Was Lewis Hamilton’s move that sent Max Verstappen to the hospital legitimate and prevented him from further detaching himself from the rest at the top of the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship?
That’s the question everyone is asking after Hamilton’s victory in the British Grand Prix, which put him eight points behind championship leader Verstappen.
Verstappen led Hamilton by 33 points and started in the lead on Sunday. But on the very first lap, Hamilton tried to pass his rival, the wheels touched and Verstappen’s Red Bull went off the track and hit a tire barrier. Verstappen was left out of the race and taken to a hospital, although he was not seriously injured. It has already been discharged.
Hamilton was penalized with ten seconds and fell to fourth place. But he recovered positions with his Mercedes and ended up winning the race and scoring many points, while Verstappen did not add anything.
Red Bull director Christian Horner was furious and said Hamilton put Verstappen’s life in danger.
“What he did was unacceptable,” he complained. “You don’t put a wheel inside without serious consequences. We were lucky that no one was seriously injured. “
“What infuriates me the most is the lack of judgment, the desperation that he showed in that action. He had no chance. Lewis is a world champion. He won seven titles. He made an amateur mistake, in a desperate action, ”he insisted.
The incident did not affect the nerves of Hamilton, who ended up rounding out a solid performance and scoring his eighth victory in front of his audience.
He brought out all his talent, and also his negative side.
For Horner, it was a “without merit” victory. Hamilton, however, thinks differently.
“It doesn’t seem undeserved to me,” he said. “I don’t think I have to apologize for anything.”
“I do not agree with (the punishment of) the directors of the test, but I accept it and move on. I’m not going to grumble. Everyone is going to have a different opinion and I don’t care what they think. I do what I have to do and I am happy to have won ”.
Hamilton admitted he was desperate to win after a five-race streak without climbing to the top of the podium.
“There was a lot at stake in this race,” he said, including “the desire to win in front of this crowd.”
The incident divided the paddock, although most of the drivers simply said it was “a racing incident,” including Charles Leclerc, the Ferrari racer who was on his way to victory but couldn’t help being passed by Hamilton with two laps to go… on the same corner where Verstappen went off the track.
Verstappen does not forgive Hamilton. He said his maneuver was “unsportsmanlike and disrespectful.”
“Glad to be okay. Although very disappointed to have been pulled (from the race) like this, ”he declared. “The punishment did not help, it does not correspond to the risky maneuver of Lewis on the track.”
Vertappen had won the last three races and was threatening to extend his already considerable lead.
The episode only accentuated the rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen, which some already compare with some of the great rivalries that motorsport has given, such as that of Ayrton Senna with Alain Prost or that of Michael Schumacher with Damon Hill.
The next battle will be in two weeks in Hungary. AP (HN)