Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff says Max Verstappen committed a "tactical foul" after he collided with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
On lap 27, Hamilton emerged out of the pit lane into P7 after a stop and went wheel-to-wheel with Verstappen, who didn’t back down as he went around the outside of Turn One and into the chicane.
This resulted in Verstappen clipping the kerb as he went around the outside, and then the inside, flipping up on top of Hamilton’s car. The Brit had the Halo to thank for not suffering a serious injury.
Italian Grand Prix
Ricciardo leads home McLaren one-two after Hamilton and Verstappen crash
- Hamilton says halo saved him in crash with Verstappen
- Hamilton and Verstappen crash as drivers suffer DNF, Dutchman hit with penalty
Wolff believes there was intent from the 23-year-old Red Bull driver, who was later hit with a three-place grid drop, as Hamilton registered his first DNF in 63 race starts.
"I would say, in football you call it a tactical foul," said Wolff.
"[Max] probably knew that if Lewis stays ahead, that is the race win possibly.
“It was clear to Max in there that it would end up in a crash,” added Wolff, speaking ahead of the stewards' verdict.
"I think if we don’t manage this in the right way – and I’m sure the stewards will look at it in the right way – it’s going to continue.
"We’ve had a high-speed crash in Silverstone, we’ve had one car ending up on top of the other on Lewis’ head here. How far can we go? Maybe next we have a high-speed crash and land on each other."
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner disagreed and labelled it a "racing incident".
“I’m disappointed Toto would say it would be a professional foul,” said Horner.
“I think it’s a racing incident and thankfully no one was injured today.
“First of all, we shouldn’t have been in that position because we had a poor pit stop, but Max had the momentum, he had enough space around – I think Lewis gave him enough around the run in to Turn 1 and our opinion would be that Lewis perhaps closed him too much into Turn 2.
"You can see [Max has] got the momentum into Turn 1, Lewis gives him enough space there, Max alongside, and then obviously an incident.
I think [Max] earned enough to be given a bit more space to work with on the left there. You can probably argue it from both sides, but if you’re taking the middle ground with it, you’d call it a racing incident.
Hamilton and Verstappen crash as drivers suffer DNF, Dutchman hit with penalty
Italian Grand Prix
Bottas edges Hamilton as Mercedes lock out front row for sprint race