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Wolff calls Verstappen move on Hamilton a ‘tactical foul’ in Italian GP crash

Toto Wolff believes Max Verstappen’s move on Lewis Hamilton was a “tactical foul” after seeing the Formula 1 title rivals crash for the second time this year at Monza.

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

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

Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Verstappen and Hamilton both retired from the race after colliding when battling for position on Lap 26, ending both their hopes of winning the grand prix.

Hamilton exited the pits and took the inside line into Turn 1 to defend the position from Verstappen, who ran over the kerbs and collided with Hamilton’s car.

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.

The FIA stewards 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 F1about the collision before the verdict was announced, Wolff said: “The stewards are going to decide who is to blame, who is predominantly to blame. I guess we've seen that in the past.

“But I would say it was, in football, they call it a tactical foul. He probably knew that if Lewis stays ahead, that is the race win possibly.”

Watching footage of the accident, Wolff said that Verstappen “doesn’t look like [he was] alongside” Hamilton going into the corner.

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

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

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

“If you compare it to what Lewis did in Turn 4 in Lap 11, there was no space left - pushed off the track, actually,” Wolff said.

“But yes, let the stewards make the judgement. I don't want to be a pander like some of my colleagues.”

The opening lap had seen Hamilton try and pass Verstappen around the outside going into the chicane, resulting in light contact, only to back out and run over the kerbs when he could not get the move done.

“When you look at Turn 4, he backed out and that was quite a thing, because probably, you know that he's staying ahead of of you,” Wolff said.

“And then the incident where they actually crashed. It was clear for Max in there that it would end up in a crash.”

Hamilton and Verstappen’s first major collision came at the British Grand Prix in July when they made contact at the high-speed Copse corner on the opening lap, resulting in a 51G crash for Verstappen.

Both drivers had downplayed the chances of any repeat incidents, but Wolff said the latest clash meant it was important to get it managed in the right way.

“If we don't manage that in the right way, and I'm sure that the stewards will look at it in the right way, this is going to continue,” Wolff said.

“We had a high speed at Silverstone. We had one car ending on top of the other one, on Lewis' head here.

“So how far can we go? Maybe next time, we have a high-speed crash and lying on each other.”

Verstappen’s car came to rest propped up on Hamilton’s, while one of the Dutchman’s wheels had touched Hamilton’s helmet in the accident.

“If you see the car, the whole thing is damaged over the halo,” Wolff said. “And the wheel was on Lewis' head.”

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