Max Verstappen’s judgement brought into question after dramatic Lewis Hamilton crash
Former Formula One driver John Watson has question Max Verstappen’s racing judgement suggesting the Dutchman “tried to bully his way through” to get ahead of Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix.
The two title protagonists crashed in Italy as Hamilton found himself side by side with Verstappen as the Briton exited the pits on lap 26.
Hamilton took the inside line into Turn 1 to defend against the Dutchman, who bumped along kerbs and collided with the seven-time world champion, beaching both cars in the gravel.
Verstappen was subsequently hit with a three-place grid drop to be taken at the Russian Grand Prix, with Watson questioning the rationale behind the Dutchman’s thinking at that moment.
“It was an unviable place, or opportunity, to overtake,” five-time Grand Prix winner Watson told RacingNews365.com.
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“The reason why Verstappen did what he did was he knew that he needed to get ahead of Lewis at the earliest opportunity.
“If Lewis had exited the chicane ahead of Max, it would have been very hard for Max then to overtake him on pure pace.
“It was Lewis’ corner. There is no way you come in, go around the outside, and then expect the car that was ahead to just disappear. Lewis is not Houdini.
“He was physically there and there was no space.”
In the aftermath, Verstappen said Hamilton had “kept squeezing until there wasn’t room anymore” and that’s why the pair collided on track.
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“We were racing for position today but you need two people to work together to make the corner and Lewis just kept squeezing until there wasn’t room anymore for two cars and that’s when we crashed,” said Verstappen.
“When he exited the pits, he started to squeeze me going into Turn 1 so I had to use the green part of the track. It was very tight but there was room for me to go around the outside and then I was pushed onto the orange sausage kerb.
“I was there to try and race hard but fair. I don’t fully agree with the penalty as I believe it was a racing incident.
“It’s very unfortunate what happened today but we are both professionals and so we will move on.”
However, Watson added that he felt Verstappen had tried to “bully his way through” to get ahead.
“Max maybe lost his judgement, or his rationale, in what’s viable and what’s not viable,” added Watson.
“He ‘did a Max’, sticking his nose up and trying to bully his way through to get ahead of Lewis.
“It was poor judgement, based on frustration, and maybe anger, at what had taken place in the pit-stop.”
Verstappen still leads the way in the championship fight heading to Russia with a five-point lead over Hamilton.
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