Silverstone – Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes boss Toto Wolff both suggested Sunday that Ferrari’s crashes with their team’s cars might be more than just unlucky “racing incidents.”
They were speaking after Kimi Raikkonen collided with pole sitter Hamilton on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.
That crash came only two weeks after Sebastian Vettel, who won Sunday’s race, drove into Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap of the French Grand Prix at the first corner.
Both incidents resulted in penalties for the Ferrari drivers involved, but those did not cancel out the advantage their team gained.
“A racing incident,” said Wolff, when asked by Sky television. “Unfortunate, because Le Castellet was the first time we got taken out and now it is the second time we got taken out.”
He then quoted his team’s Technical Director, James Allison, to suggest another explanation.
“It is a lot of constructors’ points. In James Allison’s words ‘do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?’ So, this leaves us with a judgement.”
Wolff’s comments came after Hamilton had pointed at Ferrari.
Hamilton drove a heroic race to finish second after an opening-lap collision with Raikkonen, who went on to finish third, had knocked him from pole position to last.
But the Mercedes driver struggled to hide his disappointment. He avoided a post-race interview and his body language as he kept away from Raikkonen in the pre-podium room and during the champagne spraying told its own story.
The Englishman clearly blamed the Finn, who was handed a 10-seconds penalty, for the crash and found it difficult to face Raikkonen or accept an apology.
“Interesting tactics, I would say, from their side, but we’ll do what we can to fight them,” said Hamilton, when he was, eventually, interviewed on the podium and after the two Ferrari men had departed.
The British driver was on pole on Sunday and made a poor start before his brush with Raikkonen who apologised and accepted the blame.
“He spun and it was my bad, but that is how it goes sometimes,” said Raikkonen. “It was not a straightforward race. It was my mistake so that was fine. That is how it goes. Without the mistakes and the penalty it would have been better, but I tried.”
Vettel now leads the title race with 171 points, eight ahead of Hamilton on 163 while Raikkonen is third on 116.
“Dead last to P2, that’s an awesome effort,” Mercedes told Hamilton. “We live to fight another day.”
“My team did an amazing job this weekend,” Hamilton said on the podium.
“This is the greatest race of the year and the greatest crowd,” he added. “I am sorry I could not bring it home for you today. I will not give up. Believe me, I will not give up.