Red Bull team boss Christian Horner slammed Lewis Hamilton’s “dirty driving” in the crash that put Formula 1 championship leader Max Verstappen out of the British Grand Prix and caused a red flag.
F1 title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton duelled for the lead of the race throughout the opening turns of the British GP on the first lap, and as they approached the high-speed Copse right-hander, Hamilton attempted to pass Red Bull’s Verstappen on the inside.
As Verstappen turned into the corner, his rear-right tyre collided with Hamilton’s front-left tyre and Verstappen was sent hurtling into the barriers.
Verstappen emerged from his car relatively unscathed, with Horner saying Verstappen was “massively winded” by what the team described as a 51G impact.
It marked Verstappen’s second retirement of the season while Hamilton was able to continue and will be in second place behind new race leader Charles Leclerc when the red-flagged race restart.
“Completely out of order to stick a wheel up the inside there,” Horner told Channel 4 after the incident.
“It was way too far, every driver who has driven this circuit knows you don’t stick a wheel up the inside at Copse.
Update: Following a first-lap incident with Lewis Hamilton, Max has been taken to the Silverstone Circuit Medical Centre where he is undergoing a full medical assessment. #BritishGP
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) July 18, 2021
“And he’s done it, and then obviously his front-left has made contact with Max’s right-rear at one of the fastest corners in the championship and he’s put him in the fence.
“Thank God he [Verstappen] has not been hurt, as you can imagine we’re pretty annoyed by things.”
Drama on the opening lap at Silverstone
Verstappen and Hamilton collide at Copse
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 18, 2021
The stewards investigated the incident and handed Hamilton a 10-second penalty for causing a collision.
When asked by his former driver Mark Webber if Horner believed the occasion had got to Hamilton, Horner said: “I think so, it was a desperate move. He failed to make the move in the first part of the lap, which he was obviously here to do.
“It’s one of the fastest corners in the world, you don’t stick a wheel up the inside, that’s just dirty driving.”
Horner pleaded a similar case to FIA race director Michael Masi, while his opposite number at Mercedes, Toto Wolff, said the following prior to the awarding of the penalty:
“Michael I just sent you an email with the diagrams where the car should be. Did you receive that?” Wolff said.
“Toto I don’t access my emails during the race deliberately as I concentrate on the race,” Masi replied.
“Well maybe you should look at this because there is something with the rules coming now,” Wolff added.
“I suggest if you want to Toto, feel free to go upstairs and see the stewards directly,” Masi said.