Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz Jnr believes the incident between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix was “avoidable” but was inevitable whilst the two are fighting for a world championship title.
It’s the second time the two title protagonists have come together this season after the British Grand Prix and Hamilton and Verstappen were also involved in many near misses before then.
Yet, tension boiled over at Silverstone, with the duo colliding at high impact on the first lap of the race.
Verstappen was sent to hospital for checks after the 51G crash, with Hamilton handed a ten-second time penalty for causing a collision.
The fierce rivals collided for a second time at the Italian Grand Prix, as the two banged wheels at the famous chicane at Turn 1, with Verstappen bumping over the sausage kerbs and collecting Hamilton.
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The Red Bull was propelled into the air, landing awkwardly on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes, with the right-rear tyre hitting the seven-time world champions helmet.
In the aftermath, the Ferrari driver felt there was a clear driver at fault, but refused to name any names.
“From my point of view, the accident is pretty clear,” Sainz said. “I’m not going to go into detail, I’m not going to give you my opinion because I feel like there’s going to be some talk [about it] in the next driver meeting.
“I think it is always avoidable. I think two don’t crash if one doesn’t want [to].
“They are fighting for a championship. You’re more exposed to these kinds of incidents [in that scenario], like we’ve seen in the past.
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“I guess it’s a natural thing in Formula one, two guys that are fighting for the championship tend to collide more often than not.”
Hamilton was left with a “sore neck” in the aftermath, complaining of a “huge headache” but praised the halo for saving his life.
The seven-time world champion flew straight out to New York on Sunday to attend the Met Gala, in which he showcased emerging black designers but added he would be getting checked by a specialist before Sochi.
“His rear wheel landed on my head,” he said.
“I think the rear wheel landed on it, the Halo, and I think the most cambered part of the inside of the tyre landed on my head.
“I think I’m just going to be travelling these next days, but I probably will need to get to see a specialist just to make sure I’m good for the next race because it’s getting tighter and tighter. But I’ll live.”
Verstappen still holds a five-point lead heading to the Russian Grand Prix with just eight races remaining of the 2022 season, as Hamilton looks to claw back precious points in Sochi.