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Max Verstappen

Palmer: Verstappen would have been more cautious with anyone but Hamilton

Jolyon Palmer believes that the incident between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix would have played out differently if another driver had been in Hamilton's place.

Verstappen Hamilton Monza
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Max Verstappen would have approached his run-in with Lewis Hamilton differently if he had been racing against any other driver, according to Jolyon Palmer.

Verstappen collided with his World Championship rival on Lap 26 of the Italian Grand Prix as the pair approached the second chicance. Verstappen's Red Bull ended up on top of the Mercedes, putting both drivers out of the race.

The stewards deemed Verstappen as being at fault and he will serve a three-place grid penalty at the next event in Russia.

Whilst former F1 driver Palmer believes that the latest collision between Verstappen and Hamilton could be determined to be a racing incident, he argues that Verstappen was the "aggressor" and that his actions were influenced by the high stakes of racing against his fellow title contender.

"Similar to the clash at the British Grand Prix, the Monza collision looked to me a classic case of [being a racing incident]," Palmer wrote in his column for Formula1.com. "Only this time the aggressor was Verstappen who was taking the higher risk, rather than Hamilton at Silverstone.

"As Hamilton emerged from the pits it was critical that Verstappen pass him at that exact corner, or at the very least keep Hamilton defending until the second chicane, but even there it's harder to pass, as Hamilton found out on the first lap with Verstappen forcing him off.

"Hamilton was ahead into Turn 1, but Verstappen was up to racing speed so carried much greater momentum through the corner and was quite well side-by-side as they were between Turns 1 and 2. This was the critical moment.

"I believe that against anybody else in that Grand Prix, Max would have been more cautious and probably bolted across the run-off area. It was the do or die nature of the moment, with everything at stake that meant he kept his foot in and attempted an audacious move.

"There was initially the space there to do it, which was squeezed more and more through the cornering phase of the right-hander, until he was too tight into the left hander of Turn 2. Here he had no choice but to take to the sausage kerb with his left side, which threw him into the air and into Hamilton."

However, Palmer believes that Hamilton also took an aggressive approach.

"From Hamilton's point of view, he was also aggressive, putting a squeeze on Verstappen in the braking area, before running him wider through the first part of the corner to the point where there was no way he could get through the second part without running too much of the raised kerb," Palmer said.

"This crowding tactic is commonly seen in motorsport where the driver on the outside runs out of room and is either forced off or has to back off.

"What muddies the waters here is that Verstappen had enough room on the outside to then be on the inside for Turn 2, albeit squeezed over the apex kerb – the cause of the collision."

Given Verstappen's penalty, Palmer thinks that the chances of the two drivers having another collision in the near future are unlikely.

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