Lewis Hamilton had done all that he could to thrive at his home race in Silverstone, grabbing pole ahead of Ferrari duo, Vettel and Raikkonen. But both he and Mercedes would not have anticipated what happened at the start.
He had a poor start and Vettel took full advantage alongside him, as he raced into the lead before Turn 1 as Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas put pressure on him. But as they approached Turn 3, Hamilton was shunted on the side by the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
He spun and dropped to the back of the field but drove brilliantly to finish second and salvage his home race. Raikkonen did apologise and took responsibility for the incident but Hamilton was understandably fuming in the post-race press conference.
“Interesting tactics I would say from this side but we’ll do what we can to fight them”, said the Mercedes driver. “All I would say is that it’s two races in which a Ferrari has taken out a Mercedes. Valtteri and I have both lost out in those situations.”
His team boss, Toto Wolff was even more critical in his comments.
“Le Castellet [France] was the first time we got taken out and this is the second- it’s a lot of constructor points. To put it in James Allison’s [Mercedes tech chief], this is either deliberate or incompetence”, the Austrian stated.
Sebastian Vettel was the biggest winner to emerge out of the whole situation and he felt it was immature of Mercedes to even suggest deliberation on his team’s part.
“It’s silly to think that anything happened was deliberate. I don’t think there was an intention and I think it’s unnecessary to even go there”, said the championship leader.
The comments made by the Mercedes certainly seemed a result of their anger at Raikkonen committing a mistake but it is important to note that the Finn did get a 10-second time penalty for his mistake.
It was rightly deemed a racing incident and accusing a rival of sabotaging tactics is not really the way to respond.