Mercedes and Red Bull’s rivalry has intensified this season as the battle for both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ championships remains tantalisingly close. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen leads the Drivers’ standings following his victory in his home Dutch Grand Prix last weekend, but he is only three points ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes have the slight upper hand in the Constructors’ however – they lead Red Bull in second by 12 points overall.
The constant position swapping in the standings between the two drivers has made for a great season, but has also seen a few choice words exchanged.
This peaked at Silverstone in July, when Hamilton collided with Verstappen, sending the Dutchman into the wall before going on to win the race.
Following the race, the Red Bull man accused his Mercedes counterpart of being “disrespectful’ with his celebrations.
Red Bull Team Principal, Christian Horner accused Hamilton of endangering Verstappen’s life in the 180mph collision.
But Lord Peter Hain, Vice-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Formula One and Labour peer, has told Express.co.uk that Horner will regret these comments.
He said: “I think Christian will regret what we said, he hasn’t repeated it, and let’s hope it is never repeated, because it was a racing incident and Mx takes no prisoners on the racing circuit.
“Competitive rivalry is good for the sport. It is also good for us fans, but it must never get bitter and out of order as I think happened with those comments from Christian Horner.”
Hamilton received racist abuse during and after the Silverstone race, and Lord Hain said at the time Horner’s comments had given “racists an excuse to let fly their vitriol and evil”.
He did also add: “I am not suggesting for one moment that Christian Horner was implying anything racist in what he said. He was talking in pure racing terms and not racist terms and that is obvious.”
When speaking to Express.co.uk, Lord Hain praised Formula One for its campaigning against discrimination but condemned those who unleash “nasty” abuse.
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He continued: “Formula 1 has really stepped up to the mark on racism over the last 18 months, and that is to its credit, taking the knee on the grid and being very clear they stand against racism.
“Lewis is the best driver of his generation by far, probably the best ever, he is entitled to e judged that way regardless of his skin colour.
“But he gets a torrent of abuse because there are some very nasty racist b******* out there.
“That doesn’t mean to say Lewis should be treated with kid gloves. If he makes a mistake he should be criticised, but the truth is he is going to get racist abuse and everybody needs to make sure they are on the right side and not the wrong side.”
Hamilton responded himself to Horner’s claims, saying he will continue to race “hard but fairly”.
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In a tweet, he said: “Today is a reminder of the dangers in this sport. I send my best wishes to Max who is an incredible competitor. I’m glad to hear he is OK.
“I will always race hard but always fairly. My team showed grit and perseverance out there. It’s a dream to win in front of my home crowd.”
He also dismissed Horner’s criticism, saying: “I don’t really have anything to say to Christian. The win doesn’t feel hollow.
“I don’t think I am in a position to have to apologise for anything. We are out there racing.
“I don’t agree with the stewards but I take my penalty on the chin and get on with my job. I am not going to whine about it.”