Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says Red Bull are blaming Lewis Hamilton for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix crash to protect Max Verstappen.
Hamilton and Verstappen were involved in a serious accident at the Variante del Rettifilo in Monza. The British driver left the pit-lane on lap 26 of 52 and met Verstappen – who had dropped further back following a slow 11.1 second pit-stop.
The pair headed into Turn 1 side-by-side before Verstappen drove over the kerb – causing his car to fly into the air and land on top of Hamilton.
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin (left) says Red Bull are blaming Lewis Hamilton for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix crash to protect Max Verstappen
The pair were involved in a serious accident at the Variante del Rettifilo in Monza (above)
The rear of the Red Bull car brushed over the top of Hamilton’s helmet – with the seven-time world champion crediting his halo for saving his life.
Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Shovlin has since said that Red Bull ‘know’ that Verstappen was in the ‘wrong’ for the incident.
‘You see Helmut and Christian weren’t trying to blame Lewis. It kind of feels like they know Max was wrong as they will try at every opportunity to point out Lewis as the culprit,’ said Shovlin to De Telegraaf.
The Brit left the pit-lane on lap 26 and met Verstappen. They headed into Turn 1 side-by-side before Verstappen drove over the kerb – causing his car to fly into the air and land on Hamilton
The rear of the Red Bull car brushed over the top of Hamilton’s helmet – with the seven-time world champion crediting his halo for saving his life (above)
Meanwhile, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff shared his thoughts – saying Verstappen had made a ‘tactical foul’ when he collided with Hamilton.
Wolff told Sky Sports: ‘The stewards will decide who is to blame. In football you would call it a tactical foul. He knew that if Lewis stays ahead, then that is the race win.
‘I don’t want to be a punter like some of my colleagues like to be. When you look at Turn 4 earlier in the race, [Lewis] backed out of it, but it was clear for Max [before the incident] it would end up in a crash. I’m sure the stewards will look at this properly but incidents like this will continue.
‘Maybe it will have to be another high speed crash and end up with someone on top of someone’s head again [for things to change].’
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff (left) believes Verstappen made a ‘tactical foul’
They survived but Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty and two penalty points
However, on the other hand, Red Bull boss Christian Horner felt that Verstappen had ‘earned the right to be given more space to work with’.
He said: ‘Max had the momentum and Lewis gave him enough space in turn one but our opinion would be that he didn’t give him enough in turn two.
‘Most important thing today is that the halo has done it’s job because it’s an awkward accident, thank God no one was hurt.
‘I think Max had earned the right to be given more space to work with in turn two but I think you could look at this as a racing incident.
‘To portion blame to one side or the other, I think for this incident in particular that’s very difficult to do.
‘We had a human error in the pit stop – unfortunately I think it was on the front right, the wheel was done but unfortunately the car wasn’t released. I don’t think the slow stop effected his judgement at all.’
Alpine F1 Team driver Fernando Alonso (above) also weighed in – saying the Monza crash was ‘not a big deal’ and that it was an ‘unfortunate’ racing incident
Fernando Alonso also weighed in – saying the Monza crash was ‘not a big deal’ and that it was an ‘unfortunate’ racing incident.
He also said that crash did not compare to the extremity of their British GP clash.
Alonso said: ‘Well they are there, the two champions, and they are always fighting to the limit.
‘It looks like an unfortunate position, with the corner and the kerb the car jumps a little, and then they touch. Tyre with tyre, and the rubber makes a car fly.
‘But it is low speed, you know, they go at 30 or 40 km/h, there is no danger, there is nothing.
‘So I don’t think it was a big deal. At Silverstone it probably was, but this one it was just a racing incident.
Hamilton (above) controversially went on to win the race at Silverstone after the crash
‘I think Lewis tried to open up at Turn 1 to force Max to cut the corner. Max did not cut the corner, he stayed on the outside, but then it was not possible to do Turn 2 on the inside.
‘I think they both … they both did what they had to do.
‘You know, and unfortunately, they touched, because… I saw the replay of the start too, and Giovinazzi and Leclerc, they touched, in the same way, and Stroll and Perez touched each other in the same way in turn 1 and 2.
‘But they did not touch wheel to wheel, but tyre to tyre. So the same did not happen. But it is a very typical manoeuvre [in] Turn 1, Turn 2, and they have been unlucky [to] touch wheel to wheel.’