Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button
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Lewis Hamilton was involved in a controversial crash with Max Verstappen which saw the Red Bull driver hurtle into the barriers at huge speed at Silverstone before the world champion picked up the victory in the British Grand Prix.
Bernie Ecclestone has blamed Hamilton for the crash and thinks the stewards should have handed down a more severe penalty.
The seven-time F1 world champion received a 10-second time penalty but was able to catch Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari to win the race and cut Verstappen’s lead in the driver’s standings to eight points.
Hamilton looked to go up the inside of Verstappen at the famous Copse corner but ended up colliding with the Dutchman who smashed into the barrier and was taken to hospital for medical checks.
Ecclestone told the Daily Mail: “Who was to blame? You have to say Lewis.
“In the old days we would have said it was one of those things, a racing incident. It was clear that everyone was doing his best to win the championship.
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“But if the stewards needed to get involved then they should have given Lewis more than a 10-second penalty. It should have been 30 seconds.
“Lewis was not in front at the point they collided. It wasn’t his corner. He was almost a car’s length behind. That’s why he hit him at the back not the front.
“Ten seconds was not right. The punishment did not fit the crime.
“If you have to give a sanction, which in some ways they didn’t need to, this was not right decision – it wasn’t enough.”
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Verstappen’s father Jos agreed and felt Hamilton should have been disqualified from the race.
He explained: “Max gave him space and was front of him. You cannot overtake on the inside of Copse.
“A 10-second penalty is really ridiculous. As far as I am concerned they should have banned him from the race.”
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff was quick to defend his driver though and believes it was two men fighting hard for the 2021 championship.
“It is a seven-time world champion, who is defending his legacy, going up against an up-and-coming talented driver,” Wolff said.
“We have seen that in the past and it can end up in a collision. Like in many other sports, it takes two to tango.
“There is a rule in Formula One that if the front of your car is more than halfway alongside the other car then it is your corner, and Lewis was much further ahead than that, so the other driver should have left him some space.”
F1 returns with the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, August 1 as Hamilton looks to leapfrog Verstappen into the lead of the championship.
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