Alonso: Lewis couldn’t just ‘vanish’ from the inside line

Fernando Alonso says the collision between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap of Sunday’s British Grand Prix was simply an “unlucky moment”.

The contact between the two championship rivals took place as they barreled down to Copse corner, when Hamilton moved inside Verstappen only for the Dutchman to take his line into the high-speed turn.

Contact between Hamilton’s left front wheel and Verstappen’s rear left pitched the Red Bull into a spin and broadside into the outside barrier.

Hamilton was hit with a 10-second penalty but recovered to snatch the lead from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with three laps to go and clinch his 99th career win in F1.

Alonso, who finished Sunday’s race seventh, didn’t have a front-row seat to the incident but based on the footage he’d seen, the Spaniard labeled the skirmish a racing incident.

“It is difficult from the outside,” said the Alpine charger. “It looked quite close, Lewis had more than half a car alongside Max.

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“So, in a way, Lewis could not disappear from the inside line, it’s not that you can vanish.

“It was an unfortunate moment of the race, but nothing intentional or nothing that any of the two drivers did wrong in my opinion. That was an unlucky moment.”

Hamilton had seized the lead from Leclerc by successfully executing on the Ferrari driver the same controversial pass at Copse Corner, and the Mercedes driver said the clean move served as validation of how it should be done.

“He was very respectful in terms of leaving a gap,” said Hamilton. “I got to be somewhere alongside him, he knew that I was there, but he stayed committed and just did a wider line and he nearly kept it. And that was really great racing.”

©Mercedes

Leclerc agreed with Alonso’s view that the contact earlier in the race between Verstappen and Hamilton was a racing incident.

“I think it’s a racing incident. It is quite difficult to put the blame on one or the other,” said the Scuderia driver.

“Obviously, there was the space on the inside. Maybe Lewis was not completely at the apex, but it’s also true that Max was quite aggressive on the outside.

“Things happen but I think what is most important today is that Max is unharmed and is fine.”

Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who was running fourth on the opening lap just behind Leclerc, said that he feared at the outset that things would end badly for the dueling duo up ahead.

“I saw them fighting during lap one, a bit like yesterday,” he said.

“I had a feeling something was gonna happen but obviously they were fighting hard. That kind of thing happens, that’s racing. It can happen when you fight hard and you don’t give up.

“I’m just happy Max is fine because it was a big shunt. But I really feel like Lewis fully deserved the win today.”

    Read also: Hamilton feels no need to ‘apologise’ for Verstappen crash

McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo also chimed in on the unfortunate episode after seeing footage of the crash, and the Aussie felt that Hamilton had gone into the corner “too hot”.

“When you’re in such a high-speed corner and just side-by-side, you’re both going to lose aero, particularly Lewis there with Max kind of in a little bit of dirty air,” Ricciardo said. “But I think they were both going in hot.

“Ultimately Lewis went in too hot for the for the given level of grip and that’s where you see [he] just drifted up into Max.

“Completely unintentional, but just the nature of the aero on these cars and [you] just have to allow a little more, but I’m certainly not going to sit here and judge and say he should have done that or that.”

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