Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve said that Lewis Hamilton would have stepped off the throttle while battling Red Bull’s Max Verstappen if it wasn’t for the pressure of beating the latter at the former’s home race at Silverstone.
Verstappen was out of the race by the opening lap after Hamilton clipped the Dutchman at Copse, leading to the stewards awarding Hamilton a 10-second penalty for the incident. Despite Hamilton went on to win the race, Villeneuve said that he believes that Hamilton wouldn’t have risked in such a way if he wasn’t in Britain, in front of a home crowd.
“I think the pressure – to not be beaten by Max at his home race – was so great that he subconsciously accepted this risk. I think in any other race he would have lifted off the gas earlier in that corner,” Villeneuve explained.
“He should have known that at that speed, when he was behind, there would be dirty air which could cause his car to slide into Max’s car.”
Commenting on the incident, Villeneuve admitted it looked like an unintentional incident, as opposed to what happened to Villeneuve himself at Jerez in 1997. Michael Schumacher tried to force Villeneuve off the track, in an incident that garnered massive controversy.
“It wasn’t like Lewis deliberately steered into Max’s car, like Michael Schumacher did at Jerez in 1997,” Villeneuve said. “He just took his chances.”
“Lewis misjudged the situation,” Villeneuve concluded.