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Lewis Hamilton says he was left “shocked” after a dramatic crash at the Italian Grand Prix that saw the Red Bull of Max Verstappen left mounted on top of his Mercedes as both drivers ended up beached in the gravel.
Verstappen was handed a three-place grid drop to be taken at the Russian Grand Prix after the stewards deemed him “predominantly at blame” for the accident.
Reacting to the decision which happened as Hamilton was speaking to the media, he responded: “If that is the result then I think I am ultimately proud of the stewards.
“It definitely sets a precedent and I think it is important for us moving forwards for the safety of the drivers that there are strict rules set in place.”
Hamilton and Verstappen tangled as the seven-time world champion was exiting the pits on lap 26 of the race.
Lewis Hamilton ‘surprised’ by Max Verstappen’s actions after crash
On the run-up to turn one, neither seemed to be yielding as the gap got smaller, with Verstappen clipping the sausage kerbs, launching the Red Bull over the Mercedes with the rear wheel scraping across the halo and making contact with the Briton’s helmet.
“I feel very, very fortunate today,” said Hamilton. “Thank God for the halo which saved me, and saved my neck.
“I don’t think I have ever been hit on the head by a car before. And it is quite a big shock for me.
“We are taking risks and it is only when you experience something like that that you get the real shock of how you look at life and how fragile we all are.
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“If you look at the images of the crash, my head is really quite far forward in the cockpit.
“I have been racing a long, long time. I am so grateful I am still here. I feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today.”
The halo, a ring of titanium that sits above the car’s cockpit to protect the driver’s head from flying debris, was introduced to Formula One in 2018 and faced some backlash.
However, Hamilton’s boss Toto Wolff felt the same and praised the introduction of the halo to Formula one.
“The championship was good fun up until now but we saw the halo save Lewis’ life today. We don’t want to see someone seriously hurt.”
“Without it, it would have been a horrible accident which I don’t even want to think about.”
Verstappen still leads the standings by five points after his second-place finish in the sprint race on Saturday, with the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo winning the race in Monza.
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