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Max Verstappen

Watson: Verstappen's move 'an act of desperation'

Former F1 driver John Watson blames Max Verstappen for causing the collision with title rival Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen Hamilton Monza crash
Interview
To news overview © Mercedes

John Watson has described Max Verstappen's attempted overtake on Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix as "an act of desperation", arguing that the Red Bull driver showed "no sense of judgement or consequence".

Verstappen and Hamilton clashed on Lap 26 of Sunday’s race at Monza, the title rivals going wheel-to-wheel through the first chicane after Hamilton emerged from the pits and Verstappen approached at high speed.

Verstappen used his momentum to draw alongside Hamilton and hang on around the outside of the right-hand part of the chicane, before the pair made contact at the apex of the left-hander.

Having struck the sausage kerb, Verstappen's Red Bull was pitched over the top of the Mercedes, with the Halo on Hamilton's W12 taking the full brunt of the weight from the RB16B as the two cars came to rest in the gravel trap.

Watson, having previously called on Verstappen to change his approach, criticised the Dutchman's actions in the clash, and feels he was fortunate to escape with "such a lenient penalty" in the form of a three-place grid drop for the Russian GP.

"It was an unviable place, or opportunity, to overtake," five-time Grand Prix winner Watson told RacingNews365.com in an exclusive interview.

"The reason why Verstappen did what he did was he knew that he needed to get ahead of Lewis at the earliest opportunity. If Lewis had exited the chicane ahead of Max, it would have been very hard for Max then to overtake him on pure pace.

"It was Lewis' corner. There is no way you come in, go around the outside and then expect the car that was ahead to just disappear. Lewis is not Houdini. He was physically there and there was no space."

Watson believes Verstappen's actions were triggered by frustration from his delayed pit-stop.

Verstappen, who had been running second to ultimate race winner Daniel Ricciardo in the early stages, lost more than 10 seconds as mechanics struggled to fit his front-right tyre.

When Hamilton exited the pits after his own pit-stop, which was also slightly delayed, the two drivers unexpectedly met each other on the entry to the first chicane.

"Max maybe lost his judgement, or his rationale, in what's viable and what's not viable," added Watson.

"He 'did a Max', sticking his nose up and trying to bully his way through to get ahead of Lewis.

"It was poor judgement, based on frustration, and maybe anger, at what had taken place in the pit-stop."

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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