Lewis Hamilton row heats up as Mercedes accuse Red Bull of trying to ‘tarnish his name’ with the Brit cleared of facing any further action after his crash with rival Max Verstappen in controversial British Grand Prix triumph
- Lewis Hamilton will not face any action over his crash with Max Verstappen
- Hamilton was punished with a 10-second penalty during the race but still went on to record victory at Silverstone
- Red Bull requested an official review into what they saw as a lenient punishment
- Mercedes accused Red Bull of attempting to ‘tarnish the name’ of Hamilton
Red Bull were accused of an attempt to ‘tarnish the name’ of Lewis Hamilton on Thursday at the end of an incendiary stewards’ meeting that saw him cleared of further penalty for the crash at Copse Corner.
Mercedes were fuming on hearing Red Bull’s statement to an FIA appeal hearing which accused Hamilton of dangerous driving and seeking the collision that saw Max Verstappen airlifted to hospital.
They regard Red Bull’s supposed new evidence as a personal attack on their driver and issued a strongly worded statement accusing their rivals of an attack on Hamilton’s integrity.
Lewis Hamilton will not face any action over his collision with Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix
Verstappen and Hamilton collided on the opening lap of a thrilling British Grand Prix
The Red Bull star was sent into the crash barriers at a force of 51G in the race this month
Mercedes’ statement welcomed the stewards decision and continued: ‘In addition to bringing this incident to a close, we hope this decision will mark the end of a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton.’
Hamilton has always denied intent over the crash, yet the final paragraph of the FIA verdict indicated the seriousness of Red Bull’s accusations.
It read: ‘The Stewards note, with some concern, certain allegations made in the Competitor’s above letter. Such allegations may or may not have been relevant to the Stewards if the Petition for Review had been granted. The Stewards may have addressed these allegations directly in any decision that would have followed. The Petition having been dismissed, the Stewards make no comments on those allegations.’
It means that only if Hamilton had been deemed worthy of a more serious punishment, would the stewards than have considered Red Bull’s claim of intent. Red Bull’s legal team attempted to prove the collision was deliberate, using graphics explaining the angles and positioning of the two drivers.
Hamilton was punished with a 10-second penalty during the race but still went on to record victory at Silverstone
And Red Bull’s stance – team principal Christian Horner was seeking a ban from racing – has outraged Mercedes, by implying the most serious charge of all: that Hamilton’s deliberately risked the safety of another driver, crashing into Verstappen as a race tactic.
Verstappen also threw away an olive branch and renewed his war of words with Hamilton ahead of their meeting at the most hotly-anticipated Grand Prix in years.
The Red Bull driver is clearly still smarting over the collision that ended his race at Silverstone two weeks ago- and the wild Mercedes victory celebrations that later unfolded, despite him being airlifted to hospital.
‘It is the whole reaction of the team,’ said Verstappen, speaking before the Hungarian Grand Prix.
‘That is not how you celebrate a win, especially a win in the way that they got it. That is what I found disrespectful and it shows how they really are. It comes out in a pressure situation but I wouldn’t want to be seen like that. I would have been upset with myself over a that move and I definitely could not celebrate.’
But Hamilton insisted he tried to reach Verstappen in hospital after hearing of his anger – only to be rebuffed.
The Dutchman was fortunately able to walk away from his car unscathed but went to hospital
Verstappen reignited his war of words with Hamilton ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix
He said: ‘I did give Max a call after the race to check he was OK and let him know the respect was still there. It doesn’t look as though that has been reciprocated, but that’s OK. I don’t believe our behaviour was disrespectful.
‘It is one thing knowing and celebrating what happened and it is another thing not knowing and celebrating. Obviously, I wasn’t aware that he was in hospital. I saw on the screen that he had got out of the car and I heard he was fine. I wasn’t aware until after – but none of us want to see another driver injured or in harm’s way.’
The FIA were on Thursday reconsidering the FIA stewards decision to award Hamilton only a ten-second penalty, which Red Bull have since protested, claiming it was too lenient. Yet there was little sympathy for the challenge among the racing fraternity on Thursday.
‘The stewards did what they thought was right and the penalty was the hardest they could give,’ said former champion Sebastian Vettel, now with Aston Martin.
Williams driver George Russell added: ‘It’s a racing incident, there is no right or wrong. The consequences were huge but it’s still difficult to adjudicate.’
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