F1

Hamilton: Verstappen could have avoided crash

Lewis Hamilton said Max Verstappen could have avoided the collision that took them both out of the Italian Grand Prix.

On Lap 27, Hamilton exited the pits and had the inside line to defend from Verstappen, his championship rival, at Turn 1. Hamilton appeared ahead as they went into the first corner of the chicane, but as they came to the second corner, they collided.

Verstappen’s car went airbourne and bounced on the Halo cockpit protection device over Hamilton’s head.

The pair had banged wheels on the opening lap when Verstappen had shut the door on Hamilton at the Roggia chicane. To avoid a collision, Hamilton took evasive action and went over the kerbs.

When asked whether Verstappen could have done the same to avoid their race-ending collision, Hamilton told Sky Sports: “Absolutely. It’s exactly the same scenario that happened in Turn 4 where I went around the outside, was in exactly the same position, but I gave way. And that’s racing. He just didn’t want to give way today and he knew going into Turn 2 what was going to happen.

“He knew that he was going over the kerbs, but he still did it.”

Hamilton and Verstappen also collided at the British Grand Prix. On that occasion, Red Bull was furious, as Verstappen retired from the race and went to hospital for precautionary check-ups while Hamilton went on to win.

Verstappen was less angry this time around, although he felt Hamilton had not left him enough space.

“I didn’t expect him to just keep on squeezing, squeezing, squeezing, because he didn’t need to,” he said.

“Even if he had left just a car’s width, we would have raced out of Turn 2 anyway. I think he would have probably still been in front. But he just kept on pushing me wider, wider, wider and then at one point there was nowhere to go. He just pushed me onto the sausage kerb and that’s, at the end of the day, why we touched because the rear tyre bumped up to the tyre.”

When asked whether he could have gone over the kerbs, like Hamilton had done on the opening lap, Verstappen said: “I don’t think you can judge them exactly the same, because he just kept on squeezing and squeezing and I was a lot alongside him.

“You need two people to work together to make the corner when we are fighting for position. Unfortunately, we touched.”

Verstappen was then asked whether he would consider taking risks in the future against Hamilton, to which he said: “You need two people to work together, so if one guy is not willing to work, then what can you do? It’s not going to happen.”

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