Hamilton: Verstappen penalty for Italian GP crash sets “important precedent”

Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen’s penalty for causing their crash at the Italian Grand Prix sets an ‘important precedent’ for protecting the safety of Formula 1 drivers in the future.

Hamilton: Verstappen penalty for Italian GP crash sets “important precedent”

Verstappen was handed a three-place grid drop for the next race in Russia after the FIA deemed that he was predominantly to blame for the clash with Hamilton at Monza.

The two world title protagonists had been battling wheel-to-wheel through the first chicane at the Italian track when Verstappen, trying to hold his line around the outside, was launched in the air over a kerb and went over the top of Hamilton’s car.

The stewards deemed that, because at no point in the manoeuvre was Verstappen fully alongside Hamilton, then he had no right to claim the corner so should have backed out.

Hamilton welcomed the stewards’ decision, which he thinks has offered up a clear pointer about when drivers needed to give way when it came to battling hard for positions.

“I’m ultimately proud of the stewards,” said Hamilton. “I think I need some time to really reflect on it, but I think it definitely sets a precedent.

“I think it’s an important precedent moving forwards for the safety of the drivers that there are strict rules set in place.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, looks on Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 after colliding

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, looks on Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12 after colliding

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Hamilton reckoned that by some drivers getting away with controversial clashes in the past, there had been nothing previously to discourage them from repeating their actions.

“This will continue until we have to learn from our scenarios on track, and I don't have a history of these incidents,” he said. “Ultimately, when you get away with things like that, then it's easy just to continue to do it.”

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But Hamilton did suggest that a proper code of conduct for drivers, with clear rules about what they were and were not allowed to do when battling for a corner, would be a huge help.

“I think all of us drivers, we are on the edge,” he said. “When we have the inside line, every single driver, past or present, will try to hold on to his position.

“Of course when you’re wheel-to-wheel going into a corner, and the car is still alongside you wheel-to-wheel on the outside, then you have to concede and give extra space when the car is ahead of you.

“There is a known rule that the driver who is ahead, it’s his corner, and eventually a driver has to concede.”

He added: “I definitely do think we need to be looking into this and making sure that the right decisions are being made. No-one wants to see anyone get injured, and if we can put some better protocols in, maybe we can avoid this sort of stuff in the future.”

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