Hamilton: Verstappen penalty sets 'important precedent' for F1

Lewis Hamilton believes Max Verstappen’s penalty after their clash at the Italian Grand Prix sets an ‘important precedent’ for Formula 1.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 retired from the race.
Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 retired from the race.
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Verstappen was handed a three-place grid penalty for Sochi after the stewards deemed him to be “predominantly” to blame.

The pair clashed at the first sequence of corners when Verstappen hit the sausage kerb at Turn 2, sending his car airborne, ending on the top of Hamilton’s Mercedes W12. 

Hamilton came away unscathed thanks to the roll hoop and Halo safety device on his car.

Reflecting on the incident after the race at Monza, Hamilton said that he’ ‘proud of the stewards’ for handing Verstappen a penalty.

“Well, it’s a big shock,” he said. “I’ve been racing a long time and we are taking risks out there all the time, so I guess it’s only when you experience something like that that you get that real shock and you look at life and realise how fragile we are. 

“But if that is the result, then I think I’m ultimately proud of the stewards, and I need some time to really reflect on it, but it definitely sets a precedent, and I think it is important for us moving forward that there are strict rules put in place. I will wait to speak to the team to find out what the actual report says.”

Verstappen disagreed with the stewards’ verdict, labelling it as a “racing incident”.

“We were racing for position today but you need two people to work together to make the corner and Lewis just kept squeezing until there wasn’t room anymore for two cars and that’s when we crashed,” Verstappen added. When he exited the pits, he started to squeeze me going into Turn 1 so I had to use the green part of the track. 

“It was very tight but there was room for me to go around the outside and then I was pushed onto the orange sausage kerb. I was there to try and race hard but fair. I don't fully agree with the penalty as I believe it was a racing incident. It’s very unfortunate what happened today but we are both professionals and so we will move on.”

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