The Dutchman’s Red Bull was launched onto the top of his Mercedes as the two
tangled at the Italian GP
Hamilton, 36, avoided serious injury largely thanks to his halo – a protective titanium
ring around his helmet – but was still hit on the head by Verstappen’s tyre.
The Brit, who later complained of neck pain, admitted he was saved by the halo
cockpit protection canopy that stopped the full weight of the Red Bull’s rear wheel
from striking his head.
Hamilton said: “Honestly, I feel very, very fortunate. Thank God for the halo. That
ultimately 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 shock
for me. “If you see the image, my head is quite far forward. I have been racing for a
long long time and I am so so grateful I am still here.
“I feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today.”
Hamilton, who sounded out of sorts after the race, will see a specialist to ensure
there is no long term damage.
The seven-time world champion, 36, was fighting Verstappen for track position when
the Red Bull collided with the Brit’s Mercedes.
Hamilton was coming out of the pits and into the first chicane with Verstappen in
pursuit of his F1 title rival.
The Dutch star, 23, didn’t back down and hit the kerb, flying into Hamilton and
ending both of their chances of winning the Italian GP.
Speaking to his team on the radio after the incident, Verstappen said: “That’s what
happens when you don’t give space.”
But the title challenger was handed a three-place grid penalty for the next race in
Russia after a stewards’ investigation.
Hamilton was quizzed about watching the incident back and realising just how close
he came to suffering a potentially fatal accident.
He added: “His rear wheel landed on my head. The rear wheel landed on the halo and
I think the inside of the most cambered part of the inside of the tyre landed on my
head. “I will probably need to see a specialist make sure I’m good for the next race
because it is getting tighter and tighter, but I’ll live.
“But it’s a big shock. I’ve been racing a long time and we are taking risks out there all
“It’s only when you experience something like that that you get that real shock and
you look at life and realise how fragile we are.”
Red Bull chief Christian Horner has praised the Halo and is relieved Hamilton didn’t
suffer a serious injury at Monza.
“To portion the blame [for the crash] to one side or the other, I think for this
particular incident that’s very difficult to do.”
After Verstappen insisted he was not to blame for the collision, Mercedes chief Toto
Wolff described it as a ‘tactical foul’.
He told Sky Sports: “The stewards will decide who is to blame. In football, you would
call it a tactical foul. He knew that if Lewis stays ahead, then that is the race win.
“When you look at Turn 4 earlier in the race, [Lewis] backed out of it, but it was clear
for Max [before the incident] it would end up in a crash.
“I’m sure the stewards will look at this properly but incidents like this will continue.
“Maybe it will have to be another high-speed crash and end up with someone on top
of someone’s head again [for things to change].”
Daniel Ricciardo went on to win the Italian GP, with his McLaren team-mate Lando
Norris is just behind him in second.
It was Ricciardo’s first victory since his triumph at Monaco three years ago and
McLaren’s first win in 3,213 DAYS.
Hamilton’s Mercedes partner Valtteri Bottas completed the podium, while the Brit’s
future colleague George Russell finished ninth.