Christian Horner heaps praise on Lewis Hamilton and discusses Red Bulls Mercedes protest

F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar

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Christian Horner has hailed Lewis Hamilton as “a phenomenal driver” – but said that doesn’t mean F1’s seven-time world champion is incapable of making a mistake. Horner was discussing the “antagonistic” statement put out by Mercedes after Red Bull’s appeal was thrown out at the British Grand Prix. 

Red Bull chief Horner wanted a more severe penalty to be handed to Hamilton after his collision with Max Verstappen at Silverstone.

Hamilton received a 10-second time penalty during the race but was able to catch Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and take victory nonetheless.

It left the 36-year-old just eight points behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.

After the appeal failed, a Mercedes statement read: “The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team welcomes the decision of the stewards to reject Red Bull Racing’s right of review.

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“In addition to bringing this incident to a close, we hope that this decision will mark the end of a concerted effort by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton, including in the documents submitted for their unsuccessful right of review.”

Horner has now responded – acknowledging Hamilton’s achievements in the sport but insisting that this doesn’t mean the reigning champ can’t make “a misjudgement”.

And he rejected the idea that Red Bull’s appeal was a “personal” attack on the 36-year-old.

“Lewis is a phenomenal driver, we know that,” said Horner. 


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“He’s a seven-time world champion for a reason. We respect that.

“That doesn’t mean a seven-time world champion can’t make a mistake or a misjudgement. In no way is that personal. It would have been the same for any other driver on the grid.”

Horner added: “I think, you know, the statement by Mercedes is a little antagonistic shall we say.

“I don’t really read too much into it. It has never been anything personal about a single driver, it is about the events that happened on a competition between two guys. It’s not individual to any driver.

“If that had have been any other driver the reaction would have been identical so I was a little surprised at Mercedes comment but we’ve put that behind us and our focus is very much on track and trying to build on the momentum that we’d taken after the sprint race at Silverstone.”

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff disagrees with Horner, believing Red Bull were targeting Hamilton.

“I think the comments that were made, surely out of emotion, were going directly against a seven-time world champion,” said Wolff.

“Words like ‘amateurish’ should have no place and what it triggered was an avalanche of comments in the social media, a lot of controversy, added to further polarisation and I think we as a sport should do the contrary. We should de-escalate.”

Horner said Red Bull now accept the decision and are focused on the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.

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