Lewis Hamilton says he welcomes prospect of battle with Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton says he welcomes prospect of battle with Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton has said he welcomes the fight from a resurgent Red Bull and Max Verstappen after he and Mercedes were soundly beaten at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. Verstappen’s victory at Silverstone was a warning for Hamilton and Mercedes that they will not have everything their way his season.

After his second-place finish Hamilton confirmed he was excited by the prospect of a real championship battle. “It’s great, I want to have races where they are challenging. I am excited to watch this race,” he said. “Obviously the Red Bull seems to be quite close in race conditions to us and today it was stronger. It shows they don’t have as bad a package as perhaps people had thought.”

The world champion leads Verstappen by 30 points in the title race but insisted he was taking nothing for granted. “It will be interesting to see their progression through the rest of the year,” he added. “I don’t think it will be easy by any means.”

The controversy surrounding Racing Point also became more heated on Sunday. On Friday the team were found to have illegally copied parts of the Mercedes 2019 car and were given a fine and points deduction. They vehemently deny any wrongdoing but four other teams – Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Renault – are all angry that Racing Point can continue to race using their car without changes. They have appealed the decision, as have Racing Point. The team’s Lance Stroll and Nico Hülkenberg were sixth and seventh respectively in the race, comfortably the best of the midfield teams.

Before the race, the Racing Point team owner Lawrence Stroll, father of Lance, issued an angry denunciation condemning the decision and the actions of the other teams. “I do not often speak publicly, however I am extremely angry at any suggestion we have been underhand or have cheated, particularly those comments coming from our competitors,” he said. “I have never cheated at anything in my life. These accusations are completely unacceptable and not true.

“Beyond the clear fact that Racing Point complied with the technical regulations, I am appalled by the way Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams have taken this opportunity to appeal, and in doing so attempted to detract from our performances. They are dragging our name through the mud and I will not stand by nor accept this. I intend to take all necessary actions to prove our innocence.”