Horner: Verstappen and Hamilton Italian GP crash a "racing incident"

Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner says the Italian Grand Prix collision between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was a "racing incident".

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, and Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, crash out

On the 26th lap of the Monza race, Hamilton came out of the pits ahead of poleman Verstappen, who had lost time earlier due to a slow pitstop.

Hamilton kept a tight inside line through Turn 1 while Verstappen launched an attack on the outside, which would become the inside through the second part of Monza's right-left chicane.

But as Hamilton gradually closed the door, Verstappen ran out of room and mounted the kerbs, which launched him on top of the Mercedes as both cars retired.

Verstappen claimed afterwards that Hamilton had squeezed him and left no space, while Hamilton said that Verstappen knew what was going to happen the moment he entered Turn 2.

Mercedes team principal Wolff called it a tactical foul on behalf of Verstappen, saying that it was clear "that it would end up in a crash" for the Dutchman.

Red Bull chief Horner called the crash a "racing incident" and was unhappy with Wolff's remarks.

The FIA stewards later assessed that the Dutchman was "predominantly" to blame and handed him a three-place grid drop for the Russian Grand Prix, as well as two penalty points on his license.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 before the verdict was announced, Horner said: "I'm disappointed that Toto would say it would be a professional foul.

"I think it's a racing incident, and thankfully nobody was injured today.

"[Verstappen] earned enough to be given a bit more space to work with on the left there.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, walks back to the garage after crashing out of the race with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, walks back to the garage after crashing out of the race with Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

"You can probably argue it from both sides, so if you take a middle ground on it, you say it was a racing incident.

"But I genuinely think that you could argue Max should have bailed a bit more to the left, you can argue that Lewis should have given him more space."

Asked if he was expecting any penalties to be issued, Horner said it was impossible to predominantly hold either driver responsible.

"I can't see how possibly you could apportion blame more on one than the other in an incident like that," he said.

"Of course, I'm going to argue on Max's behalf that he earned more space for Turn 2, but you can understand Lewis probably arguing the other way.

"So I think if you look at it objectively, it's a 50/50 incident. It's a racing incident."

Horner added he was frustrated with the outcome of the race, with Red Bull's Sergio Perez falling just short of the podium after being handed a five-second penalty for a track limits infringement while battling Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

The Mexican crossed the line third behind the two McLarens of Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris, but was demoted to fifth behind Valtteri Bottas and Leclerc when the penalty was applied.

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

"Obviously [I'm frustrated] because I think we had a good car today and we felt we should at least have been on the podium or challenging Daniel [Ricciardo]," he explained.

"So, very frustrating to come out of the race. I think the most important thing today is that the halo has done its job, because it's an awkward accident, with him coming down effectively on top of the Mercedes.

"Thankfully, nobody was hurt."

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