Christian Horner believes Lewis Hamilton should apologise to Alex Albon for a collision that shattered the Red Bull driver’s hopes of winning the Austrian Grand Prix.
Albon looked to be about to pass Hamilton at turn four with 11 laps remaining of the season-opening race on Sunday until he spun out after they touched wheels.
The Thai driver would have moved up to second behind Valtteri Bottas on soft tyres, giving him a great chance to claim a maiden victory with the Mercedes duo under orders to avoid the kerbs due to gearbox sensor issues.
Hamilton was demoted to fourth place after being given a five-second penalty for that incident, with Bottas taking victory and Red Bull without a point as Max Verstappen retired.
Albon was denied a first podium finish due to a collision with Hamilton in Brazil last year and, although he said both drivers were at fault on that occasion, he pointed the finger at the Brit at the Red Bull Ring.
Red Bull team principal Horner also laid the blame firmly at the door of the six-time Formula One world champion, who felt it was a “racing incident”.
Horner told Sky Sports: “It’s been one of those days. Alex drove a great race, he didn’t deserve that. Five seconds doesn’t do anything for him.
“He could’ve won that race. We strategically made the right call, going onto the soft tyres. He was in a strong position. We’ll be back in a week’s time and trying to rectify it.”
He added: “You’d start to think he’s got something in for him. There’s a very similar incident the other way round, [where] Alex squeezed him but gave him enough room at the start of the race.”
Horner did not feel Albon paid the price for not being patient enough.
He said: “You can say that, but he got the job done, the pass was made, it wasn’t like it was on the entry. What overtake is safe at the end of the day? I doubt Lewis was ever going to wave him past.
“We had to use that grip advantage and the grip is in the corners. He’d done that. It was just a misjudgement by Lewis at the end of the day. It’d be good if he apologised for it.”
Horner said coming away from Spielberg without a point was hard to take.
“Coming out with zero points, having been in a position to challenge for victory with both Max early on, because again we got the tyre call right there and I think he’d have had a really competitive afternoon, then with Alex, in what is going to a shortened season feels pretty brutal.”