Mercedes have reiterated their defence of Lewis Hamilton in the wake of Sunday’s controversial British Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen accused Hamilton of being dangerous, disrespectful and unsportsmanlike following their 190mph collision at Silverstone
While the incident forced the Red Bull driver to retire from the race, his British rival was handed a 10-second penalty and subsequently raced to victory, slashing his championship deficit from 33 points to only eight.
Mercedes are now just three points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ standings, although Red Bull are still weighing up whether to lodge an appeal against the stewards’ verdict.
But Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison has given a detailed explanation of Hamilton’s manoeuvre and remains adamant that seven-time world champion did nothing wrong.
“There was quite a lot of discussion live on camera while we waited to restart the race about who is right and who is wrong and that discussion rages on today,” said Allison in a video on the team website.
“We were concerned after the incident and prior to the restart to make sure that the stewards had read and were following the FIA’s internal guidance to stewards on the rights and wrongs of overtaking because, as far as we are concerned, the manoeuvre that took place, the manoeuvre that Lewis did, was absolutely in line with the FIA’s overtaking guide.
“If you are on the inside of the corner, overtaking on the inside of the corner, then the guidance requires that you are substantially alongside, it is not required that you are ahead, it requires that you are substantially alongside as you arrive at the corner.
“Lewis definitely was substantially alongside. He had his front axle well beyond the midpoint of Verstappen’s car.
“It requires you are substantially alongside and it requires that you must be able to make the corner. By make the corner it means go round the corner and not leave the track or lose control of the car. Those are the things you need to satisfy.
“If you can go round the corner, if you are substantially alongside the other car then the corner is yours.
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
“What that means is not that you have to emerge in the lead, what it means is that you do not have to cede your position, you do not have to back off and the other car has a duty to avoid hitting you.
“So, if you follow the notes that are provided to the FIA stewards and you look frame by frame at what happened with Lewis, he was substantially alongside, he absolutely would have made the corner and indeed did make the corner and therefore there was no need for him to cede any ground.
“So I did feel that it was harsh to get the penalty. I realise not everyone agrees with that, but I still believe that to be the case and I certainly think that whether Copse is a fast corner or a slow corner makes no difference.
“This is about what are the rules to do with overtaking and I didn’t see that Lewis did anything wrong with respect to those rules.”