Lewis Hamilton blames ‘aggressive’ Max Verstappen for first-lap crash which saw the Red Bull driver taken to hospital, insisting ‘he did not give me the space’… before Brit won to close gap in Championship to eight points
Lewis Hamilton has claimed that Max Verstappen was at fault for the crash that led to the latter being taken to hospital.
Hamilton won the British Grand Prix on Saturday but was involved in a crash with Verstappen in the the first lap.
Describing Verstappen’s driving style as ‘aggressive’, Hamilton stated that the Red Bull driver didn’t give him sufficient space.
Lewis Hamilton claimed Max Verstappen was at fault for the crash at the British Grand Prix
Hamilton stated that Verstappen was driving aggressively and didn’t afford him enough space
Reflecting on his collision with Verstappen, Hamilton said: ‘I have been giving my all this week. I always try to be measured in battles with Max and he is aggressive.
‘I was fully alongside him and he did not give me the space but regardless of whether I agree with the penalty I was not going to let anything get in the way of the national anthem and the British flag.’
The biggest flashpoint in recent seasons took place after just nine corners. Hamilton hustled pole-sitter Verstappen throughout the first lap.
Verstappen crashed into the barriers and then had to be taken to hospital following the crash
The Dutchman closed the door on his rival at the opening right-handed Abbey bend. But his defence through the ensuing corners put Hamilton on the front foot and the Mercedes man momentarily moved ahead of Verstappen at more than 200mph on the Wellington Straight, only to see Verstappen hold the position by retaining the racing line through Brooklands.
But Verstappen ran wide on the exit of Luffield, affording Hamilton a third opportunity for glory. Verstappen moved to the centre of the track before Hamilton drew alongside him and within centimetres of the wall on the old pit straight.
Verstappen was marginally ahead as they approached the right-handed Copse but as the Dutchman turned in for the corner, Hamilton’s left-front tagged the right-rear of his Red Bull.
The force of the impact sent Verstappen spiralling out of control, backwards through the gravel, and into the barriers to an audible groan of concern among the largest gathering at a sporting event in the UK since the pandemic started.
Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase was straight on the radio, asking: ‘Max are you OK?’ For eight seconds there was nothing. Then suddenly, the sound of a man wincing in pain following an impact which registered at 51G.
Red Bull chief Christian Horner stated that Hamilton should never have been in that position
Verstappen managed to haul himself out of his written-off Red Bull machine before standing hunched over and then led away to an ambulance. There was relief among the fans and a round of applause as he managed to offer a wave.
The race was stopped and then the accusations began, chiefly from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
In a heated radio message to FIA race director Michael Masi, Horner said: ‘In that corner, he was never anywhere near alongside.
‘Every driver that has driven this circuit knows that you do not stick a wheel on the inside of Copse. That is an enormous accident.
‘And it was 100 per cent Max’s corner. As far as I am concerned, the full blame is on Hamilton who should never have been in that position.
‘You could have had a massive accident. Thank God he walked away unscathed, so I hope you are going to deal with it appropriately.’
Speaking to Sky Sports, Horner said: ‘I hope Lewis is very happy with himself.’
Later, he added: ‘Thank God we have not had a driver seriously injured or worse here today.’