Red Bull boss Christian Horner labelled Lewis Hamilton’s driving “unacceptable”, while the Mercedes driver said Max Verstappen was “too aggressive”, as accusations flew following the collision that sent F1’s title leader out of the British GP.
Verstappen and Hamilton’s hitherto gripping 2021 title duel suffered its first major flashpoint on the opening lap of Sunday’s race at Silverstone, with the two cars making contact as the Mercedes attempted to overtake the Red Bull down the inside of Copse.
Verstappen flew into a big accident with the barriers – in an impact that measured 52G – and has been taken to hospital for further precautionary checks after initial check-ups at the circuit.
Hamilton continued in the race and was found at fault by stewards for the collision, with a 10s penalty imposed. However, despite dropping from second to fifth, he recovered in a stirring late comeback drive to overtake Charles Leclerc for the win.
But as Hamilton and Mercedes celebrated, Red Bull’s Horner was livid about the outcome of the accident and the race result, described it as “hollow victory”
“It shouldn’t be like that to be honest with you,” he told Sky Sports F1. “Max has incurred a 51G accident, Lewis Hamilton is a world champion and he shouldn’t be making manoeuvres like that. It’s unacceptable.
“He’s put a driver… thank goodness the biggest result for us today is he was uninjured. He’s having to go to hospital for precautionary checks after a 51G accident so I hope Lewis is very happy with himself.”
Horner added: “For me, that’s a hollow victory.”
What did Hamilton say in response?
Hamilton felt he had been sufficiently alongside the Red Bull to be able to make the overtake – and said Verstappen was racing too hard.
“I just don’t feel like he needs to be as aggressive as he is,” Hamilton told Sky F1.
“We are going down to Turn Six and he’s bumping wheels with me. But it’s cool because there’s footage of old Formula 1 great drivers bumping wheels on the straight. So I’m sure it looks cool and everything but I tried to give him space but I was quite a long way up the inside into Nine and none of us backed out and that was the end result.
“I took the penalty of course and it’s never one person’s fault, it’s always a balance of the two. I don’t feel anything now, I just channel it into my driving, which I did, and I’m proud I was able to do that.”
Hamilton said he was not aware that Verstappen had been taken to hospital and sent his best wishes to the Dutch driver.
Asked if that fact took the shine off his victory, Hamilton said: “Honestly, no, it doesn’t. This is racing and of course I would love to be able to race and for us to leave one another space, and there’s plenty of space on the track for us to get around.
“I’ve managed a long time without colliding with someone but when someone is too aggressive these things are bound to happen.”
Hamilton added: “I hope he’s ok. I would have loved to have had to have wheel-to-wheel battle for the whole race. I enjoy racing with him and I’m looking forward, but I will never back down from anyone.”
More to follow…
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