Former Formula 1 champion Damon Hill has advised current title contenders Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to cool things down after their battle reached boiling point in the British Grand Prix.
The pair collided on the first lap at Silverstone, with Verstappen suffering a hard impact when he went off at Copse. Hamilton was penalised for causing the collision but still won the race, with Red Bull subsequently lodging a protest.
Hill fears that the growing animosity between the two drivers could spill over and dominate the rest of the season, with possibly dangerous consequences for both men.
“They need to cool it a bit,” the 1996 champion told the F1 Nation podcast this week. “I think they were both going at it scarily aggressively in that race.
“It was all a bit risky really, and I think we were lucky we didn’t have an injury,” he added. “Max did take a hell of a whack.
“People in the crowd have got footage of Max flying towards them in the grandstands and that car was moving really fast.”
In Hill’s view, what happened on the opening lap of the race was the outcome of the build-up the previous day which saw F1’s first sprint qualifying race in which Hamilton started from pole but lost out to Verstappen at the start,
“It was a product of the previous race,” he said. “The sprint on the Saturday gave knowledge to Mercedes, that if Max got out in front you wouldn’t see him for dust. I think they knew they had to get ahead.
“It was a combination of factors that might have made Lewis a little more desperate and aggressive.
“And Max as well, because that opening half a lap was possibly the most exciting and daring and also slightly risky opening lap I’ve seen in I don’t know how long.”
In Hill’s opinion, the race was further evidence that we’re seeing a moment of generational change in the sport.
He said that the 35-year-old seven-time world champion Hamilton is on the cusp of being displaced by the 23-year-old pretender to the throne.
“The rivalry we are watching is the changing of the guard for the future of the sport,” Hill explained.
“We’re seeing a guy not letting go, not giving up on a world title because it’s the final cherry on the cake, and Max will try to stop that.
“That’s where we had Michael Schumacher coming up on the rails to Ayrton Senna in 1994,” Hill added.
“It’s fantastic if you can get to a place of dominance but there’s always someone new coming up.
“You know time is against you and the new era will be someone else,” he said. “And actually letting go of your position, your identity as the man, is quite difficult.”
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