Lewis Hamilton said he has nothing to apologise for after Christian Horner accused him of putting Max Verstappen’s life in jeopardy following their 190mph crash in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
Hamilton delivered an astonishing comeback by passing Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc with only two and a half laps remaining to win his home race for an eighth time on a sizzling afternoon at Silverstone in front of 140,000 spectators.
But the 10th round will be remembered for Hamilton’s explosive opening-lap collision which saw Verstappen’s afternoon end in the barriers and then hospital – from where the Dutch driver accused his rival’s victory celebrations of being “disrespectful” and “unsportsmanlike”.
Asked if Hamilton’s move on Verstappen at Copse put his star man’s life in danger, furious Red Bull boss Horner replied: “Of course. His actions have left in jeopardy another driver’s safety and for me that is unacceptable.
“Every grand prix driver knows that a move at that corner – one of the fastest in Formula One – is a massive, massive risk.
“You don’t put a wheel up the inside without there being huge consequences. We are just lucky today that there wasn’t someone seriously hurt.
“What I am most angry about is just the lack of judgement, and the desperation in this move. It was never on.
“Lewis is a world champion that has won seven titles. It is an amateur’s mistake and a desperate mistake. Max is battered and bruised. It is the biggest accident of his career.”
The stewards deemed Hamilton to be predominantly at fault for the incident. He was handed a 10-second penalty which he served at his pit stop on lap 27 of 52.
The Briton dropped from second to fourth, 12 seconds behind Leclerc, before barging his way past the Monegasque’s Ferrari through Copse on lap 50 of 52.
Hamilton jumped out of his Mercedes, and leapt over a barrier, before waving the Union Flag in front of the packed grandstands.
But Horner added: “I can’t see how Lewis can take any satisfaction out of a win when he put his fellow competitor and driver in hospital. It is disappointing and extremely annoying.
“He was wound up after (Saturday’s) Sprint, added with the crowd and the atmosphere, and he made a massive misjudgement. If Max came through that corner, Lewis wouldn’t have seen him today.
“He is lucky the same didn’t happen with Leclerc. If Leclerc did not run wide, exactly the same incident would have prevailed.”
Verstappen was taken to hospital for precautionary checks and a CT scan following the crash. The 23-year-old tweeted: “Glad I’m okay.
“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.”
Responding to the criticism, Hamilton, who reduced his championship deficit from 33 points to just seven, said: “I don’t really have anything to say to Christian. The win doesn’t feel hollow.
“I don’t think I am in a position to have to apologise for anything. We are out there racing.
“I heard that Max is in hospital and that definitely concerns me. None of us here ever want to see a driver injured. That is never my intention and so I really hope he is OK, and I will hit him up after this to check he’s OK.
“We are in a battle and this year he has been very aggressive and I’ve had to concede and avoid incident with him. As you saw (on Saturday), once he is out in the clear he’s too fast. So when an opportunity comes I have to try and take it.
“I don’t agree with the stewards but I take my penalty on the chin and get on with my job. I am not going to whine about it.
“Everyone is going to have a different opinion and I don’t really care what people think so I just do what I do and I am really grateful for today.”