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Mercedes

Wolff wouldn't have avoided first-lap Verstappen clash like Hamilton

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided on Lap 26 of the Italian Grand Prix, but they very nearly came together on the opening lap. Toto Wolff admits he wouldn't have backed out had he been in the Briton's position.

Toto Wolff Mercedes Hungary 2021
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To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton showed better sportsmanship than he would have done by avoiding contact with Max Verstappen on the opening lap of the Italian Grand Prix.

The fallout continues from Sunday's race at Monza, where the two championship contenders came together on Lap 26. Both drivers retired, with Verstappen being handed a three-place grid penalty for his part in the coming together.

It wasn't the only time the two went wheel-to-wheel in the race, as Hamilton took to the run-off area on Lap 1 while trying to pass Verstappen into the second chicane.

Wolff thinks if he were in the Briton's position he wouldn't have done the same.

"I think Lewis gave a lot of space at Turn 4 on Lap 1 and avoided a collision," Wolff told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media.

"Maybe I'm more unsportsmanlike than Lewis... I probably am, because I would have terminated the race there. At least we would have had less engine mileage on the power unit.

"What happened [on Lap 26] is the other way around, but contact wasn't avoided.

"We need to avoid this in the future, taking each other out tactically, because you know you've lost the position."

Wolff is hopeful the dynamic between Hamilton and Verstappen will improve so that similar incidents don't happen in the future.

"I think Lap 1 shows what both drivers can do to avoid an accident," Wolff added. "If one is a bit harsh, the other one avoids it.

"In that situation [on Lap 26], it wasn't avoided. The question is how many accidents do we want to see in the future in order to stop one guy from winning, and the other way around.

"It's very intense and maybe we can find some kind of framework under which we can operate."

F1 2021 Italian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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