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RN365 Debates: Who was to blame between Hamilton and Verstappen?

With the contentious clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton taking the Dutch driver out of the race, RN365 journalists have their say on the British Grand Prix collision.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton's collision while fighting over the lead of the British Grand Prix has ignited a lot of debate in the paddock already, with both sides feeling they are the innocent party. The stewards gave Hamilton a ten second time penalty for the collision, as well as two penalty points , while Verstappen has been taken to hospital for precautionary checks. The furious debate has also been going on at RN365 towers, with our F1 journalists arguing about who was to blame..

Thomas Maher: A desperate display from Hamilton and Mercedes

To begin with, I figured that it was a racing incident between two hard charging drivers that didn't want to yield. But, having watched the replays and slow-mos over and over again, I'm more inclined to think that Hamilton was extremely lucky to get away with a mistake and, not only that, benefitted massively from it. Verstappen clearly left enough room for Hamilton to make the corner, with Lewis understeering into the right rear of the Red Bull and taking Max out of the race. Of course, there's nothing wrong with an occasional incident like that, even if it did hint at the desperation under Hamilton's helmet as the Red Bull remained marginally in front. It's the response to that from Hamilton and Mercedes that has left a sour taste in the mouth. Doubling down with an abject refusal to apologise and, instead, blaming Verstappen's aggression when you've understeered into the rear side of your competitor isn't a good look. Nor is it a good look to be so celebratory when your mistake has sent your competitor to the hospital, although it appears Mercedes hadn't told Hamilton that fact until after the race itself. I don't believe there was anything malicious to the move in the first place, but Hamilton and Mercedes' response to it has been tone deaf. Hamilton's pointing of the finger at Verstappen almost has the tone of 'Verstappen had it coming', given Max's aggression on the first lap at Imola and Catalunya. But there's a big difference between some bruising driving at the opening corner of a race, and a high speed flick like Copse. The penalty was also insufficient, given that it was almost the lightest penalty that could be awarded to Hamilton. A penalty that allows Mercedes to 'work around' it in terms of timing the stop in order to ensure minimal time loss isn't sufficient penalty. Had Hamilton been given a ten second stop and go penalty, which is required to be served within three laps, that would have been a far more fitting penalty, considering the stewards found Hamilton predominantly to blame.

Nigel Chiu: Verstappen left enough room

Hamilton was clearly at fault. He completely misjudged things, but we have to remember the championship protagonists were going at 300km/h side by side into one of the fastest corners on the planet. Verstappen even turned out slightly to give more than enough room. A drive-through penalty is probably the right punishment and Hamilton was very lucky to not have any suspension damage. He’s been riding his luck so far this year but, just like Imola, his comeback drive was brilliant. The incident will perhaps overshadow his home win and it’s probably right given the severity of the crash for Verstappen. I’m just happy that Verstappen managed to walk away from a horrific accident. Without doubt, the battle has now become a war between Mercedes and Red Bull.

Adriano Boin: It was only a matter of time, but Lewis was ultimately at fault

The two have raced hard but fair so far this season, so it was only a matter of time before the two came together. Max Verstappen has been the aggressor on more than one occasion, and it looked as though Lewis Hamilton had finally had enough. Having seen Verstappen take Sprint Qualifying on Saturday in front of the British fans, I can’t help but feel that Lewis entered Sunday’s race with a mindset that he would do all that he could to slow down his championship rival. On other occasions he’s shown a willingness to take a step back and look at the whole picture, but that clearly wasn’t the case on Sunday. Nevertheless, I believe Hamilton was at fault. While I don’t believe there was any malicious intent from the Mercedes driver, it was a very aggressive move at a high-speed corner that was always going to be tough to pull off. Verstappen gave him enough room on track, however Lewis understeered into the corner and touched the Red Bull driver. While you can argue about whether the 10-second penalty was enough, it doesn’t take away from Hamilton’s impressive recovery drive. It also takes the fight for the championship to a level we haven’t seen before in 2021.

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