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Red Bull boss Christian Horner believes it was “disappointing” to hear Mercedes boss Toto Wolff call the Italian Grand Prix crash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen as a “professional foul” by the Dutchman. Both drivers were forced to retire from the race, with the halo protecting Hamilton from more harm as the Red Bull of Verstappen ended on top of the Mercedes with the pair beached in the gravel.
Hamilton and Verstappen were summoned to see the stewards after the race, with both drivers blaming the other for the incident.
“The stewards will decide who is to blame,” stated the Mercedes boss Wolff, speaking to Sky Sports. “But I would say it was a tactical foul, he probably knew that if Lewis stays ahead that’s the race win. Doesn’t look like he’s alongside and he goes along the sausage kerbs in the middle.”
“If you compare it to Lewis at turn four on lap one, there was no space left and pushed off the track. Let’s leave it to the stewards,” Wolff added.
However, Horner had the comments put to him after the race, and was left unhappy with the Austrian’s verdict.
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“I think he earnt enough to be given a bit more space to work with on the left there, so you can probably argue it from both sides so I think if you take a middle ground on it you’d say it was a racing incident,” began Horner, speaking to Sky Sports.
“But I genuinely think that you could argue that Max should’ve bailed a bit more on the left, you can argue that Lewis should’ve given him more space.
“To apportion blame to one side or the other, I think in that incident very difficult to do.
“It was a very different incident to Silverstone, as I say, he earned the right to have a bit more space into turn two.
“Contacts happen, I’m disappointed Toto would say it’s a professional foul, but I think it’s a racing incident and thankfully no one was injured today.”
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The pair tangled on lap 26 of the race, as Hamilton emerged from the pits alongside the Dutchman.
The two were heading towards the first chicane, with neither yielding on the run-up to Turn 2.
However, disaster struck as Verstappen bumped over the sausage kerbs, and seemingly collected Hamilton, with the Red Bull mounting the Mercedes with both beached in the gravel.
But after a slow 11-second pit-stop from the Red Bull team, Horner believed it was a series of events that led to the incident.
“First of all we shouldn’t have been in that position because we had a poor pit-stop, but Max had the momentum, he had enough space around the outside,” Horner continued.
“I think Lewis gave him enough through the run into turn one, our opinion would be Lewis perhaps closed him too much into turn two.
“Obviously [I’m unhappy with the outcome] I think we had a good car today, and we felt we should have at least been on the podium and challenging Daniel.
“Very frustrating thing to come out of the race, the most important thing though is the halo has done its job because it’s an awkward accident with the Red Bull effectively coming down on top of the Mercedes.
“Thankfully no one was hurt.”
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