George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Lewis Hamilton said he was ‘surprised’ Max Verstappen walked straight past him after their crash in F1’s Italian Grand Prix. Verstappen’s Red Bull went over Hamilton’s Mercedes on lap 26 of the race at Monza on Sunday.
Neither driver was able to continue, with Verstappen handed a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix later this month after being deemed by race officials to have caused the incident.
The crash happened as Verstappen approached the Variante del Rettifilo at 225mph and Hamilton exited the pit-lane.
The Red Bull driver attempted to squeeze past his rival at the right-left chicane, but ran out of control and airborne into Hamilton’s path, with his rear-right wheel crushing the top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Hamilton afterwards said he was lucky to be alive thanks to the ‘halo’ – a curved, reinforced bar in front of the driver’s head which protected him from a more severe impact.
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But he said he was surprised by Verstappen’s actions, saying he would have expected the championship leader to check whether he was okay.
Hamilton said: “It all happened incredibly quick and being in the car at the time, the only thing I could think of was getting going and how many positions I would lose.
“I was still just in race mode, so it was just like, ‘How can I get going again?’ I was sitting there in a little bit of pain, but was thinking, come on let’s go. But unfortunately the car wouldn’t move.
“I did see Max get out and just walk by and I felt that was a little bit surprising, because ultimately when we do have incidents, the first thing we want to make sure is that the guy that we collide with or crash into is okay.
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“But the good thing is that I was able to get out. It was a long walk back and we live to fight another day.”
Hamilton praised the Halo, which was only introduced into F1 three years ago, saying: “I feel very fortunate today.
“Thank God for the halo which saved me, and saved my neck.
“I am so grateful I am still here. I feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today.
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“I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on the head by a car before – and it is quite a big shock for me.
“We are taking risks and it’s only when you experience something like that that you get the real shock of how you look at life and how fragile we all are.
“If you look at the images of the crash, my head is really quite far forward in the cockpit.”
Hamilton later posted an update on social media, saying: “My necks a bit sore as the adrenaline wears off – it was a bit of a hit on the head but I’m doing okay!”
Verstappen still leads Hamilton by five points from Sunday’s race, which was won by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.
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