Christian Horner believes the 51G impact Max Verstappen had at Silverstone briefly knocked him unconscious, after crashing at Copse.
The incident between the Red Bull driver and Lewis Hamilton was one of the key flashpoints of the season so far, as the Mercedes driver placed his car on the inside of his title rival at the high-speed right-hander, before the Dutchman moved to take the corner and the pair collided – sending Verstappen careering towards the tyre barrier at 160mph.
Hamilton would end up winning the race by carving his way through the field, but the Red Bull team principal took a wider view and, while Verstappen was ultimately okay in the end, he was knocked out in the initial impact.
“He was, obviously, massively frustrated with the Silverstone outcome, because he’d done the hard work,” Horner said to Channel 4 in an interview reflecting on the title battle so far.
“He’d won the sprint race, he got the pole for the main race, for the grand prix, and having held the start, P2 had been an advantage all weekend there, [but] he managed to hold the start.
“It obviously got pretty tasty down the Wellington Straight and then, of course, the accident. It was a massive accident, 51G. [It] broke the seat, I think it knocked him out, and it was, for sure, the biggest accident of his career.
“That was tough for him, and he was disappointed that he let the team down, that it was within the budget cap world that we are, [so] that’s a huge amount of accident damage as well.
“But he quickly brushed himself down and said on Monday, ‘If I had to do a race again today, I could do it. Battered and bruised, it would be a bit sore, but I could do it’.”
The pair would collide again at Monza, when Verstappen tried to overtake Hamilton around the outside of the first chicane in Italy. The speed was much slower this time around, but the Red Bull ended up on top of the Mercedes driver due to the way they tagged wheels.
Verstappen received criticism for walking straight back to the pit lane and not checking on Hamilton’s wellbeing, with the Brit saying he would have gone to see if his title rival was okay in the same situation – but Horner feels the accidents are not comparable in their nature.
“I think it’s very different,” he said.
“Max at Silverstone hit the wall at 51G, at 160 miles per hour, knocked out, airlifted to hospital. It’s a big difference between that and the incident [at] Monza, where he could feel Lewis reversing while he’s still in the car, the engine still running.
“He knew Lewis was absolutely fine. Indeed, the Medical Car didn’t even see the necessity to visit the scene. So I think it was a completely different scenario.
“Of course, big things get made of this, those PR machines that go into motion, but it was a racing incident. He knew Lewis was absolutely fine. He could feel him trying to reverse out the gravel. So he was just disappointed that he’d lost an opportunity of a great result in Monza.”
Lewis Hamilton on if roles were reversed at Monza
Lewis Hamilton said, if he had been on top of Max Verstappen at Monza, he would have got out of his car to check on his opponent.