Max Verstappen has received a three-place grid penalty for his next race after being deemed ‘predominantly to blame’ for causing his crash with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.
The two title rivals collided on the second turn of lap 27, with the seven-time champ leaving the pit lane just ahead of Verstappen who went over the sausage kerb as he tried to go outside Hamilton and his car ended up on top of the Mercedes in a frightening collision.
Both drivers blamed each other, with Verstappen claiming he was ‘squeezed’ out while Hamilton felt the younger Dutchman should have ‘backed off’ just as he had done in a similar duel in the first lap of the race.
The incident was under investigation for some time with the two drivers reporting to the stewards to give their version of the event and it has now been determined that Verstappen was the guiltiest party and will serve his penalty at the Russian Grand Prix.
‘The stewards observed on CCTV footage that the driver of Car 44 [Hamilton] was driving an avoiding line, although his position caused Car 33 [Verstappen] to go onto the kerb,’ read a statement.
‘But further, the stewards observed that Car 33 was not at all alongside Car 44 until significantly into the entry into Turn 1. In the opinion of the stewards, this manoeuvre was attempted too late for the driver of Car 33 to have “the right to racing room”.
‘While Car 44 could have steered further from the kerb to avoid the incident, the stewards determined that his position was reasonable and therefore find that the driver of Car 33 was predominantly to blame for the incident.
‘In coming to the penalty the stewards emphasise that they have only considered the incident itself and not the consequences thereof.’
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Hamilton put the blame on the Red Bull driver for the collision, saying: ‘It’s exactly the same scenario that happened in turn four [in lap one] where I went round the outside, I was in exactly the same position, but I gave way. And that’s racing.
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