CARLOS SAINZ has suggested it is ‘pretty clear’ who was at fault for Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s horrific crash at the Italian Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s Red Bull car landed on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes in a hugely controversial crash after the two collided going into turn one at Monza, putting both drivers out of the race.
Speaking about the incident after the race, Sainz said: “From my point of view, the accident is pretty clear.
“I’m not going to go into detail, I’m not going to give you my opinion because I feel like there’s going to be some talk [about it] in the next driver meeting.
“I think it is always avoidable. I think two don’t crash if one doesn’t want [to].
“They are fighting for a championship. You’re more exposed to these kinds of incidents [in that scenario], like we’ve seen in the past.
“I guess it’s a natural thing in Formula 1, two guys that are fighting for the championship tend to collide more often than not.”
Hamilton, 36, claimed that the corner was clearly his and his opponent should not have challenged for it, whilst Verstappen, 23, insisted that Hamilton ran him off the road.
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The seven-time world champion had just pitted and was returning to the track ahead of Verstappen, who tried to catch up with him, only to run out of track and crash into the sausage kerb.
This sent the Dutchman’s car up into the air and he landed on top of Hamilton, as the two cars skidded off the track.
Both ended up in the gravel and one of Verstappen’s tyres narrowly missed Hamilton’s head thanks to the halo which protects drivers from such incidents.
The halo was introduced back in 2018 and is an added safety feature now included on all F1 cars, acting as titanium ring of protection around the driver’s cockpit.
Hamilton narrowly avoided a potentially life-threatening injury and once the incident was investigated afterwards stewards, Verstappen was found to be at fault for the crash.
Verstappen was penalised for the incident by receiving a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi next weekend.
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner said he believed the crash was the result of a racing incident, but went on to say that Red Bull would not appeal the stewards’ verdict.
“We are disappointed with the three place grid penalty, but accept the stewards decision,” he said.
“We felt what happened between Max and Lewis was a genuine racing incident.
“You can argue for both sides but ultimately it’s frustrating and disappointing to see both cars out of the race in what is proving to be an exciting championship.”
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Despite this, the Red Bull driver still has the advantage in the championship leaderboard with 226.5 points, whilst Hamilton remains in close second on 221.5 points.
This was the second time the two championship rivals collided this season after another controversial incident during the British Grand Prix put Verstappen out of the race and gave Hamilton a vital win.
The rivalry between the two is really hotting up with just eight races to go and this dramatic championship run-in will surely have more twists and turns before its conclusion in Abu Dhabi in December.