“I made sure I left a car’s width” – Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton suffered his first retirement of the season after terrifying crash at the Italian Grand Prix with title-rival Max Verstappen, leaving the world champion lucky to walk away uninjured.
It had not been the weekend the world champion was hoping for, after a disappointing sprint qualifying on Saturday at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Hamilton made a brilliant start in Sunday’s race. The world champion who started in fifth, quickly found himself fighting Verstappen for second at turn five on the opening lap. In an almost mirror image of Imola, Verstappen closed the door on Hamilton, resulting in the British driver running across the sausage kerbs.
This dropped Hamilton behind Lando Norris into fourth, where he remained for several laps. Eventually Hamilton made his way past the Mclaren F1 Team driver, a couple of laps before pitting. Hamilton suffered a long stop of just over four seconds, Verstappen too had an uncharacteristically poor stop of eleven seconds the previous lap.
This meant that as Hamilton exited the pit-lane, he was just a cars length ahead of Verstappen as they went into turn one. Verstappen who was eager not to lose the place, tried to hang around the outside of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver to get the inside line for turn two. There just wasn’t enough room for the pair though, Verstappen’s car bounced over the sausage kerb at turn two and launched itself on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes in what was a horrific crash.
The pair became beached in the gravel at turn two, Verstappen’s Red Bull Racing car coming to a halt on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes, Verstappen’s rear-right tyre resting on Hamilton’s helmet in what was another example of the imperious job the halo device does. Thankfully both drivers walked away okay, with Hamilton only complaining of a sore neck.
After the race both drivers were sent to the stewards, where after analysing the footage they came to the decision to award Verstappen a three-place grid penalty for the next grand prix and to add two penalty points to his license.
Hamilton leaves Monza bitterly disappointed with the weekend, especially as Mercedes were the favourites for the victory, he is nevertheless proud though of the great job the team did over the weekend.
“Obviously disappointing for me to end the race in the manner that it did. I though the Team did a great job with the strategy, and we were in a good position until that collision on Lap 26. From what I remember, after I came out of the pits, I saw Max coming and I made sure I left a car’s width on the outside for him. I went into Turn 1 and I was ahead, and I was ahead going into Turn 2, and then all of a sudden, he was on top of me.
“All in all, not a great end to the weekend for me but it was good to see that Valtteri carried the Team with his amazing recovery drive. Coming from the back all the way to the podium on a track like this is not easy. The Team did a great job and coming away with more points than Red Bull is definitely positive.”
© The Checkered Flag