Mercedes accuse Red Bull of attempt to 'tarnish good name, integrity of Hamilton'

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Max Verstappen (front) leading Lewis Hamilton
Max Verstappen (front) leading Lewis Hamilton

Mercedes ramped up the war of words with Formula One rivals Red Bull on Thursday by accusing them of attempting to "tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton".

The accusation came after Red Bull failed to win a review into the 10-second penalty handed to Hamilton for the world champion's controversial collision with Red Bull driver Max Verstappen at the recent British Grand Prix.

"In addition to bringing this incident to a close we hope this decision will mark the end of a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton," said a Mercedes statement.

Red Bull had claimed that the penalty was "insufficient" and sought a review of the decision.

The first lap crash at Silverstone ended Verstappen's race and left the Dutchman in hospital.

Hamilton went on to win and slash Verstappen's championship lead to just eight points ahead of this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix.

While Hamilton celebrated in front of 140,000 fans at Silverstone, Verstappen ended up in hospital.

Verstappen blasted the seven-times world champion for being "disrespectful and unsportsmanlike" for celebrating while he required medical treatment.

Red Bull team chief Christian Horner said it was a "hollow victory" for Hamilton, claiming the manoeuvre was "dangerous and desperate".

On Thursday, however, governing body the FIA said that Red Bull had not provided any "new, significant and relevant elements" likely to justify a review of the decision taken during the race.

Earlier Thursday, Hamilton told a news conference ahead of Sunday's race in Hungary he would have no hesitation in repeating the move on Verstappen.

"In terms of the move, I'd do it again exactly as I've done it in the past," said Hamilton who can claim his 100th career win at the Hungaroring.

"I think, growing up, wheel-to-wheel racing was always the best, from karting. The most exciting part of motor sport is when you see close racing," he added.

Verstappen remained unhappy with Hamilton despite clearing the air with the Briton during a phone call following their spectacular crash.

The Red Bull driver declined to go into any details, adding instead he was more upset by the defending champion's post-race celebrations.

"One guy is in hospital, the other guy is waving the flag around like nothing has happened while you pushed the guy into the wall with 51Gs," he said.

"And not only that, just the whole reaction of the team. That's not how you celebrate a win. Especially a win -- how they got it.

"That's what I found really disrespectful. In a way, it shows how they really are. It comes out after a pressure situation. I wouldn't want to be seen like that."

But Hamilton hit back at the same news conference.

"I don't believe our behaviour was disrespectful," he said.

"It's one thing knowing and then celebrating what happened and there's one thing not knowing and celebrating. Obviously I wasn't aware," Hamilton, 36, said.

"It was my home Grand Prix and we worked incredibly hard for who knows how long to get a result like that.

"Emotions were running high. It wasn't an intentional celebration it was just the joy of seeing so many people and so many people celebrating, being together and that's the natural emotion. I'm not going to hide my emotions. It was an amazing feeling," he added.

Verstappen distanced himself from claims of "dirty driving" made by Horner.

"That's the first time I heard it like that. No, I think he just misjudged the moment in that corner."

However, he still insisted the 10-second penalty was too lenient.

"I don't think the penalty was correct because basically you take out your main rival and, especially with the speed we have in our cars, we are miles ahead of, let's say, the third-best team," added Verstappen.

"We are easily 40, 50 seconds ahead in normal conditions. So, a 10 second penalty doesn't do anything so definitely that penalty should have been more severe."

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