Hamilton says Verstappen 'obviously knew he wasn't going to make the corner' after Monza crash
The Lewis Hamilton-Max Verstappen rivalry erupted to a new level in the Italian Grand Prix when the pair came together halfway through the race, with the collision eliminating them both from the race. Afterwards the Mercedes driver said his rival “knew” what the outcome would be when they went into the chicane.
Thanks to a slow Lap 23 pit stop, Verstappen lost a lot of time and when Hamilton pitted two laps later, he emerged alongside the Red Bull. Entering the first chicane side-by-side, they connected and the Dutchman’s car was launched over Hamilton’s, coming to rest above his engine cover. Hamilton said he emerged largely unscathed before giving his view on the incident.
“Yes, a little bit stiff, my neck’s a bit – I took a bit of a whack on the head," he said.
“We were obviously just ahead, we had a bit of a slow stop, came out, braking into Turn 1 I made sure I left a car’s width on the outside and I was ahead going into the corner, and next thing I know, I guess Max went over the second kerb or something like that – he obviously knew he wasn’t going to make the corner – and he drove into me,” said Hamilton.
“So, next thing you know, he’s just on top of me. So, definitely unfortunate and we’ll speak to the stewards after this I’m sure.”
Hamilton did attempt to wrestle his car out of the gravel, but with the Red Bull stuck on top of it, the Briton had no choice but to follow Verstappen and climb out of his car to end his race.
“I wasn’t feeling great, but I was just hopeful to get the car going but the car was destroyed so it wouldn’t have made any difference anyways,” he recalled.
After the collision, Verstappen said over the radio, “that’s what happens when you don’t give space”, a statement that Hamilton said he disagreed with after they were eliminated – referring to the Lap 1 wheel-to-wheel battle earlier in the race that left Hamilton running wide (below).
“It’s exactly the same scenario that happened at Turn 4, where I went round the outside, I was exactly the same position, but I gave way – and that’s racing. He just didn’t want to give way today and he knew that when he was going into [Turn] 2, what was going to happen. He knew he was going over the kerb but he still did it… I don’t really know what else to say,” concluded Hamilton.
The pair have been summoned to the Stewards, where the ultimate verdict over the incident will be given – but the fallout will surely continue over the coming days after an unforgettable Italian Grand Prix.