as the rain fell during the closing stages of the Russian Grand Prix.

The changing weather robbed Norris of a maiden win in the sport, with seven-time world champion Hamilton taking the chequered flag for an unprecedented 100th time. 

There are just seven races left in the 2021 F1 season, which means teams have reached the point when engine regulations come into play. 

Verstappen started from the back of the grid at the Sochi Autodrom after installing a fourth new power unit this season, and Hamilton will be forced to incur such a penalty at some stage.

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The penalty didn’t affect Verstappen’s season too much, as the Dutchman tore through the field to finish second behind his championship rival in the wet conditions.

Hamilton could opt to take the engine penalty at this weekend’s race in Istanbul, which would provide the 24-year-old with a big opportunity to recapture the lead in the drivers’ standings.

However, Verstappen is refusing to acknowledge Hamilton’s decision as he is instead focusing on racing his own race.

He also commented on which remaining tracks could be dominated by either Red Bull or Mercedes ahead of what is shaping up to be an intense and thrilling conclusion to the season.

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“At the end of the day, I can’t control what they [Mercedes] are doing, so it’s more important to focus on ourselves and then try to get the best out of that and score as many points as possible every single weekend,” he told Sky F1.

“There are still a few races to go and a lot of things can happen. 

“A few tracks, we know they might be a bit better for us – but I think, especially here in Turkey, it’s a bit of a question mark because last year it was not really representative – very low grip levels, and hopefully they have solved that for this year.

“I guess we have to find out tomorrow [Friday] how competitive we will be, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s nice to be here.”

With the cars offered by Mercedes and Red Bull so evenly matched, Verstappen was asked whether the 2021 Drivers’ Championship will be decided by the skill of the men piloting the respective cars. 

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“It’s always difficult to judge the two packages unless you give both drivers the opportunity to drive both cars,” the Red Bull star commented.

“But from my side, of course I always try to maximise my result, but so far I think we’ve had a very strong package.

“Some races we look very strong, some races they were ahead, so it’s fine. It makes it exciting at the end. 

“Hopefully we’ll continue like that until the end of the season.”

Formula 1 returns to Istanbul for the Turkish Grand Prix on October 10, with Mercedes’ Hamilton holding a slender two-point lead over Verstappen.

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