Hamilton penalised but wins British Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton fought back from a ten-second penalty for a crash with title rival Max Verstappen to pass Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and claim a dramatic British Grand Prix victory.
Hamilton was blamed for a collision with Verstappen’s Red Bull at Copse corner on the first lap of the race, which led to the Dutchman crashing out.
Verstappen, 23, was taken to hospital for precautionary tests after the accident while Hamilton set about trying to win the race.
The Grand Prix was stopped after the incident with Leclerc in the lead from Hamilton and the Ferrari driver held that position until two laps from the end, when the Mercedes driver passed him, ironically, at the same corner at which he had crashed with Verstappen.
The controversial win, in front of a crowd of 140 000, was Hamilton’s eighth in the British Grand Prix and cuts Verstappen’s championship lead to eight points after a race that will go down in the annals of F1 history.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s was such a physically difficult race, great weather,” said Hamilton.
“It is tough but I have been giving it my all this week. Just trying to discover performance in this car with the guys. I’m just proud of everyone, even though we’ve had a deficit [to Red Bull].”
Of his crash with Verstappen, he added: “I just try and stay measured in my approach – particularly with Max, he’s very aggressive. And then today, I was fully alongside him and he didn’t give me the space, so . . . .
“But regardless of whether I agree with the penalty, I take it on the chin and I just kept working. I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way.”
What happened in the crash?
The moment many had considered to be inevitable at some point in this titanic battle between Verstappen and Hamilton happened after an intense scrap between the title rivals on the first lap.
Hamilton, starting second on the grid after Verstappen’s victory in F1’s maiden “sprint” race on Saturday, got away better and was alongside the Red Bull driver into the first corner, but Verstappen held him off.
Hamilton nosed ahead into the Brooklands corner at the end of the Wellington straight, but was again held off.
Heading down into the 190mph Copse corner, he dummied Verstappen, feinting to the outside and then diving for the inside.
Hamilton had more than half his car alongside Verstappen as they began to turn in, but backed off slightly as he saw the Dutchman was going to sit it out around the outside – and the Red Bull edged back ahead.
Hamilton was a little wide of the apex and his front left wheel made contact with Verstappen’s right rear in the middle of the corner, and the impact sent Verstappen flying into the barriers on the outside.
He climbed out of the car and was walking around before being taken to the circuit medical centre for mandatory checks after such a heavy impact and complaining of dizziness.
Team boss Christian Horner said it measured 51G and Verstappen was taken to a local hospital for “further precautionary tests”.
In their written reasons for handing down the sanction to Hamilton, the race stewards said the Mercedes driver had “room available to the inside” of the corner and “did not avoid contact” when Verstappen turned in, and concluded that Hamilton was “predominantly at fault”. (BBC)