Monza crash sets a precedent, says Hamilton

13/09/2021
NEWS STORY

In the wake of the Monza stewards ruling, which saw Max Verstappen handed a 3-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton hopes the incident will set a precedent.

Handing the Dutchman the grid penalty, the stewards deemed that despite Verstappen claiming that the cause of the incident was Hamilton opening his steering after Turn 1 and “squeezing" him to the apex of turn 2, the world champion was driving an avoiding line, though his position caused the Red Bull to go onto the kerb.

However, the stewards observed that Verstappen was not at all alongside the Mercedes until significantly into the entry into Turn 1 and therefore the manoeuvre was attempted too late for the Dutchman to have “the right to racing room".

While Hamilton could have steered further from the kerb to avoid the incident, the stewards determined that his position was reasonable and therefore deemed that Verstappen was predominantly to blame.

Having had time to think about the crash and the stewards ruling, Hamilton is hopeful that it will set a precedent going forwards.

I'm ultimately proud of the stewards," said Hamilton, according to F1i.com. "I think I need some time to really reflect on it, but I think it definitely sets a precedent.

"I think it's an important precedent moving forwards for the safety of the drivers that there are strict rules set in place," he added.

The world champion is hopeful that the ruling will help avoid repeats.

"This will continue until we have to learn from our scenarios on track, and I don't have a history of these incidents," he said. "Ultimately, when you get away with things like that, then it's easy just to continue to do it.

"All of us drivers, we are on the edge," he added. "When we have the inside line, every single driver, past or present, will try to hold on to his position. Of course when you're wheel-to-wheel going into a corner, and the car is still alongside you wheel-to-wheel on the outside, then you have to concede and give extra space when the car is ahead of you.

"There is a known rule that the driver who is ahead, it's his corner, and eventually a driver has to concede. I definitely think we need to be looking into this and making sure that the right decisions are being made. No one wants to see anyone get injured, and if we can put some better protocols in, maybe we can avoid this sort of stuff in the future.

"Honestly, I feel very fortunate today," he admitted. “Thank God for the Halo, that ultimately, I think, saved me, and saved my neck... I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before and it's quite a shock for me, because I don't know if you've seen the image but my head really is quite far forward. And I've been racing a long, long time, so I'm so, so grateful that I'm still here.

"I think Angela is going to be travelling me with me these next days," he added, referring to his personal physiotherapist, Angela Cullen, "but I probably will need to see a specialist, just to make sure it's good for the next race, because it's getting tighter and tighter. It definitely feels like it's getting a little bit worse, as the adrenaline is wearing off, but I'll work with Ang to fix it. I'll live!"

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Published: 13/09/2021
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