How the drivers viewed controversial Hamilton-Verstappen F1 clash

Formula 1's drivers have given their opinions on Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s controversial collision during the British Grand Prix…
How the drivers viewed controversial Hamilton-Verstappen F1 clash

The British Grand Prix will be remembered for producing the most dramatic on-track moment of the 2021 season so far, as title rivals Hamilton and Verstappen had their first major clash. 

Squabbling hard for the lead on the opening lap at Silverstone, Hamilton tangled with Verstappen as he attempted a dive down the inside of Copse. The contact sent Verstappen into a huge 51G impact with the barriers.

Hamilton was handed a 10-second time penalty for the accident, while Verstappen was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.

The coming together proved highly divisive and started a war of words between the Red Bull and Mercedes camps.

But what did the drivers make of the incident? Here are a selection of their thoughts…

Lewis Hamilton - ‘I won’t be bullied’

“I tried to give him the space but I was quite a long way up the inside into 9 and none of us backed out and that was the end result.

"I dummied him, moved to the right for that gap and 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 we collided.

"When someone’s too aggressive, these things are bound to happen. There’s not really much more for me to say – hope he’s OK, because of course I would love to have a 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 and I will not be bullied into being less aggressive."

Charles Leclerc - ‘Difficult to blame either’

“It is very difficult to judge it from the car, we are very low, so it’s difficult to see everything and it went very quickly. I could see there was quite a bit going on in front of me.

“I think it’s a racing incident. It is quite difficult to put the blame on one or the other. Obviously, there was the 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.

“Things happen but I think what is most important today is that Max is unharmed and is fine.”

Valtteri Bottas - ‘Feeling something would happen’

“I saw them fighting during lap one, a bit like yesterday. I had a feeling something was going to happen but obviously they were fighting hard. That kind of thing happens, that’s racing. It can happen when you fight hard and you don’t give up.

“I’m just happy Max is fine because it was a big shunt. But I really feel like Lewis fully deserved the win today.”

Lando Norris - ‘He misjudged it a little’

“I don’t know, it is a very tricky one. Both drivers risked a lot, and Lewis got a penalty so they thought Lewis was to blame.

“Going to the inside there is a very difficult thing to do, especially because when you come in at such a high speed on the inside it is such a tight angle.

“It is easy to do it Lewis did and understeer. I guess he misjudged it a little bit. It is racing. I don’t know, I don’t want to say anything.”

Daniel Ricciardo - Hamilton ‘went in too hot’

“It was certainly a nasty outcome. It’s obviously at high speed, it doesn’t take much to have a big one like that.

“When you’re in such a high-speed corner and just side-by-side, you’re both going to lose aero, particularly Lewis there with Max kind of in a little bit of dirty air. But I think they were both going in hot.

“Ultimately Lewis went in too hot for the for the given level of grip and that’s where you see he  just drifted up into Max. Completely unintentional, but just the nature of the aero on these cars and you just have to allow a little more, but I’m certainly not going to sit here and judge and say he should have done that or that.”

Carlos Sainz - ‘Very difficult to judge’

“I obviously had a look at it, and honestly I had a bit of mixed feelings with the accident. First of all, wishing Max a speedy recovery, because I heard the crash was quite big.

“The accident itself I think is very difficult to judge. Only both know what they could have done differently to avoid the crash. It was very tight, they're obviously fighting for big things and I'd prefer not to judge too much.”

Fernando Alonso - ‘Hamilton couldn’t vanish’

“It is difficult from the outside. It looked quite close, Lewis had more than half a car alongside Max.

“So, in a way, Lewis could not disappear from the inside line, it’s not that you can vanish. It was an unfortunate moment of the race, but nothing intentional or nothing that any of the two drivers did wrong in my opinion.

“That was an unlucky moment.”

Read More