Hamilton claims Verstappen ‘knew what was going to happen’
By Mat Coch
Monday 13th September, 2021 - 2:18am
Lewis Hamilton claims Max Verstappen knew exactly what was going to happen as the pair crashed out of the Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix.
The pair tangled at the opening chicane on Lap 26, shortly after Hamilton had rejoined the circuit following his pit stop.
The Mercedes driver was fed out on track alongside Verstappen, the Dutchman left racing room as the pair braked for the opening chicane.
Hanging around the outside of Hamilton through the right-hander, the pair then made contact as they attempted to negotiate Turn 2.
It lifted the rear of the Red Bull, planting it atop the Mercedes where it struck the airbox and halo above Hamilton.
“I’m sore in my neck to be honest, because it landed on my head, but I’ll be okay,” Hamilton told Sky Sports when asked how he was following the incident.
The clash happened at a critical moment of the race.
During the opening stages, Verstappen found himself tucked up behind Daniel Ricciardo in second, and Hamilton behind Lando Norris for fourth.
A slow stop for Verstappen, more than 11 seconds stationary, saw the championship leader lose ground on Lap 23.
Hamilton, who stopped two laps later, was also delayed, though his stop was significantly faster and left him an opportunity to gain track position over his title rival.
“I was racing as hard as I could,” Hamilton said.
“[I] finally got past Lando. I was in the lead, or timewise they told me I was in the lead, so they pitted me.
“[The] Pit stop was obviously slow, lost couple of seconds, a second and a bit, whatever it is.
“I saw that Daniel came past, Max was coming,” he added.
“I made sure I left a car’s width on the outside for him.
“I went into Turn 1 and I was ahead, and I was ahead going into Turn 2, and then all of a sudden he was on top of me.”
Hamilton had fallen to fourth after having to back out of a similar move on Verstappen at the second chicane on the opening lap.
The pair had entered the complex wheel-to-wheel, Verstappen with the inside line to the initial left-hander.
Anticipating his road would be blocked as the track turned right, Hamilton backed out of the move, bouncing over the kerbs to drop behind Norris.
“That is exactly the same scenario that happened in Turn 4, where I went round the outside,” Hamilton observed.
“I was in exactly the same position, but I gave way.
“He (Verstappen) just didn’t want to give way today,” he continued.
“He knew that when he was going into [Turn] 2 what was going to happen.”
Both Hamilton and Verstappen were eliminated on the spot, the incident catching the eye of officials who duly summoned the pair post-race.
It is the second time the pair have tangled in 2021, the first coming at the British Grand Prix when Verstappen crashed out heavily on the opening lap.
The Dutchman continues to lead the world championship with a five-point advantage over Hamilton.