Lewis Hamilton’s collision last Sunday at the British Grand Prix with Max Verstappen would have been punished more harshly if Bernie Ecclestone had been in charge.
The title rivals crashed into one another in the Copse Corner opening lap. Max Verstappen spun off the track and into the tire stack. Lewis Hamilton could continue. But, the English Mercedes driver was penalized by a 10-second time limit for being ‘primarily’ responsible for the accident. Hamilton won the race and reduced his deficit in the world championship despite that penalty.
Bernie Ecclestone, former Formula 1 boss, is currently in negotiations with the English SportsmailAlthough he is clear on the question of guilt, he believes that it would not have been asked before. “In the past we would have said it’s just one of those things, a racing incident. It was clear that everyone was just trying their best to win the championship.”
Ecclestone is aware that things have changed a bit in the modern world. “If the stewards had to get involved, they should have given Lewis more than 10 seconds. “It should have been 30 seconds,” stated the stubborn Englishman. “Lewis wasn’t leading when they collided. He wasn’t the one to blame. He was almost a full car length behind the vehicle. He hit him in the back, not the front.
“Ten seconds was not enough. Ecclestone states that the punishment was insufficient for the crime. “If you have to impose a sanction, which in some ways was not necessary at all, then this was not the right decision. It wasn’t enough.”
Hamilton is now the favourite
Despite Verstappen still leading the World Cup, his lead has dropped to eight points after Hamilton’s win. Ecclestone, who had said that Hamilton was done with just a few weeks back, believes the seven-time world champion is now feeling more positive. “Lewis has got his act together and I now think he is going to win the title. He had lost his edge before Sunday, but he did what he had to do.”
“He just signed a new two-year contract with Mercedes,” Ecclestone explains. “The reason he did that was because he thought he would need one more season to break Michael Schumacher’s record of seven world titles. However, I can assure you that this incident has restored his confidence in a way it hasn’t been all year. He is now more likely to succeed than ever. It has given him a boost and he is back to the old Lewis.”