F1 drivers' chief Alex Wurz on the respect between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen
Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman Alex Wurz on the high level of respect between F1's duelling title rivals and why he felt their Silverstone collision was a "racing incident"
Last Updated: 29/07/21 10:00am
The chairman of Formula 1's drivers' association, Alex Wurz, says "tremendous respect" exists between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen despite their tense championship battle.
Wurz, meanwhile, felt the collision between them on the opening lap of the British GP was a "racing incident" with neither driver clearly to blame.
"They have real tremendous respect from each other," said Wurz, the chairman of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, to Sky Sports News.
"I've been in meetings with both of them. I respect them dearly. Sensational drivers, we are witnessing some of the best drivers in motorsport history fighting it out.
"But, of course, the pressure will get to their team bosses, to their managers, to themselves, and therefore there will be or might be some interviews, some exchanges in words, gestures, or whatever which come from the emotion.
"But the bottom line is I guarantee you that each and every racing driver respects the other one, and especially if they are as talented as Max and Lewis."
Stewards found Hamilton to have been 'predominantly' at fault for the collision at Silverstone and imposed a 10-second penalty on him. But whereas Mercedes felt Hamilton had done nothing wrong, Red Bull argued strongly that the world champion should have been given a harsher penalty.
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Red Bull have since activated their right of a review into the incident and both teams will meet with stewards via video link on Thursday. Red Bull have to present a "significant and relevant new element" of evidence for stewards to consider re-opening the matter.
The incident and penalty imposed has continued to stoke debate in the sport around wheel-to-wheel combat and penalties.
Asked if the rules on overtaking were clear enough in general, Wurz felt "that's a really difficult one because there is just an infinity amount of possibilities" to consider but believes the stewarding process "works reasonably well and it's getting more and more consistent".
"The GPDA are sitting down with the FIA and running through many situations, accidents and incidents and helping to have a joint understanding of what is acceptable and not acceptable," added Wurz.
"But, of course, there is the 'racing incident' and in my opinion this is what happened in Silverstone. These two drivers were racing hard, and they had contact and, in my opinion, it was a racing incident.
"There is always a spectrum of percentage who is more at fault or less at fault, but bottom line is it's not very clear and therefore it's a racing incident."
Wurz added: "If it is in this grey line territory that's where I personally think the description racing incident is the best one to use."
The Austrian said the GPDA was working with the FIA to ensure penalties became as consistent as possible.
"We do talk amongst the drivers and there is a little bit of room for improvement to make it more consistent between the different stewards and between situations. But, honestly when you then start looking in detail of situations, many times they look and appear the same but they are different," Wurz said.
"Can there be more consistency? Yes. This is what we are really working on with the FIA and we are saluting their effort to have multiple meetings between all the stewards to come together, to look at the incidents, and then give a judgement between themselves and try to improve the collective output.
"Will it always be a million per cent fair? No, we are not there yet, but of course the aim is to be as fair as possible."