Mercedes question Verstappen’s tactics in Hamilton crash – ‘Will always force an issue’

George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

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Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has questioned Max Verstappen’s tactics after a heavy crash with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix ruined both driver’s races.

Verstappen was handed a three-place grid penalty for being “predominantly to blame” for the incident, which saw both cars beached in the gravel, with the Red Bull mounted on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.

In the aftermath, Hamilton revealed he had a “sore neck” and has “one big headache” but praised the halo for “stopping the crash from being a lot worse”.

However, Verstappen was left questioning the stewards’ decision.

“I don’t fully agree with the penalty as I believe it was a racing incident,” said Verstappen. “It’s very unfortunate what happened today but we are both professionals and so we will move on.”

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Despite the penalty, Mercedes were left perplexed by Verstappen’s actions, with Shovlin left wondering why the Dutchman didn’t yield.

“It’s sad that Lewis’s race had to end the way it did but a relief that he had the extra protection of the Halo today otherwise it would have been very nasty,” Shovlin said after the race.

“Max was never going to make the corner but it seems like he will always choose to force the issue rather than concede a position to Lewis.

“It’s frustrating to have had a car that was so quick and leave here with so few points but the reality is that there are many areas where we need to perform better.”

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Hamilton trails in the standings by five points in his quest for an eight world title, with the Russian Grand Prix next on the calendar on September 26.

Yet, the Briton was left with a bitter taste in his mouth after the events in Monza.

“Obviously disappointing for me to end the race in the manner that it did,” reflected Hamilton. “I thought the team did a great job with the strategy, and we were in a good position until that collision on lap 26.

“From what I remember, after I came out of the pits, I saw Max coming and I made sure I left a car’s width on the outside for him.

“I went into Turn 1 and I was ahead, and I was ahead going into Turn 2, and then all of a sudden, he was on top of me.

“All in all, not a great end to the weekend for me but it was good to see that Valtteri carried the team with his amazing recovery drive.

“Coming from the back all the way to the podium on a track like this is not easy. The team did a great job and coming away with more points than Red Bull is definitely positive.”

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