It was extreme emotions from one end to other after F1 British GP with Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff a bit defensive and Max Verstappen and Christian Horner more in outburst mode.
The close F1 title fight between Mercedes’ Hamilton and Red Bull’s Verstappen took another step – more towards controversial lines – after the duo collided on Lap 1 of the British GP at the exit of a high-speed Copse corner, resulting in a 51G impact for the Dutchman.
Verstappen was visibly shaken after the incident with the car totally damaged. He was eventually taken to the hospital for precautionary checks, while the race was red-flagged and eventually resumed, with a 10s penalty to Hamilton.
He ended up fighting back through it and take an important win, to close the gap to Verstappen, while zero points for Red Bull helped Mercedes to close in on the teams’ championship too. That doubled the anger of the Milton Keynes-based F1 outfit.
While Verstappen felt undone by the celebrations of Hamilton post-race, Horner was equally enraged with the outcome, where even a penalty did not matter. He was still mild than his counterpart, Dr. Helmut Marko, who pushed to note that the Brit deserves a suspension.
The contending point from Horner was more about desperation from Hamilton, especially after being on the backfoot at the start and also losing out in the Sprint Qualifying. He felt it was an ‘amateur’ move from a F1 champion, especially at a corner like Copse.
For Wolff, he defended his driver and felt more on the general lines that such incidents is an inevitable thing with both drivers not wanting to give up. He argued that Hamilton had his front axle in the position, where Verstappen could have been more cautious.
On Hamilton side too, the Brit felt he didn’t push that hard as it was being said. He didn’t think he needed to apologise without having had the chance to fully check the video. They both didn’t wish to add much on the penalty but noted that it takes two to tangle.
Here’s what all four said along with opinions of few others:
Video of the incident:
Hamilton: “I don’t really know what good it does for me to explain. Obviously got a good start and I was chasing down Max similar to Sprint Qualifying. Obviously I was alongside him into six but I had to concede and I got a great tow down to Turn 9. Yesterday I went down the left-hand side and I really regretted not going for the gap that was down the right-hand side and so I dummied him, moved to the left and then moved to the right for that gap. I was pretty far up alongside him but I then could see he wasn’t going to back-out and we went into the corner and then we collided. Of course, that’s never the way I ever want to win a race or just in general to race but these things do happen. I just hope he’s OK and look forward to many more races.”
Anything to apologise for:
Hamilton: “Look, at the end of the day I’ve not really seen the footage. I saw a quick clip of it when I went back to the garage but I naturally will go back and have time to reflect on it. I don’t think, from my current understanding, that I’m in a position to have to apologise for anything. We’re out there racing. I heard that Max is in hospital and that definitely concerns me. None of us ever want any of us to ever get injured, that’s never my intention, so I really hope that he’s OK.
“I’ll hit him up after this just to check that he’s OK and we live to fight another day. There’ll be a lot of tough races coming up and we have to learn to strike a decent balance. I don’t agree with stewards but I take my penalty on the chin and get on with my job. I’m not going to whine about it. Everyone’s going to have a different opinion. I don’t really particularly care what people think so I just do what I do and I’m really grateful.”
Reaction to comments made by Christian Horner:
Hamilton: “I don’t really have anything to say to Christian. It doesn’t feel hollow. There are 2,000 people who work incredibly hard in my team. It’s not just about me, naturally. Of course, I have already said that this is not the way… anything I want to happen in the race. I think it’s important for all of us to be quite… take a step back. I’m sure emotions are running high there and I know what it’s like to lose points within a team and be in that position. So, I don’t feel any way about it.”
On social media, Hamilton added: “Today is a reminder of the dangers in this sport. I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor. I’m glad to hear he is ok. I will always race hard but always fairly. My team showed grit and perseverance out there. It’s a dream to win in front of my home crowd.”
Comments from Horner:
Wolff: “I mean everybody has an opinion, and that’s OK. Of course every team will have a certain bias towards incidents like that. It is a situation that I guess we all have seen in the past when great drivers race with each other. When nobody is prepared to give in, then these kind of situations can happen. But for me it takes two to tango. I think if that would have been a low- or mid-speed corner then it wouldn’t have been a big debate what the consequence for that was – a five or ten-second penalty – or less of a debate.
“But it was a high-speed impact. It is a corner that takes lots of guts to even take flat alone, and when two cars are trying to drive through it they need to leave each other space in order to make it through the corner and that wasn’t the case. The stewards think ten seconds was appropriate, I guess because both drivers were part of the accident, not one alone. It’s always much more nuanced.”
How he views the incident:
Wolff: “It always take two to tangle and these two are not giving each other an inch and its a high-speed corner. These things are nasty to look at but there is clear regulation, that is something black and white on the paper and as racing driver you may have different perspective in the car but you need to have exactly understand that if the front axle is over the middle of car on the outside, it is your corner. Now you can say, is that the corner equivalent to any other, maybe not, but again, this is an accident between two drivers.”
Explanation to Masi and what exactly he means by having the corner:
Wolff: “The email was on who owns the corner and not only the exit. In the end, they were racing each other hard and you must take that. The stewards expressed the penalty and it was 10s, I guess it was because it was high speed. From driving perspective, it’s difficult to put something on paper and have theoretical view, and all of us, we know that corner and we know how fast it is, but during the race, we saw overtaking there with Charles and I think we should give each other a way, that would be my opinion. What I meant was it is where you have your front wheel, when the corner is yours and he was almost alongside.”
Verstappen (only quote available is from his social media): “Glad I’m ok. Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn’t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track. Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior but we move on.”
Cleared from the hospital after all the checks were ok. Thank you to everyone for all the nice messages and best wishes 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/zBlfbQ8uh4
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 18, 2021
Update on Verstappen:
Horner: “The latest update is Max is currently in, I think Nuneaton hospital. He’s been through all the precautionary checks. And, yeah, he retained consciousness at all times but he is batter, he is bruised, it is the biggest accident of his career, a 51 G incident so I’m just grateful that it’s not worse than that that he’s, you know he’s able to get out of the car and walk away because it was an enormous, enormous accident. It shouldn’t be like that, to be honest with you.”
Still not happy:
Horner: “Putting a fellow driver in the hospital, writing off the car, receiving a menial penalties but still the winning the GP, it doesn’t feel like much of a penalty. I think the disappointing thing for me though, is it just felt like a desperate move from Lewis. He had lost the start, he had a go down the Wellington Street, he started wheel banging with Max down there. And then to stick a wheel on the inside of Copse corner, one of the fastest corners in this world championship, that corner that is pretty much flat out at 180 miles an hour. There’s only ever going to be one consequence like that.
“And I think that it’s just disappointing for, you know, a seven time world champion that he makes such a desperate move and put the other driver in hospital. Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion, he shouldn’t be making manoeuvres like that. It’s unacceptable. Thank goodness the biggest result for us today is that he’s uninjured. He’s having to go to hospital for precautionary checks after a 51G accident. I hope Lewis is very happy with himself.”
View on incident, what could been safer:
Horner: “Of course he put safety in jeopardy and I think a move in that corner, every GP drivers knows, is a massive, massive risk. You don’t stick a wheel up the inside there, without it being huge consequences. We’re just lucky, and fortunate enough that after a 51G accidents, that there wasn’t somebody seriously hurt. And that’s what I’m most angry about. It is just the lack of judgement or the mis-judgement and desperation in this move that thankfully we got away with. But had that been an awful lot worse, a 10 second penalty would have looked pretty measly.
“I think he wasn’t that far down. It was a left front wheel to a right rear contacts, so that’s not significantly alongside. I think if you look at the overhead he ran wide into the corner because he carried too much speed. That move was never on. For a world champion with seven titles, that was an amateur’s mistake, and a desperate mistake, and we were just very, very lucky that somebody wasn’t badly injured.
Sprint Qualifying a catalyst:
Horner: “I can’t see how Lewis can take any satisfaction out of it when you have put your fellow competitor and driver in hospital. It’s disappointing. It’s very annoying. But, yeah, his actions have put in jeopardy another drivers’ safety and for me that’s not acceptable. He was lucky not to have the same thing happen with Leclerc as if Leclerc hadn’t run wide and taken the line that he’s entitled to it then exactly the same incident would have prevailed. If Sprint Qualifying was a catalyst, I think he knew exactly that. And I think that’s why when he hadn’t managed to get it on the run down the Wellington straight.
“I think he was wound up after yesterday’s result. And you can see that yesterday. I think that, you know, probably the crowd everything, you know, he was obviously fully motivated. And he just made a massive misjudgment. And I think that, yes, he got a penalty for it but it’s fairly meaningless. And, yeah, that was his only opportunity I think, and he knew as I say, had Max come through that corner he might not have seen him again for the afternoon so for me it was a desperate move that thankfully didn’t have worse consequences than are written off car and a bruised and battered driver.”
Horner: “I think there are rights that are available to us but I think unfortunately the result…the stewards are a pretty set in their decision, but I think it will be meaningless to take things further, we’ll look at it, we’ll talk it through shortly but that would be my initial reaction.”
Among others, Bottas and Leclerc and a front-seat view on them colliding. The Finn said he saw it coming already in Sprint Qualifying that the two are racing quite hard. For the Monegasque’s initial thought was that it was more on racing incident side.
Bottas: “I saw them fighting through lap one, a bit like yesterday. I had a feeling something is going to happen – but they were fighting hard. That kind of thing, that happens, it’s racing. It can happen. When you fight hard, you, when you don’t give up. I’m just happy that Max is fine because it was a big shunt. Also, I really feel like Lewis fully deserved the win.
Leclerc: “It is very difficult to judge it from the car; we are very low. So it’s difficult to see. Everything went very quick. Obviously I could see there was quite a bit of things going around in front of me. And yeah, I think it’s a racing incident. It’s quite difficult to put the blame on one or the other. Obviously there was space on the inside. Maybe Lewis was not completely at the apex but it’s also true that Max was quite aggressive on the outside. So, things happen, so what is the most important today is that Max is unharmed and is fine.”
From FIA Race Director, Michael Masi, he noted that the outcome of the incident was not the catalyst of penalty as suggested by many. The stewards note put blame on Hamilton solely as he did not reach to the threshold of the corner with the room available on the inside.
Incident’s outcome no play:
Masi: “It has been a mainstay for many, many years – and this came through discussions prior to my time between all of the teams, the FIA and F1, and the team principals were all quite adamant – that you should not consider the consequences in an incident. So when the stewards are judging incidents, they judge the incident itself and the merits of the incident, not what happens afterwards as a consequence.
“And that’s been something that the stewards have done for many years and have been advised to do from the top down. So that’s the way that the stewards judge it, because if you start taking consequences into account, there’s so many variables, rather than judging the incident itself on its merits. If you look at it on that basis, you’ll never find a penalty that would address an imbalance like that.
“So that’s why, going back a few years, the teams, which was team principals, made a very clear distinction that they did not want consequence taken into the account. They wanted to base on the incident itself. So I completely understand their perspective. And I think that’s a generally held view across all stewarding to not look at consequences for that exact purpose.”
Charles Leclerc’s move better way to handle:
Masi: “I don’t know that they express a view on what he should have done, but their view was that he was predominantly to blame for that. The big part was similar to what happened with Charles later on, that he could have tucked in closer to the apex. The wording was quite clear as per the regulations that he was predominantly to blame. He wasn’t seen as wholly to blame for it, but seen as predominantly to blame. He could have tucked in further, and that may have changed the outcome, but we don’t know, we judge it on the incident itself.”
Here’s how F1 British GP panned out