It was a controversial start to the British Grand Prix. On the very fist lap, Max Verstappen collided with Lewis Hamilton and then the wall, ending the Dutchman’s race. The incident has proven controversial and will remain a talking point for the rest of the season.
The British Grand Prix has easily become one of the more controversial races of this season. When Hamilton collided with Verstappen on the very first lap it immediately caused a red flag and a lot of speculation as to where the blame was to be placed. The resulting investigation by the FIA gave Hamilton a ten second penalty but even that wasn’t enough to stop the Englishman from taking victory, much to the chagrin of many fans.
Opinions have been divided both on and off the grid. Lewis Hamilton obviously had the opinion of being in the right,
“I dummied him, moved to the right for that gap and I was pretty far up alongside him but I then could see he wasn’t going to back out, and we went into the corner, and we collided. When someone’s too aggressive, these things are bound to happen.”
That’s the key thing to point out here, Max Verstappen is known to be very aggressive on the track. And we saw it in play here. That is not to say that Hamilton is exempt from blame here.
Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, said of Hamilton’s manoeuvre,
“I have reviewed the footage many times and still cannot help but feel that putting a wheel up the inside at Copse, one of the fastest corners in this World Championship, was ill-judged and a huge risk by Lewis to both drivers. He was not significantly alongside Max as you can see from the point of contact, Lewis’ front left to Max’s right rear.”
Max Verstappen took to social media to showcase his distaste for what occurred and Hamilton’s post-race celebrations, calling it “disrespectful” and “unsportsmanlike.”
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. Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior but we move on pic.twitter.com/iCrgyYWYkm— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) July 18, 2021
The British fans seemed ecstatic with a Hamilton victory, but opinions online have proved to be very divisive. Many people say that this was entirely Hamilton’s fault and that he should have faced a harsher penalty while almost just as many are claiming that it was simply a racing incident and that Hamilton did what any driver would in that situation. These things happen on lap 1, after all, and many people complained in Austria that the FIA were too trigger happy with the penalties. It seems that nothing the FIA do is the right call and many fans will never be satisfied.
Hamilton’s victory at Silverstone will remain tainted with controversy but Karun Chandhok’s analysis during the red flag, to us, seems spot on,
“Max gives him the space, Hamilton is up the inside, but at no point… has he moved in front of Max Verstappen. Max is coming in and Lewis… does appear to be wide of the apex. When they’re making contact, his trajectory is heading wide of the apex. [Max] has given Lewis racing room, but he’s also, I think, expected Lewis to back out of it, that’s the critical thing. I think Lewis expected Max to back out of it, and Max expected Lewis to back out of it. Max could have given Lewis more room, but Lewis equally could have gone more to the kerb on the right-hand side… If you ask me, they could have both done more to avoid the incident, but I would put it down as a racing incident.”
Whatever your opinion may be, Thomas Mayer on Twitter put the result of the incident beautifully,
There is another thing we can all agree on, Charles Leclerc had a phenomenal drive. The Ferrari driver led 49 of the 52 laps and lost out to an astonishing recovery from Lewis Hamilton during the last two laps. Leclerc earned Driver of the Day and it should be no shock as to why. Both Ferrari’s had great tyre preservation. While others were blistering, the Ferrari’s remained in good condition which is in stark contrast to the severe tyre degradation we saw from them in Austria.
Even with a few engine failures, Leclerc managed to stay ahead, but the Ferrari’s lack of pace in comparison to the Mercedes was put on full display at Silverstone. Despite that, Carlos Sainz could have been up on that podium if not for a disastrous pit stop. Many teams were seen struggling in the pits on race day and many are attributing that to the heat that was warping the metal of the cars.
Sainz could not get past Daniel Ricciardo who was in great form. It’s great to see him continue to perform after a strong result in the second Austrian race. Both McLaren’s in fact were incredibly solid this weekend. They garnered some great points and are ensuring that the race for P3 in the Constructors is still very tight.