George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Mercedes chief Toto Wolff likened Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s collision at the Italian Grand Prix to a tactical foul in football — and said it was committed by the Dutchman. Hamilton and Verstappen went into the second corner of lap 26 at Monza neck and neck following a pit-stop by the Briton, but collided in spectacular fashion, with Verstappen’s Red Bull going over the top of Hamilton.
Hamilton initially attempted to reverse out of the collision before being told by Mercedes to turn his engine off, while Verstappen’s car was clearly undrivable.
Verstappen fumed over the team radio, suggesting Hamilton had not left him enough room going into the turn, but Wolff does not believe the seven-time world champion was responsible for the incident.
“The stewards are going to decide who is to blame,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “There is predominantly to blame, I guess, we’ve seen that in the past. I think in football you’d say it was a tactical foul. He probably knew that if Lewis stays ahead, that is the race win possibly.
JUST IN: Lewis Hamilton suffering with sore neck after Italian Grand Prix crash
“I think when you look at Turn 4, Lewis backed out and that was quite a thing because probably you know he’s staying ahead of you. And then incidents where they actually crash, it was clear for Max in there that they would crash.
“I think if we don’t manage that in the right way, this is going to continue. They had a high-speed crash at Silverstone, we had one car ending on top of the other one on Lewis’ head here, so how far can you go? Maybe next time we’ll have a high-speed crash and land on each other.”
Wolff heralded the halo in Hamilton’s Mercedes, which protected the 36-year-old from a possible nasty injury given the nature of the collision.
“Fantastic – did you see the car?” Wolff said. “The whole thing is damaged over the halo and the wheel was on Lewis’s head.”
Hamilton told Sky after the race that he was still feeling the effects of the collision.
“A little bit stiff,” Hamilton said. “A bit sore of my neck to be honest, because it landed on my head. But I’ll be OK.”
Meanwhile, race victor Daniel Ricciardo remarked on a memorable day for McLaren after a one-two with Briton Lando Norris.
“Wow. To lead literally from start to finish… I don’t think anyone expected that,” Ricciardo said.”There was something in me on Friday. I knew something good was to come.
“To not only win, but get a one-two – it’s insane. For a McLaren to be on the podium is great let alone a one-two.”
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