Mercedes argue Red Bull were aware Max Verstappen was at fault for Lewis Hamilton crash
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Mercedes believe Red Bull had an inkling Max Verstappen was at fault for the Lewis Hamilton accident at the Italian Grand Prix, as they didn’t apportion blame immediately towards the seven-time world champion.
The pair tangled on lap 26 of the race in Monza as Hamilton was exiting the pits, coming out alongside Verstappen.
The Dutchman then hit the kerbs, propelling the Red Bull into the air and colliding into the Mercedes, landing awkwardly on top of the car and grazing Hamilton’s helmet.
Verstappen was handed a three-place grid penalty for being “predominantly to blame” for the incident, which saw both cars beached in the gravel, with the Red Bull mounted on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
In the aftermath, Christian Horner was on the fence as to who was at fault.
“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.
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“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.”
With both drivers scoring no points on Sunday, trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin felt Horner’s reaction was telling as to who was at fault for the incident.
“I mean, we obviously felt strongly that Lewis had done absolutely nothing wrong and that Max was the one predominantly to blame,” Shovlin said via The Race.
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“I think if you look at the fact even Helmut and Christian weren’t trying to blame Lewis, it sort of feels like they know Max was in the wrong, because they will try and blame Lewis at any opportunity.”
Verstappen still holds a five-point lead thanks to a second-place finish in the sprint race, with Hamilton scoring no points across the weekend.
However Shovlin believes without the accident, Hamilton would’ve had a good chance at the win.
“If you take the incident with Max, put it to one side, for Lewis it would’ve been a race against only Daniel,” he said. “And the issue in the sprint race [when Hamilton couldn’t pass Norris] was Lando had some tow from the car ahead.
“So really it would’ve been a question of whether Lewis could’ve got by Daniel.
“You know that kind of zone that Lewis goes into when there’s a win on the table and he can see it, but it would’ve been a good little battle in the end – but it would’ve needed that pass on track to turn it into a win.
“So you’ll always feel that three places [grid penalty] is relatively easy to overcome if you’ve got a competitive car.
“But that’s all in the past now, we need to make sure we put a good weekend together in Russia.”
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