Red Bull boss Christian Horner questions FIA’s handling of Max Verstappen-Lewis Hamilton crash at Italian Grand Prix

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has questioned why Lewis Hamilton didn’t receive the same penalty as Max Verstappen following their crash at the Italian Grand Prix.

While Verstappen was hit with a three-place grid penalty for the next grand prix, set to be held in the Russian city of Sochi next weekend, Hamilton avoided sanction.

The crash occurred when Verstappen tried to overtake Hamilton on lap 26 as they navigated the first chicane of the circuit, with Verstappen’s Red Bull climbing onto the top of his title rival’s Mercedes in a collision that eliminated both drivers from the race.

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Hamilton credited the halo, which protected his head from Verstappen’s right-rear tyre, for saving his life in Monza.


While Verstappen argued that Hamilton had “kept on squeezing”, the seven-time world champion insisted the Dutchman “knew what was going to happen” but still tried to overtake.

The FIA made the definitive call, stating that Verstappen was “predominantly to blame”.

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Horner has always maintained it’s difficult to place more blame on one driver than the other, pointing to “a genuine racing incident”.


But in his latest column for Red Bull’s official Formula 1 website, Horner added that the FIA could have hit both drivers with the same penalty.

“Both drivers knew they needed to be ahead because of the difficulty to overtake. Max was keen to seize the momentum and Lewis was eager to retain track position. It was an awkward shunt, but both drivers were instantly able to confirm they were okay,” Horner wrote.

“With Lewis trying to reverse and get back in the race, even the medical car didn’t see the need to deploy. I’m grateful the halo did its job. I think even the most vocal of doubters have now changed their mind about (the halo).

“I still share the same belief today – both played a part in it and it is difficult to apportion blame to one side more than the other.


“If the FIA wanted to make a statement, they could’ve imposed the same penalty on both drivers.

“But the fault was deemed to be more on Max’s side and, because he didn’t finish the race, the only option was to give him a grid penalty, which we accept.”

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The Monza collision was the second crash between Verstappen and Hamilton during the 2021 world championship.

The first occurred when Hamilton tried to overtake Verstappen at Copse Corner at the British Grand Prix in July, with Hamilton’s front-left tyre clipping Verstappen’s right-rear tyre and sending the young ace flying across the gravel.

Verstappen was done for the day and, despite receiving a 10-second penalty, Hamilton fought back to win, beating Charles Leclerc and Valtteri Bottas.

As the world championship now makes its way to Russia, Verstappen is leading the grid on 226.5 points and Hamilton is sitting second on 221.5.

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