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Saturday's Formula 1 news roundup: Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez

Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest Formula 1 news on Saturday, October 3.

Sports Mole rounds up all of the latest news regarding Formula 1 on Saturday, October 3.

Saturday morning's Formula 1 news roundup:

Steward Salo admits Hamilton penalties 'harsh'

Lewis Hamilton on the podium at the Russian Grand Prix on September 27, 2020© Reuters

Mika Salo has admitted he thought Lewis Hamilton's penalties at Sochi were "harsh".

The former F1 driver, who was a FIA steward at the Russian GP, came under fire after Hamilton and his fans accused the governing body of unfairly targeting the six-time world champion.

Salo was also criticised for allegedly leaking information about the penalties to the Finnish broadcaster C More.

Now, he is again defending the stewards' decision amid claims the penalties assigned to Hamilton for illegal pre-race practice starts were too harsh.

"It was a clear violation of the rules, so some sanction had to be imposed," Salo told Iltalehti newspaper.

"We also thought it was harsh, but we acted according to the penalty table."

However, the stewards later rescinded the decision to add penalty points to Hamilton's super licence, which would have moved him perilously close to a race ban.

"After the race, we were showed a radio conversation between Hamilton and the team which said that the team had given permission for the practice start to take place," Salo said.

"It was a communication problem, because Mercedes didn't mean for Hamilton to do the start as far away as he did. They accepted the other penalties," he added.

However, Salo hit back at the notion that Hamilton is routinely targeted by the FIA.

"The stewards have so much information and data at their disposal that decisions always stand up to reasoning," he said.

"A couple of years ago, there was a death threat from the Netherlands when we penalised Max Verstappen, but there was nothing questionable about it. Max committed a clear foul."

Salo also dismissed reports that he is unlikely to work for the FIA again after the latest controversies.

"This is completely voluntary - no one forces me to do it," he insisted.

"The teams chose me for this role and I certainly haven't heard any complaints from them. And the drivers should know that I am the steward judging from the driver's perspective. I'm on their side."

No new Hamilton contract until after season

Lewis Hamilton wears a top reading "arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor" during the Tuscan Grand Prix in September 2020© Reuters

The matter of Lewis Hamilton's expiring Mercedes contract could be delayed until after the 2020 season.

Earlier, the six-time world champion indicated that he felt uncomfortable negotiating a new deal for 2021 and beyond amid the covid crisis.

But others suspect that he is waiting to see not only how speculation of a potential team sale pans out, but also what role Toto Wolff will have in the future.

"It is clear that I want to continue with the team, but we can sit down to do that later," Hamilton said. "I am not talking to anyone else."

The German broadcaster RTL claims the matter of Hamilton's contract has been postponed until after the 2020 racing season.

When asked about that, team boss Wolff told Sky Deutschland: "That can happen. We have already done that in the past.

"I love working with Lewis and I think it's mutual. A contract like that requires a lot of detailed work so we want to take our time to look at that."

More news from Formula 1:

Perez-Red Bull rumours re-surface
Sergio Perez has emerged as a realistic candidate to become Max Verstappen's teammate at Red Bull next year. Read more.

Schumacher happy spectators will watch F1 debut
Mick Schumacher says he is glad to be making his official F1 race weekend debut in front of German spectators next Friday. Read more.

Honda to leave F1 after 2021 season due to environmental reasons
The Japanese manufacturer resumed Formula One competition with McLaren in 2015 and later teamed up with Red Bull Racing and Scuderia AlphaTauri. Read more.

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Lewis Hamilton on the podium at the Russian Grand Prix on September 27, 2020
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