Who was to blame for Verstappen and Hamilton’s collision at Silverstone?

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Who was to blame in the race-ending clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in the British Grand Prix?


Verstappen and Hamilton tangled on lap one of the 2021 British Grand Prix at Copse.

The pair started the race on the front row of the grid, Verstappen on pole position. Hamilton made a slightly better start and repeatedly tried to pass Verstappen until the pair made contact going into the ninth corner.

Approaching the scene of the crash, Hamilton came out of Luffield behind Verstappen but gained on him as they passed through Woodcote and pulled out to the inside as they approached Copse. Verstappen came off the racing line to cover the inside of the corner, then moved left and back towards the line as they reached the turning in point. Hamilton was also able to move slightly towards the racing line.

Both turned into the corner, but as they did the pair made contact, Hamilton’s front-left wheel impacting Verstappen’s right-rear. The contact sent the Red Bull spinning into a barrier, while Hamilton was able to continue.

The race was red-flagged while Verstappen’s car was recovered and the barrier he hit repaired. Mercedes used the interruption to perform repairs to Hamilton’s car, without which he would not have been able to continue.

How it happened

1: Hamilton closes rapidly on Verstappen approaching Copse

2: Verstappen moves to cover the inside line

3: Hamilton moves for the inside line

4: Hamilton draws alongside Verstappen on his inside

5: The pair turn into the corner

6: The pair make contact

What they said

In the cars

Hamilton described the collision to his race engineer Peter Bonnington on the radio afterwards. “He just turned in on me,” he said. “I was ahead going in there. I was fully alongside, that’s my line.”

“I’d given the guy space,” Hamilton added.

Verstappen’s feedback was not heard as his onboard camera stopped broadcasting after the impact.

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After the crash

Hamilton stated he was within his right to attempt to overtake Verstappen and said his rival had failed to leave him sufficient room. “I was fully alongside him and he didn’t leave me any space,” said Hamilton.

Verstappen said he had left room for Hamilton. “He goes for that move, he commits to the move, of course I’m going to make it difficult for him to make the move,” he said, “But as soon as he commits to the inside and is getting alongside me, I open up the corner and then I’m going to leave him space.”

The official verdict

Both drivers were investigated over the collision. Hamilton was found to be “predominantly to blame for the incident”. The following regulation was cited as the reason for his penalty:

Causing a collision, repetition of serious mistakes or the appearance of a lack of control over the car (such as leaving the track) will be reported to the stewards and may entail the imposition of penalties up to and including the disqualification of any driver concerned.
International Sporting Code appendix L, chapter four, article 2(d)

The stewards explained why Hamilton was considered to have broken the rule:

Car 44 [Hamilton] was on a line that did not reach the apex of the corner, with room available to the inside. When car 33 turned into the corner, car 44 did not avoid contact and the left front of car 44 contacted the right rear of car 33. Car 44 is judged predominantly at fault.
2021 British Grand Prix stewards document 50

Your verdict

Who do you think was responsible for the collision? Were the stewards correct to issue a penalty? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Who was to blame for Verstappen and Hamilton's collision at Silverstone?

  • No opinion (0%)
  • Hamilton was wholly responsible (21%)
  • Hamilton was mostly responsible (38%)
  • Verstappen and Hamilton were equally responsible (20%)
  • Verstappen was mostly responsible (14%)
  • Verstappen was wholly responsible (7%)

Total Voters: 175

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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27 comments on “Who was to blame for Verstappen and Hamilton’s collision at Silverstone?”

  1. I voted for equally responsible as I still hold the racing incident view.

    1. I think it was a racing incident too @jerejj. But with Hamilton as the guy coming up from behind somewhat more responsible.

      I am unconvinced it really was needed to hand out a penalty for it, since apart from both guys having been able to prevent it if they gave more room / backed out slightly, there really is neither of them doing something that is clearly in the wrong. Had both crashed out (as in Monza) it would have been themselves punishing not completely well thought trough actions.

    2. @jerejj a rare thing when it seems the factionalism and extremism of the fan base means that the usual suspects are going to claim that their anointed champion is always innocent and their hatred rival is always in the wrong. Just look in the other threads, and you can see the usual suspects spewing out the usual hatred and bitterness.

    3. Agreed. I think it was clumsy from Lewis having to go so deep but there was plenty of room there for Max to carry speed through the corner and therefore wholly avoidable. Max is typically quite clever in those situations and would have wanted to cut him up in order to break any chance of getting slipstreamed on the next straight rather than take the wider line around Lewis allowing him to stay within close reach. As it was there wasn’t enough room for Lewis to go deep and Max to take the racing line, if there’s any blame it would be on Lewis for being there/forcing the situation but imo Max chose not to avoid it so I’d call it a racing incident.

    4. One hundred percent. Well, time to fix the dent.

  2. Shocking that at this moment 53% of responses see it as LH was mostly or fully to blame. How can we be a week past the accident and people can’t see was that Max was only in the corner due to late braking and had no right nor ability to make the next corner.

    I don’t always agree with Stewards but I accept their findings because A) they have access to vast amounts of information B) they are racing experts and C) they spoke with the drivers. Max is a great driver but he is human and can make mistakes.

    1. Sorry, posted in the wrong thread, I thought I was in the Monza story. My mistake :)

  3. I voted LH mostly responsible because that is what the stewards ruled, and the buck stops with them.

    1. @robbie

      Agree. I think they’ve made a fair decision. In my books it was 60% Hamilton’s fault and 40% Max’s.
      Monza however, I think it was 90% Max and 10% Lewis.

  4. Wholly responsible as it was now known as a ‘tactical foul’. There was no intention of making the corner. The intention was to crash.

    1. Except Hamilton’s inputs go against what you’re saying.

      He was steering right, into a right hand corner, and he lifted off the throttle instead of trying to take the corner flat and run Verstappen off on the outside.

      What happened here, was what we all knew at the time, Hamilton got a little bit of understeer being on the dirty inside line, and Verstappen didn’t account for that possibility and tried to take the corner as if there was not a rolls-royce sized car right up on his inside.

    2. 🤭 comedy gold! I think I’m in love

  5. This Silverstone incident was to me two drivers racing hard, which is great, but one of them was making a more desperate move than the other.
    Let’s say they were both entering the corner a bit too fast to actually make it through within track limits considering none of them could use the optimal racing line, both desperately attempting to be ahead at the exit of the corner. That’s what it looks like to me anyway. Lets also assume they were equally side by side at the entry phase.
    From trying to cover the inside line on the straight before the corner Verstappen is unable to use the full width of the track on the left. In combination with leaving a cars width of space for Hamilton at the apex, which he does, his line is very shallow and I doubt he would have stayed on track even without contact at that speed. But, he knows that corner has got an asphalt runoff on the outside that he could use to get back on track. At worst for Verstappen then, Hamilton would make the corner within track limits and the question would then go to the stewards whether an advantage was gained by going off circuit.
    Hamilton is attacking from behind and goes for the inside move. He pulls alongside Verstappen but is on an even shallower line for the corner while carrying more speed from the slip stream. He also knows about the asphalt runoff, but crucially for me he also knows that there is another car between himself and that piece of asphalt. Hamilton, then, is relying on Verstappen to move out of the way or there will be contact. Verstappen is just relying on the stewards to not penalize him for going off circuit.
    Finally, during this entire sequence Hamilton is never ahead of Verstappen. He is almost fully alongside, but the best he manages is to get his front wing alongside Verstappens front axle. That is more than enough to earn the right of racing space, at least a cars width at the apex, but not enough to dictate what the other car should do.
    I would say “Hamilton was mostly responsible”. The reason I’m not saying that “Hamilton was wholly to blame” is that both drivers are putting their chances of success in someone else’s hands. The reason I’m putting more blame on Hamilton is because his chances are putting others than himself under grater risks, in this case at very high speeds.

    1. Great analysis! +1

  6. 6.. Clearly shows Hamilton aiming for the apex before contact is made and they both wash out but Verstappen suffering from a deflation and lost control.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      21st September 2021, 12:30

      According to everyone who blamed Hamilton 6 didn’t happen :-) You can say it 100 times but they will deny it.

      In Max’s onboards, there’s a clearly a correction by Max that’s not sufficient as he clips Lewis’ wheel.

  7. Racing incident, same as Monza.

  8. As personally satisfying as I found the stewards decision, without access to the velocity data, I can’t be sure I support it. The reason is, when you watch the on-boards, once Hamilton turns in, his steering lock doesn’t change. However, it also appears that he’s not going to reach the apex on that line either, meaning he’ll have to back out in some way. Yet before he does, Max, turning in more than Hamilton, clips him and spirals off-track. Thus to me it looks like a racing incident, but given the high speeds, it also looks like hight-risk, questionable judgements on both their parts. But then, when has a champion caliber racing car driver ever been discouraged by mere risk? It’s what they do for a living, and the better they are, the more confident they are, and the more confident they are, the more acceptable the risk. It’s a tough call all around that a different set of stewards might have made differently.

  9. Racing incident with Hamilton mostly to blame. Penalty justified.

  10. LH never again took that corner that wide while overtaking. He also recorded his highest top speed of the race for that corner there and then. In lap 1… with fuelfat cars… And some say there isn’t something quirky going on with the Mercs. We’ve seen the same in Monza where Lewis closed the gap to Verstappen in one sweep between T2 and T4 in lap 1.

    So, this was the tactical foul Wolff spoke of, not the Monza incident. I would have given LH a 10s S&G for this, as it is the third time in 1,5 year he takes a car out by a tap on the rear right (Brazil 19, Austria 20 both against Albon).

  11. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    21st September 2021, 12:43

    I just watched the incident again. I actually believe that Max was trying to clear Lewis going into the first part of Copse. Huh! Is Max trying to race in F1 or working on some impossible overtake puzzle book?

    1. Hamilton innocent? No, racing incident.

  12. I find Hamilton responsible but it’s a Racing Incident by 100%.

  13. petebaldwin (@)
    21st September 2021, 20:31

    Racing incident as was Monza. In both the driver who got penalised could have done more to avoid the accident so they are more to blame than the other driver but even so, it was hard racing more than a mistake or anything deliberate.

    In both cases, those who got taken off (and their team leader) embarrassed themselves by accusing the other of doing it deliberately and of not caring about a potential injury…. They’re basically mirror images. The only difference is that one driver got away with theirs and won the race whilst the other was out of the race and had a grid penalty.

  14. Hamilton gave room, over 2.5 cars widths. Did not deviate steering into corner, from shallow angle on full fuel. That is racing. Verstappen turned into Hamilton at last causing crash from wounded ego at being dummied.

  15. Click Bait 2.0.3

    1. Racing Incident II

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