Red Bull chief Christian Horner hits back at Mercedes statement with Lewis Hamilton vow
Lewis Hamilton's 'natural ability is fantastic' says Button
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Christian Horner believes the statement Mercedes released after Red Bull’s appeal was thrown out was ‘antagonistic’. Horner wanted a more severe penalty to be handed to Lewis Hamilton after his collision with Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.
Hamilton received a 10-second time penalty during the race but was able to catch Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and take victory nonetheless.
It left the 36-year-old just eight points behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.
A Mercedes statement after the appeal was thrown out read: “The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team welcomes the decision of the stewards to reject Red Bull Racing’s right of review.
“In addition to bringing this incident to a close, we hope that this decision will mark the end of a concerted effort by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton, including in the documents submitted for their unsuccessful right of review.
“We now look forward to going racing this weekend and to continue our hard-fought competitions for the 2021 FIA Formula One Word Championship.”
He said: “I think, you know, the statement by Mercedes is a little antagonistic shall we say.
“I don’t really read too much into it. It has never been anything personal about a single driver, it is about the events that happened on a competition between two guys.
“It’s not individual to any driver.
“If that had have been any other driver the reaction would have been identical so I was a little surprised at Mercedes comment but we’ve put that behind us and our focus is very much on track and trying to build on the momentum that we’d taken after the sprint race at Silverstone.”
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff disagrees with Horner though and believes they were a personal attack on Hamilton.
“I think the comments that were made, surely out of emotion, were going directly against a seven-time world champion,” he said.
“Words like ‘amateurish’ should have no place and what it triggered was an avalanche of comments in the social media, a lot of controversy, added to further polarisation and I think we as a sport should do the contrary. We should de-escalate.”
Horner said Red Bull now accept the decision and are focused on the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.
“We presented that data to the stewards, they gave us a fair hearing yesterday where we talked through that data, the positioning of the cars, the speed of the cars,” he explained.
“The fact that Lewis would have had to braked 23 metres earlier to have even made the corner, the fact that Max is on the same trajectory, identical to that of Charles Leclerc, the result with Charles would have been identical had Lewis taken the same approach.
“We presented that data, we feel that we had a fair hearing. The stewards felt that it wasn’t new evidence, under the confines of the regulations, and so it wasn’t opened into another hearing.
“We accept that. This competition is all about marginal gains, leaving no stone unturned and of course when you have an accident of that velocity and impact, of course you’re going to make a full investigation.
“But as far as we’re concerned, the chapter is now closed, the stewards have made their ruling and we now very much focus on this weekend and the remaining part of the championship.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix takes place from 2pm this Sunday before the traditional F1 summer break.
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