Lewis Hamilton has dealt Max Verstappen a psychological blow in this year's F1 title race by displaying his "streetfighter" instincts at the British Grand Prix, according to former champion Damon Hill.
Hamilton and Verstappen tangled on the opening lap at Silverstone as neither yielded into the 180mph Copse corner, with the Red Bull driver suffering a heavy shunt into a tyre while the Briton went on to take victory.
It was the first time the pair have made contact this year despite multiple near misses at Imola, Barcelona and Portimão in particular, allowing Hill to believe Hamilton has now laid down a marker for the rest of the season.
"It was a statement of intent, wasn't it?" said Hill. "It was Lewis saying 'I am a streetfighter and if you are going to get rough with me, I am going to have to show you what I have got'.
"Psychologically, that is going to have made a dent in Max, it has to. It has made him realise that Lewis, in a wheel-to-wheel battle is not going to back down. That has got to go down in the mental notebook."
FIA should step in if Hamilton, Verstappen overstep mark
With 10 of the 23 races completed this season, there is a high probability of a repeat incident between the championship protagonists as tensions rise.
Put to Hill that Verstappen will be just as uncompromising despite the incident, he feels that is when the FIA will have to clamp down.
He added: "At which point, Michael Masi [FIA race director] is going to have to step in and say 'Guys, I know you are fighting for a world title and you would probably take your crash helmets off and have a stand-up fight in the paddock but you cannot do this to the sport, there are safety issues we have to consider at these speeds'.
"He has to somehow instil discipline and issue penalties if two cars collide."