Mercedes claims Verstappen’s ‘aggressive’ defense made Hamilton’s crash ‘inevitable’
The accident between the two Formula 1 champions left Verstappen rushing into the hurdles at Copps on the first lap at Silverstone, with Hamilton taking a 10-second penalty.
The incident sparked a championship battle, with thorny comments directed from Red Bull towards Hamilton in the aftermath of the incident.
Despite Verstappen’s demand for a heavier penalty, Shovlin described how Mercedes “didn’t think the penalty was worth”.
“If you look at the evidence, the stewards have to figure out who’s at fault in terms of overtaking, Lewis was by his side enough and we felt Max should have given him racing space,” said Shovlin.
“If you look at the race, even on the opening lap of the main race, Lewis was constantly having to roll back to avoid a collision and he was able to put his car in a position where he could park his ground.
“Max drives really hard and we’re bound to have an accident one day.
“We were happy with the work Lewis did and a little disappointed to get a penalty but we were relieved that we could still win the race.
Mercedes and Hamilton grateful for the red flagعلم
And Shovlin revealed that Hamilton would have had to withdraw from the race had it not been for the red flag period after the clash with Verstappen.
Although a safety car was called shortly thereafter, FIA Racing Director Michael Massey eventually decided to stop the Grand Prix so Verstappen could recover the tire and fix the tire fender.
It proved important as Shovlin added: “We missed the edge as we had the contact on the left front, so it would have been a DNF had the red flag not been placed on it.
“Remaining damage was actually remarkably minimal. A tire temperature sensor had come loose, so it was swaying.
“But amazingly it was the least important part of the front wing and it was the only one that broke.”