Why Hamilton “wasn’t seen as wholly to blame” for the Verstappen crash

2021 F1 season

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The collision between championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix has dramatically raised the intensity in the rivalry between the pair.

Sadly, it has also brought out the worst in some Formula 1 followers. The racist comments targeted at Hamilton on social media are reprehensible, and have rightly been criticised by both teams, as well as several of their rivals.

We expect Formula 1 competitors to give no quarter both on the track and off it. That must never cross the line into racist abuse. Teams demonstrate their commitment to opposing racism before every grand prix. Those who claim to be their fans should follow their example or go find something else to occupy their time with.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was understandably livid following the crash. He tore into Hamilton on television and to the press.

Some have accused Horner of indirectly stoking racism with his words. This is wrong. Being a victim of racism does not exempt anyone from legitimate criticism. And let’s be very clear: It is just as wrong to accuse Mercedes of ‘playing the race card’ by objecting to the abuse Hamilton received.

Drawing a line under the most unsavoury aspect of Sunday’s collision, the pressing issue at hand is whether Red Bull are satisfied with the FIA’s reaction to it. Despite serving a 10-second penalty for the incident, Hamilton went on to win Sunday’s race. “Receiving a menial penalty [and] still winning the grand prix doesn’t feel like much of a penalty,” fumed Horner.

(Ironically, Hamilton said much the same three years earlier after his team mate Valtteri Bottas was knocked out of contention at the start of the French Grand Prix by Sebastian Vettel: “When someone destroys your race through an error and it’s kind of a tap on the hand really – they’re allowed to come back and still finish ahead of that person he took out – it doesn’t weigh up.”)

In the language of the stewards, if a collision is considered entirely the fault of one driver, they are described as being “wholly” responsible. In this case, the stewards deemed Hamilton “predominantly” to blame for Sunday’s crash. This explains why he didn’t receive a more severe sanction, such as a drive-through or 10-second stop-and-go penalty, either of which would surely have prevented him from winning.

But in Horner’s view, Hamilton was completely to blame for the collision. He saw it as a culmination of several risky moves by the Mercedes driver, who went on the attack after making a slightly better getaway from second on the grid from pole-winner Verstappen.

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“It just felt like a desperate move for Lewis,” said Horner. “You’ve lost the start. You’ve had a go down the Wellington Straight. He started wheel-banging with Max down there.

Horner accused Hamilton of “wheel-banging with Max”
“Then to stick a wheel up the inside of Copse corner, one of the fastest corners in this world championship, a corner that’s pretty much flat out and 180 miles an hour – there’s only ever going to be one consequence from that.”

You wouldn’t expect Horner to be anything other than entirely critical of Hamilton. But each of these three points are arguably tendentious.

In their close-quarters tussle on the Wellington Straight, Verstappen moved to the left on the straight then steered back towards his rival. He is allowed to do this, but it clearly wasn’t Hamilton who was responsible for the diminishing gap between the cars.

Accusing Hamilton of “sticking a wheel up the inside of Copse corner” overlooks the fact the Mercedes was well alongside the Red Bull as they approached the corner. Far enough alongside to have earned the right to contest the corner.

“Lewis had more than half a car alongside the Max,” observed Fernando Alonso. “So in a way, Lewis could not disappear from that inside line. It’s not that you can vanish.”

But Horner wasn’t having any of this when it was put to him. “He didn’t, he ran wide into Max. I think if you look at the overhead [view] he’s run wide into the corner, he’s carried too much speed.”

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Hamilton’s failure to get closer to the apex of the corner was cited by the stewards as part of the reason why he was considered “predominantly” responsible for the collision. “Car 44 [Hamilton] was on a line that did not reach the apex of the corner, with room available to the inside,” they noted.

But this does not change the fact Hamilton was far enough alongside Verstappen to have earned the right to stay there as they turned in. “Cars 33 [Verstappen] and 44 entered turn nine with car 33 in the lead and car 44 slightly behind and on the inside” noted the stewards. This does not bear out Horner’s claim Hamilton “stuck a wheel up the inside”.

Horner’s insistence “there’s only ever going to be one consequence” from Hamilton’s move at Copse also doesn’t square with his successful pass on Charles Leclerc at the same corner later in the race.

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Red Bull Ring, 2021
Report: Alonso, Leclerc and Bottas consider Hamilton-Verstappen crash a racing incident
FIA F1 race director Michael Masi underlined the view that the stewards’ objection was not whether Hamilton should have made the move in the first place, but that he didn’t execute it well enough. I.e., he was far enough alongside to attempt the pass, but by running wider than he should have done he caused an avoidable accident.

“The big part was similar to what happened with Charles later on,” said Masi in response to a question from RaceFans. “He could have stayed tucked in closer to the apex, and that was where they found that – I think the wording was quite clear as per the regulations – that he was ‘predominantly to blame’.

“He wasn’t seen as wholly to blame for it but seen as predominantly to blame. He could have tucked in further and that may have changed the outcome, but we don’t know, we judge it on the incident itself.”

Horner’s eye-popping fury at Hamilton’s actions are easy to understand. The crash could easily cost the team a seven-figure sum at a time when its expenditure is tightly limited by the budget cap.

What’s more, while Hamilton doesn’t exactly have a lengthy rap sheet, his recent incidents have largely involved Horner’s cars. He tipped Alexander Albon into spins at Brazil in 2019 and Austria in 2020 and on both occasions scored points after knocking a Red Bull off.

Report: FIA unmoved as Horner calls Mercedes’ lobbying of stewards “unacceptable”
Red Bull are known to have engaged a lawyer to examine the incident and consider whether they have grounds to ask the FIA to review it. In order to proceed with that, they must find compelling new evidence. There are reports of telemetry data from Hamilton’s car allegedly indicating he carried excessive speed into the corner, though that will be a tricky case to argue, as he was heading into the bend off-line with a maximum fuel load.

Horner’s verdict on a similar incident involving one of his own drivers at the same track last year may also come back to haunt him. Albon knocked Kevin Magnussen out of last year British Grand Prix at Club.

“For me that was a racing incident,” said Horner. “If you look at it from the beginning, Kevin made a mistake, he got out wide, Alex put his nose in there and then he sort of backed out of it a little bit. It was one of those things.”

The stewards made it clear they didn’t consider Hamilton entirely at fault for Sunday’s collision. But Red Bull obviously think otherwise, and may seek to prove it.

Will they? That’s a question of whether they believe their own rhetoric, and have the evidence to back it up.

Note the main image is from Farm, not Copse, and does not show the moment before impact

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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239 comments on “Why Hamilton “wasn’t seen as wholly to blame” for the Verstappen crash”

  1. There are reports of telemetry data from Hamilton’s car allegedly indicating he carried excessive speed into the corner,

    Yeah OK that’s going to be very difficult to show it was on the first lap both cars had already touched a few times. Hamilton may have missed the apex but he made the corner. It was not as if Hamilton went shooting straight ahead out of control.
    Both cars were on the limit neither driver were giving any ground, they are fighting for the WDC. It was a racing incident as far as I’m concerned, Horner and Marko should stop throwing fuel on the fire.

    1. Totally agree. As do most drivers and pundits. I think equally crucial are the other two incidents involving Lewis and Max that weekend. In Saturday’s Sprint Hamilton was alongside Max going into Copse but this time on the outside. It was almost identical, except Lewis was on the outside. Max went in too hot and Lewis had to bail out or be rammed by Max. Plus other drivers have overtaken into Copse through the years so its not like its impossible. At the start of the race, Max was too aggressive too. He cut back in front of Lewis after turn 1 and touched his front wing. Honestly, he’s lucky not to suffer a sidewall puncture there.

      Max has a long history of being overly aggressive in defending. His collision with Ricciardo in Baku a few years ago was arguably more dangerous as they were going even faster. They were lucky to be going in a straight line and scrubbing off speed in the braking zone or it would have been an airplane crash. They even had to change the rule book to stop him moving in the braking zone when he first got into F1. Banking on the other driver backing out of it or having a crash isnt good defending, its dangerous. There’s a fine line between hard, but fair, and aggressive and Max regularly crosses it.

    2. Agreed. This article is the most neutral unbiased I read.

    3. @johnrkh

      He made the corner by going entirely to the outside of the track, which means that he would have hit Max along the way.

      ‘Making the corner’ when being side by side means using the available space to corner. The other car won’t just disappear when a driver needs more than that

      1. @aapje


        Overtaking car on the inside, making contact and pushing the leading car off the track.

        Side by side, not leaving enough room for the other driver to stay on track.

        Why was there no penalty?

        Why was this acceptable but Hamilton’s attempt not?

        1. @gumbidave

          That is in the exit of the corner and Max was fully alongside when doing it.

          A driver on the inside has always had the right to push their competition out on the exit if they are equal or ahead.

          That is not comparable to contact before the apex.

      2. Max had no problem taking to the run off area at turn one did he? I presume he woukd be fine going off line at Copse.

    4. @johnrkh He only made the corner after the collision and his subsequent lifting slowed him from over 300 km/h to 200 km/h. If he’d stayed flat out, with the aero wash from Max’s car beside him, would he have still made it without lifting? That’s not obvious to me.

    5. @johnrkh Horner and Marko have quite strongly indicated that whipping up their fans is a deliberate tactic to put both Liberty Media and the FIA under political and economic pressure for their own agenda. The latest tactic from Marko now seems to be to threaten legal action against the stewards and the FIA, with his statements aiming to stir up a sense of righteous indignation amongst Max’s fans.

      It’s a potentially dangerous situation, as it feels as if they are aiming to stir up a tribalistic mentality that is more akin to football hooliganism – I just hope that this strategy does not end up with the sort of level of violence that is associated with that hooliganism.

      Too many in the press seem eager to egg this on as well – basically, it seems that a desire to generate more clicks and ad revenue seems to be making few question whether it really is wise to keep inflaming the situation when it threatens to get out of hand.

      1. Lewis has hit a rear wheel of a Red Bull with his front wheel, leading to a no-score of the Red Bull driver, for the 4th year in succession. (Bahrain 2018, Brazil 2019, Austria 2020, England 2021).

        Show me when Max did exactly that to a Mercedes driver, or to anyone at all for that matter. You can’t!
        One side is misbehaving, not the other.
        Sorry to pop your bubble.

        1. This is what bothers me when people say that Lewis was ‘alongside’ Max. For his front wheel to be hitting Max’s rear wheel kind of suggests that he was not alongside. I still call it a racing incident, between two top drivers both driving very aggressively, as they should be with a World Title on the line. I want to see them fighting. But I think Lewis was more to blame than Max in this case.

          1. do you even know racing?

            max drifted left and carried the normal quali like speed because of which he got a bit further ahead to hv that collision. If he had any sense, he would hv given more room.

        2. I am astonished that you have such a short memory and have forgotten all of Max’s previous antics. China and Suzuka 2018 Max vs Seb (Lets stick it up the inside and see what happens). Did you forget this one. Bahrain 2018 Max vs Lewis (Let me push the other guy off the track and pretend he is not there). Did you also forget this one. What about all the times the guy was chinned for moving under braking. I have many more but have got bored. Fact is Max is overly aggressive and I for one do not blame Lewis for doing what he did because if he did not the bully that is Max would have just kept on increasing in his aggression knowing Lewis will back out everytime. I believe Max will think twice next time he is wheel to wheel with Lewis.

        3. Bart, your response is basically proving the very point that I was making about Red Bull whipping up the fans into the mentality that “anybody who doesn’t support us is an enemy” by proceeding to complain that I am not supporting Red Bull and then attacking me for that reason.

          That is the dangerous mentality that I was referring to – the antagonism that comes from a perception that, as soon as you feel somebody is not part of your “tribe”, you must attack them and continue attacking them, until you have forgotten the original reason why and just do it because that is what you always do. It is not to say that others aren’t also guilty of the same behaviour, but Red Bull’s current media tactics are exacerbating that problem.

        4. Kevin Moore
          22nd July 2021, 22:10

          We can only show the times that Mercedes have had to take evasive action to avoid the multiple collisions with Crashtappen over the years. The guy, barges, lunges and chops other cars like its karate not F1. So please stop the Hypocrisy

    6. @johnrkh

      Even if they go through the telemetry data and find out that Lewis was carrying more speed and would have bumped in to Max anyways, I don’t see how it will solve for anything. Lewis already got penalised for the incident with a penalty deserving of a driver who made an aggressive move and caused a collision. It’s unfortunate that Max had to bear the brunt of the move, but these incidents happen all the time. I don’t see the FIA changing the penalty only because this incident will have an impact on the WDC and WCC. At the end of the day, whether Russell in the Williams caused a collision or Lewis caused a similar collision, the penalty given should be the same for the same infringement.

      I really don’t understand what Horner is trying to prove here. He needs to stop whinging and just get on with it.

  2. Oh good – here we go again – we have the official viewpoint and no matter what anyone says that will be the final verdict. I am a fan of neither driver just to be clear, I am a fan of the sport.

    1. Red Bull’s race strategy: if we can’t beat you on the race track we’ll do it in court.

      1. It’s a bit difficult beating your opponent on track after he has punted you into the barriers.

        1. ian dearing
          21st July 2021, 17:00

          Is that why RB favour Max doing get out of the way or crash moves as bragged about by Horner at Spain, in DTS, etc? If so, thankfully Ham has finally employed that tactic, as its Max who just needs to stay out of trouble to walk of with a WDC this year.

          1. exactly,

            Actually that is what we have seen from LH all along.. he always keeps the buig picture in mind.. if that means P2 then so be it.. max never yields an inch, even if it means crashing, himself or the other driver.

            its just that this time it was him at the losing end.. everytime he is used to others giving up.. not this time.
            may be next time it will be LH in the barriers.. but i believe someone had to bell that cat named max..

          2. I read a lot of references to Spain. I guess it’s the race start first corner thing? If that is seen as aggressive from Max then I wouldn’t know why people watch this sport in the first place. First of all, Max is already in front of Lewis at corner entry (as Lewis was clearly never in the copse scenario). And secondly, Max is on the kerb as far right as possible (whereas Lewis chose not to leave more space and position himself away from the kerb – I know that this strategy is allowed and 99% luckily only used in slow corners, but you really have to be ahead to do this properly, or you’ll get a penalty like Lewis did).
            I don’t understand why people are not pleased with a driver that can race on the next level. Do we prefer processional drs overtakes? Or do we just want everyone to not challenge Lewis? Lewis is certainly a driver that can be up there on that level as well (he’s just rusty since he always leads from the front and hardly does any battling against competitive cars) Charles and Lando are already imho. But then again these youngsters did get a fair share in practicing in the midfield.

        2. According to the onboard, and the steward’s decision, Max turned in on Hamilton. How is that Hamilton punting Max off the track?

          1. This is getting beyond ridicilous. The race knowledge of most here is about history and not actual race skill or kraft. Please stop. At some point Max had to steer right to male the corner, it was a right hander. This is basics people. The defence of Lewis is ridiculous. If you admit he made a mistake it really doesnt take away his shine. A person doesnt have to be flawless to be liked. Lewis is great, dont worry guys. He just made an error of judgement

    2. RandomMallard (@)
      21st July 2021, 18:08

      @ahxshades I almost entirely agree with you here. I am supporting Verstappen, but that is more out of a hope of a close championship fight than anything else. The official outcome is the official outcome and is highly unlikely to be changed. History shows that it hardly ever works…

  3. I think this is definitely one of the most justifiably balanced views of this subject. There has been far too much heat in this debate, and I, for one, think the stewards got this decision bang on. Lewis got lucky because of the red flag and lack of unfixable damage, but I don’t think he was in any way lucky (or unlucky) with the decision that was made.

  4. What didnt helped was duo in charge of RBR stoking flames.

    1. Exactly, even though Horner hasn’t made any racist remarks directly the foul language coming out of him paint Hamilton as some sort of assassin. This enrages the fanbase and a atmosphere of hatred provokes such underbelly sentiments to come out.

      In reality Hamilton made a far attempt at an overtake at a place where many overtakes have happened in the past (and even two more without incident during the same race) and at worst he went a meter wide.

      I’d say that doesn’t even warrant a penalty and the same verdict of racing incident could have been applied as pretty much all F1 drivers and pundits agreed and the 2018 stewards also applied for Sainz vs Grosjean.

      So why the daft hysterics? Does he really believe his own hyperbole or is he doing this on purpose. Nit sure which is worse.

      1. I agree with this. There was a severe lack of awareness (or just plain ignorance) from RBR in their disproportionate criticism of Hamilton. Yes, tempers run high, but look at the context: not one week earlier 3 sports stars had suffered exactly the same issue in the same country, which was widely publicised so they have no excuse not to be aware (not that this should change anything). Not saying you can’t criticise the black guy, but maybe you should think for a second about whether that criticism was really warranted, and the implications of being so vocal just because you’re a bit angry.

        1. Treating a black guy differently in fear of racists is racist in itself.

          There is no reason whatsoever to treat people differently because of the color of their skin.

          1. What’s being said is that when you make unfair and false criticism of someone, by lying (on the topic of overtaking at copse) and misleading appeals to emotion (he put Max in hospital, unsportsmanlike to celebrate while max is in hospital) then you are to blame for the reaction to those lies.

            If you choose someone who is vulnerable in some way – and in a sport where racists exist, being a minority race is a type of vulnerability- in much the same way that Max is vulnerable due to the actions of his abusive father, and is now falsely getting tarred as an abusive person, or when we had a woman driving in the sport, she was vulnerable because sexism is also there (though it’s worse now than it was then) – if you lie about a person and their vulnerability is attacked as a direct result of your lies – then yes, it’s worse than if you did the same thing against someone else.

            We’re not talking about fair criticism, which no, no-one gets a pass from. We’re talking about blatant, cynical, profit driven false attacks on a person.

      2. I have a suspicion Red Bull may have gone all-in on winning both championships and hope they’re doing just enough to not completely blow 2022 which is still a bit of an unknown. After so many years of Merc domination and a great start to the season, maybe they doubled down only to see their advantage and a huge chunk of budget go out the window in half a lap. If so, i understand Horner’s frustration and get some of his hypocrisy in the heat of the moment, but someone in his position should be able to conduct themselves appropriately without the diatribe or disingenuity – leave that sort of thing to politicians…

      3. @f1osaurus
        Red Bull are merely playing the same games that Mercedes were after Silverstone 2018, when both Hamilton and Wolff accused Raikkonen of being a cheater. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

      4. @f1osaurus

        even though Horner hasn’t made any racist remarks directly

        You clearly see every criticism of Lewis as racist. What a shameful comment.

        1. @aapje Sigh. I say he creates an atmosphere of hate.

          You even posting on a forum about F1 is what is shameful. Or posting anywhere I guess.

          1. @f1osaurus

            Fortunately, it is not the decision of racists like you where I post.

      5. Rodric Ewulf
        22nd July 2021, 0:16

        @f1osaurus Not saying Max was completely clean all season long including the hard racing at the start of Barcelona, but their positioning on track and the consequences of it simply are not the same to the collision caused by Lewis in Silverstone. It was explained already a thousand of times, but of course you’ll prefer to think your precious Lewis have only been robbed by the referee (like pretty much every irrational fanbase does) and the stewards are borderline racists. Sensationally dirty secret measures are being made against Lewis, because the world revolves around him, isn’t it? ;)

        1. Hamilton had the line since he was at least halfway up alongside Verstappen. After that Verstappen needs to make space or even cede the position.

          That’s how overtaking has always worked. There is nothing in there on needing to hit the apex, because when squeezed on the inside the standard apex is not the ideal racing line anymore. As long as Hamilton makes the corner he is fine. He did and he should not have gotten a penalty.

          Only when the inside line driver really goes nuts and purposefully doesn’t turn in like Rosberg did in Hockenheim and Austria 2016.

          1. This is a laughable response.

            Regarding making space, Verstappen did that – there was room for Hamilton, had he been at the apex rather than understeering wide.

            Regarding not needing to hit the apex, we’ve seen numerous incidents over the years where a driver on the inside has understeered into one on the outside, and then been penalised for causing a collision. Pretty sure I’ve never seen a penalty for the driver on the outside when they’ve left enough room for a car at the apex on the inside.

            Regarding Hamilton making the corner, I note that he only just barely managed it; had anyone been alongside, then they’d have been forced off the track – something in itself that can get you a penalty.

            I don’t see anything malicious in what happened, just a surprisingly clumsy mistake that clearly deserved a penalty. Given it took another driver out of the race, I personally think it should have been more but by the rulebook it’s about right.

        2. Jean-Christophe
          24th July 2021, 14:55

          How do you hit the apex if you’re purposely squeezed against the wall on the straight? Max Did that so that Lewis couldn’t make the corner. To Max’s fans, his actions are always justified. Racing elbows out and forcing other drivers to choose between backing down or crashing is acceptable. Bullying is great racing. Well, it was high time someone refused to yield.

      6. Exactly, even though Horner hasn’t made any racist remarks directly….

        Oh come on, that’s a ridiculous statement and the implication is slanderous.

    2. I guess the RBR initiative from now on will be to appeal to the FIA for ‘No Overtaking’ signs, ‘No Racing’ signs and ‘Single File Only’ signs at the most appropriate places on the race circuits of the world. After all Formula 1 is no longer about pure adrenaline fueled competition between extreme athletes but more about providing a platform for advertising and the huge revenues. You can’t advertise if your car is blocked by a passing car nor if it’s under cover following an accident. The rhetoric issuing forth from Horner was incitement to violence in my book. Had Hamilton not backed out and had Verstappen given him a few more inches of space and they carried on they would have been praised for the peerless drivers that they are.

      Mika Hakkinen, among other real racing drivers, stated that it was a racing incident; operative word, racing! I suggest Hakkinen’s racing judgement is potentially superior to Horner’s. Horner and Marko want to win minus any close competition. I guess that a neutered, watered down, politically correctified (is this a word?), sterilised Formula 1 suits them but it will certainly drive away the fans. Oh and don’t those fans look at the advertising that pays for them to ‘race’ cars? I hope that we will never see ‘No Overtaking’ at any corners ever.

    3. Marko, Jos and Horner together is a bad combination, Verstappen’s unfortunate he doesn’t have someone of Laudas ilk to offer advice. If Max had left more room than normal for Lewis and decided to just make it round the corner instead of making sure he closes the door a little more too he’d have won the corner and been away for a race win. Lewis ceded the corner, albeit it late, all Max had to do was make it round, instead he chose to carry the aggression through the corner. What I find funny is if the roles were reversed, Hamilton would have given space at the corner, and until Max learns that he’ll keep making mistakes. Hoping LeClerc and the rest start standing up to him and then he can either show us his greatness by adapting his driving style or fail, either is still possible at this point.

  5. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    21st July 2021, 13:44

    If retrospectively and days after the event a result can be over turned how far back will any team go?

    1. It CAN happen, I guess @andyfromsandy, but VERY unlikely to succeed.

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        21st July 2021, 18:03

        @bascb I think you’re right. If RB have any sense, and I say that as a McLaren fan supporting RB in the main championship fight, they won’t follow this through.

        Ferrari tried after Canada in 2019, and gave up because they realised just how hopeless their case was. Alfa Romeo tried after Imola this year, but didn’t succeed because they were trying to argue that a different rule should have applied to the one written in the regs. It was a stupid rule, but it isn’t isn’t stewards job to re-write the rules.

        @andyfromsandy I think there is some kind of Statute of Limitations involved. I seem to remember from the Vettel case in Canada that they issue an intent to protest within 14 days of the incident.

  6. This explains why he didn’t receive a more severe sanction, such as a drive-through or 10-second stop-and-go penalty, either of which would surely have prevented him from winning.

    I’m not actually sure it would. One if the quirks of Silverstone is that the pit lane is considerably shorter, to the point that a few years ago (perhaps when the pit lane speed limit was 100mk/h), a drive-through penalty would actually be faster than following the track. It then follows that driving through the pits and stopping for 10 seconds is less of a penalty (say 8 seconds) compared to the lap of the track he would have had to do

  7. ”But this does not change the fact Hamilton was far enough alongside Verstappen to have earned the right to stay there”

    And chose to and then understeered into Verstappen. It happens. Not owning up to it delivers some raised eyebrows though, that shouldnt be a surprise. In the end I think what happened is a compliment to Max and RedBull. Before the race it was said that if RB can win here, they can win everywhere and the domination of Mercedes is over. Lewis simply ran out of options to stop it from happening and had to go for it. He knew it was lap 1 or seeing Max disappear in the distance. So as any real great driver he took a yellow card. Albeit with a somewhat harsh effect. Maybe save it for another corner would be less dangerous. I don’t think Max at the end minds a lot. He will continue to do what he is doing. I think Lewis might be relevant for us this year but in the long game he is not that interesting to Verstappens career.

    1. Davethechicken
      21st July 2021, 15:17

      Max aggressively turned in. He knew Hamilton was there but gambled he could squeeze him to the apex, with Hamilton backing out.
      It is his trade mark to defend or overtake by playing chicken. He crudely gambled Lewis would blink first.
      He was wrong. It is hardly new that the overtaking car on the inside will understeer- it happens nearly every time. Max knows that. Lewis knows that. All drivers know that. Hence the switch back exists and is often used to re pass.

      1. +1 davethechicken – Verstappen has been over aggressive and relied on Hamilton backing out twice this season already, worse of those being in Spain. Hamilton is perfectly in his right to hold his line and force Max to decide if he wants to yield. Hamilton was smart in Spain and avoided contact knowing he’d be able to beat Max on pace. Max wasn’t smart here and went full attack when he really didn’t need to. The race pace advantage he had on Saturday was incredible, all he needed to do was either race Hamilton on track or wait until the stop and undercut/over cut him. Would have been an easy win for Max, but he threw it away trying to be the tough guy. I expect he’ll dominate Hungry with a 30+ second win as that RedBull is a rocketship this year. So he’ll still go into the mid-season with a healthy points advantage while also knowing RedBull always end the year strong. He’s 100% going to be the champion for this year anyway, so I don’t understand what all the RedBull crying is for.

        1. Lewis was not smart to get out of the way in Spain. He needed to since he lost the corner already at entry. Max is already in front of Lewis at corner entry (as Lewis was clearly never in the copse scenario). And secondly, Max is on the kerb as far right as possible (whereas Lewis at copse chose not to leave more space and position himself away from the kerb – I know that this strategy is allowed and 99% luckily only used in slow corners, but you really have to be ahead to do this properly, or you’ll get a penalty like Lewis did).
          I don’t understand why people are not pleased with a driver that can race on the next level. Do we prefer processional drs overtakes? Or do we just want everyone to not challenge Lewis? Lewis is certainly a driver that can be up there on that level as well (he’s just rusty since he always leads from the front and hardly does any battling against competitive cars) Charles and Lando are already imho. But then again these youngsters did get a fair share of practicing in the midfield.

        2. Rodric Ewulf
          22nd July 2021, 1:14

          Not saying Max was completely clean all season long including the hard racing at the start of Barcelona, but their positioning on track and the consequences of it simply are not the same to the collision caused by Lewis in Silverstone. Here why it was worthy of penalty and the Barcelona clash was not:
          Graphical analysys: Lewis was found not in the apex’s direction through the corner without really completing the pass on Max, thus being held responsible for the collision. He was about half a car alongside, so not enough to have preference of the inside line. Why does Max need to back off if he’s still ahead? Not that Lewis couldn’t go slightly more close to the apex to avoid the collision either. That’s the reason why the stewards came to the conclusion of applying the penalty. Here’s the document text with their statement.

          “The stewards reviewed video and telemetry evidence,” the stewards said. “Cars 33 [Verstappen] and 44 [Hamilton] entered Turn 9 with Car 33 in the lead and Car 44 slightly behind and on the inside.
          Car 44 was on a line that did not reach the apex of the corner, with room available to the inside.
          When Car 33 turned into the corner, Car 44 did not avoid contact and the left front of Car 44 contacted the right rear of Car 33. Car 44 is judged predominantly at fault.”

      2. Not a racer yourself I see. Your story is fine, when it is a slow corner

        1. Exactly, since it’s such a high speed corner, Verstappen should have left more space as it was on him to leave Hamilton space through the corner after Hamilton earned the line by being more than halfway up alongside. The risks are just too great to cut it so fine in a high speed corner. He knew Hamilton would not take the “normal” racing line after squeezing him into the wall while entering the corner.

    2. @Mayrton:
      On the flip side, it could also be that Max wouldn’t win a WDC as long as Lewis is in F1?!
      But I think you are right in the sense that Lewis will be retiring soon, most probably after his new 2-year contract runs out, and then Max will have his WDC, depending on whether he can’t beat Leclerc in a resurgent Ferrari, Norris in a competitive McLaren and Russel in a Mercedes!

      1. ian dearing
        21st July 2021, 17:04

        Or he could listen to the advice he got from Ham re Ocon. Why pick a fight when you don’t need to win it? He could just stroll to the WDC this year, and come in a safe second on the odd occasion that the Merc is on a par with the RB.

        1. This leads to my criticism Horner. He either completely blind to any perspective beyond his own, or he is completely insincere.

          But beyond that it is his job to manage Verstappen. He should be trying to calm Verstappenand get him to take the long view of the season. He simply shouldn’t be having high speed crashes with a car that strong. This is just like that silly incident in Brazil with Ocon.

          And while Horner couldn’t be blamed for saying a few things publicly, his absurd over the top nonsense won’t help Red Bull.

        2. You are right. Why pick a fight when you don’t need to win it. But then you have to firstly see the car actually make a legitimate attempt (of the kind that is not penalised afterwards). I think Max simply overestimated Lewis skill level in that corner.

      2. i think max will win the wdc this season.
        hopefully tho,lewis will still put up a good fight.
        i just think that redbull is currently a better car,especially with max in it.
        we’ll see what kind of performance difference there is on the next race weekend.
        i think toto said merc still have some new upgrades coming,,but im sure redbull do too.

    3. Unless Max beats Lewis records there will always be the argument he isn’t as good so yes, Lewis will be very “interesting” to Max career! Young Max has a Loooooong way to go to even be mentioned in the same breath as Lewis and his achievements. Maybe he will beat Lewis records? regardless, Lewis is going to be mentioned over and over again during Maxs career.

      1. Records don’t mean a thing when one remembers a race driver. That’s why people talk more about Senna than Schumacher for instance. People know the circumstances these records were achieved. Lewis is an incredible racing driver and on merit 3 or 4 WDC would be fair. But we have all seen the longest dominance streak ever. We are not that ignorant.

    4. Coventry Climax
      22nd July 2021, 15:21

      “Accusing Hamilton of “sticking a wheel up the inside of Copse corner” overlooks the fact the Mercedes was well alongside the Red Bull as they approached the corner. Far enough alongside to have earned the right to contest the corner.”
      Then explain to me how Hamiltons front left hit Verstappens right rear.

      “FIA F1 race director Michael Masi underlined the view that the stewards’ objection was not whether Hamilton should have made the move in the first place, but that he didn’t execute it well enough. I.e., he was far enough alongside to attempt the pass, but by running wider than he should have done he caused an avoidable accident.”
      This is the usual Masi nonsense. “He caused an avoidable accident” are the last words, but he wasn’t penalized accordingly.

      I think the stewards should have taken into account what Horner pointed out, that it was the fastest corner of the whole season. Making an ill executed move there is cause for a severe penalty, also because it is very ill judgement -and hopefully nothing more- of the 7-time World Champion, he should have known better.

      Makes me wonder, as it should have the stewards; So mr. Hamilton, white lives don’t matter?

  8. For me the problem is this ruling about having a proportion of the car alongside and entitled to space. This al very much depends on the corner and speed and type of circuit you are on so there are a boat load of factors. In Azerbajan Dan Ticktum tried to go 3 cars wide into turn 4 and caused a crash, he was penalised because his actions led to the 2 others having nowhere to go. Ticktum had already seen the driver he was slip streaming draw alongside the car in fron of them but he still felt that gong up the inside entitled him to space. The simple fact was 3 cars around a 90degree corner isnt going to work, 2 isnt going to work either (not unless both reduce speed). Its this thats the key, F1 follows the laws of physics like the whole world does. the optimum line through a corner is out-apex-out. If you are trying to go in-apex-out you have to sacrifice speed to make the corner or run wide. if you go in-apex-in then the speed reduces further to make the corner. If you want to say to drivers “go up the inside” thats fine but there must be some recognition that at xxmph the cornering is not going to yield the same position on the track as the optimum line. Yes space should be given to the driver on the inside but they have the responsibility to know that by reducing the angle into the corner they do not have the same position as they would normally have on exit. These are world class drivers and they know this so why they think that each other can just “vanish” is beyond me. The FIA and Stewards need to remember that just because someone is on the inside can the driver actually make the corner? Had copse been on a street circuit with a steel/concrete barrier on the outside and zero run off, would you have still take the exact same line and speed into that corner?

    1. Davethechicken
      21st July 2021, 15:25

      One much used counter for the defending car is to let the passing car understeer, then switch back and repass on corner exit, by getting the throttle down earlier.
      Of course both lewis and Max knew he would be at risk of understeer. Max gambled Lewis would brake, it was a losing bet.

    2. Coventry Climax
      22nd July 2021, 15:30

      Which is exactly why I don’t trust the Mazi Mob. They’re either a bunch of amateurs or they’re experts in talking right what’s wrong, to suit the ‘show’. I do not doubt that Hamilton knew very well that it would go wrong, he just took that 50/50 risk, and came out lucky.

  9. Nice article Keith, hopefully Masi’s statement will someway help in putting the incident to bed, I remember watching the Horner interview about banging wheels on Wellington and putting a wheel up the inside and thinking He’s making this up as He goes along.
    I’ve watched the incident multiple times with side by side in car views in slow mo and still think its a racing incident. I remember the fury I felt after Spa 2008 and quickly came to realise that when things like this happen you have to just ‘let it go’.

    1. Coventry Climax
      22nd July 2021, 15:41

      “FIA F1 race director Michael Masi underlined the view that the stewards’ objection was not whether Hamilton should have made the move in the first place, but that he didn’t execute it well enough. I.e., he was far enough alongside to attempt the pass, but by running wider than he should have done he caused an avoidable accident.”

      Read the last 5 words of this quote again, please. How is this different from ‘causing a collision’?

      And the doubtful part exactly is, that the stewards SHOULD have objected to Hamilton making that move, there, in the first place, while knowing very well it would go wrong. He gambled and won, but doing it there is gambling with lives, which should have been severely punished.

      Nothing Masi, so far, has ever said, has lessened the controversy of his decisions, so don’t expect everyone to ‘put this to bed’.

  10. No surprise if they decide to ask further investigation, given that’s how Red Bull’s attitude has always been. Plus, that picture on the headings, I’ll be surprised if someone believed that was the entry into Copse. That background does not even come close to the old start/finish straight.

    1. You can tell it isn’t the incident because Lewis was further alongside when he bailed out.

    2. RandomMallard (@)
      21st July 2021, 17:57

      @krichelle This isn’t just an RB thing. Yes they’re are being stupid here, but Ferrari did it for the incident at Canada in 2019, and even got as far as asking for a re-hearing before realising how hopeless their case was. And then there was Alfa Romeo’s case brought up at Portimao about Raikonnen’s penalty in Imola, where they were essentially trying to argue that the rules were wrong and a different rule should have been used. It was a stupid rule no doubt, but it isn’t the stewards’ case to re-write the rules (that would be legislation by judiciary or whatever Americans call it). I mean even Mercedes were apparently considering protesting RB’s rear wing even after the stricter checks seemed to make no difference.

      I think it would be better to say that this is all the teams’ attitude.

  11. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    21st July 2021, 13:58

    This article really does go into a lot of detail exempting Hamilton of any blame and making Red Bull & Verstappen appear enormously unreasonable.

    1. Sorry, were we reading the same article? I’m sure Hamilton was mentioned as being “predominantly to blame” about three times and the article seeks to explain what blame he carries and the much lighter burden of blame for Max.

    2. @tallen
      I read it the same way

      as it is written, people can interpret it differently, that’s always difficult, but I have the same intepretation as @rocketpanda

  12. Can we move on? What sucks is that the whole thing detracts from the real issue of that week-end: the sprint race and how useless it was.

    1. @ldom Maybe that’s on purpose too?

    2. @ldom

      I certainly wouldn’t say useless. Being at the track, it provided action on every day, and much more on-track action than a normal format weekend does. Normally, FP1-3 are fairly quiet, so from an F1 point of view there is virtually nothing happening until Saturday afternoon. Not this time: Both FPs were packed with stuff happening, Friday evening had Qually, and Saturday afternoon had the Sprint Race. It is very telling that most tracks are clamouring to run this format next year.

      Now of course, none of this addresses the fact that the Sprint Race was mostly a procession, pretty much in the same way that most of most races are processions. However, the different format was far from useless.

      1. @drmouse Yes, maybe useless isn’t the right term.

        I didn’t mind the sprint race itself, what bothers me is that it awards points, and also the extra burden for the teams if their car crashes during the sprint race + how it might influence the real race.

        1. @ldom

          I can see that, when it comes to the risks of crashing. However, the same can be said for Qually. We often see teams having to repair the car to get it out for the race after a crash in qually. F1 obviously wants more action over the weekend. More action will lead to greater risks, which is why we don’t see much action in most FPs. So, we get more action and more risk, or we don’t get more action to avoid the risk. Heck, we could just line up the cars in championship order on the grid on Sunday and avoid all the risk of Qually, too. Every car would be able to start the race without risking a crash and big repair jobs.

          As for points, I am actually with you. I don’t think it is necessary to award points. The reward for doing well is a good grid position on Sunday, and therefore a better chance of scoring more points. That said, I’m not really a fan of the fastest lap point, either, from a pure sporting PoV.

          I do think the format of the Sprint Race itself should be looked at. But the principal of having a competitive session on each of the three days with limited practice and early parc ferme is a winner in my view.

    3. Move on? I want revenge, it takes ages to reach hungary, and verstappen probably needs that too following the incident, if by any chance hungary goes well to hamilton again, it takes 2x ages to the next race!

  13. He was alongside for a brief moment because Ham broke late. Ham was not alongside on copse.
    Ham is wholly to blame.
    Braking later and on the inside, he was never not going to hit Max.
    You cannot write enough articles in order to change what happened, and use Alonso’s words to twist this, ham’s guilt does not imply this was nothing but a racing incident, nobody can say for sure Ham wanted to hit Max, perhaps Ham hedged his bets but that is the most one can say.
    Ham committed a major mistake and this mistake was not punished by an appropriate penalty. He was lucky to not dnf but is it luck when the penalty doesn’t matter?
    I’ll admit that if Ham was actually alongside, I would have completely agreed with this article.

    1. @peartree He didn’t brake “late”. It’s a flat out corner and there is no braking needed.

      Hamilton braked because he saw Verstappen turn into him and he tried to avoid the crash.

      1. when entering a corner with two wide, the one on the inside can’t go in with normal speed, because the corner isn’t as wide as normal… entry is narrower, exit as well, because he had to leave space on the outside

      2. On a low fuel load, on the racing line, Copse is flat. In a heavy car, with cold tyres and entering on the inside, it CANNOT be taken flat. That’s just basic racecraft. Hell, it’s basic physics. Obvious stuff.

        1. @inininin, agreed it’s not flat, under those conditions, but it is just a lift, no application of the brakes.

        2. @inininin You can hear Verstappen is flat out. Either way, they don’t reduce speed anymore after turn in. Hamilton dropping back is a reaction to Verstappen turning in on him, not for the corner itself.

      3. It’s a flat out corner and there is no braking needed.

        You’ve been explained already that Copse is never flat out off the the racing line; and even with a full fuel load most cars struggle when on the racing line.

        But ignoring those facts and insights seems to better serve your petulant repeating of falsehoods.

        1. Either way you think this went, they don’t brake AFTER turning in.

          You hear Verstappen is flat out though.

    2. Firstly, Hamilton is to blame for the crash and deserved a penalty (I still believe a drive through would have been more appropriate), however he didn’t brake later. In fact he braked (or eased off the throttle, this is Copse after all) earlier than Max, hence them being alongside and then at the point of contact he was much further behind. The fact he carried too much speed to make the apex I can get on board with, but you’re wrong about braking later.

      1. Davethechicken
        21st July 2021, 15:32

        Agree, if you listen to Max’s onboard he keeps the throttle planted right up to the point of collision. It would be a challenge to make the corner off the racing line with the throttle floored with full fuel load and cold tyres. But max wasn’t entitled to the racing line as Lewis was attacking and partially alongside

        1. Ludicrious comment. Hamilton was only partially alongside right at the point of entry, by virtue of carrying way too much speed into the corner. If that means the defender isn’t entitled to the racing line, everyone might as well divebomb the car in front and cry foul when they get turned in on.

          Verstappen left over a car’s width of space and Hamilton couldn’t keep his car within it. That’s just basic fact

          1. It was far from a dive bomb, and is actually a move Max has made (successfully and not) many times in the past. Hamilton may have gone in slightly too hot and picked up a little understeer, but he wan’t going to miss the apex by much, and managed to make the corner even after contact with Max.

            Max was aiming to give a car’s width, true, but only just. That’s taking a risk. If the other car picks up understeer, has a problem or makes a mistake and you’ve only just left the bare minimum space, you’re going to get hit. Even a gust of wind at the wrong time could cost you the race. That is a DNF he didn’t need to risk, finishing 2nd would still have left him a massive lead, and that’s only if he didn’t manage to pass Lewis again (which there was a good chance he could have done).

            None of this is to say that Max is to blame. However, as championship leader by a large margin, Max didn’t need to take any risks. Lewis did.