Max Verstappen’s crash with Lewis Hamilton may have been ‘calculated’ call

F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar

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Max Verstappen made a calculated move to take out Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix, according to former world champion Damon Hill. After Hamilton clipped Verstappen and sent the Red Bull crashing out of Silverstone, the Dutchman got some level of revenge last weekend.

The Brit came out the pits and took the inside line, forcing Verstappen wide as he refused to yield.

His Red Bull bounced aggressively off the kerb and landed on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes, with the seven-time world champion saved from serious injury by the halo.

The 36-year-old was left with a neck injury while Verstappen was awarded a three-place grid penalty ahead of next weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman was penalised as he was found ‘predominantly to blame’ for both cars retiring, and he preserved his five-point lead over Hamilton as a result of the incident.

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After watching multiple replays of the incident from multiple angles, 1996 F1 world champion Hill believes Verstappen may have made a tactical decision to instigate the collision.

“I have to say, looking at the re-run of Max on Lewis at turn one, there was no way he was going to make that work,” the former British driver told Sky Sports.

“He had to take evasive action as Lewis did in the second chicane previously to avoid an accident.

“So the only conclusion is he might have been thinking ‘I have to take him out’.

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“I don’t want to think that, I don’t want to think that of any driver but I think it was either an error of judgement or a calculated move to collide with Lewis which is strong stuff.

“I don’t like the idea I am accusing anyone of doing that deliberately but he has got a points advantage.

“This was a race Mercedes was supposed to win and it has all backfired and Max has come out still with his championship lead.”

Hill’s comments come after Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted he thought the move was a ’tactical foul’.

While he accepted Verstappen’s penalty, Red Bull boss Christian Horner was frustrated by the Austrian’s suggestion of foul play by the Red Bull driver.

Horner insisted he thought it was a racing incident and that his driver should have been given more space by Hamilton, but he admitted he was pleased to see nobody injured.

Formula 1 returns after a short break for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi on Sunday September 26.

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