Palmer: Hamilton acted boldly but not cynically


In a traditional columnist column, former Formula 1 driver Jolyon Palmer commented on the incident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the first lap of the British Grand Prix.

Jolyon Palmer: “After the duel between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Imola, I was sure that a collision was inevitable. Before the stage at Silverstone, they fought a tough fight, but always respected each other, and now the rivalry has reached a boiling point, amplified by the festive atmosphere created by the noisy British fans and the new weekend format.

Lewis and Max fought tightly in Imola, Portimao and Barcelona. Both acted aggressively, but usually Verstappen piloted tougher opponents, especially in Barcelona, ​​where he attacked Hamilton with a risky maneuver in the first corner. In Imola and Barcelona, ​​Verstappen emerged victorious. In Portugal, he also succeeded, but Hamilton counterattacked and forced him to drive wide through the third turn.

In the British Grand Prix, Verstappen acted as aggressively as in Barcelona, ​​but this time Lewis Hamilton, who was 33 points behind his opponent in the individual competition, did not lose speed under pressure from Max. In previous races, Hamilton avoided collisions, but this time he responded in the same way, and perhaps more aggressively, because it all ended in an accident that will play an important role this season.

In Saturday’s sprint, we saw a dress rehearsal of their fight – Hamilton attacked Verstappen after he took the lead at the start, but at the decisive moment the Red Bull Racing driver shifted to the inside radius, and Lewis could not get ahead of him, and after the first lap he did not get a chance win back the position. Having missed pole position on Saturday, with the support of a huge crowd of spectators, Lewis was going to recoup at the start of the race on Sunday.

Immediately after the start, their struggle gradually intensified. They almost collided in the first corner, then continued the duel on the Wellington straight leading to Brooklands, and Copse made contact, after which Max crashed into a barrier at high speed.

Since 2007, Hamilton has not met such resistance in the fight for the title, and Verstappen’s rival is one of the most successful teams – no one has managed to dominate the sport like Mercedes before. At Silverstone, both acted as if the first lap of that race was the last – how aggressive and risky it was.

I consider their crash a racing incident. Hamilton tried to make a turn along the inner radius, Verstappen turned, although he knew that Lewis was there. He inevitably risked getting hit by Mercedes – Lewis’s car could not vanish into thin air.

Hamilton really missed the apex a little – he never drove onto the curb in the apex of that turn, because because of this, his car began to behave unstable. It was because of this that he did not try to get there even with such a risky overtaking of Verstappen, although at the end of the race he still drove there when overtaking Leclair, when, of course, he acted more carefully.

Hamilton made a daring attempt to overtake the inside radius, Verstappen knew about the Mercedes car on the inside radius, but still did not take his foot off the gas pedal in one of the fastest turns on the calendar.

If it was necessary to share the blame, then since Lewis missed a little past the apex, we can say that he is more to blame for the incident, but by and large what happened falls under the definition of a racing incident – a collision of two riders who did not want to give in to each other.

I understand the controversy over the incident. Max received a very strong blow – both physically and in terms of positions in the individual competition. You can understand why in Red Bull insist on the most severe punishment for their main rival, although in the race, in fact, nothing else happened. But in reality, this incident was not worth it.

I’ve seen attempts to compare this encounter with the controversial crashes of Ayrton Senna in Suzuka or Michael Schumacher in Jerez, but when the passions subside, this situation is likely to be looked at from a different angle. Of course, Hamilton acted boldly, but not cynically.

The stewards decided that the fault lay more with Hamilton, because he missed the apex – and awarded him a 10-second penalty. It can be debated whether it was a racing incident or Hamilton’s fault, but in fact he received the harshest punishment he could receive for such a violation.

It is easy to forget that he is lucky to continue the race after contact in a high-speed corner. If he, too, crashed into the barrier, I think it would be easier to admit the incident as a racing incident. But he was helped by red flags, he was able to continue the race, and then win it. The incident sets the tone for an even more interesting season and a daring fight between the two title contenders.

So far, teams have played political games, drawing the attention of the FIA ​​to different points, which has led to changes in regulations and clarification of several factors, in particular the rules of pit stops, tire pressure and flexible wings. The riders played psychological games at the beginning of the season, but still respected each other on the track. Apparently, now that respect is gone.

When the first contact occurred in the rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, it was the beginning of a series of clashes and high tensions in the relationship that remained until Rosberg’s decision to end his career. Since now different teams are participating in the struggle, I expect that there will be even more conflicts. “


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