With only 5 points separating the two title contenders, the battle for the Drivers' Championship is getting more heated each passing weekend. In Silverstone Lewis Hamilton was doomed “predominantly” responsible for causing a massive collision, that sent Max Verstappen into the wall with a 51G impact. Today in Monza both drivers were forced to retire following another huge crash.
“I think when you look at today's race it's about backing out: lap 1 Lewis backed out, and then the other way around, he didn't back out,” commented Toto Wolff just after the race in a media session where MotorLat was present.
“Maybe I'm more unsportsmanlike than Lewis probably because I would have terminated the race there. At least we would have had less engine mileage on the power unit.”
The Team Principal called Verstappen’s move a “tactical foul” performed in order to gain a position of advantage on track, that could have easily been avoided.
“I think lap 1, you can see what both drivers can do to avoid the accident: if one is a bit harsh, the other one avoids,” he said.
"When cars are side by side you just need to leave room. If we were running today in Monaco, I think we wouldn't have seen this kind of incident.”
An incident that, points and reparations aside, could have been incredibly dangerous, as the RB16B went flying on top of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
"The Halo definitely saved Lewis' life today. It would have been a horrible accident that I don't want to even think about if we wouldn't have the Halo.”
“Both of them need to leave space for each other, race each other hard, but avoid accidents. Because it was good fun until now, but we have seen a Halo that saved Lewis' life today and Max had this heavy impact in Silverstone, and we do not want to come to situation to intervene when somebody gets really hurt.”
So what could be done by FIA in order to prevent these kinds of collisions from happening?
“I think that what the stewards’ verdict needs to be, or at least that the modus operandi for the future, is that tactical fouls in order to make sure that the other guy doesn't win is something which you need to get under control. How? I have no idea.”
After the race both drivers were called to the stewards and later in the evening Max Verstappen was handed out a penalty: a 3-place grid positions drop at the Russian GP.
“We should be watching with interest and hopefully not have 8 accidents in the next 8 remaining races, because that means we would lose by five points or so,” concluded Wolff.