Crashes, controversy, conspiracy; good versus evil at 200mph. The British Grand Prix served up a tribal classic in the pitiless heat of Silverstone, the winners, away team Ferrari, accused of foul play; the losers, home team Mercedes, making a defeat a matter of virtue.
Mercedes team-principal Toto Wolff hardened the response into quasi-accusation. “Le Castellet (French GP) was the first time we got taken out and this is the second. It’s a lot of constructor points. To put it in James Allison’s (Mercedes technical chief) words, this is either deliberate or incompetence.”
All of which sounded like anguished moans of the vanquished to Sebastian Vettel, who with victory extended his championship lead to eight points. “It’s silly to think that anything happened was deliberate. I don’t think there was an intention and l think it’s unnecessary to even go there.” Kimi Raikkonen, who finished third, accepted his guilt and felt the penalty, a ten-second stop-go, was an appropriate sanction. “My bad, but that’s how it goes sometimes. It was my mistake, so that’s fine. I deserve it, I took the 10 seconds and got fighting.”
Despite the fact that he initially questioned Ferrari’s racing tactics during the British Grand Prix as ‘deliberate or incompetence’, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff later admitted that his comments were inappropriate, as reported by Eleven Sports and Patryk Mirosławski: “My statement about possibly deliberate act of Ferrari at the start of the race was stupid” – Eleven Sports quoted the executive director of Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team.