Verstappen: It was very painful, not just points-wise

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen about to crash at Abbey. Silverstone July 2021.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen head into Abbey side by side at the British GP. Silverstone July 2021.

Max Verstappen’s Silverstone crash was the “most painful one” of his career, not only for the lost points but the actual impact.

Having pipped Lewis Hamilton to pole position in the Saturday sprint race, Verstappen and Hamilton lined up 1-2 on the grid for the British Grand Prix with Hamilton 33 points behind the Dutchman in the Drivers’ standings.

While it was not a must-win for the Mercedes driver, the pressure was mounting.

Hamilton challenged Verstappen for the lead on the opening lap, trying to stick his W12 up the inside through the high-speed Copse corner.

He made contact with the Red Bull’s rear wheel, sending Verstappen flying off the circuit and through the gravel trap. He hit the barriers at 180mph with a 51G impact.

Verstappen was taken to the track’s medical centre before going to a local hospital for further checks after reporting feeling dizzy.

“It was the most painful one of all,” he recalled to The Guardian.

“It was tough points-wise but literally, it was very painful. My neck, my back, my shoulders.

“I’m quite tough and I can take quite a hit, but it’s not good for your body or your brain to have an impact like that.

“I got home and for four days I wasn’t watching TV or doing any sim racing because your brain has to rest.”

Hamilton was given a 10-second penalty for the collision but it was one he easily overcame to clinch the grand prix victory.

Red Bull were incensed by the way Toto Wolff and the rest of the Mercedes team celebrated the win while Verstappen was undergoing checks.

All drivers and team principals called Max Verstappen after Silverstone crash, but not Toto Wolff.

Team boss Christian Horner called Hamilton’s attempt at a pass an “amateur’s mistake”, saying it was a “desperate” move.

As for Verstappen, he tweeted from his hospital bed: “Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn’t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track.

“Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behaviour, but we move on.”

Asked if he was even more determined to beat Hamilton to the title after that moment, Verstappen replied: “No, I don’t think we work like that.

“It’s disrespectful what happened there but we looked at what we could have done better.

“Once we came back from the break as a team we really did a good job because we won races in the second half of the season we shouldn’t have won.”

Verstappen and Hamilton would go on to have a second big crash at the Italian Grand Prix, that time the Red Bull driver deemed to be at fault by the race stewards.

 

The duo traded wins and P2s after that, taking seven victories between them in the last eight races.

Win number seven of that belonged to Verstappen, the 24-year-old finishing P1 at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a race win that gave him his maiden World title.