Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton played an “instrumental” role in not causing a collision with Charles Leclerc during the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton took evasive action twice during an intense scrap for the lead of the race with Leclerc, with the Ferrari driver squeezing Hamilton wide at the Della Roggia chicane on Lap 23 before later blocking him through the flat-out Curva Grande.

Wolff felt Leclerc’s driving was “maybe over the line” and suggested the stewards’ decision not to penalise him was swayed by the Monza event being Ferrari’s home race.

“The racing was very hard, maybe over the line, and Lewis I think was instrumental in not making it an incident,” Wolff said.

“But at the end of the day what do you do? Do you give the leading Ferrari at Monza a five-second penalty? Out of the question.

“But then we’d need a police escort out of here.”

And Wolff reckons the FIA’s stance of using the black-and-white warning flag will result in more drivers making contact.

“More cars will be touching and it will be more of a common practice,” he explained.

“My opinion is that it will end up in a collision, then we will bail out of it or crawl back, this is the modus operandi. Until then we will let them race.”

Hamilton said he would have stood his ground and most likely ended up colliding with Leclerc had he not had to consider the title fight.

“I think that drivers will always have a sense of self-preservation and not try to throw away a race,” Wolff added when asked for his views on Hamilton’s approach.

“We’ve seen that in the last years the young ones that come into Formula 1 they are a little bit more aggressive, these moves can end up in the wall if not one of them gives up.

“Today the drivers that are going for the drivers’ world championship bail out of it so it saves Charles.

“In another instance, Lewis perfectly knew what he was doing he saved it and didn’t lose any bits or any parts in the incident but he could have equally decided I am not going to let this happen and put the two cars out.

“These things need to happen, it is a reoccurring thing, until it ends up in a situation that is dire for the one that is aggressive. We aren’t there yet.

“The interesting decision would have been if it ended up in Lewis losing a front wing or both cars being in the wall.”



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