Formula 1 F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 12, 2021 Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes leave the race REUTERS / Jennifer Lorenzini
LONDON – The title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen is set to continue until the end of the season despite collisions between the two at Monza, Formula One boss Ross Brawn said on Monday.
Italian Grand Prix commissioners ruled that Red Bull championship leader Verstappen was responsible for Sunday’s collision and handed the young Dutchman a three-grid penalty for the next race in Russia.
Brawn, a former Honda and Mercedes team boss and former Ferrari technical manager, said fans were sure to be divided over who was to blame.
“It is clear that both drivers could have avoided it,” he said in his post-race column on the official Formula 1 website.
“At the end of the day, I think that’s another consequence of two guys fighting each other and not wanting to give up an inch.
“Personally, I wouldn’t say it changed the dynamic. You have two roosters in the barnyard right now and we are seeing the consequences.
“I don’t think either of them will back down at any point for the rest of the year, but I hope the championship is won on the track and not in the fences or the marshals hall.”
Sunday was the second major clash between the two in five races after the previous wheel-to-wheel incidents.
At the British Grand Prix in July, Verstappen crashed at high speed and ended up in hospital for checks as Hamilton took the win in front of his home fans.
This race, like Monza, followed an experimental sprint qualifying race on Saturday and Brawn saw “a lot of bright spots”.
“It upset the order and led to a slightly evolved grid, which in turn created a different dynamic in the race,” he said.
“I think it offers a lot – and we still have a lead to try it out. Then we’ll do an objective assessment and find a way forward.”
He said the Italian Grand Prix also delivered “the strongest weekend streaming numbers we’ve ever seen on our OTT F1TV platform.”
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