Mercedes adamant Hamilton “did nothing wrong” as rules of corner engagement explained
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale
Mercedes chief technical officer James Allison has outlined exactly why the team believe Lewis Hamilton‘s penalty for causing the dramatic collision with Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix was unjust.
Hamilton received a 10-second penalty for the crash that saw Verstappen hit the barriers at Copse corner with a force of 51g, sending the Dutchman to hospital for scans, although he was later given the all-clear with just a stiff neck.
The British driver shrugged the penalty off to secure an eighth home grand prix victory, with the fallout from the incident igniting into a heated war of words with barbed comments being directed by the Red Bull side of the argument.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was heard during the subsequent red-flag period explaining to race director Michael Masi he had sent diagrams through email before being redirected directly to the stewards.
Allison has now described what the documents referred to.
“There was quite a lot of discussion live on camera while we waited to restart the race about who is right and who is wrong and that discussion rages on today,” said Allison, addressing the incident.
“We were concerned after the incident, and prior to the restart, to make sure that the stewards had read and were following the FIA’s internal guidance to stewards on the rights and wrongs of overtaking because as far as we are concerned, the manoeuvre that took place, the manoeuvre that Lewis did was absolutely in line with the FIA’s overtaking guide.
“If you are on the inside of the corner, overtaking on the inside of the corner, then the guidance requires that you are substantially alongside, it is not required that you are ahead, it requires that you are substantially alongside as you arrive at the corner.
“Lewis definitely was substantially alongside. He had his front axle well beyond the midpoint of Verstappen’s car.
“It requires you are substantially alongside and it requires that you must be able to make the corner. By make the corner, it means go round the corner and not leave the track or lose control of the car.
“Those are the things you need to satisfy. If you can go round the corner, if you are substantially alongside the other car then the corner is yours.
“What that means is not that you have to emerge in the lead, what it means is that you do not have to cede your position, you do not have to back off and the other car has a duty to avoid hitting you.
“So, if you follow the notes that are provided to the FIA stewards and you look frame by frame at what happened with Lewis, he was substantially alongside, he absolutely would have made the corner and indeed did make the corner and therefore there was no need for him to cede any ground.”
Insisting the speed of the incident made no difference to the punishment, Allison added: “I did feel that it was harsh to get the penalty.
“I realise not everyone agrees with that, but I still believe that to be the case and I certainly think that whether Copse is a fast corner or a slow corner makes no difference.
“This is about what are the rules to do with overtaking and I didn’t see that Lewis did anything wrong with respect to those rules.”
Hamilton “made two further overtakes and there wasn’t contact”
Citing the move, Allison explained: “Later in the race, Lewis made two further overtakes at Copse using exactly the same guidance and there wasn’t contact in either of those cases.
“So, yeah, I personally feel it was a harsh decision. In the end, for our outcome, it didn’t make any difference.
“But I can understand people who maybe don’t understand there is no obligation on you to hit the apex of the corner, that you don’t have to have your whole car in front of the other car.
“I can understand that if you are seeing it from that perspective you might think that the car coming from behind has some sort of obligation to make sure that no crashes take place, but if you look at the stewarding document then I think that Lewis did nothing wrong.”
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July 21, 2021 at 03:52PM