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Christian Horner

Exclusive: Horner explains why his opinion on Verstappen/Hamilton crash is unchanged

In an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com, Red Bull boss Christian Horner has explained that, despite Max Verstappen being penalised for it, his opinion on the collision with Lewis Hamilton remains unchanged.

Verstappen Hamilton Monza
To news overview © Mercedes

Red Bull's Christian Horner has explained why his opinion about the Max Verstappen/Lewis Hamilton collision at Monza hasn't changed, despite his driver being found at fault by the stewards.

With the two title rivals colliding on Lap 26 of the Italian Grand Prix, a stewards' enquiry took place and resulted in the Red Bull driver being given a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi this weekend.

Despite the stewards' findings, Horner said he maintains his stance that it was simply a racing incident and that blame could have been equally apportioned.

"My opinion of that incident is unchanged to when I saw it. For me, it was a racing incident that Max saw a gap," Horner said in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com.

"It was an aggressive move, but we've seen moves happen there throughout the weekend. And, of course, Lewis didn't want to concede track position, they both knew what that meant.

"So you had two drivers desperately wanting to defend and one to attack and the outcome was, unfortunately, what we saw there.

"It was just unfortunate the way the car rolled up, and making it more dramatic, obviously, at a low speed corner than you could have imagined."

Given the way the rear of the car was, essentially, punched upwards by Hamilton's Halo cockpit protection device, there had been the possibility of some critical damage to the mechanical components of the RB16B.

However, Horner assuaged any fears that Verstappen's engine or gearbox took a hit in the collision.

"There was some floor damage, some front wing damage but, other than that, it was minimal," he said.

With the incident marking the second time in five races the two title rivals have collided, it's the most recent flashpoint in a racing rivalry that has seen the two title protagonists go wheel-to-wheel in most races this season.

But with neither driver now willing to back off, it's resulting in clashes, something which could end up deciding the championship if circumstances such as Silverstone arise, where one driver is able to continue.

Horner doesn't believe that Verstappen is doing anything more aggressively than Hamilton is, saying that he feels the bad luck of the mid-season will balance itself out over the course of the year.

Asked about whether the Dutch driver understands that the long game approach might be more beneficial, Horner defended the approach Verstappen has taken on track.

"I think he gets that. Absolutely," said Horner.

"But I think he's also a racecar driver. If he sees a gap, he is going to go for it. And I think you could argue it the other way around [with Hamilton] as well. You [have] got to grab every opportunity you have.

"I think that Max has driven incredibly well this year. He's had bad luck. In Baku, obviously in Hungary, I think at Silverstone he was very unlucky. But that balances itself out over the course of a year on average."

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