Lewis Hamilton’s controversial first-lap move on world championship rival Max Verstappen at the British Grand Prix was “absolutely in line with the overtaking guide”, his Mercedes team insisted Wednesday.
Verstappen accused seven-time world champion Hamilton of being “dangerous, disrespectful and unsportsmanlike” following their collision at Silverstone on Sunday.
Red Bull’s Verstappen had to retire from the race while Hamilton went on to win, slashing the Dutchman’s lead in the championship from 33 points to just eight.
“As far as we are concerned, the manoeuvre that took place, the manoeuvre that Lewis did, was absolutely in line with the FIA’s overtaking guide,” said Mercedes technical chief James Allison.
Hamilton was penalised 10 seconds for the incident.
“Lewis definitely was substantially alongside. He had his front axle well beyond the midpoint of Verstappen’s car,” added Allison.
“It requires you are substantially alongside 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. Those are the things you need to satisfy.
“If you can go round the corner, if you are substantially alongside the other car then the corner is yours.”
He added: “I did feel that it was harsh to get the penalty.
“This is about what are the rules to do with overtaking and I didn’t see that Lewis did anything wrong with respect to those rules.”