“Lewis did nothing wrong”, says Allison

Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison insists that Lewis Hamilton‘s move on Max Verstappen at Silverstone was within the rules, and that consequently the Briton’s 10s time penalty was harsh.

The veteran technical director is the latest to join the debate, and unsurprisingly he comes down in favour of his team’s driver.

“There was no need for him to cede any ground so I did feel that it was harsh to get the penalty,” says Allison in the latest video debrief from Mercedes. “As far as we are concerned, the manoeuvre Lewis did was absolutely in line with the FIA’s overtaking guide.”

Allison argues that the FIA’s own guidelines make clear Hamilton had the right to challenge Max Verstappen for the corner and not give way.

“If you are overtaking on the inside of the corner, then the guidance requires that you are substantially alongside as you arrive at the corner. It is not required that you are ahead,” says Allison.

“Lewis was definitely substantially alongside,” he continues. “He had his front axle well beyond the midpoint of Verstappen’s car. And it requires that you must be able to make the corner. By ‘make the corner’, it means go round the corner and not leave the track or lose control of the car. If you can go round the corner, if you are substantially alongside the other car, then the corner is yours.

“What that means is not that you have to emerge in the lead,” he adds, “it means that you do not have to cede your position, you do not have to back off and the other car has a duty to avoid hitting you.

“So, if you follow the notes that are provided to the FIA stewards and you look frame by frame at what happened with Lewis, he was substantially alongside, he absolutely would have made the corner and indeed did make the corner and therefore there was no need for him to cede any ground.”

Insisting that the speed involved at Copse, which is taken at around 190 mph, “makes no difference”, Allison argues: “Lewis made two further overtakes at Copse using exactly the same guidance and there wasn’t a contact in either of those cases.”

Referring to the stewards ruling that Hamilton “did not reach the apex of the corner, with room available to the inside” and “did not avoid contact”, Allison says: “I can understand people, who maybe don’t understand there is no obligation on you to hit the apex of the corner, that you don’t have to have your whole car in front of the other car.

“I can understand that, if you are seeing it from that perspective, you might think that the car coming from behind has some sort of obligation to make sure that no crashes take place. But if you look at the stewarding document then I think that Lewis did nothing wrong.”


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