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Hamilton v Verstappen - who was at fault?

Hamilton v Verstappen - who was at fault?

Hamilton v Verstappen - who was at fault?

Hamilton v Verstappen - who was at fault?

Lewis Hamilton's collision with Max Verstappen during the British Grand Prix is one of those incidents that is likely to go down in F1 folklore, mainly due to the violent impact suffered by the Red Bull driver.

It is also an incident you could argue about forever and a day and you will always get a difference of opinion, not necessarily because people want to side with their favourite driver, but due to the nuances these days as to what constitutes a fair and legitimate manoeuvre.

The culmination was a 10-second penalty for Hamilton for causing a collision but was that the right decision?

The GPFans Global team offer their opinions. And you can listen to them debate the weekend here in the latest podcast.

Ian Parkes [chief editor] - The perfect storm

For me, this was a racing incident, as with many we have seen in the past on the first lap, and will no doubt see again in the future.

There can be no doubt Verstappen is aware of Hamilton on his inside as he initially squeezes the Briton close to the wall along the Wellington Straight.

Verstappen then edges over to the left to provide himself with the ideal line to take into Copse. It is at that point that I believe he is convinced Hamilton will back off, yet Hamilton doesn't.

If you watch the onboard of Verstappen's car, at the moment he realises Hamilton is still committed, he makes an aggressive turn of his steering wheel to the right, an almost instinctively defensive manoeuvre, perhaps thinking if he does not do something then he will lose the lead of the race.

It is this sharp steering wheel flick, in tandem with the fact that Hamilton on the inside does not have the ideal line to take Copse that leads to the perfect storm, and the collision occurs.

For the stewards, the fact Hamilton never had his nose in front - he was just a few inches behind at best - heading into Copse, led to them determining the seven-time champion was "predominantly" [note the word] rather than wholly at fault for 'causing a collision'.

As they also only judge the incident itself, and not the consequences, this resulted in their decision that a 10-second penalty was sufficient.

From Hamilton's perspective, the words of his hero, the late Ayrton Senna, spring to mind - "If you no longer go for a gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver."

Please don't tell me Verstappen would not have done the same if in Hamilton's race boots. This may be the first incident between the pair this season, I suspect it won't be the last.

Sam Hall [deputy editor] - Onus was on Hamilton

Looking at the incident objectively, Hamilton's line for Copse was compromised and there was no way he was going to make it through the corner carrying such speed without making contact, assuming that Verstappen, who held the racing line, was also not going to back out.

In this instance, with Hamilton alongside but never level or ahead, the onus was on the Mercedes driver to back out and although he lifted, the effort to avoid a crash was not enough and a 51g trip to the wall was the result for Verstappen.

Should Verstappen have yielded? No, absolutely not. He held track position and the racing line, as said, so was entirely within his rights to turn in and take the corner.

Racing room was left for Hamilton but, as he had been forced against the wall so had dirty, as well as cold, tyres, the understeer suffered was sadly inevitable.

Incidents like this are always judged in isolation so while there will be comparisons to other comings together between Max, Lewis and others, they are frankly irrelevant in this discussion.

A 10-second penalty was deserved as Hamilton, although not wholly responsible, was predominantly at fault.

The fact he survived and went on to win the race will sting Red Bull but that is racing and were the roles reversed, Red Bull would celebrate such a win with every bit of gusto as was displayed at Mercedes.

At the end of the day, accidents will happen and this, I suspect, is the first of a few this year.

Ewan Gale [F1 writer] - Red Bull may regret insults

As much as I understand the penalty and the phraseology that surrounds it, I don't agree with it.

There was no clear mistake from either party and although Hamilton was most at fault, a line must surely be drawn somewhere to determine racing incidents.

Hamilton was far enough alongside for the move to be considered legitimate and contact between wheels only came as he was backing out.

If he had come from behind, locked a wheel realising his error and taken Verstappen out, then a penalty would be fully warranted.

Whilst he held the racing line, there is an argument that with a 33-point lead ahead of the race, Verstappen may have been better off leaving more of a margin given the perils of the corner, as Hamiton had done previously at Brooklands.

The most important outcome is that Verstappen is healthy and the championship fight can continue, of course, with some added spice.

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