Alonso, Leclerc and Bottas consider Hamilton-Verstappen crash a racing incident

2021 British Grand Prix

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The controversial collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on the first lap of yesterday’s British Grand Prix was deemed a racing incident by several of their top rivals.

Hamilton was given a 10-second penalty for the collision, and two points on his licence, as the stewards deemed he was “predominantly at fault” for the incident. He tangled with Verstappen at Copse corner, sending the Red Bull into the tyre barriers at high speed and with a recorded 51G impact.

Charles Leclerc, who was immediately behind the pair when they tangled, described the collision as a “racing incident”.

“It is very difficult to judge it from the car, we are very low so it’s difficult to see,” he said. “Everything went very quick. Obviously I could see there was quite a bit of things going around in front of me.

“I think it’s a racing incident. It’s quite difficult to put the blame on one or the other. Obviously there was space on the inside.

“Maybe Lewis was not completely at the apex but it’s also true that Max was quite aggressive on the outside. So, things happen, what is the most important today is that Max is unharmed and is fine.”

Hamilton passed Leclerc at the same corner later in the race. The Mercedes driver praised Leclerc’s “respectful” approach to their fight for position.

“I knew Lewis was in the inside,” said Leclerc. “I left a space and unfortunately, I think I had stayed in front, but in the very end of the corner I got a snap and lost a little bit of time and then Lewis got in front of me.”

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Red Bull pilloried Hamilton for the collision. Team principal Christian Horner repeatedly accused him of “sticking a wheel up the inside” of his driver. However Fernando Alonso believes Hamilton was far enough alongside the Red Bull to have earned the right to contest the corner.

Report: Hamilton “went in too hot” in Verstappen collision – Ricciardo
“It looked quite close, I think Lewis had more than half a car alongside Max,” said Alonso. “So in a way, Lewis could not disappear from that inside line. It’s not that you can vanish.”

Alonso also said neither driver was at fault. “It was an unfortunate moment of the race, but nothing intentional or nothing that any of the two drivers did wrong, in my opinion. So that was an unlucky moment, I guess.”

Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas wasn’t surprised the pair ended up colliding.

“I saw them fighting through lap one, a bit like yesterday. I had a feeling something was going to happen.

“But they were fighting hard. That kind of thing, that happens, it’s racing. It can happen. When you fight hard, when you don’t give up.

“I’m just happy that Max is fine because it was a big shunt. Also, I really feel like Lewis fully deserved the win today.”

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2021 British Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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132 comments on “Alonso, Leclerc and Bottas consider Hamilton-Verstappen crash a racing incident”

  1. It was bound to happen at some stage given that the cars are so close and both Max and Lewis are ultracompetitive. Hopefully we’ll not have a rest-of-the-season of bumping cars, especially for their physical sake. Also, a race without one of these 2 is not as interesting for me, even though I’d love a surprise win, but it just doesnt feel as close and unpredictable.

    1. Definitely.
      I also agree it was a racing incident but it turned sour for a reason and that is why Ham got the penalty, bound to happen. Obviously one driver got away with it and the other didn’t but that happens too, like spa Ham v Nico. In bike racing racing incidents are more harshly judged upon recklesness like Sachsenring’s Jake Dixon clash, but my problem with this penalty surrounds budget cap and possible PU parts penalties.

      1. Max knows how fast Copse is and what happens if he has contact hanging on round the outside, and he also knows how much it costs when he completely trashes a car. So in a 50/50 he was always likely to be the big loser, and this is why it’s called ‘aggressive’ to take 50/50 in that situation. Lando had a lift, Charles took a wider line, being wiser. Lewis took the 50/50, being on the inside, and wiser.

        1. That is just too easy to say. Lando was no match compared the overspeed Lewis has. And Charles didn’t want to put in the risk of losing 2nd place by a crash. I mean, if they fight with Lewis for the championship it would be different. Max left him space but Lewis steered into him due dirt on tires and heavy car. If there wasn’t a red flag Lewis had also to pay for his risky move.

          1. Max didn’t really leave him space. Nobody goes into Copse right next to the inside kerb expecting to follow it to the exact apex, and Max also knew Lewis had a heavy car and was on a dirty line. Lando and Charles both chose the low risk approach, and Max knowingly chose the high risk one with its high speed, barrier and all the rest.

            So what I’m saying is it doesn’t work to blame Lewis for the consequences of the contact, because Max knew them perfectly well, when he dialled in the level of risk he chose. It was a big risk, with that huge crash at stake, and that’s what was ‘aggressive’ about it.

            So for me they both chose a degree of risk, and Max chose one that would always be expensive if it didn’t pay off.

          2. But Max was content to risk losing a chunk of his 33 points, but LeClerc had the sense to realise that it’s best to get what you can?

            Sums Max up really. His 100% all or nothing racing is a joy to watch – but like Hamilton during his ‘black and white’ days of 2011, fraught with danger.

  2. Mr. Horner will now call Alonso and Leclerc as “Hamilton’s lobbying”. Sad that team principals cannot receive penalty points for B.S. talking.

    1. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Even you!
      You can think its a racing incident and there is some argument for that.
      But most lewis fans blame Max for fighting lewis. They seem to think that is something you are not allowed to do.
      Like Russell who got a reprimand form Toto for fighting Bottas in Imola.
      The problem is Max defended his leading position and lewis was multiple times unable to pass. max defended brilliant and lewis lost car control. Not intentional, but a bit like an rookie.
      Problem here is the well deserved penalty is nothing compared with the consequences for the opponent. But that is what F1 is..
      Like Max said.. “we move on”

      1. “But most lewis fans blame Max for fighting lewis”.

        Really? I don’t think so. Most welcome the competition, everyone is keen for this season. I agree that the penalty was too lenient however imho, however it’s the old debate about should the penalty take into account the final consequence or on the driving itself. I’m still unsure myself based on seeing many many incidents over the years.

        1. The sense of entitlement at Lewis is beyond anything. A 4 year old is more mature

          1. Davethechicken
            21st July 2021, 10:11

            Spare us the hypocrisy. Horner often proudly spouts off about Max’s aggressive crash or let me past attitude.
            They glorify it as a positive attribute.
            Works both ways.

      2. Like Russell who got a reprimand form Toto for fighting Bottas in Imola.

        It was a team feud, and there’s still a team feud going on between Mercedes and Williams. I hope McLaren and Aston Martin distance themselves from this team feud.

    2. @bulgarian Yep. My conclusion from the episode was (1) racing incident, two drivers, same bit of track, neither wanting to cede, (2) Hamilton penalized, perhaps because the stewards saw it differently, perhaps due to the calculated and cynical overreaction from Horner and his boss. Who knows. I’m not opposed to Red Bull complaining and asking for penalties, obviously it’s expected, but it was deeply unpleasant in tone and undoubtedly worsened the hostility towards Hamilton on social media. They need to know when they’re playing with fire.

  3. I’m no racing driver but it looked like that to me too. Hamilton had earned the right to contest the corner, he was fully alongside coming in, but he ran slightly wide and Max had given him just enough room. It was as intentional as Hulkenberg understeering towards Hamilton at Interlagos 2012, that left him with a drive through penalty which I found was very harsh at the time.

    I also agree with Masi. As bad as the consequence was, and we’re all delighted Max left the scene unscratched, it shouldn’t affect the decision on the cause of the incident.

    1. @fer-no65 I think where your point falls apart is claiming LH ran ‘slightly’ wide, and Max had given him ‘just enough’ room. Had LH taken the same line he did later for CL, Max would have been leaving him about 2 car widths of room on the inside. There is a reason why the stewards ruled as they did. There was nothing more Max could have nor should have done. It was up to LH to control his car and he didn’t.

      In general what I always keep in mind with these situations is that it is always the trailing driver than has more control over the situation for he is the one that has the full view of it. Max in this case had his vibrating right side mirror and the knowledge that he was way outside the apex. When he sees LH he jinks his wheel to the left. It was LH that had the greater control over the situation, having the full forward view. He chose to go in ‘too hot’ as DR put it, and whether or not that is what sent him so wide of the apex I don’t know, but surely Max had to be thinking there was nothing more he could do given the space he was leaving. It was certainly not on Max to back out when he was always ahead and LH had plenty of room inside to own a line.

      1. max had more room to his left than lewis had to his right.
        plus when lewis overtook CL,,ofcourse he wanted to be extra careful….
        the bottom line is,it was a racing incident,,no big deal.

      2. James O'Neill
        19th July 2021, 21:59

        Why did Max in his last act turn his steering wheel aggressively to the right taking him directly into LHs path, typical of his over aggressive style of driving this has been coming for a long time he believes that he’s got the fastest car now and all should get out of his way.

        1. He had oversteer while making the corner. He does a fast correction. That’s what you see and he then makes the corner on the racing line. If you go wide you get what charles had. Hamilton was the aggressor not max. Going in on the dirty side of the track with full weight. Rookie mistake.

          1. Rookie “mistake”?
            A 25 point swing is one hell of a “mistake”.

          2. I dont think the 7x wdc fifteen year veteran made a mistake. I also remember him punting albon twice when he wasn’t getting his way

      3. The contact happened on lap one, with full tanks onboard, slightly cold tires. It’s always very risky to not take some buffer in this kind of situation, even more when you’re leading the championship and can afford to lose a few points (or retake the lead later in the race).
        Both drivers could have avoided the contact.
        But Verstappen didn’t want to, running off track at turn one to keep the lead.

        I’m happy Max is ok, and more over I’m happy Mercedes is competitive again. Max had no competition for the previous 5 races. May it not finish in crashes in the future because he doesn’t want to concede a corner.

        1. No competition in france, with mercedes fastest car in the race? A joke.

          1. Verstappen had pole, fastest lap and the win. I don’t think the Mercedes was the fastest car there.
            What element tells you that it was the case @esploratore1?

      4. I agree entirely with ‘Robbie’ above. Absolutely correct and right on the money. Very well said. Autosport commented that we will surely see more of this over the rest of the season. Wait a minute: this is FORMULA ONE not NASCAR. And didn’t we have enough of racers running into their opponents when Schumacher and Senna were “overly aggressive”? The main difference, of course, was that their moves were 100% intentional….entirely unacceptable. So it is said that LH had to make this move early in the race. Really? On the first lap?……and at a 175 MPH corner? And by doing so prevent the 145,000 fans from enjoying a whole race full of great racing between respectful competitors? Lewis didn’t maintain control of his car and the consequences could have been far worse. How would he great champions like Moss, Prost, Stewart, Hill, Andretti and the like react to such a move? I firmly believe they would have judged LH to have been completely at fault.

        1. Interestingly, Alain Prost made no public comment about the incident. Neither did Stewart or Andretti. No body can speak for Moss or Hill, so we’ll never know.
          I’m afraid JohnMerr that your assertion is baseless.

        2. Nah, they were racers and would judge it as a racing incident. As it wa.

      5. Of course there’s ‘more’ Max could have done. He could have thought ‘you know what been 2nd on the first lap with a lead of 33 points, ain’t that bad’ and pulled out.

        Just because he shouldn’t have to do, doesn’t make it right

        I really hope Max keeps this combative edge going, as it will mean another zero point showing.

        Needs to watch Hamilton from 17′ to last season. Never got involved with aggressive ‘argy bargy’ – as illustrated when Max denied him the title at Texas 2018.

        1. @banbrorace Lol Albon twice is what immediately came to mind.

  4. Like Szafnauer, Chandhok, Palmer, Salo, and co.

    1. @jerejj
      Citing Szafnauer and Chandhok is more than enough to dismiss your argument !

      1. @tifoso1989 What have they done wrong? The latter is a former driver, after all.

        1. Obviously, the most credible source is Christian Horner for Tifoso1989.

        2. The first one has literally copied the Mercedes car and uses it’s power unit, the second one is working for a British TV station @jerejj

          1. @paeschli Both points are funny. UK’s Sky has good pundits.

          2. Fred Fedurch
            19th July 2021, 22:13

            UK’s Sky has good pundits.”

            Don’t quit your day job.

        3. @jerejj
          Szafnauer is… Szafnauer. He couldn’t wait to speak on behalf of Toto Wolff who is a dear friend of his boss Lawrence. That aside, even on other topics non related to Mercedes the man is known for his nonsense…nonsense.

          Chandhok on the other hand while he comes as a cool guy, he works for Sky F1 which is by far the most biased media channel in F1. They are Hamilton’s n°1 fans, even if he robs a bank they will still find a way to defend him.

      2. Ok, let’s dismiss Szafnauer and Chandhok. What about all the others drivers though? The point is at least debatable.

      3. LOL!! Don’t you think it strange that given such a serious accident, that hardly a single driver came out against Hamilton? Even Riccardo saw it as mild

    2. @jerejj
      But yet UNLIKE the stewards who actually make the decision and hand out the penalty.
      The Mercedes should have been handed a drive through penalty, 10 seconds added to your pit stop is a joke.

  5. Anyone that actually analyzes the on-boards of Max and Lewis will know it wasn’t a true racing accident. Max took evasive action Lewis did not. Lewis was not on the racing line, he completely missed the apex by 2 meters.. maybe understeering or maybe even intentionally… Either way he drove into Max and he should have driven a different line. So he’s 100% at fault, Max not at all.

    1. True, Chandhok analyzed it and put the blame on Verstappen

      1. Yep, and they’re wrong @f1osaurus!

      2. @f1osaurus Obviously there are many arguments. The latest I have come across is from Scott Mansell, a.k.a. Driver61. I think that he gives a pretty balanced and decent view on this from a racer’s perspective.

        1. @aegges66 I watched and there’s a crucial point towards the end where he admits ‘Max could have left more room but that would have compromised his speed out of Copse’. That seriously undermines his own argument. Lewis was more than half a car level with Max, so by the regulations, Max had to allow room: he didn’t have an automatic ‘right’ to the racing line or the apex or the best speed out of the corner. Verstappen was expected to accept that his ideal line through was compromised because he was now competing for the corner. You can argue that both had to compromise and Verstappen did enough but Lewis not so. However the way Max turned in showed no indication of a willingness to allow sufficient room, meaning the incident was essentially 50/50 with Max definitely being unwise to try slamming his way past when he could have kept racing.

        2. @aegges66 Yeah an utter Verstappen fan like him is going to have balanced view.

      3. @f1osaurus
        And what about the stewards, did they blame Verstappen? Last time I checked, they are the opinion that matters. Chandhok is going to say what the homers want to hear.

    2. i don’t understand the “not on the racing line” argument. of course he wasn’t on the racing line, he was attempting a pass. if everyone was on the racing line at all times there would be no overtakes

      1. @nickthegreek Maybe it would be better simply to say he was “wide of the apex,” as Leclerc noted. Verstappen gave him just enough room, but Hamilton didn’t take it.

        Of course, Verstappen made it very difficult for Hamilton to hit that apex by forcing him so low on the run down to Copse. It would have been hard to sight the apex, with the old pit wall so close. And even if Hamilton had aimed for the apex, given that he was pinned that far to the inside, he would likely have run wide and possibly could have hit Verstappen at a blunter angle deeper into the corner. Really, his only choice to avoid contact would have been to back out.

        Of course, that was an option, so in the end, I think the 10-second penalty for “causing a collision” is fair enough.

        I have a hard time calling it a 50/50 because I don’t think Verstappen did anything wrong, as far as the regulations are concerned. But Hamilton was far enough alongside that he had earned the right to contest the corner, and with Verstappen being on the outside and with a championship lead to defend, one can certainly argue that it would have been wiser for him to leave more room and lived to fight another lap.

        1. It’s a really poor incentive to set. Drive recklessly in certain situations and the worst you get is an easy to overcome time penalty, while your opponent now has two potential wins thrown away (one now and one later because of the extra put needed), while their team also loses cap dollars. I think one will probably happen is a similar incident will happen with roles reversed and the fia will throw massive penalties at max

        2. Davethechicken
          21st July 2021, 15:04

          No where in the rules does it say the car on the inside has to hit the apex. They just have to leave the other car one cars width.
          Hamilton is within his right to run Max wide- as long as he leaves a car width.

    3. Hmm, so Max was 2 meters from the apex. Interesting, as an F1 car is 2 meters wide… You’d think a good driver doing 180mph would leave a bit more room considering there’s a car on his inside.

      I’ve watched the footage frame by frame and Max turns in, then opens the steering before sharply turning in again. Max took no evasive action at all. Plus let’s not ignore the fact that Hamilton was on that line because Verstappen pushed him there in the first place. Sometime you have to know when to back out and manage the race. Verstappen had the pace to win even if Hamilton got ahead.

      Completely agree with the fellow racing drivers here. 50/50. Both played a part now on to Hungry.

      1. @Tom: no Lewis was 2 meters from the apex

      2. @Tom: steering right as Copse is a right turn, and then he clearly steers left and steers back right to not plough into the barriers head first. I don’t know what you expect when a driver takes evasive actionut that was what the steering left bit was…

        1. Davethechicken
          19th July 2021, 17:55

          Lewis only has to leave Max one car width. He left much more than that. Max didn’t have to turn into Lewis. He had more than a car width on the outside.

    4. wOoOdy Agreed. As per the stewards decision.

      1. the stewards didnt put all the blame on lewis tho

        1. They did.

          1. @montalvo No, they didn’t. ‘Predominantly at fault.’ Not ‘Entirely at fault.’
            Mercedes argued that Hamilton was more than half level and thus according to the regulations Max had to allow room. Sure it would have compromised his speed out of Copse, but that’s the price you pay when someone is making a legitimate pass. But Hamilton also had oversteer and was not entirely level. Those ambiguities are why some have blamed Hamilton mostly (the stewards), while others have called it a racing incident (some other drivers, team principals, journalists). Red Bull have said Hamilton should have been black flagged but I think we can safely put that down to histrionics and outright cynicism.

    5. max didnt take evasive action..he clearly turned away,then turned back in again as if lewis wasnt there.
      max had more room to his left than lewis had to his right.

    6. By evasive action do you mean that little hesitant blip of the steering to the left, then turning hard right