Jolyon Palmer: “I can’t help but feel it’s a racing incident”

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer says “in previous events Hamilton had avoided the collision, but this time he gave Verstappen as good as he got”.

In his column Jolyon Palmer gave an excellent in-depth analysis of the British Grand Prix collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, and everything that led up to it.

“Before Silverstone we had seen the two go wheel-to-wheel at Imola, Portimao and Barcelona,” wrote Palmer.

“Both have been very aggressive, but generally Verstappen had been the more aggressive of the two, particularly in Barcelona, lunging in on Hamilton in a risky first-corner move.

“At Imola and Barcelona Verstappen came out on top, and again in Portimao, before Hamilton re-passed him and ushered him wide at Turn 3.

“At the British Grand Prix we saw an aggression from Verstappen akin to his at the Barcelona start, but this time with a 33-point deficit in the championship, Hamilton couldn’t back out when Verstappen applied the pressure.

“In previous events Hamilton had avoided the collision when Max had asked the question, but this time he gave Verstappen as good as he got, and possibly more, as we ended up with an iconic collision that will certainly be season defining.”

Palmer then went on to describe his view of the collision itself.

“With the incident itself I can’t help but feel it’s a racing incident. Hamilton was fully up the inside of Verstappen into the corner, therefore had earned the right to some space on the inside.

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“Verstappen turned in knowing he was there, inevitably taking a risk that he would be hit by a Mercedes that couldn’t vanish.

“Hamilton did miss the apex, but not by a huge amount – he never took the apex kerb there all weekend as it unsettled his Mercedes, so he wouldn’t have been aiming for it on this ambitious pass either, even though later on he did on his understandably more cautious pass on Charles Leclerc.

“No doubt it was a bold attempt from Hamilton on the inside, one that was incredibly risky, but it was also bold and risky for Verstappen to know the Mercedes was there on his inside and still turn in absolutely flat-out at one of the fastest corners on the calendar.

“If you absolutely had to apportion blame, then maybe as Lewis missed the apex slightly you would say it was more him, but in the grand scheme of things this falls into the racing incident banner for me – a collision between two drivers who both refused to yield. What muddied the picture is the outcome.

Palmer also answered those that compare this incident to controversial collisions from Ayrton Senna and Michaels Shumacher.

“I’ve seen people try and compare this incident to controversial ones from Ayrton Senna in Suzuka, or Michael Schumacher in Jerez, but when the dust settles they must see that this is very different.

“This was undoubtedly a brave attempt from Hamilton but it wasn’t cynical.

“The stewards deemed Hamilton more at fault, a consequence of his missed apex, and issued a 10 second penalty.

“While people can debate whether it was a racing incident or more Hamilton at fault, the reality is it was the harshest penalty Hamilton deserved for any offence he committed.

“It’s easy to forget that he was very lucky to even remain in the race himself after contact at such a high-speed corner.

“Had he ended up in the wall as well, I think a racing incident would have been a more obvious decision, but clearly luck played its part for him to keep going, with the help of the subsequent red flag, and then win.

In the end Palmer said he expects this kind of racing to continue now that the floodgates have been opened.

“When Nico Rosberg and Hamilton first touched in their rivalry it was the start of a sequence of clashes and high tensions that remained until Rosberg’s retirement.

“Here, with different teams at play into the bargain, I fully expect even more fireworks moving forward,” concluded F1’s analyst.

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