Grand prix

Hill suggests Verstappen deliberately took out F1 rival Hamilton

The 2021 championship protagonists collided as they battled for position at the first chicane on lap 26 of Sunday’s dramatic race at Monza, with both ending up beached in the gravel and forced to retire.

Verstappen had attempted a move around the outside of Hamilton but ran wide at the apex of Turn 2 and bounced over the sausage kerb before being launched over the top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Both drivers pointed the finger at each other for the incident, with Verstappen claiming Hamilton had failed to leave him sufficient room.

But Hill – who lost the 1994 world championship to Michael Schumacher following a controversial collision in the Adelaide title showdown – accused Verstappen of either making an “error of judgement or a calculated move”.

“I have to say, looking at the rerun of Max on Lewis in Turn 1, there was no way he was going to make that work,” Hill, the 1996 World Champion, told Sky F1.

“He had to take evasive action, as Lewis did in the second chicane previously to avoid an accident, so the only conclusion is he might have been thinking ‘I have to take him out’.

“I don’t want to think that of any driver, but I think it was either an error of judgement or a calculated move to collide with Lewis.

“It is strong, strong stuff, and I don’t like the idea that I’m accusing anyone of doing that, but he’s got a points advantage and this was a race which Mercedes was supposed to win.

“It’s all that vibe, and Max has come out still with his championship lead.”

Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty by the stewards following an investigation into the incident.

Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff said Verstappen had committed a “tactical foul”, a suggestion that “disappointed” his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner, who felt it was a racing incident.

“I’m disappointed that Toto would say it would be a professional foul,” Horner told Sky F1. “I think it’s a racing incident, and thankfully nobody was injured today.

“I think Max earned enough to be given a bit more space to work with on the left there.

“I think you can probably argue it from both sides, so if you take a middle ground on it, you say it was a racing incident.

“But I genuinely think that you could argue Max should have bailed a bit more to the left, you can argue that Lewis should have given him more space.”

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