Hamilton and Verstappen
Hamilton and Verstappen battled wheel-to-wheel from the start of the race

Max Verstappen has been taken to hospital for “precautionary tests” after suffering a big accident on the opening lap of the British Grand Prix.

Red Bull driver Verstappen, 23, collided with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton on the entry to the high-speed Copse corner and suffered what his team boss Christian Horner described as a “51G impact” with the barriers.

The race was red-flagged and Hamilton was later handed a 10-second time penalty by stewards over his role in the crash.

A Red Bull statement read: “Following a first-lap incident at Copse Corner between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the British Grand Prix, we can confirm that Max Verstappen walked away from his car and was immediately taken to the Silverstone Circuit Medical Centre.

“Following an assessment by the trackside doctors at Silverstone Circuit Medical Centre, Max Verstappen has been taken to a local hospital for further precautionary tests.”

Hamilton’s time penalty meant he faced a fight to claim victory in Verstappen’s absence, but roared on by his home crowd he reeled in Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to claim a dramatic win that reduces Verstappen’s championship lead to eight points.

Speaking after the race, F1’s medical rescue coordinator Dr Ian Roberts described Verstappen as “a little bit shaken”, adding the hospital visit was for a “routine check-up”.

“There is always a possibility of concussion so we have to try to exclude that. Even if it looks as though there isn’t, we keep that very much in mind,” he told Sky Sports. “[There are] no other injuries apparent at the moment.”

How did the crash happen and how did the teams react?

Verstappen’s collision with Hamilton was arguably the most spectacular moment of the 2021 season so far – and its most controversial.

Pole-sitter Verstappen had been battling with the seven-time world champion from the start, the pair running side-by-side before the Dutchman aggressively defended at Brooklands.

Hamilton then got the run up the inside as they approached the 190mph Copse corner, but Verstappen held his ground and his right rear wheel was tagged by Hamilton’s front left, sending him crashing heavily into the barriers and bringing out the red flag.

Hamilton was quickly on the radio to defend his actions, saying: “I was ahead going in there, man. Fully alongside, it was my line. He turned in on me, man… I’d given the guy space.”

Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows was also in damage-limitation mode, telling the race stewards that “Lewis was significantly alongside on the inside of Turn Nine”.

But over at Red Bull, perhaps unsurprisingly, the opposite point of view was angrily being made.

Team boss Horner called it a “hollow victory” and maintained Hamilton was “completely out of order to stick a wheel up the inside”.

He added on Channel 4: “Everyone who’s driven that corner knows you don’t stick a wheel up the inside at Copse. He’s put him in the fence. Thank God he’s not been hurt. It was a desperate move.

“You do not stick a wheel up at Copse, one of the fastest corners in the world. That’s just dirty driving.”

Speaking after the race, Horner said of Verstappen’s condition: “He was very heavily winded, but he was conscious throughout.

“It’s a precaution that he’s gone to the hospital. Thankfully he got out of the car unaided and thankfully he’s OK.”

Asked about the 10-second penalty handed to Hamilton, he replied: “Wasn’t much of a penalty really was it?”

What did Hamilton say?

Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, Hamilton said: “I just don’t feel like [Verstappen] needs to be as aggressive as he is.

“He was going wheel-to-wheel with me… it’s cool, there is a lot of F1 history at that corner. I’m sure it looks cool, but you need to give the space. It’s never just one person’s fault. It’s always a balance of the two.

“I didn’t know he was in hospital. It doesn’t change the win, this is racing. I would love to be able to race and for us to give each other space and for us to battle for a long time without colliding, but he was too aggressive and these things are bound to happen.

“There’s not a single person who doesn’t know how aggressive drivers can be. I hope he’s OK.

“This weekend we needed the points, there was a gap and I went for it.”

‘Definitely a racing incident’ – your views of first-lap crash

Mark Hempinstall: That was a racing incident. Hamilton should not have a penalty, Verstappen should have stayed wide, even if that meant slowing! It’s the only way we will stop the lack of overtaking.

Geoff Tunbridge: Regardless of who could have done differently, Red Bull need to stop moaning about an overtake attempt on a corner. Every corner is an overtaking point otherwise let’s drive only on ovals.

Adam Sewell: Surely if you’re on the inside of the corner & worried about the other guy turning in on you, then your natural reaction is to move away from them and tight towards the apex to avoid the crash? Lewis clearly chose not to and allowed himself to turn wider to force Max’s hand.

Adam Kitchiner: From some angles, looked like Hamilton straightened up to force Verstappen off.

Joe Baker: Racing incident for me, no fingers should be pointed (can already see people blaming Hamilton). Both drivers pushing hard at high speed with inches between them, always a risk things like this happen. Don’t always have to apportion blame.

Kris Jefferson: Hamilton gave Verstappen room earlier in the lap and avoided contact, Verstappen didn’t and paid for it.

Nathan Marzan: Its 50/50 whether Hamilton should get a penalty. But no mention at all of Verstappen’s driving up until that point which was questionable at best.

Andrew Priestley: If that was a conscious decision from the Mercedes pit wall to keep Lewis Hamilton out under the safety car with front wing damage, pre-empting the red flag, that’s superb race management. Keeping track position with the ability to repair the damage before the restart.

Manette: Max absolutely turns in on Lewis. Lewis clearly had the better start, even had coming out of Farm. Definitely a racing incident or if anything, Max’s fault.

Andy K: Hamilton needed to do something this weekend to close the gap on Verstappen..and he’s done just that. Wonder at what cost though.

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