Mercedes technical director Andrew Shovlin says Red Bull is blaming Lewis Hamilton for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix crash to protect Max Verstappen.
Hamilton and Verstappen were involved in a serious accident at the Variante del Rettifilo in Monza. The British driver exited the pit lane on lap 26 of 52 and met Verstappen – who had fallen further back after a slow pit stop of 11.1 seconds.
The pair drove side-by-side into Turn 1 before Verstappen ran over the curb, sending his car flying into the air and landing on top of Hamilton.
Mercedes technical director Andrew Shovlin (left) says Red Bull is blaming Lewis Hamilton for Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix crash to protect Max Verstappen
The couple was involved in a serious accident on the Variante del Rettifilo in Monza (above)
The back of the Red Bull car swept across Hamilton’s helmet – with the seven-time world champion crediting his halo for saving his life.
Mercedes technical director Shovlin has since said that Red Bull “knows” Verstappen was “wrong” before the incident.
“You see, Helmut and Christian weren’t trying to blame Lewis. It kind of feels like they know Max was wrong as they will try at every opportunity to pinpoint Lewis as the culprit,” Shovlin said. The Telegraph.
The Briton left the pit lane on lap 26 and met Verstappen. They drove side-by-side into Turn 1 before Verstappen ran over the curb – sending his car flying into the air and landing on Hamilton
The back of the Red Bull car swept across Hamilton’s helmet – with the seven-time world champion crediting his halo for saving his life (above)
Meanwhile, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff shared his thoughts – saying Verstappen had made a ‘tactical mistake’ when he collided with Hamilton.
Wolff told Sky Sports: “The stewards will decide who is to blame. In football you would call it a tactical mistake. He knew that if Lewis continues to lead, that is the race win.
“I don’t want to be a gambler like some of my colleagues like to be. If you look at Turn 4 earlier in the race, [Lewis] withdrew, but it was clear to Max [before the incident] it would end in a crash. I’m sure the stewards will look closely at this, but incidents like this will continue.
“Maybe it should be another high speed crash and we end up with someone on top of someone’s head again [for things to change].’
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff (left) thinks Verstappen made a ‘tactical mistake’
They survived, but Verstappen received a three-place grid penalty and two penalty points
On the other hand, however, Red Bull boss Christian Horner felt that Verstappen “deserved the right to be given more room to work with”.
He said: “Max had the momentum and Lewis gave him enough space in turn one, but our opinion would be that he didn’t give him enough in turn two.
“The most important thing today is that the halo did its job as it was a clumsy accident, thank goodness no one got hurt.
“I think Max would have deserved the right to be given more space to work with in turn two, but I think you can see this as a racing incident.
“To blame one side or the other, I think that is very difficult for this incident.
“We had a human error in the pit stop – unfortunately I think it was front right, the steering wheel was ready, but unfortunately the car was not released. I don’t think the slow stop affected his judgment.’
Alpine F1 Team driver Fernando Alonso (above) weighed in too – saying the Monza crash was ‘no big deal’ and it was an ‘unfortunate’ racing incident
Fernando Alonso weighed in too – he said the crash at Monza was ‘no big deal’ and that it was an ‘unfortunate’ racing incident.
He also said the crash was nothing compared to the extreme of their British GP clash.
Alonso said: ‘Well, here they are, the two champions, and they’re always fighting to the limit.
“It looks like an unfortunate position, with the bend and the curb, the car jumps a bit, and then they hit. Tire with tire, and the rubber makes a car fly.
“But it’s a slow speed, you know, they’re going at 30 or 40 kph, there’s no danger, there’s nothing.
“So I don’t think it was a big deal. At Silverstone it probably was, but this time it was just a racing incident.
Hamilton (above) controversially went on to win the race at Silverstone after the crash
“I think Lewis was trying to open in Turn 1 to force Max to cut the corner. Max didn’t cut the corner, he stayed on the outside, but then it was not possible to do turn 2 on the inside.
“I think they both… they both did what they had to do.
“You know, and unfortunately, they touched, because… I also saw the replay of the start, and Giovinazzi and Leclerc, they touched in the same way, and Stroll and Perez touched in the same way in turns 1 and 2 .
“But they didn’t go from wheel to wheel, but from tire to tire. So the same didn’t happen. But it’s a very typical maneuver [in] Turn 1, Turn 2, and they’ve been unlucky [to] touch wheel to wheel.’