Lewis Hamilton, Alexander Albon, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Hamilton gets less “media criticism” for collisions than Verstappen – Horner

2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has complained Lewis Hamilton does not face the kind of “media criticism” for collisions that his driver Max Verstappen does.

Hamilton tangled with Verstappen’s team mate Alexander Albon in the closing stages of the Austrian Grand Prix while the pair were fightinf over second place. Horner believes either of his drivers would have faced more collision had they been in Hamilton’s position.

“Alex was cruelly robbed of a podium and possibly even a victory,” Horner told Red Bull’s official website. “It was a slam dunk.

“We had a tyre that was probably 1.2 seconds a lap quicker than Mercedes were capable of going at that stage in the race. Alex knew they would have problems warming their older tyres, so he needed to get the job done on Lewis quickly.

“He made his move, went around the outside and got himself ahead of Lewis mid-corner and then contact was made and Alex was in the gravel. He later retired from the race but the incident was particularly frustrating at our home event when we had a good chance of making it three wins in a row.

“Lewis was penalised and I am sure if the shoe was on the other foot, then there would be plenty of media criticism, as Max has experienced in the past, but as a six-time world champion I guess these mis-judgements are sometimes overlooked…”

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Hamilton described the collision as a “racing incident”, but the stewards held him responsible, handing him a five-second time penalty and two penalty points on his licence. The six-times champion now has more penalty points than any other driver.

Start, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Penalty review timing was “coincidental”, Horner insisted
Horner also addressed claims over the timing of the team’s request for the stewards to review their decision not to penalise Hamilton for failing to slow for yellow flags in qualifying. Hamilton was given a three-place grid penalty 41 minutes before the race was due to start.

However Horner denied the team delayed their request to the stewards in order to maximise the inconvenience to Mercedes ahead of the start of the race. “The timing was completely coincidental and in no way intentional that close to the race,” he said.

“The 360 [degree] video footage was put out by Formula 1 and this was a new angle that we had not seen on Saturday. We highlighted this to the FIA who had also not seen the angle and then reviewed the footage.

“It was then clear to the FIA that there had been a breach of the rules and they rightly applied the same penalty that Max was given in Mexico last year.

“It was not sour grapes at all, it was just the timing of when the new evidence came to light and how quickly we could get that to the FIA for review.”

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Keith Collantine
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73 comments on “Hamilton gets less “media criticism” for collisions than Verstappen – Horner”

  1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    8th July 2020, 21:33

    Half true. Hamilton used to get battered on all sides for any mistake he made – no matter how minor, but granted in recent years most things he does nowadays tend to get ignored. Verstappen certainly gets a lot of hate for even minor collisions but he’s had some fairly big ones and so people tend to look at that, and those kind of criticisms stick. Maldonado’s ‘has he crashed yet’ website, Kvyat the torpedo, Vettel the crash kid, etc. Took a few years for Hamilton to shrug those early criticisms off.

    1. To be fair, when Lewis started in 07, I dont recall him crashing too many times. Sure, he made some errors, but nothing out of the ordinary for a rookie. I remember his 07 being quite solid despite all the “gates” and associated shenanigans.

      Similarly 08 was pretty sound from memory, he even won the championship. From 09 onwards, when the car wasn’t as good, he started getting a bit more ragged, potentially over-driving (?). I think if there was a season where he garnered a reputation for crashing, it was 2011, and rightly so. Since then, he’s been fairly consistent. Sure, he’s made more than a few questionable moves…which he blamed the other driver for on more than a few occasions, but then again, what self respecting racing driver wouldnt..haha.

    2. Enough of this… I get what Horner is doing. I would probably do it myself if I managed Red Bull. But as a fan, it’s just so transparently silly. Lewis and Max are the two biggest stars in the sport right now (that is until Alonso arrives next year). They both get more media attention that probably everyone else combined. That’s the nature of the business. Lewis doesn’t usually make the news for crashing because he doesn’t crash as much. But in the Mclaren years he made the news a lot over stupid things he said regularly.

      1. @ajpennypacker it does seem that Horner’s intention to stir up trouble is working, judging by the arguments that are breaking out further down this thread.

        As you say, it is embarrassingly transparent that Horner’s intention is to cause as much trouble off the track as he can in order to try and hurt Mercedes’s performance on the track. I even wonder if he really thinks that is true in any way – it feels a lot more like a rather obvious tactic of trying to get the media to criticise rival drivers more and his drivers less.

        1. That appears to be case. A few days ago there was an article on planet f1 talking about Marko wanting to review Hamilton’s 5 second penalty on Albon. I don’t think Mercedes are affected by this, as both Red Bulls retired, while both Mercedes finished 1-4. Red Bull trying their hardest to ruin Mercedes, and it is indeed looking quite embarrrassing already. I can’t wait to see what they have off track this weekend for Mercedes. What’s next?

          Besides, Hamilton has had this experience of being criticized in 2011 and 2008. Since 2012, he has pretty much avoided crashes with other drivers.

      2. Yes, enough said indeed

  2. Tommytintop (@)
    8th July 2020, 21:35

    Maybe Mr Horner should employ more patient drivers.

    1. Where was Albon meant to go? Hamilton could have tightened his lock and not collided or even slowed down and not collided with the car that was ahead!

      1. The front end was washing out. You cant lift as you lose aero so u have to wait til the fronts grip up. Which is exactly why when the situation was reversed earlier in the race and Albon was on the inside Hamilton backed out of the situation and lived to fight another day. That’s the difference between a 6 x WDC and a rookie who is going for glory. As for where was Albon meant to go? A bit nearer the kerb would have helped. That way he wouldnt have ended up interlocking his wheels with Hamilton. Not that I blame Albon. He’ll learn.

        1. I usually do not like this type of war in the comments section, but please, stop saying that Albon was precipitated or that it was not Lewis fault. An opportunity to overtake is an opportunity overtake, and it does not matter if you are going on the inside or the outside. Watch the video that Driver61 made about the collision.

          1. Yes I watched the video. I didnt bother with his nonsense when he pulled Ham up for missing the apex by a few inches on worn tyres, yet totally ignored all the space Albon had to play with on the outside. Maybe in the next video he can explain why Albon needed to be so close to Hamilton as to interlock wheels, rather then give Hamilton a wide sweep which was available to him. And I’ll let you get het up about whose at fault. He ended up with no points and he could have taken some actions to prevent that. I doubt he gets any satisfaction from any apportioning of blame.

          2. @riptide

            watch this and make another thought about it: since this video is on board and apparently not available to stewards? i think it is safe to assume mercedes should to go stewards for a review of the penalty or explain why albon is let go without warning twice? why ham has to avoid crash while overtaking, and albon does not need to? care to analyze?

          3. @riptide it was meant for @maddme esp, since he asks where albon meant to go? in the video it is clear ham’s second attempt ham is keeping quite a distance yet, albon comes very harshly at him, and it is ironically the same corner they collided, and ham avoided and shown the answer where he would go and what he could do… instead we saw what he did do and what happened… and to be honest i expected this move from max than albon, but it seems albon is cooking up …. hope he doesnt get worse…

      2. @maddme

        Albon mentioned that he ‘thought’ he had cleared Lewis (over taken him completely) but still there was a collision. He underestimated that Lewis would not defend as hard as he did and overestimated that he (Albon) had the grip to accelerate out of the corner way ahead of Lewis, hence why he accelerated into Lewis with enough space on the outside to park a red bus.

        I bet he never checked his mirror to see if he had indeed cleared Lewis. The word salad of an explanation the stewards put out says it all.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          9th July 2020, 2:46

          @lums +1000 This was completely Albon’s fumble.

          1. A competent racer would have known when to concede the place.

          2. @Geo Indeed. Backing off would be better to do if there’s nowhere to go. He also should’ve started braking a bit earlier given the state of his tyres.

    2. @petegeo Yes, Albon could’ve waited for DRS to become available, but the thing is that following an SC-period it only becomes available again after two full laps, and Albon had a considerable tyre-advantage against Hamilton, not only fresher, but also two-steps softer (also easier to get up to temperature quickly) compound adding to the grip-advantage, so it was necessary for him to try and get past him as quickly as possible to avoid getting stuck behind him in his dirty air, and as a result let Bottas run away out of his reach.

  3. Hemingway (@)
    8th July 2020, 21:40

    It’s because he’s Dutch.

    1. Exactly what I was thinking.

      1. Crashtappen. The nickname says it all. The crash kid, he had more “rackng incidents” in his short career than most of the retired drivers…

        1. You may have missed or chosen to ignore the satire in the statement by hemingway.

        2. That nickname does say a lot about silly fans like you.

          1. He’s awful.

        3. Okay, get in.

        4. cR@ShT@Pp£N. the NicKnamE SaYS it alL. tHE CRAsh kID, he HAD morE “raCKnG iNCIdENtS” In HIS sHorT CareeR thAn moSt oF tHe RETIREd dRiVeRs

          Get in the coffin now.

  4. Horner complaining? Surely not.

  5. Hamilton got exactly the same reputation as Verstappen in 2007/8 of making errors and crashing. The fact is though that since 2013, Hamilton has hardly crashed into competitors at all. I’m sure Verstappen will be the same.

    The crash was 100% Hamilton’s fault and I was very frustrated at the time as I wanted Albon to win, but Horner is just Red Bull through and through. Him and Marco are a perfect couple.

    1. @john-h

      I think in 2008 and 2011, Hamilton had a bit of a crash-kid reputation himself.. but he’s kept it clean during most of the years before and after, which is why it seems unnatural when he goes on an accident prone streak like he had in 2011.

      Max on the other hand, has been far too aggressive right from the start of his career hand has been crash friendly for the first 4 years of his career, with a slight improvement coming last season, so here, it almost seems unnatural that he hasn’t tangled in so long.

      I get Horner’s point about how Max gets treated differently when he causes an accident, but the fact is that he’s tangled more often in his 5 year career than Lewis had in the first 5 years of his… so .. maybe Horner should drop this whine.

    2. @john-h Agreed.

      @todfod Mostly agreed but I don’t think it is fair to compare first 5 years of careers as Horner is speaking to how the media reacts today. He is pointing out that LH is a 6 time WDC which he was obviously not in his first five seasons, and which contributes to him getting a pass on some indiscretions these days in the media. At least Horner is not saying he is getting a pass in the stewards headquarters. Seeing the post from @socksolid lower down on the page is a great reminder of why LH’s past 5 years have been way different than Max’s past (and first) five in terms of how they can or have to manage their races. That is not meant to excuse Max his indiscretions of course.

      1. @robbie

        You’re right.. Lewis does have it slightly easier because he’s a 6 time world champion, as compared to Max. The only reason I found Horner’s statement unnecessary is because he has had a driver like Ricciardo, who is also an aggressive racer, that hasn’t had the kind of criticism Max gets when he tangles, and that’s because Ricciardo has managed to keep it clean for a large part of his career so far as well. So, it’s only natural that the media would be more harsh on a driver who has tangled more often… it’s true that it’s a little excessive when Max is involved, but you can’t blame the media and fan perception either because Max has earned a reputation over the years. I feel Horner and Max need to just suck it up and get on with it.

  6. Not true at all. During his McLaren years Hamilton had a reputation.

    1. @carbon_fibre Only really in 2011.

  7. I think the difference is Hamilton either puts his hands up, or if he believes its a racing incident, accepts what the stewards decide. When Max crashes Horner is usually straight onto Sky blaming everyone else before Max has even had time to get out of the car.
    No media mileage when the driver/team say fair enough when punished.

    1. Indeed @riptide and in previous years, after 2011, Hamilton certainly did have a time when he was looked at very quickly in incidents; guess he learned a lot, we can only hope that Verstappen will too (but w. Horner like this, and his father, not sure).

      1. Horner usually straight onto Sky blaming everyone else before Max is even out of the car? Don’t think so.

  8. Hamilton gets less “media criticism” for collisions than Verstappen – Horner

    Hamilton was penalised stop the poor us silliness it’s time to move on.

  9. Yes Horner, and with good reason.

    Hamilton races more cleanly, when he crashes he makes it seam like the other one did it.

    1. Hamilton had no one around him to crash into for years on end. That certainly helps your reputation. Just like it took a long time to penalize Vettel for in-pack incidents. He got away with a lot up until 2018-ish.

  10. Hamilton is British, verstappen isn’t, that’s why :)

    1. Right, because Hamilton gets all the good press in the media.

      1. He does, from the British media anyway.

        1. You should read some British press then, because they hate him as well.

        2. I can assure you he doesn’t @jaymenon10

    2. Wow. You clearly aren’t British. Not only does LH not get anything close to the praise and acknowledgement he deserves from his fellow countrymen, he is regularly hung out to dry by the British press!
      Never have I ever heard that Brits get any sort of favouritism in sport, politics, life. We are disliked by the most of the rest of the world. So, pray tell, where has this crazy theory come from?

  11. No one get away with more collisions than Ocon, he has collision every race he has done in F1 independently of team or partner !

  12. The difference is that when VER has crashed it looks like a road rage incident. In this race, HAM looked to be trying to defend and it didn’t look like an aggressive defense so that is why he didn’t get hammered for the crash. I don’t think people would have been outraged if he wasn’t penalized for the incident.

    1. @jimfromus
      Hmm, kinda like that little nudge Max gave Bottas in Monza 2018…….for which he got villified
      Or kinda like Bahrain 2018, where Lewis punted Max in a similar way out of the race as last week, but Max still got all the flack, and was even called a slur by Lewis.

      Your reasoning is exactly what Horner is referring to.

  13. Can somebody turn down Horner a few notches. He seems to be overheating.

    1. Horner overheating early and can’t blame Honda. Yet.

      1. Wow if that’s overheating, you guys have a pretty low tolerance.

  14. He is British. Hence his PR army.

  15. MB (@muralibhats)
    9th July 2020, 4:08

    Being Lewis Matters ? :)

  16. Horner fails to see that verstappen crashes into drivers almost deliberately he defends very aggressively. In the ahort time he is with red bull he has made a reputation for himself as a very bullish driver on the track so thats why he gets the negative and positive media attention. Hamilton on the other hand over many many years with many wheel to wheel battles has proven to be a hard driver but at the same time on most occasions a fair driver that does not ram his way through. Unlike verstappen who does. And does have a reputation for such.

  17. It’s factually true.
    We can only speculate about the reasons:
    – is it that most of the opinion makers are in their 40/50s and the reason is that biological thing of “how the new generation is lost”? Lots of young drivers face this, some of them have a hard time moving trough this, Hamilton is one example

    – is it some national bias? Most of the opinion making in F1 is English based.

    – is it some personality based bias? Maybe Hamilton is nice to reporters and Max is note, that making Max less popular between reporters which could cause this disparity (even if not voluntary)

    What no one can deny is: if Max collided with Norris in Brazil costing him is first podium and did the same in Austria costing Norris the first victory, he’ll would break loose.

  18. Imagine if Albon had taken out Hamilton twice in the space of three races, knocking him out of a podium position (or potential victory) and causing the six-times WC to score zero points.

    He would have crucified.

    1. Imagine if Albon had taken out Hamilton twice in the space of three races, knocking him out of a podium position (or potential victory) and causing the six-times WC to score zero points.

      He would have been crucified. *

      1. For sure.

  19. What was funny is Verstappen alias Crashtappen calling other people “Maldonado” for having accidents… When he’s the top crusher of the grid.

    1. @jimfromus
      Hmm, kinda like that little nudge Max gave Bottas in Monza 2018…….for which he got villified
      Or kinda like Bahrain 2018, where Lewis punted Max in a similar way out of the race as last week, but Max still got all the flack, and was even called a slur by Lewis.

      Your reasoning is exactly what Horner is referring to.

      1. Bahrain 2018 was Max’s fault.. I don’t see how your little rant here can change facts.

    2. @alex

      So lewis takes out 2 drivers in the last 3 races, but Max is the top crusher……..hmmm, sounds like you’re proving Horner’s point……
      What was the last time Max punted another driver of the podium? (or even out of the points)
      (backed up by a stewards decision)

    3. I recognize you…

    4. “WhAt WaS FunnY iS verStappeN ALIaS cR@$Ht@pP£n CalLING OtHEr PeOPle “MaLdoNaDo” FOr havInG AccIdeNTS… WhEn He’s ThE toP cRuSher OF the GrId.”

    5. Still hate being killed?

  20. The article says it all. Suddenly it goes from media’s lack of criticism of Hamilton’s racecraft, to the the team having to defend allegations of conspiracy theories and unsportsmanlike behaviour concerning the timing of their complaint about Hamilton’s reaction to yellow flags in qualifying.

    Even the PR people in Red Bull know that even legitimate criticism about Hamilton will not only be dismissed, it will turn vindictive.

  21. Horner forgets 2 things, 1: verstappen has a reputation for crashing that Hamilton doesn’t, that’s why many fans call him crashtappen. 2: Hamilton was condemned widely when he kept crashing in 2011 season.

  22. Well said kpcart i agree with you

  23. Also unlike verstappen hamilton has had the best car in pretty much every race since the start of 2014 season. So most of the time hamilton was the one doing the overtaking in a car that had straight line speed advantage and cornering advantage. This puts him into a more comfortable position where he can decide how and when. Max on the other hand drives a car that is down on power which already means he has to be a lot more aggressive and make things happen in corners and braking zones whereas hamilton can do most of it on straights.

    Not to mention hamilton starts from the front in most races whereas verstappen is always surrounded with other cars. This also creates different situations for the two. When hamilton has a bad race he has the fastest car but he is surrounded by slower cars. His solution is to overtake the cars. His performance gap is so huge most of the time it doesn’t even make any sense for the overtaken cars to try to resist. Max on the other hand sees more of the inverse situation. He sometimes has a good race which puts his car among faster cars. His solution is to hold on to what he has with defensive driving. And his advantage is in the braking zones and corners which means he has to be aggressive to be able to use his only advantage. Swap them around and the criticism can be swapped around too.

    1. @socksolid Excellent reminder of the two drivers’ different realities.

      Hey as a huge Max fan I chuckled at Horner’s ‘LH gets less media criticism’ remark because I knew the anti-Horner group, of which there seems to be many, would be salivating over it.

      I think Horner is right, and I do have to agree though that it was Max’s reputation to make some costly mistakes. But that was then. He shed himself of that, but his career is much closer to it’s start than it’s finish whereas for LH he is much closer to the end of his career than it’s start. So yeah if it was Max taking out LH two years in a row the outcry would be huge. Same as if it was Albon doing that to LH.

      Bottom line for me, I think there are reasons as you point out @socksolid why LH is in a better position in these tussles and has been since 2014. eg. does any driver think they can just pick and choose when an opportunity arises to pass LH? Any driver going to pass on an opportunity and assume another one is coming up? So yeah, LH has things much more in his control in races, and he is a 6 time WDC and sure perhaps gets a little pass the odd time for that in the media, but for sure Horner pointing this out does not deserve nearly the venom that some are capable of spewing basically at anything Horner says anyway.

      I think Horner is stating a fact much moreso than complaining, and there are reasons it is a fact. Let’s also keep in mind where Horner is coming from, namely as team principal to a team that was truly robbed of a potential win or at least podium. As was AA robbed of a podium last time. It’s not like he was robbed of 7th or 8th place both times. I also disagree with those who have suggested that there is some motive to Horner’s words, like he thinks he’s going to unsettle LH or something. He was stating a fact to RBR fans on the official Red Bull website.

  24. Hamilton gets less criticism than any other driver for anything. F1 is, largely, a British sport. Many of the teams are based in Britain, and much of the F1 press is British. Hamilton is a very successful British driver and as such basically gets a free pass for anything he does. Any other driver gets raked over the coals for pretty much any perceived infraction and god forbid if you happen to be a German driver. I think the only thing that might be worse would be if an American got a drive in F1.

  25. Daniel Sherman
    9th July 2020, 15:40

    Max gets grief from the press, because he brings it on himself. He is overtly arrogant and entitled, and redbull has done nothing to rein him in.

    Just look at his post qualifying remarks from mexico last year, this is a perfect example of why the press pounds on him. imo he deserves it.

    When asked after qualifying about the incident, Verstappen said: “I was aware that Valtteri crashed.”

    When pushed further on if he had backed off, Verstappen said: “It didn’t really look like it did it? No.”

    Verstappen was also defiant about keeping his foot in for the incident.

    “I think we know what we are doing, otherwise we wouldn’t be driving an F1 car,” he said.

    “It’s qualifying and you go for it. If they want to delete the lap, then delete the lap.”

  26. Horner enjoys saying some crap from time to time.
    Verstappen caused more collisions on half a season than Hamilton since ’15 when Verstappen joined.

    Why should we treat them the same way? When Grosjean crashes, people also treat him differently for a reason. Or Maldonado.

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