Most drivers think the Lewis/Max crash was a racing incident

© Jiri Krenek for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Lewis Hamilton was penalized for his crash with Max Verstappen, but most Formula 1 drivers who are not affiliated with Red Bull or Mercedes think it was a racing incident.

Hamilton and Verstappen touched at the Copse corner in the opening lap of the race. This led to Max crashing into the barrier, while Lewis received a 10-second penalty and two penalty points on his super licence.

However, despite this verdict, most drivers who are not affiliated with either Mercedes or Red Bull, seem to think the crash was a racing incident.

“It is very difficult to judge it from the car,” said Charles Leclerc.

“We are very low, so it’s difficult to see. Everything went very quick, there were quite a few things going on around me.

“I think it’s a racing incident, it’s very difficult to put the blame on one or the other.

“Obviously there was a space on the inside, maybe Lewis was not completely at the apex, but it’s also true that Max was quite aggressive on the outside.

“So things happen, but I think what is the most important today is that Max is unharmed and is fine,” concluded Leclerc.

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His team-mate Carlos Sainz was a bit more restrained in his judgement.

“I obviously had a look at it, and honestly I had a bit of mixed feelings with the accident,” the Spaniard said.

“First of all, wishing Max a speedy recovery, because I heard the crash was quite big.

“The accident itself I think is very difficult to judge. Only both know what they could have done differently to avoid the crash.

“It was very tight, they’re obviously fighting for big things and I’d prefer not to judge too much,” concluded Sainz.

His countryman Fernando Alonso clearly thinks Lewis is not to blame.

“It is difficult from the outside,” the two-time champion said.

“It looked quite close, Lewis had more than half a car alongside Max. So, in a way, Lewis could not disappear from the inside line, it’s not that you can vanish.

“It was an unfortunate moment of the race, but nothing intentional or nothing that any of the two drivers did wrong in my opinion.

“That was an unlucky moment,” concluded Alonso.

Former F1 driver and current F1 analyst Jolyon Palmer also believes this was a racing incident.

“To be honest, [Lewis] is actually pretty much completely alongside Max – and then you’ve got two championship challengers gunning for the inside line at Copse, and one of them had to back out,” Palmer explained.

“[Lewis] was completely alongside – obviously he misses the apex slightly and moves into Max, but Max also keeps turning in, and he’s taking a huge risk doing that at Copse corner. It’s a tough one, a really tough one.

“I could have seen it as a racing incident, both racing each other so hard,” concluded Palmer.

And finally, while analysing the crash for Sky Sports F1, former driver and F1 commentator Karun Chandhok said he also believes this was a racing incident.

“Max gives him the space, Hamilton is up the inside, but at no point… has he moved in front of Max Verstappen,” Chandhok said.

“Max is coming in and Lewis… does appear to be wide of the apex. When they’re making contact, his trajectory is heading wide of the apex.

“[Max] has given Lewis racing room, but he’s also, I think, expected Lewis to back out of it, that’s the critical thing. I think Lewis expected Max to back out of it, and Max expected Lewis to back out of it.

“Max could have given Lewis more room, but Lewis equally could have gone more to the kerb on the right-hand side…

“If you ask me, they could have both done more to avoid the incident, but I would put it down as a racing incident,” Chandhok concluded.

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