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Horner labels Hamilton ‘amateur’, says he endangered Verstappen

SILVERSTONE, U.K — Red Bull boss Christian Horner said Lewis Hamilton’s penalty did not fit the crime for what he called an “amateur” and “desperate” collision with Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix.

Hamilton collided with Verstappen at Silverstone, clipping his title rival’s right-rear tyre as they turned right into Copse corner. Verstappen’s car crashed heavily in the barriers, and the championship leader went to the FIA medical centre and then to a hospital for precautionary check-ups.

The stewards found Hamilton predominantly to blame for the collision, resulting in a 10-second time penalty that Horner said was fairly meaningless in the grand scheme of the race, which Hamilton still won to slash his championship deficit to Verstappen from 33 to seven points.

In a postrace news conference over Zoom, Horner dismissed the suggestion Hamilton had been alongside Verstappen.

“He didn’t — he ran wide,” Horner said. “If you look at the overhead, he’s run wide into the corner.

“He’s carried too much speed. That move was never on. Lewis is a world champion of seven titles. That was an amateur’s mistake and a desperate mistake.

“I don’t care what Lewis said. Have a look at your own analysis, draw your own comparisons. For me, that’s a hollow victory.”

Horner added: “Putting a fellow driver in hospital, writing off the car, and receiving a menial penalty and winning the grand prix doesn’t feel like much of a penalty.

“I think it just felt like a desperate move from Lewis. He lost the start, go down the straight, wheel banging with max down there, then to stick a wheel up the inside of Copse corner, one of the fastest corners in the championship, pretty much flat out, 180 mph, there’s only ever going to be one consequence like that.

“It’s just disappointing from a seven-time world champion that he makes such a desperate move and puts a fellow driver in hospital.”

Hamilton had qualified first on Friday evening but was beaten by Verstappen in F1’s first-ever sprint race on Saturday, which set the grid for the grand prix. Horner said he felt Hamilton was still frustrated by that and was fired up by a raucous home crowd at Silverstone.

“I think he was wound up by yesterday’s result; you could see that yesterday … and I think, the atmosphere, the crowd and everything, he was obviously pretty motivated and made a massive misjudgement. Yes, he got a penalty for it, but it’s fairly meaningless.

“That was his only opportunity, I think. He knew had Max come through that corner, he might not have seen him again for the afternoon. For me, it was a desperate move that thankfully didn’t have worse consequences than a written-off car and a bruised and battered driver.”

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