Red Bull Formula 1 boss Christian Horner says he was surprised by what he perceived as a somewhat “antagonistic” statement by Mercedes following the hearing over a potential review into the Lewis Hamilton/Max Verstappen British Grand Prix clash.
Hamilton was strongly criticised by Verstappen and Horner himself after colliding with the Dutchman in the British GP, and Red Bull sought to have his penalty re-evaluated after Hamilton was sanctioned for the incident but still went on to win the race.
The stewards ruled against the reopening of the case ahead of the Hungarian GP, and Mercedes followed this decision with a statement alleging “a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton”.
Asked to respond to the statement on Friday, Horner said: “I think the statement by Mercedes is a little antagonistic, shall we say, but I don’t really read too much into it.
“It’s never been anything personal about a single driver, it’s about the events that happened, and a competition between two guys, it’s not individual to any driver.
“If that had been any other driver the reaction would have been identical so I was a little surprised by the Mercedes comments, but we’ve put that behind us and our focus is very much on track.”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the statement was his squad’s attempt to bring a little bit of respect back to the discussion” following what he described as “below the belt” comments and written statements from Red Bull.
Horner reiterated the team’s reasoning for petitioning for a review, but made it clear Red Bull believed it got “a fair hearing” and now saw the matter as resolved.
“We presented that data to the stewards. They gave us a fair hearing yesterday where we will talk through that data, the positioning of the cars, the speed of the cars,” he said.
“The fact that Lewis would have had to braked 23 metres earlier to have even made the corner. The fact that Max is on the same trajectory is identical to that of Charles Leclerc [later in the race], the result with Charles would have been identical had Lewis taken the same approach.
“So we presented that data, we feel that we had a fair hearing, the stewards felt that it wasn’t new evidence, under the confines of the regulations, and so it wasn’t opened into another hearing.
“We accept that. This competition is all about marginal gains, leaving no stone unturned and of course when you have an accident of that velocity and impact, 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.”