The close wheel-to-wheel fights throughout last Sunday's British Grand Prix were not aided by greater leniency from the Formula 1 race stewards, who continued to enforce the "let them race" philosophy as they had done all season, according to race director Michael Masi.

Two weeks on from the three-hour wait for the stewards to decide on a clash between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc at the Austrian Grand Prix, the duo enjoyed a 25-lap battle at Silverstone that left F1 fans on the edge of their seats.

Fights between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, and involving Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris also helped make the race one of the most exciting of the season - with no intervention from race control over any on-track moves.

Asked after the race if the stewards had taken a more lenient approach to on-track battles to allow more hard racing, FIA-appointed race director Michael Masi stressed there had been no changes.

"The 'let them race' philosophy has been adopted all year," Masi said.

"What we saw out there, with the nature of this circuit, and the way that it was – yes, there was some wheel-to-wheel action, but it was the same that it has been previously, and it has been judged in exactly the same manner.

"The nature of this venue probably makes it a perceived view that it is more of 'let them race'. But, no, it has been adopted and applied in exactly the same way it has been all year in our view."

Leclerc explained after the race that he felt the incident with Verstappen in Austria had helped clarify what is and is not allowed on-track, prompting a change in his own approach at Silverstone.

"I think that Austria was quite an eye-opener for me to understand how far we could go and what was accepted. I’m very happy at the end to race like this," Leclerc said.

"I think every driver wants to race hard and that’s what we did during most of the race.

"It was very, very fun, always borderline, but I think always in the rules and very, very enjoyable from the car."

 

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