Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says Max Verstappen committed a “revenge foul” on Lewis Hamilton during the Sprint Shootout in Austria.
Hamilton endured a dismal qualifying session for the F1 Sprint as he exited in the opening segment.
At the end of the session, Hamilton was progressing slowly in the final sector in order to get a clear track ahead of him to set his lap.
However, Verstappen felt that he was obstructed by Hamilton as he ended his own attempt, and overtook the seven-time World Champion into the first corner.
Hamilton was then forced to abandon his lap and bemoaned the “timing” of being sent out onto the track.
“The mistake happened on our side,” Wolff admitted. “The communication between us and Lewis didn’t give him the right information to get out of Max’s way.
“I think no one wants to be in anybody’s way because if you impede, you’re getting penalised, so that was not the aim.
“On the other side, Turn 1 was a revenge foul [by Verstappen]. It was just to make sure that [Hamilton’s[ lap was ruined.
“So one was not intentional, the other one was intentional – but who cares? At the end, we looked at whether it was going to change our race or not.
“But I think they’re going to talk about it at the drivers’ briefing next week.”
Hamilton ended the Sprint in 10th place, while team-mate George Russell benefited from an early switch to slick tyres, progressing from 15th to eighth at the chequered flag.
Verstappen dominated the Sprint, winning from pole by over 21 seconds.
Providing his own viewpoint on the Hamilton incident, the Dutchman said: “He blocked me into the last corner, so I had to brake more and I lost like three-tenths.
“That wasn’t ideal, I think not correct. There was still a few seconds on the clock so I wasn’t sure that my lap time was going to be safe.
“I wanted to continue but yeah, ran out of time, space, with the two cars like that, which was a bit of a shame.”