It was another extremely tense and controversial race in the 2021 season between Red Bull and Mercedes as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton came to blows on multiple occasions in Jeddah tonight.
The Red Bull driver was ultimately handed two penalties: a 5-second sanction for leaving the track and gaining an advantage at turn 1 and then a 10-second post-race penalty for the collision with Hamilton later on in that lap as he tried to let him through but braked suddenly at one point with the Brit right behind him according to the stewards.
Helmut Marko declared the first Saudi GP an “extraordinary race”, but added his team was “not happy and we don't accept the decisions” when talking to Autosport [before Verstappen’s post-race penalty] following the race.
“Our engineers are preparing that we can prove Max was constant with his braking, he didn't brake test like Hamilton said,” he said.
“Then he crashed into our car, he unfortunately put two cuts in the rear tyre. That was so severe that we couldn't attack anymore. We had to take speed out.
“That was the one thing. The next thing was at the second start, Hamilton was more than 10 [car] lengths behind. [Sebastian] Vettel got penalised in Budapest when he did it. But with this manoeuvre he [Hamilton] was preparing his tyre better for the start.
“Then he pushed Max off, no reaction. So we feel we are not treated the same.”
Hamilton declared following the race that Verstappen went over the limit with his driving but Marko sees no reason for the Dutchman to change his approach ahead of the finale with the pair tied on points.
“I don't think there is any reason why he should cool down,” Marko added.
“It's the match between Mercedes and Red Bull, and the match between Max and [Lewis].
“And just remember what happened in Silverstone, what's happened in Budapest. Don't forget that.”