Christian Horner has predicted the second half of the F1 season will be “just as fruity” between Red Bull and Mercedes as the first.
So far there have been accusations from both sides over flexible front and rear wings, personal digs between Horner and Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff before the touch paper was lit with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s collision at the British Grand Prix.
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A petition to review Hamilton’s penalty for the incident was rejected, following which the FIA stewards’ report highlighted ‘allegations of concern’
Mercedes followed up by expressing its hope Red Bull senior management would curtail “a concerted attempt”
to “tarnish the good name and sporting integrity” of Hamilton, who had also suggested his respect towards Verstappen was not being “reciprocated”.
Asked by Sky Sports F1 if the respect was still there between the two parties, Horner replied: “Of course we are competitors.
“I have no issue with Toto. If he wants to come and talk things through, I have no issue with that.
“It is a competition and every department in our business is competing like for like against Mercedes, our drivers… throughout the whole team. We have seen the intensity of that competition so far this year.
“I am sure the second half is going to be just as fruity as the first half.”
Referring to the suggestions of his team trying to “tarnish” Hamilton’s name, Horner insisted there was no malicious attempt to do so and suggested the same treatment would have been given to any other driver.
“Its absolutely not a personal attack on Lewis Hamilton,” added Horner.
“Lewis Hamilton is a seven-time world champion and everything he has achieved stands for itself. If it was any other competitor on the grid we would have taken the same issue in the manner that we did.
“I think Im entitled to an opinion on that incident, as is everybody else. Obviously at the time emotions are running high.
“We had a driver that needed to be taken to hospital for precautionary checks after an accident which would have definitely knocked out your average human being.
“We lost a car, in its entirety, under a budget cap environment, for something that the stewards didnt deem to be Maxs fault.
“Theres nothing personal about it but even a seven-time world champion can sometimes make mistakes or misjudgements. Thats just a fact of life.
“So at no point has this been personal about Lewis and it would have been identical with any other driver and any other team on the grid.”

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