F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Former F1 driver and commentator Martin Brundle reckons Red Bull feel that Lewis Hamilton’s move on Sunday was a “professional foul,” and that they could pay heavily for the accident throughout the season.
Hamilton collided with his main title rival Max Verstappen during Sunday’s British Grand Prix, resulting in a high-speed crash at Copse Corner which ended the Dutchman’s race, landed him in hospital, and saw his championship lead slashed by 25 points.
Controversy has since surrounded the incident, in which Hamilton picked up a ten-second time penalty for causing a collision, which he overcame to storm his way to an iconic win in front of his home crowd.
Red Bull meanwhile were left fuming, with boss Christian Horner branding Hamilton a “desperate” and “dirty driver” who acted like an “amateur,” while Verstappen felt celebrations while he’d still been in hospital felt “disrespectful” and claimed he acted in an “unsportsmanlike” manner.
And while Brundle sympathised with Red Bull’s stance, didn’t agree Hamilton would ever drive a competitor off the track on purpose.
“I called it in commentary as a racing incident, largely I mean it was, it certainly wasn’t Max Verstappen’s fault, I think that’s easy to say, in many respects,” Brundle told Sky Sports.
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“I can see Red Bull’s point of view, but they’re looking at it through the filter of a bruised superstar in the wall at 51g, a wrecked car in these cost cap times that’s going to take a big chunk out of their spending power.
“They’ll probably take engine penalties down the road somewhere because surely bits and pieces on the motor were smashed up as well, where they might take some grid penalties, and both of their world championship leads, drivers and constructors, eroded, all in three or four seconds there so they feel that it was a professional foul.
“They think Hamilton did that on purpose, which I don’t subscribe to I think Lewis just decided he was going to stop yielding to Max’s aggression.”
Verstappen spent the afternoon in hospital as the race played out in front of him, with Hamilton eventually sweeping past the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc with a few laps remaining to seal the victory.
However, all the focus was on the incident between the two world class drivers.
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“I think Max made a couple of decisions, one conscious and subconscious, in that he thought he’d closed Hamilton up, up against the pit wall, I think he thought Lewis would back out of that, Lewis has backed out of quite a lot of things this year so far,” added Brundle.
“I think Max thought he would do exactly the same again but there was a car’s width, and he was at one point absolutely the Mercedes is alongside the Red Bull.
“Lewis didn’t back off and I think Lewis had made the decision that he’s done that too much this year.
“We saw it in Barcelona in particular but in Imola earlier on in the year, and even on Saturday in the sprint race so it’s super aggressive driving both of them yesterday.
“Max is very aggressive on the track, which we love him for and why he’s such a great racing driver, we have got one of the all-time classic duels here on our hands sort of Prost vs Senna, Schumacher vs Hill, Mansell vs Piquet, so many of them over the decades.
“We’ve got two bulls in one field, we’ve got two amazing world-class, [that are] once in a generation drivers going wheel-to-wheel.
“Max turned in and Lewis had got far enough alongside to earn some space.
“Does look as if Lewis went a little bit wide to the apex of the corner. I think that’s after they touched and the steering wheel was straightened.
Hamilton’s penalty saw the driver have to add ten seconds on to his pit stop during the race, with the seven-time world champion emerging in a net fifth place.
“I’m happy enough in the end what the stewards decided with all the data they’ve got from steering wheel trace, throttle trace, GPS exact locations and all sorts of camera angles that we don’t get to see, they decided that on, more or less, on the basis that Lewis was predominantly at fault there,” concluded Brundle.
“They gave him the second most lenient penalty which is a ten-second penalty which he overcame to win the Grand Prix of course so I’m happy with that.”
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