The drivers collided on lap 26 at Monza, with the Red Bull car’s wheel landing on Hamilton’s head. Thankfully for the seven-time Formula One champion, the protective Halo device on the Mercedes car protected him from serious injury.
The Red Bull car went nose-first into the gravel with both drivers emerging from the carnage unscathed in the latest dramatic twist in an increasingly heated world championship duel.
Verstappen didn’t hang around to check on the condition of Hamilton, instead storming off to the pit lane having ranted to his team via radio, with the British driver emerging from the cockpit of his car a few minutes later.
The two drivers both accused the other of being in the wrong after the race, with Hamilton saying Verstappen ‘knew what was going to happen, but he still did it.’
Lewis Hamilton was saved from serious injury by the protective Halo device on his Mercedes after the Red Bull of Max Verstappen flew off a banked curve and up over his car during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza
The rear end of Verstappen’s Red Bull came within inches of Hamilton’s head after their dramatic collision at Monza
The two drivers took each other out as they tussled for position in the latest dramatic twist in their championship tussle
Verstappen responded by saying he had ‘nowhere to go’ and blamed Hamilton for not giving him the room he needed to negotiate the corner.
Hamilton, who remains five points behind Verstappen in the drivers’ championship, stressed that the 23-year-old ‘just didn’t want to give way’ and the stewards sided with the Brit too, giving Verstappen a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.
The incident occurred after Hamilton left the pit lane, with Verstappen competing with him for seventh position at the time of the crash.
Verstappen’s Red Bull flies over Hamilton’s Mercedes after they collided jostling for position on the first corner of the 26th lap
The Red Bull was left nose-first in the gravel trap with the Mercedes wedged underneath after the sensational crash
The damage inflicted on Hamilton’s car just inches behind his head is visible as the reigning world champion steps out
What is the Halo?
The Halo, which has been mandatory for all Formula One cars since the 2018 season, is a protective titanium bar fitted above the driver’s cockpit to serve as a safety device.
Although it does slightly impact the field of view for drivers, the Halo, which weighs around nine kilograms (20 pounds) can withstand a much greater force.
This could come from another car being launched over the top, a collision with barriers or tyres at the side of the track, or from flying debris. In all cases, the head is afforded greater protection.
A simulation performed by the governing body FIA, using data from 40 real incidents, found drivers had a 17 per cent better chance of surviving a crash.
It almost certainly saved the life of Romain Grosjean at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix. The Haas driver ploughed into the safety barrier at a force of 67G, causing the front half of his car to be wedged into the barrier while the rear half was shorn off.
The Halo hit the safety barrier, protecting Grosjean’s head, and he was able to escape the car as it was engulfed in flames, suffering only burns on his hands and ankles.
A Halo device fitted to a Ferrari F1 car
As Hamilton left the pit lane, Verstappen drew up alongside him and they battled for position at the Variante Del Rettifilo chicane.
Dutch driver Verstappen ran wide and the raised kerb launched his Red Bull into the air, with the rear of the machine landing on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes, which had been forced off the track.
Verstappen’s car also ploughed into the gravel trap at the side of the track, with the back of his Red Bull left resting on Hamilton’s car.
‘I’m a little bit stiff and sore on my neck because it landed on my head, but I’ll be ok,’ Hamilton told Sky Sports.
‘Just from what I remember, I was racing as fast as I could, I was in the lead time wise, they fitted me, the pitstop was slow and I lost a couple of seconds. I came out, I saw Max was coming, I left a car’s width, was ahead going into turn one, ahead in turn two, then he’s on top of me.
‘He just didn’t want to give way today. He knew going into turn two what was going to happen, going over the kerb, but he still did it. We will talk to the stewards but I don’t know what to say. I’m sure we will talk when we get to the stewards.’
Verstappen stated that Hamilton ‘kept on squeezing’ him and said that there was little he could do when the British driver was ‘not willing to to work’ to make the corner.
The Briton was almost certainly saved from serious injury by the Halo safety device, a titanium bar placed above the driver’s head that has been mandatory in Formula One since 2018.
Replays showed Verstappen’s car bouncing off the Halo with Hamilton unable to do little else than duck out the way as the Red Bull’s wheels and rear chassis flew before his eyes.
Hamilton took to Twitter on Sunday night to reveal he had a headache after the incident and he had a soreness in his neck. A statement read: ‘It’s days like today I am reminded of how lucky I am. It takes a millisecond to go from racing to a very scary situation. Today someone must have been looking down, watching over me!
‘My necks (sic) a bit sore as the adrenaline wears off – it was a bit of a hit on the head, so naturally I have one big headache but I’m doing okay! The halo stopped the crash from being a lot worse and I’m incredibly grateful to all those that work to make our cars and racing safer.
‘#TeamLH… the support I receive from you keeps me pushing and fighting. I’m so thankful for each and everyone of you, you are truly the best. Still we rise!’
The pair also collided at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix in July.
Verstappen said: ‘We realise it was going to be close into turn one, we cut across and I had to go onto the green part. He realised I was going for it, he kept on squeezing me, I wanted to race.
The two championship rivals jostled for position on the chicane after Hamilton had just emerged from the pit lane
Wheel-to-wheel, the two drivers refused to give an inch with Verstappen forced wide to mount a ‘sausage ramp’ on the curve
Verstappen criticised Hamilton for not giving him enough room on the team radio before leaving his car and storming off
‘You automatically talk about Silverstone these things happen and we are all professional to get on with it. I didn’t expect him to keep on squeezing, if he’d given me a car width we would have raced out of turn two. Then there was nowhere to go, he pushed me onto the sausage kerb, we touched. He kept on squeezing as I was alongside him.
‘You need two people to work together to make the corner, we were fighting for position and unfortunately we touched. If one guy is not willing to work, what can you do? It’s not going to happen.
‘It is very unfortunate what happened today, nobody likes to see that but we are professional enough to step over and keep going.’
Daniel Ricciardo won the Italian Grand Prix ahead of his McLaren team-mate Lando Norris, with Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes in third.
Hamilton emerged unscathed from his Mercedes a few minutes later with the Red Bull still resting on the front section
Hamilton took a moment to inspect the respective damage suffered by the two cars as he and Verstappen crashed out
The two wrecked cars came to rest in a haze of smoke and dust from the gravel as both drivers’ race ended prematurely
Hamilton (left) walks away from the scene of the crash as stunned spectators in the grandstand absorb what happened