Red Bull driver programme boss Helmut Marko has claimed that Lewis Hamilton wanted to send Sergio Perez into the pit lane when the pair duelled at the Turkish Grand Prix.
Hamilton started 11th on the grid on Sunday as he served an engine penalty, but the defending champion was able to climb up to third before ultimately finishing fifth.
Perez, meanwhile, came third, as his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen took second place to reclaim the Formula 1 title lead from Hamilton. The Briton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas emerged victorious for his first win of the season.
One of the most exciting moments of the race in Istanbul saw Hamilton push Perez into the pit entry, before the Mexican cut back inside, surged down the ensuing straight alongside the defending champion, then beat him on Turn 1.
“He pushes him there, apparently wanted to send him into the pit lane,” Marko told Sky Sports, per Planet F1.
“Sergio fully countered and defended well. I think that was decisive for him ultimately finishing third.
“We are more than satisfied; [second and third place] was the best we could get out of here, and Hamilton is only fifth.
“The engineers have also done a great job. The drivers over every lap have been informed of the condition of the tyres and their driving behaviour has been adjusted accordingly without losing lap time.”
Verstappen now leads defending champion Hamilton by six points in the drivers’ standings with six races to go.
Next up is the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas on 24 October.
Verstappen is seeking his first F1 title, while Hamilton is level with joint-record-holder Michael Schumacher on seven championship victories.