Red Bull chief Christian Horner has taken aim at Lewis Hamilton and pinned the blame solely on the Mercedes superstar for his crash with Max Verstappen.
Verstappen, the world championship leader, was left gingerly limping away from his car after both drivers collided on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.
The 23-year-old Dutchman, following an assessment by trackside doctors at Silverstone, has been taken to a local hospital for further precautionary tests.
In pulsating fashion, the Mercedes and the Red Bull went wheel-to-wheel immediately from the off, with Hamilton looking to dance around the outside.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were involved in a high-speed collision at the British GP
Red Bull’s Verstappen and Mercedes superstar Hamilton raced wheel-to-wheel at Silverstone
Having been squeezed out, Hamilton then darted for the inside line on the approach to the Copse corner, but Verstappen opted to hold his ground and turn in.
It was then that his right rear wheel was tagged by Hamilton’s front left, sending his Red Bull flying off the course and smashing with a sickening crunch into the barrier.
Verstappen was immediately tended to by the marshals trackside and, despite being able to clamber from the wreckage, notably appeared shaken up and winded.
Footage then showed him waving to the crowd before he was taken away in an ambulance for a precautionary check-up.
Christian Horner took aim at Hamilton and put the blame on him for Verstappen crashing out
Hamilton looked to take the inside line into the Copse corner and clipped Verstappen’s wheel
And in the aftermath, a clearly irate Horner lashed out at Hamilton when speaking to the race director over the radio.
‘That corner was never anywhere near alongside,’ Horner said. ‘Every driver that has driven at this circuit knows you do not stick a wheel up the inside of Copse.
‘That’s an enormous accident and it was Max’s corner. As far as I’m concerned, full blame is on Hamilton for that incident, he should never have been in that position.
‘Thank god he’s walked away unscathed and I hope you are going to deal with it appropriately.’
Hamilton had looked to pull ahead at the British Grand Prix but Verstappen stood his ground
Verstappen’s rear right wheel was touched by Hamilton’s front left, sending his car hurtling off
The race was red flagged to allow for the barriers to be replaced, and Hamilton took to his own team radio to plead his innocence.
‘I was ahead going in there, man. Fully alongside, it was my line. He turned in on me, man. It was a big hit on the left front, so do a big check,’ Hamilton insisted.
‘Is Max OK? I’d given the guy space.’
He was later hit with a 10-second penalty despite claims that the smash was solely a racing incident.
Verstappen flew off the track after the incident before his car then crashed into the tyre barrier
Red Bull man Verstappen was soon able to climb from the wreckage after the sickening thud
But Horner doubled down on his stance before the punishment, and witheringly labelled Hamilton’s daring manoeuvre as ‘dirty driving’.
‘Thank god we’ve seen him walk away. He was massively winded and he’s gone to the medical centre for a check-up,’ Horner told Channel 4.
‘That’s a hell of a relief to see him get out because that corner is one of the fastest on the calendar. Completely out of order to stick a wheel up the inside there.
‘It was way too far. Every driver that has driven this circuit knows you don’t stick a wheel up the inside of Copse.
The race was red-flagged while Verstappen was taken away and the barrier damage was fixed
‘He’s done it and his front left has made contact with Max’s right rear at one of the fastest corners in the championship and he’s put him in the fence.
‘As you can imagine, we’re pretty annoyed about things. I think it was a desperate move.
‘He failed to make the move in the first part of the lap which he obviously needed to do. Copse is one of the fastest corners in the world.
‘You don’t stick a wheel up the inside. That’s just dirty driving.’
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff supported Hamilton by sending diagrams of the crash to the FIA
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, meanwhile, sent an email to the FIA showing detailed diagrams of the incident in his attempts to back Hamilton.
Although the stewards eventually ruled that Hamilton was to blame, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko called for a significantly harsher punishment.
Asked about a regular penalty, Marko told Sky Germany: ‘You can’t do that with the normal sporting code.
‘I don’t know what the maximum penalty would be, but such dangerous and reckless behaviour should be punished with a suspension or something.’