Mercedes’ allegations of foul play by Ferrari expressed in the heat of the moment after Sunday’s British Grand Prix didn’t go down well with Scuderia boss Maurizio Arrivabene.
Kimi Raikkonen’s collision with Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone, two races after Sebastian Vettel punted Valtteri Bottas out of the French Grand Prix, led Mercedes technical director James Allison to say that the red cars’ actions must either be deliberate or the result of incompetence.
Vettel labeled the claims as “silly”, insisting incidents happen when the racing is so close. But Arrivabene was outright shocked by Allisons’s words, as conveyed by Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
“Who is incompetent? Kimi? Who is he to judge what the drivers are doing in the car?” the Scuderia boss told Sky Italia.
“If he really said something like that, he should be ashamed!
“Allison worked at Maranello for many years, but now we are here in England teaching him to be a gentleman.
“I accept it from [Sky Italia pundit] Jacques Villeneuve because he was a driver. But this guy?”
Red Bull’s Christian Horner says the rhetoric is a clear indication that tensions between the Mercedes and Ferrari are reaching a boiling point amid the teams’ fierce world championship battle.
“When you have that growing tension, speculation is unavoidable when these incidents occur,” he said.
“But I believe it’s nothing more than a racing incident. I would be surprised if there was anything else or if Kimi is that kind of driver.”
In the German camp, Valtteri Bottas who enjoyed a momentous scrap with Vettel in the closing stages of the race, also played down the incident and the accusations.
“We are always racing closely with Ferrari and there can always be contact,” he said.
However, Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda commented: “The accident was just unfair. It was the second time a Ferrari has hit us in the first corner. That’s not funny.”