The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team released a statement on Thursday after the relevant FIA authorities threw out Red Bull’s right to review the case in an attempt to get Lewis Hamilton a harsher punishment for his and Max Verstappen’s incident in the first lap of the British Grand Prix that led the Dutch driver to suffer a 51G impact.
Mercedes’ team principal, Toto Wolff, says the team hopes that the ruling would bring “this incident to a close” and “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”.
Wolff states that the reason the team decided to release a statement was to “bring respect” back after what he felt like a “below the belt” move by Red Bull Racing.
He said: "I think we wanted to bring a little bit of respect back to the discussion. We understand that emotions can run high and that is always a matter of perspective and perception. But we felt that that line was overstepped.”
Following the free practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix this Friday, in which Verstappen finished above both Mercedes drivers, Wolff said he spoke to Christian Horner, RBR team principal, for the first time since Silverstone’s incident.
He later added that statements said to the media had become “heated” and “very emotional” in the aftermath of the collision, and that it was time to “de-escalate” the row in an attempt to diffuse the polarization that followed on social media and racist abuse directed towards Lewis Hamilton.
"I think the remarks that were made during and after the Silverstone Grand Prix were just elaborated further in the [Red Bull] document [submitted to the FIA].
“[The comments were] not always looking at the incident only, but giving it a wider taste. That was beyond other things, just a step too far.” Toto said.
“I think the things that were said and written were very emotional and heated. Everybody does other things in the way they want and can.”
“I don't want to ignite even more the fuel, the fire, and the controversy. What we need to do as a sports teams is to de-escalate and not create more polarisation in the social media.”
Mercedes’ team principal added that it was now time to decide if apologies were due after Red Bull’s comments that were “overstepping” a line, but that neither he nor Hamilton were going to “demand” anything from Red Bull.
He said: “I think everybody needs to decide whether they want to apologise or not.
“We felt that the comments that were made during and after the race and then in written statements, and in the meeting itself, were below the belt.
“But it's not up to me, nor would Lewis want to demand any apologies.”