The 2021 Formula One title battle took another twist with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s collision in the Italian Grand Prix. It’s just the latest time this year that Hamilton and Verstappen have had a collision.
Hamilton and Verstappen collision at Monza the latest flashpoint
As Hamilton was emerging from the pit lane on Lap 26 at Monza, Verstappen was approaching at racing speed.
The Mercedes gently squeezed the Red Bull towards the outside of Turn 1, which became the inside for Turn 2.
Verstappen was launched over the sausage kerbs, landing on top of Hamilton’s car.
Only the halo cockpit head protection system prevented Verstappen’s right rear wheel from making contact with Hamilton’s head.
Both retired on the spot, and it is merely the latest flashpoint in their generational rivalry in 2021.
Verstappen has been handed a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix, and two points on his super licence.
Let’s take a look at the times in 2021 they have made contact – starting with the trigger point that ignited the rivalry.
Silverstone shunt the trigger point for Hamilton and Verstappen
Until the British Grand Prix in July, relations between the drivers, and their teams, had been cordial.
On the opening lap of the grand prix, Hamilton dove to the inside at Copse, tagging the right rear of Verstappen.
The Red Bull was spat into the barriers at high speed, recording a 51g impact.
Hamilton was awarded a 10s time penalty as the stewards felt he was predominantly to blame, but went on to win the race anyhow.
Post-race, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner was furious.
He described Hamilton’s move as “amateur” and “desperate”.
That’s an ex-Formula 3000 driver calling the most successful, statistically speaking, F1 driver an amateur.
Red Bull refused to back down, lodging a request to the stewards next time out in Hungary to review the incident.
That was thrown out but the cordial atmosphere had long since evaporated as Mercedes believed Red Bull had tried to discredit Hamilton’s name for what was nominally a racing incident.
First Hamilton and Verstappen collision came at Imola
In the Bahrain season-opener, Verstappen was forced to give the lead back to Hamilton having hunted him down late on.
The Red Bull ran wide at Turn 4 when making the pass for the lead, handing the win to the Mercedes driver.
Their first collision on-track came next time out at Imola.
In a wet start, Verstappen hugged the inside at the Tamburello chicane, forcing Hamilton wide.
The Briton ran across the sausage kerbs, causing minor damage to his front wing.
It was Verstappen’s marker against Hamilton.
Two races later in Spain, Verstappen once again showed he wouldn’t back down.
At the start, he lunged Hamilton into Turn 1, forcing Hamilton to avoid a certain collision.
That was probably just the right side of the limit.
Their only other on-track battle came in France.
On fresher tyres, Verstappen hunted Hamilton down, making an easy pass at the chicane for the win.
What does the Italian GP collision do to the standings?
Verstappen entered the weekend on 224.5 points, three ahead of Hamilton.
Second place in Saturday’s F1 sprint earned the Red Bull driver two points as Hamilton laboured to fifth.
Both scored no points in the main race, meaning Verstappen has extended his lead to five, sitting on 226.5 points.
Both drivers are expected to take an engine penalty before the end of the season.