Italian Grand Prix on Sunday (September 13) witnessed a dramatic crash between title protagonists Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen that took both drivers out of the race.
Hamilton was exiting the pits on Lap 26 of 53 when he arrived alongside Verstappen, the pair going side by side through the Variante del Rettifilo, but making contact, with Verstappen flying through the air and coming to rest on top of the Mercedes.
As the pair negotiated the tight Variante del Rettifilo, they made contact — with Verstappen’s Red Bull then thrown into the air and over the Mercedes, coming to a rest on top of the W12, with images showing Verstappen’s right-rear tyre hitting Hamilton’s helmet.
Both drivers were unhurt, but out of the race, with the stewards set to investigate after the Grand Prix, as per formula1.com.
This angle of the Hamilton-Verstappen crash is absolutely nuts. Thank god for the halo, Hamilton’s head coulda been taken off pic.twitter.com/YJEJACRNTl
— Joe (@JoeRiveraSN) September 12, 2021
Hamilton & Verstappen crash again! This is almost becoming Prost/Senna from the 90s. Thankfully the Halo again saves this from becoming too scary
— Richard-Lee Read (@RichardLeeRead) September 12, 2021
Meanwhile, Hamilton has praised the halo device for keeping him safe.
Speaking to the media after the incident, Hamilton praised the job that the halo had done in protecting him — while revealing that he would seek specialist medical help for pain in his neck as a result of the crash.
“Honestly, I feel very fortunate today,” said Hamilton, as per formula1.com. “Thank God for the halo, that ultimately, I think, saved me, and saved my neck… I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on the head by a car before and it’s quite a shock for me because I don’t know if you’ve seen the image but my head really is quite far forward. And I’ve been racing a long, long time, so I’m so, so grateful that I’m still here.”
Verstappen would later be handed a three-place grid drop for Russian Grand Prix and two penalty points for his part in the accident at Monza after being deemed “predominantly to blame” for the crash — with Hamilton hoping the ruling set a precedent for the pair’s future battles on track, after a series of incidents between them this year.
“I think I’m ultimately proud of stewards,” said Hamilton of the ruling.
“I need some time to really reflect on it, but I think it definitely sets a precedent, and I think it’s important for us moving forwards, for the safety of the drivers, that there are strict rules in place.”
The collision between the title contenders cleared the way for Daniel Ricciardo to claim a sensational victory at Monza. Ricciardo handed McLaren their first race win since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix — and a one-two to boot, as he led home teammate Lando Norris, with Valtteri Bottas taking third, in a thrilling race.