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Max Verstappen

Hill criticises Verstappen's judgement: He could have let it go

Damon Hill believes that Max Verstappen knew he would struggle to catch Lewis Hamilton if he had let him get past during their controversial run-in at the Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen Monza
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To news overview © Red Bull Contentpool

Damon Hill thinks Max Verstappen could have used better judgement after he collided with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen had a close call with title rival Hamilton on the opening lap of the race at Monza, where the two drivers escaped. However, their run-in at the second chicane on Lap 26 resulted in both of them retiring from the Grand Prix, with Verstappen's Red Bull ending up on top of the Mercedes.

Hill believes that Verstappen's unwillingness to relent may have been influenced by the possibility of being unable to catch Hamilton again if the Briton had overtaken him.

"It seems to me, on either side [Hamilton or Verstappen], there's no willingess to say, 'Okay, I'm going to let this one go,'" Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.

"Maybe Lewis let it go on Lap 1. He tried an optimistic move, it didn't work, he let it go. With Max, I get the sense he could have let this one [the Lap 26 incident] go.

"He was round the outside, Lewis had slipped through. He might be able to get back on the track behind him and have another go later.

"But I think there's also in his mind... he knew how lucky he had been to get on the front row, on pole position for the race, because of the Sprint race, and I think he knew this is the biggest lucky break he's ever had.

"Going into Monza, they [Red Bull] had it down as a Mercedes track. It always looked like it was going to be a Mercedes circuit. They probably thought they're going to lose points, they'd be lucky to come out of there with not too big a points deficit, and they got lucky.

"He's on pole position, and then suddenly loses it again because Lewis had gone through, and he knew that once Lewis had gone, his chances of getting him back are nil.

"He just thought, 'No, I'm not going to let that happen'. I'm not saying this is a conscious thing."

Hill added that a part of being a racing driver is exercising judgement, something that he has suggested Verstappen didn't do.

"He knows the big sausage kerb on the inside is there," the 1996 F1 World Champion explained. "So he knows he can't just cut across that, because he's going to slide into Lewis which is exactly what happened. So he knew he'd have to get out of there before that.

"That is the job of the driver, to use his judgement. If he was flying an aeroplane, you'd want him to make the right decision as to whether to abort the landing or not, not just go, 'Oh sod it, I'll try and land.'"

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: Title battle heats up as Verstappen and Hamilton collide again!

It's time for the latest episode of our new Formula 1 podcast, with F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discussing the fallout from a dramatic Italian Grand Prix weekend.

F1 2021 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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