Although he believes it was a racing incident, Bernie Ecclestone says the stewards were lenient in handing Lewis Hamilton a 10s time penalty.
Over the many years he has been involved in the sport, Bernie Ecclestone has witnessed more than his fair share of controversy.
However, while fans of a certain vintage will recall incidents far more controversial – and ultimately tragic – than Sunday’s first lap clash, 24-hour rolling news and social media tend to shine the spotlight of attention far more intensely these days.
Asked about Sunday’s clash, former F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone believes it was a racing incident. However, in deciding to investigate and apportion blame he believes the stewards should have punished Lewis Hamilton harder than a 10s time penalty.
“In the old days we would have said it was one of those things, a racing incident,” he tells the Daily Mail. “It was clear that both were doing their best to win the championship.
“If you have to give a sanction, which in some ways they didn’t need to, this was not the right decision,” he adds, “it wasn’t enough.
“If the stewards needed to get involved then they should have given Lewis more than a 10-second penalty… it should have been 30 seconds.
“Lewis was not in front at the point they collided. It wasn’t his corner,” he insists. “He was almost a car’s length behind. That’s why he hit him at the back not the front.
“Ten seconds was not right. The punishment did not fit the crime.”