Mercedes take fresh hit as ‘aggressive’ Max Verstappen blamed for Lewis Hamilton shunt

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Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin believes Sunday’s British Grand Prix crash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen was “inevitable” due to the Dutchman’s “aggressive” style on track, placing the blame firmly on the Red Bull driver’s shoulders.

Hamilton and Verstappen had a massive coming together on the opening lap of the race, as the British driver took the inside line, trying to get past the championship leader to take the lead of the race.

However, the two tangled, and Verstappen was catapulted into the barriers at Turn Nine, an 180mph corner, causing significant damage to the Red Bull and landing the Dutch driver in hospital while bringing out the red flag.

He was later discharged with no major injuries, with Hamilton picking up a ten-second time penalty during the race, however, the fallout was severe.

Red Bull blasted Hamilton, who eventually went on to win the race, with the boss Horner branding him “desperate” and called him a “dirty driver” with chief advisor Helmut Marko calling for Hamilton to serve a race ban for his part in the crash.

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Yet, Mercedes had a different point of view, despite Verstappen’s team demanding a harsher punishment.

“If you look at the guide the stewards have to determine who is at fault in terms of overtaking, Lewis was sufficiently alongside and we felt Max should have given him racing room,” said Shovlin.

“If you look at the sprint, and even the opening lap of the main race, Lewis was constantly having to back out of it to avoid a collision and he was able to put his car into a position where he could stand his ground.

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Mercedes had previously admitted Hamilton would never have finished the British Grand Prix had it not been for the red flag shown due to the crash.

As the cars headed back to the pits, Mercedes were able to repair the damage to Hamilton’s W12, but Shovlin added there was “actually remarkably little” else that needed to be fixed.

It proved crucial as Shovlin added: “We’d failed the rim where we had the contact at the front left so that would have been a DNF had it not been red-flagged.

“The rest of the damage was actually remarkably little. It was a tyre temperature sensor that had got knocked loose so was waggling around.

“But amazingly it was the least important part of the front wing and it was the only one that broke.”

After serving his penalty, Hamilton rejoined in fifth and fought his way back to take the fight to the Ferrari driver, cheered on by his home fans, with celebrations echoing around the Silverstone circuit.

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