While Lewis Hamilton backtracked on his criticism of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen on Monday, the Italian team’s chief Maurizio Arrivabene launched a scathing attack on the Mercedes team.
Hamilton said he had accepted the Finn’s apology for driving into him in Sunday’s British Grand Prix and learned from his own “dumb” reaction to the incident.
As Arrivabene raged at Mercedes’ ungentlemanly behaviour and post-race suggestions of deliberate underhand tactics, Hamilton said Sunday’s collision was “a racing incident and nothing more.”
The collision on the opening lap was the second in three races in which a Ferrari had hit a Mercedes, which led to several at Mercedes to question the Italian team’s tactics.
“Kimi said sorry and I accept it and we move on,” Hamilton wrote on Instagram. “It was a racing incident and nothing more. Sometimes we say dumb shit and we learn from it.”
Hamilton started the race from pole position, but after a bad start and the collision with Raikkonen fell to 19th, and last, before recovering to finish second behind title rival Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
In France, two weeks earlier, Vettel drove into Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes on the opening lap. In both cases, the stewards penalised the Ferrari drivers for the incidents.
On Sunday, Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff said: “In James Allison’s words ‘do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?’ so this leaves us with a judgement.”
Arrivabene was livid as he responded on Monday.
“I came here to clarify, if he actually said something like that,” said Arrivabene, speaking to Sky Italia about Allison, who left Ferrari in mid-2016 and joined Mercedes in 2017.
“I mean, he should be ashamed of himself, because he worked many years in Maranello, he took quite a bit of money from Maranello, as well...
“Today, he’s doing his job. You have to be elegant and know how to lose. We are here in England. Sometimes, they want to teach us how to be gentlemen. He should start first.
“Really, this annoyed me so much. Also incompetent...Who? Kimi? Who’s he to judge what a driver is doing in the car?
“I can accept it from Jacques [Villeneuve, Sky Italia pundit] because he’s been a driver, but that person? No.”
Arrivabene suggested Allison should not blame others for his team’s disappointment in front of a raucous 140,000 crowd.
“First of all, he should look at the telemetry and understand that his driver, unfortunately for himself, had a bad start...
“So, having a bad start, he immediately lost two positions. Kimi had a good start. We have the telemetry data, so he found himself immediately on top of Hamilton...
“And I want to remind everyone that, in China, we had a situation between Vettel and Verstappen and nobody said anything. All fine!
“But, I mean... I want to give them a message – it’s been a beautiful battle, a battle that I think the audience appreciated.
“There will be other battles, where most likely Mercedes will win, but this is a lesson for us to stay classy – a thing that they haven’t done today.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton who missed a chance of a sixth straight victory in his home race sent a message to his fans.
“Thank you for loving me for being me with all my flaws. I know I’m not perfect,” he wrote.
“Accepting who you are, and loving yourself, are so important. Go be great today and be you and give zero fcks to what anybody thinks.”