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Italian Grand Prix 2021

Why Verstappen was punished for Italian GP clash with Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen continued their championship battle at the Italian Grand Prix, with the Red Bull driver receiving a three-place grid penalty for his part in the incident that saw both drivers retire from the race. The stewards at Monza felt that Verstappen's attempt to pass Hamilton came "too late".

Verstappen Hamilton Monza crash
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To news overview © Mercedes

Max Verstappen has been hit with a three-place grid penalty for the next race of the F1 season in Russia, with the stewards stating that the Red Bull driver was predominately to blame for the collision with Lewis Hamilton during the Italian Grand Prix.

The incident in question took place on Lap 26 of Sunday afternoon's race at Monza, with Hamilton exiting the pit lane and looking set to come out ahead of his championship rival as they headed for the first chicane.

Feeling there was an opportunity to pass his championship rival, Verstappen tried to clear the Mercedes by going round the outside of the first part of the chicane, before the pair made contact at the apex of the left-hander.

Verstappen hit the sausage kerb and was sent flying, his Red Bull getting pitched over the top of the Mercedes. Both drivers came to a halt in the gravel trap, with the Red Bull sitting atop the Mercedes.

The stewards pointed out that at no point did the Red Bull driver get beyond Hamilton's front wheel.

"The Stewards heard from the driver of car 33 [Verstappen], the driver of car 44 [Hamilton] and team representatives, reviewed the video evidence and determined that the driver of Car 33 was predominantly to blame for the collision with Car 44 at Turn 2," read a statement from the stewards at Monza.

"Car 44 was exiting the pits. Car 33 was on the main straight. At the 50m board before Turn 1, Car 44 was significantly ahead of Car 33. Car 33 braked late and started to move alongside Car 44, although at no point in the sequence does Car 33 get any further forward than just behind the front wheel of Car 44.

"During the hearing, the driver of Car 33 asserted that the cause of the incident was the driver of Car 44 opening the steering after Turn 1 and 'squeezing' him to the apex of turn 2. The driver of Car 44 asserted that the driver of Car 33 attempted to pass very late and should have given up the corner either by backing off sooner, or by turning left behind the kerb."

The explanation goes on to state that Hamilton took an avoiding line, while Verstappen's attempts to overtake the Mercedes car were "too late", meaning he didn't have the "right to racing room".

"The Stewards observed on CCTV footage that the driver of Car 44 was driving an avoiding line, although his position caused Car 33 to go onto the kerb," the explanation continued. "But further, the Stewards observed that Car 33 was not at all alongside Car 44 until significantly into the entry into Turn 1.

"In the opinion of the Stewards, this manoeuvre was attempted too late for the driver of Car 33 to have 'the right to racing room'. While Car 44 could have steered further from the kerb to avoid the incident, the Stewards determined that his position was reasonable and therefore find that the driver of Car 33 was predominantly to blame for the incident."

Just like their coming together at Silverstone, the stewards pointed out that the punishment was based solely on the incident itself and not the consequences of it.

"In coming to the penalty, the Stewards emphasise that they have only considered the incident itself and not the consequences thereof," the statement concluded.

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F1 2021 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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