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Toto Wolff

Wolff on Verstappen's Silverstone crash: There wasn't much remorse at Mercedes

Toto Wolff has explained that Mercedes didn't feel a lot of remorse over their reaction to Max Verstappen's huge crash at Silverstone, after a collision between the Dutchman and Lewis Hamilton.

GP Silverstone start 2021
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To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Toto Wolff has revealed that Mercedes never felt a huge amount of remorse over their celebrations for Lewis Hamilton's 2021 British Grand Prix victory at Silverstone.

Hamilton won his home race after recovering from a 10-second time penalty, which was meted out after the Mercedes driver was found predominantly at fault for a first-lap collision between himself and Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

The collision resulted in a 51G crash for Verstappen as he went off at high speed into the tyre barriers, and had to be hospitalised for precautionary checks as the race resumed without him after a lengthy red-flag stoppage.

With Mercedes and Hamilton celebrating enthusiastically after taking the chequered flag, they came in for heavy criticism from the Red Bull camp who felt there had been a lack of respect and fairness in light of how the circumstances of the race played out.

The collision was the first major flashpoint of the 2021 season, which ignited deep-seated tensions between Red Bull and Mercedes for the remainder of the campaign.

Reflecting on that weekend at the start of 2022, Wolff said that the Mercedes squad had never felt particularly bad about how they'd handled the situation.

"There wasn't a lot of feeling of remorse on our side," Wolff said on Sky Sports F1's 2021 documentary Duel, which revisited the contentious season-long battle between Hamilton and Verstappen.

"Because Lewis had given up corners much more often before, where he shouldn't have.

"If you're sitting in a hospital shaken by a big impact, you're not going to understand that the other team is cheering for the driver, but it was his home race. It was a massive swing to our advantage in terms of points. And we knew that Max was OK."

"Silverstone was the moment the gloves came off"

After Hamilton and Verstappen had a few early-season on-track scraps that didn't result in a serious incident, Silverstone marked the moment that the title fight became considerably more acrimonious between the pair.

With Hamilton as the established veteran, and Verstappen as the young upstart challenger threatening Hamilton's position at the top, the British GP clash was a watershed event that dictated a lot about how the two drivers raced each other for the rest of the season – the pair would collide again in Italy and Saudi Arabia, as well as having near misses in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

"That was the moment when we really knew how they felt about each other and they don't like each other," Sky Sports F1's Natalie Pinkham said as the broadcaster's pundits reflected on the collision.

It was a sentiment echoed by Ted Kravitz, who theorised that Verstappen's icy cool persona was shaken by the crash.

"Throughout the year, Max likes to give this, 'I don't care, I'm cool with everything, I'm completely relaxed', veneer but then, sometimes, the veneer breaks, the mask slips and he loses it," he said.

"When you look at it, Silverstone really was the moment where the gloves came off. Verstappen was in the wall, no points scored, had to end up in hospital with a huge accident. Hamilton won the race.

"Red Bull felt that Lewis was effectively rubbing their noses in it. It really, really annoyed them."

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