Labour Peer Lord Peter Hain has criticised Christian Horner’s comments at last year’s British Grand Prix, indicating that he lost respect for his compatriot.
Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen came to blows in Silverstone last summer when they made contact at Copse corner on the opening lap of the race, resulting in a 10-second penalty for the seven-time champion after the Dutchman was sent into the barrier in a 51G crash.
The 37-year-old went on to win the race and, with emotions more elevated than they had been all season up to that point, Horner implied that Hamilton consciously took the Red Bull driver out of the race.
“He knew had Max come through that corner, he might not have seen him again for the afternoon,” he said.
“For me, it was a desperate move that thankfully didn’t have worse consequences than a written-off car and a bruised and battered driver.
“That move was never on. Lewis is a world champion of seven titles. That was an amateur’s mistake and a desperate mistake.
“I don’t care what Lewis said. Have a look at your own analysis, draw your own comparisons. For me, that’s a hollow victory.”
Lord Hain has been previously outspoken on the controversial end to last season when Verstappen snatched the crown on the final lap due to a bizarre Safety Car restart by then-race director Michael Masi.
Reflecting on Horner’s comments last season at Silverstone, he was disappointed not to hear an apology for them.
“I used to have a lot of respect for Christian, who is obviously a top Formula 1 leader,” he said.
“But I thought he was totally out of order at Silverstone and he never repeated that, I think he probably realised.
“I think he would have gained more respect if he apologised, but he never did. We don’t want to see anything like that ever again.”
Since the Dutchman’s title success, Horner has claimed that financial interest in the pinnacle of motorsport has never been higher, but the 72-year-old reckons that the Red Bull boss tarnished the sport’s image in July.
“I think that damaged him and Red Bull, and it didn’t do Formula 1 any good either,” he stated.
“Competitive tension and rivalry is the meat and drink of Formula 1.”
Hamilton went on to win the race in Silverstone after the clash, and his celebrations with Mercedes afterwards riled Verstappen, who accused his rival of disrespect.
“Glad I’m ok. Very disappointed with being taken out like this. The penalty given does not help us and doesn’t do justice to the dangerous move Lewis made on track,” Verstappen tweeted.
“Watching the celebrations while still in hospital is disrespectful and unsportsmanlike behavior but we move on.”
The Mercedes driver himself then took to Twitter to express his sympathy for Verstappen, but maintained that he was firm but fair on the opening lap.
“Today is a reminder of the dangers in this sport. I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor. I’m glad to hear he is OK,” he said.
“I will always race hard but always fairly. My team showed grit and perseverance out there. It’s a dream to win in front of my home crowd.”
Regarding Horner’s comments, he insisted that his victory was legitimate, and emphasised that he did not feel the penalty handed to him was just.
“I don’t really have anything to say to Christian. The win doesn’t feel hollow,” he added.
“I don’t think I am in a position to have to apologise for anything. We are out there racing.
“I don’t agree with the stewards but I take my penalty on the chin and get on with my job. I am not going to whine about it.”
Since last year’s multiple controversies, the FIA have put the end of the championship down to a “misunderstanding” and replaced Masi with a combination of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.