While the debate rages on surrounding the outcome of the 2021 Formula One world championship, won by Max Verstappen over Lewis Hamilton amid a controversial conclusion to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, it is easy to forget the rest of drivers and teams.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has accused British Grand Prix winner Lewis Hamilton of putting title rival Max Verstappen’s life at risk with a “desperate” collision that ended the Dutchman’s race.
But seven-time world champion Hamilton insists he did nothing wrong.
Horner said Mercedes’ Hamilton – the most successful driver in the history of Formula One – made an amateur error in trying to pass at Copse corner on the opening lap and dismissed the Briton’s 99th career victory as “hollow”.
He said Hamilton had put a fellow competitor’s safety “in jeopardy”.
“We’re just lucky today, unfortunately after a 51-G accident, that there wasn’t somebody seriously hurt,” he said.
“What I’m most angry about is the lack of judgement, or the misjudgement and desperation.
“Thankfully we got away with it today but had that been an awful lot worse, a 10-second penalty would have looked pretty meaningless.”
The controversial clash slashed Verstappen’s championship lead from 33 points before the race to a mere eight after 10 rounds.
Hamilton was handed the time penalty for causing the collision but raced back to take the lead from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with two laps to spare.
It was his record eighth win at Silverstone.
Hamilton said he had nothing to apologise for when told of Horner’s comments after the race.
“I don’t really have anything to say to Christian. The win doesn’t feel hollow,” he said.
“I don’t think I am in a position to have to apologise for anything. We are out there racing.
“I heard that Max is in hospital and that definitely concerns me. None of us here ever want to see a driver injured.
“That is never my intention and so I really hope he is OK, and I will hit him up after this to check he’s OK.
“I don’t agree with the stewards but I take my penalty on the chin and get on with my job. I am not going to whine about it.”
Horner said Verstappen was battered and bruised and in hospital after the biggest accident of his Formula One career.
The crash brought the race to a temporary halt as barriers were repaired.
“I can’t see how Lewis can take any satisfaction out of a win when you’ve put your fellow competitor and driver in hospital,” said Horner.
Verstappen also chimed in on Twitter.
“Glad I’m OK. Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn’t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track,” said the Dutch youngster.
“Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour but we move on.”
Hamilton had set the fastest lap in Friday qualifying for Saturday’s first ever sprint race that then determined pole position for Sunday’s race.
Verstappen seized the lead at the start of that sprint and was never threatened.
Horner suggested Hamilton’s behaviour had been influenced by the sprint because he knew Verstappen would likely disappear into the distance again unless he did something.
“I think he was wound up after yesterday’s result,” he said.
“He was obviously fully motivated, and he just made a massive misjudgement.”
Horner also criticised Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff for going to see stewards while the race was halted, saying it was unacceptable to try and lobby them.
“I don’t think the stewards should be interfered with,” he said.