LEWIS HAMILTON was branded a 'dirty driver' after he sent rival Max Verstappen crashing out of the British Grand Prix at 180mph after a titanic first-lap battle.
The Brit, who was hit with a 10 second time penalty for the incident, got the jump on his title rival at the line but was fought off TWICE in his hunt for the lead.
But, heading into Silverstone's notorious high-speed Copse Corner, Hamilton darted down the inside and pulled up alongside Verstappen.
The Dutchman squeezed Hamilton, making contact and hurtling across the gravel into the tyre barrier.
Medics checked on Verstappen who gingerly exited the car but thankfully appeared to be unhurt.
Hamilton reported damage having lost the lead to Charles Leclerc, and returned to the pits once the race was red flagged.
He said on the team radio: “He turned in on me man. I gave that guy space.”
The collision is believed to have occurred with the pair both at 180mph.
Fuming Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Channel 4 that Hamilton was ‘completely out of order to stick a wheel up the inside’.
He added: “Everyone who's driven that corner knows you don't stick a wheel up the inside at Copse.
“He's put him in the fence. Thank god he's not been hurt. It was a desperate move.
“You do not stick a wheel up at Copse, one of the fastest corners in the world. That's just dirty driving.
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“It's now with stewards and we hope they deal with it appropriately.”
With the cars back in the pits while the ruined Red Bull motor of Verstappen was cleared, the Merc team worked tirelessly to try to fix Hamilton's car.
A lengthy delay ensued as the wrecked remains of Verstappen's car were lifted away by a crane and the debris was removed from the track before the action got back underway.
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