The two title contenders were in a side-by-side battle during Turn 1 when Verstappen’s car rose into the air – while trying to maintain his racing streak from the outside – after passing the curbs and crashing into Hamilton’s car.
Observers saw that because the Dutchman was at no point in that incident completely alongside Hamilton, he didn’t deserve the turn and had to back out.
Hamilton welcomed the stewards’ decision, which he believes has provided a clear benchmark for what drivers should be given when it comes to competing aggressively for positions.
“I’m very proud of the stewards,” he said. “I think I need some time to think about it, but I think that decision sets a precedent and a benchmark.”
“I see it as an important precedent going forward for the safety of drivers, that strict regulations are in place,” he added.
Hamilton admitted that while some drivers had avoided penalties in controversial crashes in the past, there was no reason to stop them from repeating such behaviour.
He said: “This will continue until we learn from the scenarios that we see on the track, and I don’t have a history of such incidents. In the end, when you run away with things like this, it’s easy to continue doing them in the future.”
But Hamilton noted that having a proper code of conduct, with clear rules about what you should and shouldn’t do when competing on a corner, would help a lot.
“When we have the inside line, every driver, past or present, will try to maintain their position,” he said. “There is a well-known rule that the driver in front, deserves the turn. And in the end the driver has to act accordingly.”
“We definitely have to look into that and make sure that the right decisions are taken. Nobody wants to see a driver get injured, and if we can put in place better protocols, maybe we can avoid such things in the future.”