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Coulthard hints at Hamilton blame for Verstappen crash despite penalty

Coulthard hints at Hamilton blame for Verstappen crash despite penalty

Coulthard hints at Hamilton blame for Verstappen crash despite penalty

Coulthard hints at Hamilton blame for Verstappen crash despite penalty

Former F1 championship runner-up David Coulthard has suggested Lewis Hamilton was to blame for his bizarre collision with Max Verstappen at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Verstappen had robustly defended the lead in similar circumstances to the São Paulo Grand Prix on lap 37 with both drivers taking to the run-off area at turn one and across turn two, with Red Bull instructing the Dutchman to concede the position.

In the confusion that followed, Hamilton hit the back of the Red Bull when Verstappen attempted to let him go by into turn 27, causing damage to both cars and landing the 24-year-old a time penalty for a "brake test".

For Coulthard, the drama drew similarities to his incident with Michael Schumacher in Belgium in 1998 where the German hit a slowing McLaren when lapping in treacherous conditions.

"Given my experience in '98 when Michael ran into the back of me in Spa where I was told I had to let Michael past, I slowed down to allow Michael past and then he ran into the back of me," explained Coulthard, speaking to F1 Nation.

"There was a lot of criticism of me at the time of 'did I brake test him, did I do something to try and help Mika in the championship?' No, I just followed the instructions of the team and tried to let him past.

"Max has been told to let Lewis past. He has slowed down strategically and if you look, Lewis is slowing down and there is no contact initially. Then when he is a little bit uncertain, I think he was probably a little bit confused as to whether there was a virtual safety car.

"You can't look at your cockpit and dash to get that information and look out the cockpit. All of those things come together where he has then hit the back of Max."

Verstappen "deserved to win" - Coulthard

Hamilton was able to nurse front wing damage to the end of the grand prix, setting the fastest lap in the process to draw level on points with Verstappen going into the season-finale in Abu Dhabi.

Asked if the right driver won the inaugural race in Jeddah, Coulthard replied: "I wish I could just give a black and white [answer], but I can't say that because I think that if you analyse Max's race, his overtake to go down the inside of both cars and still make the corner was brilliant.

"His use of allowing Lewis to overtake just before the DRS [activation point] and then re-overtaking him again and then getting DRS was a brilliant piece of lateral thinking.

"I think there are a lot of things that would, for me, say that Max deserved to win this grand prix.

"Of course, you can start analysing Lewis' race and he is still remarkable when it comes to wheel-to-wheel racing.

"He gets away with... he had contact with Ocon, yet not really that damaged and he managed to run into the back of Max and, although he damaged his front wing, anyone else would have knocked their entire front wing off.

"He is incredible at close-quarter racing and ultimately has come through and won this race."

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