Ricciardo DEFENDS Verstappen for his role in crash with Hamilton

Daniel Ricciardo DEFENDS Max Verstappen for his role in crash with Lewis Hamilton at Monza by claiming Dutchman ‘wouldn’t have turned his back’ if he knew his title rival was injured

  • Daniel Ricciardo has defended Max Verstappen’s actions after his Monza crash
  • Verstappen’s car mounted Lewis Hamilton’s after colliding at the Italian GP
  • Dutchman appeared to turn his back on Hamilton and walk back to the paddock
  • Hamilton suffered a neck injury as a result but was saved by the car’s ‘halo’
  • Ricciardo believes Verstappen didn’t realise that Hamilton was injured

Daniel Ricciardo has leapt to the defence of Max Verstappen after the Dutchman was accused of failing to check on Lewis Hamilton following their crash at the Italian Grand Prix.

Title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton collided for the second time this season when Verstappen’s Red Bull vehicle launched from the curb and landed on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes, leaving only the protective Halo device from causing a serious injury to the world champion.

Verstappen then drew criticism after appearing to walk away from the incident while Hamilton was left sat in his Mercedes cockpit. Hamilton would confirm after the race that he suffered a neck injury as a result of the crash. 

Daniel Ricciardo has defended Max Verstappen’s actions after his crash with Lewis Hamilton

The Dutchman was accused of failing to check on Hamilton following their spectacular crash

The crash at Monza comes months after the pair collided at the British Grand Prix, which saw Hamilton go on to win the race and celebrate his victory while Verstappen recovered in hospital.

However, with the tension between the two rising, Ricciardo is ready to give his former Red Bull team-mate Verstappen the benefit of the doubt, and believes he would’ve checked on Hamilton if he knew the Brit had suffered an injury. 

‘This is going to be diplomatic, I would say all of us drivers, for sure we’ve got rivalries, and for sure we don’t all get on the best,’ Ricciardo, who went on to win the Italian Grand Prix, explained on the Pardon My Take podcast.

Verstappen’s car mounted Hamilton’s after the two collided at the Italian Grand Pix this month

‘But if we had a crash and we knew that guy was injured, 100 per cent, hand on heart, I believe all of us would go and try and help. If we knew it was something serious, we wouldn’t just turn our backs.

‘I know Max, I was team-mates with him for a few years and that’s him — he’s a competitor, he’ll leave it on the track and that’s it.

‘I guess he probably still carried a little bit of frustration or anger or emotion from Silverstone, so maybe that was the reason why he was kind of like “Stuff this, I’m just going to walk away”.

‘There were things like Lewis trying to reverse and get out. I’ve already probably got too involved, maybe Max saw that and he’s like “Okay, Lewis is fine”.’

Verstappen was handed a three-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix for causing the collision, with the Dutchman currently leading Hamilton in the 2021 Drivers’ Championship by five points.

Ricciardo believes Verstappen would have checked on Hamilton if he knew he was injured

Days after the race, Hamilton was accused of ‘dramatising’ his injury, pointing out how the seven-time world champion flew to New York for the Met Gala the next day.

Hamilton has since revealed he will have to see a specialist before the Russian GP as his neck is getting ‘tighter and tighter’.  

However, Schumacher believes that Hamilton has exaggerated the severity of the crash. 

He told Sport1: ‘I think Lewis was too dramatising of it, considering that he flew to New York the next day to attend an event.’ 

Red Bull’s advisor Helmut Marko also believes that Hamilton and his Mercedes team tried to ‘put on a show’ after the event. 

Helmut Marko and Ralf Schumacher both believe that Hamilton has overreacted after Monza

Marko said to the Osterreich newspaper: ‘It was a normal racing accident. All the stories around it were pulled up by the hair by Mercedes.

‘Verstappen had already got out when Hamilton tried to go back to get out of the gravel. 

‘The medical car saw that and drove on. And then a show is put on that poor Hamilton is suddenly injured.’ 

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