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HIGHLIGHTS

  • A few hours after the accident, Hamilton, 36, said his neck was hurting
  • The cars ran wheel-to-wheel and made contact at the first chicane, the Red Bull lifting off the kerb and into the air with both ending up in the gravel
  • Race stewards found Verstappen “predominantly to blame” for the accident and assessed a three-place grid penalty

Defending Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton credited the halo structure on the car for saving his life in a crash with title rival Max Verstappen of Red Bull during Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.

“Honestly, I feel very, very fortunate today,” said the Mercedes driver. “Thank God for the halo. That ultimately saved me. And saved my neck. I think in the actual moment it was a big hit, but all I could think was to get going again.”

A few hours after the accident, Hamilton, 36, said his neck was hurting.

“I will probably need to see a specialist to make sure I’m good for the next race because it is getting tighter and tighter. But I’ll live,” he said.

Verstappen had lost 11 seconds to a slow pitstop that dropped him down the order and when Hamilton pitted later the Briton emerged from the pitlane a fraction ahead.

The cars ran wheel-to-wheel and made contact at the first chicane, the Red Bull lifting off the kerb and into the air with both ending up in the gravel.

Verstappen walked away from his car, uninjured. Race stewards found him “predominantly to blame” for the accident and assessed a three-place grid penalty for the Sept. 26 Russian Grand Prix.

He disagreed with the penalty.

“Today was very unfortunate,” the Dutch driver tweeted. “The incident could have been avoided if I had been left enough space to make the corner. You need 2 people to make that work and I feel I was squeezed out of it. When racing each other, these things can happen, unfortunately.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff called it a ‘tactical foul’ but Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner said he was disappointed by the Austrian’s comment.

“I think it’s a racing incident and thankfully nobody was injured today,” he said after a race that ended in a McLaren one-two with Australian Daniel Ricciardo the winner.

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