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Italian Grand Prix 2021

Verstappen or Hamilton: Who was to blame for their collision?

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton provided us with another flashpoint in this year's World Championship. RacingNews365.com's F1 journalists argue over which driver was more to blame for their collision at Monza.

Hamilton halo verstappen
To news overview © fia

With Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen colliding during the Italian Grand Prix, it marks the latest controversial incident between the title rivals after their Silverstone clash.

Red Bull and Mercedes have taken differing views of where the blame lies, but Verstappen has been given a three-piece grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix, with the stewards determining that he was predominantly to blame.

RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Thomas Maher, Nigel Chiu and Adriano Boin have watched and rewatched the incident, and offered their views on the collision... Who do you agree with?

Thomas Maher: Verstappen was willing to have a crash

I don't believe there was anything intentional about the latest Verstappen/Hamilton clash, but I do believe that Verstappen went into the move with the mindset that he was willing to have an incident.

Given that Red Bull and Verstappen expected to leave Monza having lost ground to Hamilton, to come away from Italy with the championship lead increasing by two points at their expected weakest venue of the year makes it a net win.

In my opinion, the move was on, but optimistic. Verstappen was entitled to more room after getting far enough alongside through Turn 1 but I don't think Hamilton did a whole lot wrong by putting the squeeze on either. The sausage kerbs took care of the rest.

Having had a reasonably comfortable second place, at least, taken away by the dodgy pit-stop, I think Verstappen saw an opportunity to give Hamilton a hard time, and he took it. It's completely in character for Verstappen to be aggressive and go for every gap and, once again, Hamilton wasn't willing to yield to his bullying style of driving, given what we saw on the first lap.

Verstappen, like Ayrton Senna 30 years ago, is showing that he's willing to have a crash rather than yield to his championship rival. Hamilton appears to be now taking a similar attitude. It was to his benefit at Silverstone, but not on this occasion. I don't think this will be the last time this season we see the pair collide, and it's providing huge drama for us!

Nigel Chiu: Hamilton left Verstappen enough room

On paper, it's a racing incident with both drivers going for it at a crucial moment in the Grand Prix. For me, Hamilton left enough room, unlike Verstappen on the opening lap of the race.

Verstappen has claimed Hamilton squeezed him, which was exactly what the Red Bull driver did on Lap 1 at the second chicane.

It was a bizarre accident because it happened at a relatively slow speed, but both drivers arguably didn't do anything wrong. Hamilton left some racing room, Verstappen wasn't aggressive, made Turn 1 and had the inside for Turn 2.

A three-place grid penalty is very harsh for Verstappen, given that his wheel-to-wheel moment with Hamilton on Lap 1 was arguably worse than the way he drove in the race-ending incident.

But the main thing is that both drivers walked away unharmed, especially Hamilton who said Verstappen's wheel touched him as the Red Bull went over the top of his Mercedes.

Thank goodness for the Halo. It was a scary moment and the last thing this amazing title fight needs is for one of the championship contenders to miss an event, or worse.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Adriano Boin: Tactical foul in every sense of the word by Verstappen

I think Toto Wolff’s comments after the race, in which he described Verstappen's collision with Hamilton as a "tactical foul", accurately describe what happened at Monza.

While I don't think Verstappen meant to run into Hamilton, it also didn't seem he was all that bothered if they did come together either. Verstappen may believe Hamilton squeezed him heading into Turn 1, but I don't see any scenario in which the Red Bull driver had a claim to the corner.

The two had a similar run-in on the first lap, one that forced Hamilton over the kerb at the second chicane. In that instance the Mercedes driver backed out following a slight wheel bump, showing that he was unwilling to risk a coming together that early on in the race.

Verstappen didn't take that same approach on Lap 26, barrelling into the chicane in hopes that Hamilton would once again cede to him. This time the Mercedes driver didn't, and rightly so in my opinion. Verstappen leads the championship and a pass on Hamilton would have seen him extend his lead at a track that should have favoured Mercedes.

Perhaps Verstappen felt that he had nothing to lose and tried to make the pass stick given he was playing with house money.

The stewards believe Verstappen was to blame as well, as he's been handed a three-place grid penalty for the Russian GP. What I hope this incident, and the resulting penalty, does is re-establish some respect between the two.

It's clear that what happened at Silverstone changed the dynamic between Hamilton and Verstappen, but given how lucky both drivers have been in avoiding serious injury, it's time we get back to good, clean action on track.


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