The title protagonists may be sitting at one apiece when it comes to causing collisions, at least according to the stewards, but Ralf Schumacher says it won’t end with Monza.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had their second big crash of this season at the Italian Grand Prix, the two off into the gravel at the Rettifilo chicane after contact through the second part of the chicane.
Verstappen’s Red Bull, having run out of road, mounted the kerbs and bounced onto the top of Hamilton’s Mercedes. Both were out of the grand prix with the score as it was after Saturday’s sprint qualifying.
Their Monza crash follows on from their Silverstone collision but while Hamilton was blamed for that one, the stewards deemed Verstappen responsible for Sunday’s antics.
Schumacher doesn’t agree, nor does he believe this was the last time we’ll see these two make contact this season.
“It will definitely not be the last time that the two fight each other hard,” he told Sky Germany.
“Nobody wants to cause an accident, of course, but these two don’t give each other anything.
“Hamilton desperately wants the eighth World title and Verstappen sees the chance for the title now and gives everything for it. It’s an absolute match with two great drivers. Perfect for us viewers.
“Toto Wolff spoke of a ‘tactical foul’ after the race. Let me put it this way, that Max would prefer it that neither of the two scored points, especially because Monza was previously considered a Mercedes track, naturally it makes it look like that.
“But if you look closely, you can see that Max is already trying to prevent the crash, turning left and driving onto the kerb. You never see him pulling into Hamilton. It wasn’t on purpose, but it was a welcome side effect. So both go to Russia with their points unchanged.”
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Verstappen was handed a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix, a punishment that Schumacher feel is “not justified”.
He explained: “Both were very tough and Verstappen tried to get around the corner but didn’t have room because Lewis Hamilton didn’t give him that.
“Lewis didn’t want to give up because he didn’t want to give up the position. He knows that then he would have lost even more points to Max. Then they hit. For me a racing accident.”
But unlike after Hamilton’s Silverstone penalty for crashing into Verstappen, Schumacher isn’t expecting an appeal from Red Bull over Verstappen’s grid drop.
“I don’t know if Red Bull will appeal,” he continued. “The FIA is obviously very strict with them. I think they will accept the punishment.
“Plus three starting places shouldn’t usually be a problem for Max, even if overtaking is difficult in Sochi, that is an advantage for Hamilton.”
Planet F1 verdict
Did Max Verstappen deserve his penalty or racing incident?
Did Max Verstappen deserve a penalty for his crash with Lewis Hamilton?