Max Verstappen explains why he didn’t check in on Lewis Hamilton after Italian GP crash
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Max Verstappen has defended his decision not to check on Lewis Hamilton after their dramatic crash at the Italian Grand Prix. The championship protagonists tangled as Hamilton exited the pits on lap 26 and took the inside line into Turn 1 to defend against Verstappen, who bumped along kerbs and collided with the seven-time world champion.
The pair ended up beached in the gravel and the Red Bull was planted on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes, with Verstappen subsequently handed a three-place grid drop for the Russian Grand Prix, with eight races left of the season.
Both drivers were able to get out of their cars but Verstappen headed straight back to the pits without checking to see if his title rival was okay.
Hamilton himself said he was “surprised” by the 23-year-old’s actions yet Verstappen has come out to explain why he walked away.
“No, Lewis was fine,” Verstappen said on Sunday night when asked if he could have done more after the crash.
“He was still trying to reverse when I was already out of the car, so when you’re not fine, you are not doing that.”
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Despite being summoned to the stewards, Verstappen appeared calm after the clash when spoken to by media, before they decided to penalise him.
And the Dutchman concluded that “there are a lot of reasons and a lot of things to analyse as well”.
He said: “I’m disappointed. I was hoping for a very good result. But we move on.”
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 about the collision before the verdict was announced, Wolff said: “The stewards are going to decide who is to blame, who is predominantly to blame. I guess we’ve seen that in the past.
“But I would say it was, in football, they call it a tactical foul. He probably knew that if Lewis stays ahead, that is the race win possibly.”
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But Red Bull boss Christian Horner was disappointed by Wolff’s comments, and believed Verstappen deserved more respect from Hamilton at that point.
“I think he earnt enough to be given a bit more space to work with on the left there, so you can probably argue it from both sides so I think if you take a middle ground on it you’d say it was a racing incident,” began Horner, speaking to Sky Sports.
“But I genuinely think that you could argue that Max should’ve bailed a bit more on the left, you can argue that Lewis should’ve given him more space.
“To apportion blame to one side or the other, I think in that incident very difficult to do.
“It was a very different incident to Silverstone, as I say, he earned the right to have a bit more space into turn two.
“Contacts happen, I’m disappointed Toto would say it’s a professional foul, but I think it’s a racing incident and thankfully no one was injured today.”
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