Mercedes' Andrew Shovlin believes that Red Bull's reaction to the incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix suggests they know their driver was to blame.
Verstappen collided with Hamilton at Monza's first chicane on Lap 26 of the race, resulting in both cars retiring. Verstappen was later handed a three-place grid penalty for his role in the clash.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said that he was disappointed by the stewards' decision as he felt that what happened was a "genuine racing incident", but was accepting of the verdict. Dr Helmut Marko, the team's advisor, similarly agreed that the crash was a racing incident.
Mercedes feel that the reaction from the Red Bull camp shows that they know Verstappen was in the wrong.
"We obviously felt strongly that Lewis had done absolutely nothing wrong, and that Max was the one predominantly to blame," Shovlin told select media including RacingNews365.com.
"I think if you look at the fact that even Helmut and Christian weren't trying to blame Lewis, it sort of feels like they know that Max was in the wrong, because they will try and blame Lewis at any opportunity."
Shovlin does not feel that the grid penalty given to Verstappen – which will be taken at the Russian Grand Prix – will affect him that much.
"Ultimately, I think it cost Lewis a win and certainly a second place, so you'll always feel that three places is relatively easy to overcome if you've got a competitive car," Shovlin explained.
"But that's all in the past. Now we need to make sure we put a good weekend together in Russia. It's a place where the car should be competitive, but we've had pretty messy races for quite a long time now.
"Really, the team needs to not get distracted and just focus on delivering the kind of performance that we know we can, and the performance that we need to win these championships."