F1: Can Lewis Hamilton do it again?
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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has dismissed any suggestion Lewis Hamilton was undeserving of his victory at the British Grand Prix, adding “a win is a win” and that they will “put it on the scorecard and move on.”
Hamilton’s victory has been shrouded in controversy as the Briton fought his way back from a time penalty to beat Charles Leclerc to the top step in front of his home crowd on Sunday.
The Briton picked up the penalty after the stewards deemed to have caused a collision on the opening lap, as the seven-time world champion tussled for position alongside his main championship rival Max Verstappen.
But tensions boiled over as the two collided heading into Copse Corner, with the Dutchman spiralling violently towards the tyre barrier, finishing his day in Silverstone before even completing a lap.
The stewards penalised the seven-time world champion for the crash, serving his ten-second time penalty in the pits, before storming his way to victory in front of a jubilant home crowd.
At the time Red Bull were heard fuming on the radio, with boss Christian Horner afterwards calling Hamilton “desperate” and that it was a “hollow victory” for the Mercedes man.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen high-speed crash verdict
“A win is a win and a third [for Valtteri Bottas] is a third and we scored big points today and that’s it,” said Wolff after the race. “We put it on the scorecard and move on to the next one.
“It was always very intense because we are fighting with everything we have in order to hold on to this championship whilst knowing that we are not performing as [well as] Red Bull and Honda. Therefore we’ve had big points losses in the past, and today we scored big points. So that is always balancing itself out.
“I think that if that would have been a low or mid-speed corner, then it wouldn’t have been a big debate, obviously, or what the consequence of that [whether] a five or 10-second penalty,” said Wolff. “But it was a high-speed impact.
“It is a corner that takes lots of guts to even take flat alone. And when two cars are trying to drive through it they need to leave each other space in order to make it through the corner. And that wasn’t the case and the stewards deemed 10 seconds as appropriate, I guess because both drivers were part of the accident, not one alone, it’s always much more nuanced.”
Hamilton came into much criticism from both Verstappen himself, who called him “disrespectful and claimed he acted in an “unsportsmanlike” manner, while Horner claimed Hamilton had put his driver in the hospital and labelled it “dirty driving”.
Speaking to Channel 4, Horner said: “I think it was a desperate move.
“He failed to make the move in the first part of the lap, which he was obviously geared to do, and then it was just a desperate move sticking a wheel up the inside which you just don’t do.
“You boys know as well as anyone, Copse is one of the fastest corners in the world. You don’t stick a wheel up the inside. That’s just dirty driving.”
But Wolff said Horner was just ‘biased’ towards his driver during the incident.
“Everybody has an opinion and that’s okay,” said Wolff. “Of course, every team will have a certain bias towards incidents like that.
“When you hear the comments about his driving and the incident, Lewis is the contrary of someone that ever drives dirty. I think he’s a sportsman.”
Despite not finishing the race, Verstappen still leads Hamilton in the driver standings, but by just eight points heading into the Hungarian Grand Prix.
After the incident, the Dutchman was taken to a local hospital but was released a few hours later.
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