Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has declared that ‘the chapter is closed’ following a failed attempt by his team to have the 10-second penalty of Lewis Hamilton, earned after he and Max Verstappen came together at the British Grand Prix, reviewed.
Tensions were running high on the Thursday evening of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, as Mercedes released a strongly-worded statement criticising ‘the senior management of Red Bull’, following the team’s unsuccessful ‘right to review’ hearing with the stewards – in which they sought a harsher penalty for Hamilton than the 10 seconds he received, after having been judged to have been ‘predominantly at fault’ in his and Verstappen’s Lap 1 coming together at Silverstone.
But speaking in Friday’s press conference at the Hungaroring, Horner attempted to draw a line under the matter.
“Obviously there is the right to review that we utilised because we felt that, having looked at the data from the accident and the severity of the accident… there was data that wasn’t available at the time of the stewards making their decision,” said Horner.
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“We presented that data to the stewards. They gave us a fair hearing yesterday where we were talked through that data, the positioning of the cars, the speed of the cars, the fact that Lewis would have had to have braked 23 metres earlier to have even made the corner, the fact that Max was on the same trajectory as identical to that of Charles Leclerc [in a separate overtake Hamilton completed], that the result with Charles would have been identical had Lewis taken the same approach.
“The stewards felt that it wasn’t new evidence under the confines of the regulations and so it wasn’t opened into another hearing, so we accept that. This competition is all about marginal gains and leaving no stone unturned. And of course, when you have an accident of that velocity and impact, then of course, you’re going to make a full investigation.
“But as far as we’re concerned the chapter is now closed, the stewards have made their ruling and we now very much focus on this weekend and the remaining part of the championship.”
In the immediate aftermath of the accident at Silverstone, Horner had accused Hamilton of ‘dirty driving’. But Horner denied that any comments that he or his fellow Red Bull team members had made subsequently had been personal towards the seven-time champion.
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“It’s absolutely not a personal attack on Lewis Hamilton,” said Horner. “Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion, and everything that he’s achieved stands for itself. If it was any other competitor on the grid, we would have taken the same issue in the manner that we did.
“Obviously at the time emotions are running high,” he added. “We’ve got a driver that’s needing to be taken to hospital for precautionary checks after an accident which would have definitely knocked out your average human being. We’ve lost a car in its entirety under a budget cap environment for something that the stewards didn’t deem to be Max’s fault.
“So there’s nothing personal about it. But even a seven-time world champion can sometimes make mistakes, or misjudgements. That’s just a fact of life, but at no point has this been personal about Lewis.”