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Mercedes’ British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) and Red Bull’s Dutch driver Max Verstappen collide during the Italian Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Nazionale circuit in Monza, on September 12, 2021. (Photo : ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Lewis Hamilton is thanking his lucky stars that he will live to race another day after colliding with rival Max Verstappen in a horrific crash at Monza. The seven-time Formula One world champion escaped tragedy by mere inches on Sunday in the Italian Grand Prix.
The racing incident happened as the two championship leaders battled for position at Monza’s tight first chicane, with Verstappen’s Red Bull launching over the inside kerb and landing precisely on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Hamilton thanks the Halo device for saving his life
Hamilton was fortunate that Formula 1 cars now have the halo in place as the cockpit protection device managed to deflect Verstappen’s car as it rammed past the Briton’s head. Replays showed a frightening scene with the Dutchman’s right rear tyre hitting the top of Hamilton’s helmet, but the halo did its job in shielding Hamilton from serious injury.
Hamilton did not leave the crash unscathed, telling reporters three hours after the accident that his neck was “in a little bit of pain” and that it was getting worse with the adrenaline now wearing off.
Hamilton remained in good spirits, though, feeling fortunate for his second chance at life. “Honestly, I feel very, very fortunate today. Thank God for the halo. That ultimately saved me. And saved my neck.”
Hamilton said that Verstappen’s rear wheel landed on his halo, and he thinks the inside of the most cambered part of the tyre landed on his head. He then said that he would probably need to see a specialist to ensure he is good for the next race in Sochi because his neck is getting tighter and tighter.
Hamilton later added that the collision reminded him of the dangers of motorsport, saying, “Well, it’s a big shock. I’ve been racing a long time and we are taking risks out there all the time.” Hamilton then said that he realized how fragile we all are after experiencing that crash.
Verstappen penalized after role in Hamilton crash
Even with their growing animosity towards each other, Hamilton still expressed surprise that Verstappen didn’t come to check on him and see if he was fine after their collision. Hamilton said that usually, when they have this kind of incident, the first thing they want to make sure is that the guy they collide or crash into is fine, and Verstappen didn’t do that in this case.
When asked by reporters why he didn’t check on Hamilton post-crash, Verstappen said his title rival was already out of the car and “when you’re not fine, you’re not doing that.” Verstappen was later found by the race stewards as the one “predominantly to blame” for the accident, with the Red Bull driver given a costly three-place grid penalty at the next event in Russia.
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