After the opening lap incident with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton hoped for fair racing between the two in the future, while simultaneously believing that respect can be restored between the two.
Hamilton had made a move down the inside on the run to Copse but Verstappen held his ground, with the pair touching and causing Verstappen to go off into the tire barrier, effectively ending his race. The incident resulted in Hamilton being awarded a 10-second penalty with 2 penalty points.
“I think it’s a normal battle,” Hamilton said. “We’re in a battle and I think this year he has been very aggressive. Most of the times I’ve had to concede and just avoid incident with him and live to fight on later on in the race.”
Hamilton made it clear that the incident resulted from Verstappen’s aggression and that Mercedes has also echoed. Hamilton defending his maneuver, stating that it was a chance to compete with the clearly quicker Red Bull.
“As you saw [on Saturday], once he’s out in the clear, they’re too fast. So when an opportunity comes, I’ve got to try and take it. That’s what we’re out there doing, and racing, and this one moment, I got a great exit out of Turn 7 and I was really happy with the dummy that I was able to go to the left and then go to the inside and get up that gap,” Hamilton explained.
“I would like to think that we should generally grow and learn from these experiences.”
Despite the incident, Hamilton praised his rival but has nevertheless called for a balance between respecting and giving drivers enough space and pure racing.
“There’s rarely an incident that’s 100% someone’s fault. It’s always a mixture because there are two people – or more obviously – so I think there are things that we can both learn,” Hamilton added.
“I would say that Max is probably one of the most aggressive drivers here – just from my personal opinion – he does a great job of course – but I think we have to really try to find the best balance we can on track, with space and respect between one another, so that we can continue racing and have good races without colliding.”