F1 2021’s leading protagonists clashed at the high-speed Copse corner as Hamilton attempted to snatch the lead away from Verstappen on the opening lap of Sunday’s race at Silverstone.
Hamilton received a 10-second time penalty for the coming together which left Verstappen requiring a trip to hospital following a 51G impact with the barriers.
Speaking to Channel 4 from the pit wall directly after the incident, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner labelled Hamilton’s attempt to pass Verstappen as “desperate” and “dirty driving”.
“He failed to make the move in the first part of the lap, and then it was just a desperate move sticking a wheel up the inside which you just don’t do,” Horner said.
“Copse is one of the fastest corners in the world, you don’t stick a wheel up the inside. That’s just dirty driving.”
Speaking to media after the race, Wolff rejected Horner’s claim, insisting that the relatively few incidents Hamilton has been involved in throughout his career shows he is the opposite of a dirty driver.
“I mean everybody has an opinion, and that’s okay,” Wolff said of Horner’s comment.
“Of course, every team will have a certain bias towards incidents like that.
“When you hear the comments about his driving and the incident, Lewis is the contrary of someone that ever drives dirty,” he added.
“I think he’s a sportsman. We have not seen any big incidents with him and that’s why he keeps his demeanour. You saw that the incident wasn’t particularly bothering him.”
A furious Horner continued his criticism of Hamilton after the race.
Asked if he felt Hamilton had risked a life, Horner replied: “Of course you’re putting your fellow competitors safety at jeopardy.
“I think a move at that corner, every grand prix driver knows, is a massive massive risk. You don’t stick a wheel up the inside there without there being huge consequence.
“We’re lucky today, after a 51G accident, that there wasn’t someone seriously hurt, and that’s what I’m most angry about is just the lack of judgement and desperation in this move, that thankfully we got away with today.
“But had that been an awful lot worse, a 10-second penalty would have looked pretty menial.”