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Hamilton-Verstappen clash "robbed" fans of a "thrilling battle" - Brawn

Hamilton-Verstappen clash "robbed" fans of a "thrilling battle" - Brawn

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Hamilton-Verstappen clash "robbed" fans of a "thrilling battle" - Brawn

Hamilton-Verstappen clash "robbed" fans of a "thrilling battle" - Brawn

Ross Brawn believes fans were "robbed" of a race-long duel between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen following an incident he hopes not to see again this year.

The Copse corner collision on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone resulted in Red Bull driver Verstappen careering into a barrier at 150mph and with an impact force of 51g.

Despite a 10-second penalty, Hamilton still went on to win his eighth British GP and close the gap in the drivers' standings to Verstappen to just eight points.

It has also sparked a wide-ranging debate as to who was at fault, to which F1's managing director Brawn pointed out, and with regret that it deprived the fans a potential 52-lap spectacle.

"As is always the case in these matters, there will be a wide range of opinions on the rights and wrongs," said Brawn via his post-race F1 column.

"What is clear is that we were robbed of a thrilling battle and nobody wants the championship decided on crashes and penalties, and, as in this case, there was a serious risk to either driver.

"It is something both drivers will reflect on. I hope we can avoid those incidents in the future because I think we were denied a fantastic battle.

"They raced each other hard for half a lap, and it was thrilling. Imagine how dramatic the grand prix would have been if that had been the whole race."

During and after the race, Hamilton was the target of racist abuse from online trolls, abuse that has been slated by F1, the FIA and teams up and down the pit lane.

Brawn hails sprint success

After Sunday's incident, it was possible to forget the event had started with F1's first trial of a sprint weekend format.

Qualifying took place on Friday evening with Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and George Russell wowing the partisan home crowd before the 17-lap sprint provided entertainment on Saturday when a few drivers threw caution to the wind.

Brawn assessed: "I’m very pleased with F1’s first sprint weekend. Our belief was that it would add more engagement for fans across three days, and it definitely did. I don’t see how it did anything other than enhance the race weekend.

"The fact that teams had less time to practice had a significant impact on the weekend. Red Bull had a car with a bit more wing on it so were slower down the straight. Mercedes went for a lower drag setting, which gave Lewis the opportunity.

"If they were starting again, one or both might have done something different. Teams crave perfection and that’s great because it’s F1 but sometimes a bit of jeopardy is great for the fans."

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