Max Verstappen believes the dramatic first corner collision at the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix "looked worse than it was” and doubts the Halo did anything to protect Charles Leclerc.

Fernando Alonso’s McLaren was launched over the top of Leclerc’s Sauber after Nico Hulkenberg hit the Spaniard from behind, with tyre marks left clearly visible on the cockpit protection device attached to Leclerc’s car.

Both Leclerc and Alonso were quick to praise the introduction of Halo, while Hulkenberg – a previous critic of the device – accepted it “did a good job”. But Verstappen is adamant Alonso’s car would not have made contact with Leclerc’s head.

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CrashTV: 

“I honestly think it looked worse than it actually was, because the car never vertically drops on someone else,” Verstappen told media ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

“We would always skid over the top. But because the Halo is sticking out so much, of course it gets hit at one point.

“The more you build in front of a driver, the more chance you can get hit. I think even if the Halo wouldn't be there, he wouldn't have been hit anyway. I think they made it a bit too dramatic.”

However, Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo disagreed with the Dutchman and argued replays showed things would have been much worse had it not been for Halo.

“When you see what happened, I think [Brendon] Hartley’s onboard was the most telling one,” he explained. “You can see Alonso coming from the side, it looked like he was coming over the top but it came in from the side. It was going to be very close if the Halo wasn’t there.

“I think it did what it had to do and I think it’s nice for people who didn’t support it maybe because at least now we’ve got proof that it likely saved Charles probably a very serious injury.

“I feel I was always ‘for’ the head protection,” he added. “I don’t think any of us were ‘for’ the look of it. I was always one to say, especially after [Justin] Wilson’s crash in Indy[Car], I think it was in Monza that year, it was pretty clear. I was a bit vocal about doing something.”

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