Max Verstappen crashed out of the British Grand Prix after a collision with Lewis Hamilton

Credit: AP

WHAT HAPPENED

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen crashed at the end of the first lap of the British Grand Prix as their rivalry finally exploded in a dramatic incident at Silverstone.

Hamilton had already attempted to overtake pole-sitter Verstappen on a number of occasions before they touched at Copse corner, with the Dutchman flying off the track and slamming into the tyre wall at around 180mph. Verstappen looked winded as he climbed out of the car and was checked over by paramedics but did not appear to be seriously hurt in the high-impact collision.

Verstappen’s team, Red Bull, immediately pointed the finger of blame towards Hamilton, who was on the inside line but behind Verstappen when he turned in.

Hamilton, for his part, claimed he had the racing line, saying Verstappen "turned in on me".

The stewards announced they would be investigating the incident, which led to a long pause as the race was red flagged before restarting in the pit lane.

Hamilton was eventually given a 10 second time penalty.

British Grand Prix 2021 – Live updates from Silverstone

WHAT THEY SAID

Lewis Hamilton on team radio:

"I was ahead going in there, man. Fully alongside, it was my line. He turned in on me, man. It was a big hit on the left front, so do a big check. Is Max OK?"

Red Bull team director Christian Horner to race director Michael Masi:

“Michael, look, that corner, he was never anywhere near alongside. Every driver who has driven at this circuit knows you do not stick a wheel up the inside at Copse.

“That’s an enormous accident and it was 100% Max’s corner, so as far as I’m concerned, full blame lays on Hamilton, who should never have been in that position.

“You could’ve had a massive accident, thank god he’s walked away unscathed. I hope you’re going to deal with it appropriately.”

Horner to Channel 4 when asked if the occasion got to Hamilton:

“I think so, it was a desperate move. He failed to make the move in the first part of the lap, which he was obviously here to do.

"It’s one of the fastest corners in the world, you don’t stick a wheel up the inside, that’s just dirty driving.”

Mercedes team principle Toto Wolff’s exchange with Masi:

Wolff: “Michael I just sent you an email with the diagrams where the car should be. Did you receive that?"

Masi: “Toto I don’t access my emails during the race deliberately as I concentrate on the race."

Wolff: “Well maybe you should look at this because there is something with the rules coming now."

Masi: “I suggest if you want to Toto, feel free to go upstairs and see the stewards directly."

Former champion Damon Hill on Sky F1:

We saw a level of aggression from Lewis that we haven’t seen for a while.

"Lewis was very much on the attack and Max would have felt that Lewis was not going to give up any room. But he had to turn into Copse eventually.

"I think this is a high-level of aggression and attack from Lewis, sadly he’s kept it on the inside and really banked on Max backing out of it, which he didn’t do. I’m going to come down a bit on the racing incident side of things, but I can’t see how they can’t give Lewis a penalty. He could have backed out of Copse corner, that was a very ambitious move and the consequences were quite serious."

Aston Martin boss Otmar Szafnauer on Sky F1: 

"I’ve watched it a few times now and to me, if that isn’t a racing incident, nothing is.

"We’ve often talked about allowing the drivers to race over the first couple of laps for the benefit of the fans, and I think that’s what happened there.

"To me it was 50-50 there. Max didn’t have to turn in when he did and Lewis could have been further right, but to me 100 per cent a racing incident."

WHO WAS TO BLAME?

By Uche Amako

By giving Hamilton a 10 second penalty the race stewards felt the Mercedes driver was at fault and I just about agree them on the basis that with Verstappen slightly ahead going into the corner, the world champion could have backed out.

But with accusations that he has gone ‘soft’ it was great to see Hamilton driving so hard. Neither driver was willing to give an inch and F1 fans have been crying out for wheel to wheel action between them.

Verstappen has been very punchy with his driving against Hamilton and on this occasion, he lost out.