Lewis Hamilton reveals the Queen told him off at the Royal lunch
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An incident involving Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen last season reportedly landed Red Bull with a hefty £1.6million bill, which naturally contributed to their ‘minor’ budget cap breach. Christian Horner and co are still waiting to discover their punishment after the FIA released their verdict earlier this week.
Speculation has circulated on how Red Bull managed to exceed the £114m spending cap imposed by the FIA last season. They were found to be in ‘minor’ breach of the limit, which could mean anything up to £5.7m.
Reports put their overspend at just under the £2m mark and Hamilton’s crash with Verstappen at Silverstone in 2021 certainly won’t have helped Red Bull’s efforts to stay under the permitted amount.
In a frantic opening lap, the Brit sparked fury in the Red Bull camp by trying an audacious move up the inside of Verstappen at Copse Corner, only to make contact with the Dutchman and send him flying into the barriers at high speed.
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He was sent to hospital for precautionary checks as Hamilton was handed a time penalty for his role in the collision, but the Mercedes ace went on to win the race anyway and close the gap on his rival, who started the race as the clear Championship leader.
According to Crash.net, the Red Bull write-off would have cost the team in the region of £1.6m. Reports suggest that Red Bull’s alleged breach is also due to differences of interpretation regarding sick pay and catering.
The fact that Red Bull’s breach wasn’t in the ‘material’ category means that a points deduction on Verstappen’s 2021 world title win is highly unlikely. Instead, the team could be slapped with a hefty fine but others have called for the FIA to crack down hard and set a powerful precedent that deters other teams from knowingly overspending and accepting the cost.
Hamilton himself is among those to have urged the FIA to take decisive action, insisting that if Mercedes had matched Red Bull’s spend last season, it would have been the difference between him winning and losing a record-breaking eighth Drivers’ Championship.
“What I can say is I remember last year in Silverstone we had our last upgrade and fortunately it was great and we could fight with it,” Hamilton told Sky Sports. “But then we would see Red Bull every weekend or every other weekend bringing upgrades. They had, I think, at least four more upgrades from that point.
“If we spent £300,000 on a new floor, or adapted a wing, it would have changed the outcome of the championship naturally because we would have been in better competition in the next race if you add it on. So, I hope that that’s not the case. I do believe Mohammed [Ben Sulayem, FIA president] and the FIA will do what is right with whatever they find out.”
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