Verstappen was marginally ahead as they approached the right-handed Copse but as the Dutchman turned in for the corner, Hamilton’s left-front tagged the right-rear of his Red Bull.
The force of the impact sent Verstappen spiralling out of control, backwards through the gravel, and into the barriers to an audible groan of concern among the largest gathering at a sporting event in the UK since the pandemic started.
Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase was straight on the radio, asking: “Max are you OK?” For eight seconds there was nothing. Then suddenly, the sound of a man wincing in pain following an impact which registered at 51G.
Verstappen managed to haul himself out of his written-off Red Bull machine before standing hunched over and then led away to an ambulance. There was relief among the fans and a round of applause as he managed to offer a wave.
The race was stopped and then the accusations began, chiefly from Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
In a heated radio message to FIA race director Michael Masi, Horner said: “In that corner, he was never anywhere near alongside.
“Every driver that has driven this circuit knows that you do not stick a wheel on the inside of Copse. That is an enormous accident.
“And it was 100 per cent Max’s corner. As far as I am concerned, the full blame is on Hamilton who should never have been in that position.
“You could have had a massive accident. Thank God he walked away unscathed, so I hope you are going to deal with it appropriately.”
Later, he added: “Thank God we have not had a driver seriously injured or worse here today.”