Ross Brawn felt robbed after Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s first-lap crash in Silverstone, and hopes there is no repeat.
The title contenders came to blows at Copse on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix, with Verstappen hitting the barriers hard after tagging the front-left tyre of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Tempers flared somewhat in the aftermath as Verstappen went to hospital for precautionary checks, with Red Bull boss Christian Horner calling the win which Hamilton went on to secure “hollow“.
Red Bull’s driver programme chief Helmut Marko called for a one-race ban for Hamilton, while Max’s father Jos Verstappen felt the Briton should have been disqualified from the race.
Ultimately a 10-second time penalty and two superlicence points was the punishment for Hamilton, and now F1’s managing director Brawn hopes to see this epic title battle continue without any further big collisions and penalties.
“We saw the title protagonists go wheel-to-wheel once again, but this time it ended in a collision, which ended Max’s race,” Brawn wrote in his column on the Formula 1 website.
“It was a massive relief to see him climb out of the car and walk away before he went to hospital for precautionary checks.
“As is always the case in these matters, there will be a wide range of opinions on the rights and wrongs. What is clear is that we were robbed of a thrilling battle and nobody wants the Championship decided on crashes and penalties, and, as in this case, there was a serious risk to either driver.
“It is something both drivers will reflect on. I hope we can avoid those incidents in the future because I think we were denied a fantastic battle. They raced each other hard for half a lap, and it was thrilling. Imagine how dramatic the Grand Prix would have been if that had been the whole race.”
— Sir Lewis Hamilton Updates (@SirLewisUpdates) July 18, 2021
After serving his penalty Hamilton staged one of his greatest comeback drives yet, passing Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with only a few laps to go to take the lead, one which he converted into an eighth Silverstone victory.
Those 25 points saw Hamilton slash the deficit to Verstappen in the Drivers’ standings to eight points heading into the Hungarian Grand Prix.