Hamilton penalty harsh, says Mercedes chief

London: The penalty Lewis Hamilton received for his collision with Max Verstappen in the British Grand Prix was harsh, according to his Mercedes team.

James Allison, Mercedes chief technical officer, says Hamilton followed Formula 1’s overtaking rules in the incident.

There was no need for him to cede any ground so I did feel that it was harsh to get the penalty, said Allison.

As far as we are concerned, the manoeuvre Lewis did was absolutely in line with the FIA’s overtaking guide.

Hamilton was adjudged by race stewards to have been predominantly to blame for the incident at Copse corner, which resulted in Verstappen, 23, being taken to hospital after a 51G impact.

The seven-time world champion was given a 10-second penalty, which dropped him from second to fourth at his pit stop. Hamilton, 36, recovered to pass Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for victory with two laps to go and cut Verstappen’s championship lead to eight points.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner angrily said the move was never on, and called Hamilton’s passing attempt desperate, ill-judged and amateur.

But Allison said the FIA’s own guidelines for race stewards gave Hamilton the right to make the attempt and not give way to Verstappen.

In a video released by Mercedes reviewing the British Grand Prix weekend, he added: “If you are overtaking on the inside of the corner, then the guidance requires that you are substantially alongside as you arrive at the corner. It is not required that you are ahead.

Lewis was definitely substantially alongside. He had his front axle well beyond the midpoint of Verstappen’s car.

And it requires that you must be able to make the corner. By ‘make the corner’, it means go round the corner and not leave the track or lose control of the car.

‘If you can go round the corner, if you are substantially alongside the other car, then the corner is yours.’