Mercedes hints that incidents are deliberate


Weeks after the first lap clash which saw Sebastian Vettel hit Valtteri Bottas in the first corner of the French Grand Prix, thereby compromising both their races, a fresh incident at Silverstone has caused Mercedes to question whether it is "deliberate or incompetence" on the part of the Ferrari drivers.

At the third corner today, as they battled for third, Lewis Hamilton having made a poor start and lost out to Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen tagged the Briton's right-rear sending him into a spin.

Dropping to last position the world champion subsequently battled his way back to second, entertaining the crowds with a thrilling dice with the Ferrari pair in the final laps of the race.

Missing the trackside interviews at the end of the race, when subsequently interviewed on the podium, Hamilton hinted at his suspicions.

"The team did an amazing job this weekend," he said, "and we've got so much support. There's so much pressure obviously for us all.

"Interesting tactics, I would say, from their side" he added, "but we'll do what we can to fight them and improve in the next races."

Subsequently asked to expand on his comment, Hamilton said: "All I'd say is that it's now two races that the Ferraris have taken out one of the Mercedes, and a five-second penalty and a ten-second penalty doesn't appear to feel... ultimately it spoils the race.

"It's a lot of points that ultimately Valtteri and I have lost in those two scenarios," he continued. "And, of course, it is a race situation. I couldn't see behind me but we've just to work hard to try to position ourselves better so that we are not exposed to the red cars - because who knows when that's going to happen again.

"We've got to make sure that we work hard together as a team to try to lock-out the front row and make sure that we're fully ahead of these guys."

In a subsequent interview with Sky Sports, team boss Toto Wolff, looking equally disheartened, said: "First time we get taken out, now today is the second time we get taken out, that a lot of constructor points.

"In James Allison's words," he continued, referring to the team's technical director, "'do you think it's deliberate or incompetence', so this leaves us with a judgement."

Referring to Hamilton's performance, the Austrian said: "P2 was maximum damage limitation we could have achieved, a fantastic drive."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Silverstone, here.

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Published: 08/07/2018
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