'Thank God for the Halo', says Lewis Hamilton after scary Monza crash with Verstappen

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Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W12 crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 12, 2021 in Monza, Italy.
Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (33) Red Bull Racing RB16B Honda and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team Mercedes W12 crash during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo di Monza on September 12, 2021 in Monza, Italy.
Photo by Peter Van Egmond

 • Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Merc's Lewis Hamilton once again collided during an F1 race.

 • This time the two rivals took each other out of the Italian Grand Prix.

 • Hamilton says the Halo safety device saved his life. 

 • For motoring news, go to News24/wheels


Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton reckons the Halo saved his life after his major collision with Red Bull's Max Verstappen at Monza on Sunday.

Although at a slower speed than their Silverstone clash, the contact at the opening Monza chicane was no less dramatic as the Red Bull came to rest partly on top of the Mercedes.

This time, both drivers exited the race, leaving Daniel Ricciardo to go on and win the Italian Grand Prix from his McLaren teammate Lando Norris.

Hamilton and Verstappen could climb out of their cars independently and walk back to the pits, unharmed apart from the Briton saying he was "a little bit stiff" having taken "a bit of a whack on the head".

Both Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Wolff believed the outcome would have been much worse but for the protective Halo device, which was also praised for saving Romain Grosjean's life in his horrifying fireball crash at last year's Bahrain Grand Prix.

"I feel very, very fortunate today – thank God for the halo," Hamilton told reporters. "That ultimately saved me, you know, and saved my neck.

"I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before, and it's quite a shock for me. If you've seen the image, my head really is quite far forward.

"I'm so, so grateful I'm still here. I feel incredibly blessed. I feel like someone was watching over me today.

READ | Verstappen gets grid penalty at upcoming Russian GP for collision with Hamilton

"I've been racing a long time, and we are taking risks out there all the time. I guess it's only when you experience something like that that you get that real shock of how you look at life and realise how fragile we are."

"The halo definitely saved Lewis' life today," Wolff told reporters while awaiting the verdict from the stewards' inquiry into who was to blame for the incident. The Austrian later learned Verstappen had received a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix, having been found "predominantly at fault".

"It would have been a horrible accident that I don't want to even think about if we didn't have the Halo."

There had also been an incident between the duo at the second chicane on the opening lap in which Hamilton had to briefly go off track, similar to what had happened in this year's previous Grand Prix in Italy at Imola.

And, of course, the Copse collision resulted in Verstappen hurtling into the barrier with an impact of 51G and requiring checks in hospital – a crash for which the stewards adjudged Hamilton to be predominantly at fault.

"It's fierce, and it's intense, and they need to find a way of how to race each other," added Wolff. "There will be accidents if it is not clear, and it is never clear-cut actually.

"The Silverstone one, it was [judged to be] predominantly. But they know what they are doing in the car and how they are racing each other, and we should be watching with interest and hopefully not having eight accidents in the next eight races.

"That means we would lose [the title] by five points or so.

"After increasing his advantage by two points in sprint qualifying, Verstappen will take a five-point lead in the Drivers' standings to the Russian Grand Prix – but will have that grid penalty to overcome.

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