Lewis Hamilton said Formula 1’s halo “saved” him in his Italian Grand Prix collision with championship rival Max Verstappen.
Verstappen’s Red Bull rode up on the side of Hamilton’s Mercedes when they came together at Monza’s first chicane as Hamilton rejoined after his pitstop.
The Red Bull came down atop the Mercedes’ cockpit, with the halo staying intact as the underside of the Red Bull crumpled on contact with it.
Hamilton said he was in a little pain in his neck following the crash, and that it was increasing as the adrenaline faded, and added that he felt very fortunate.
“Thank God for the halo. It saved me,” he said.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on the head by a car before. My head really is quite far forward.
— Jean Todt (@JeanTodt) September 12, 2021
“I’ve been racing a long, long time, I’m so so grateful that I’m still here.
“Feel incredibly blessed, like somebody was watching over me today.”
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was also certain the crash could’ve had a much worse outcome had the halo not been in place.
“The halo definitely saved Lewis’s life today,” said Wolff.
“It would’ve been a horrible accident, that I don’t want to even think about, if we wouldn’t have had the halo.”
Hamilton said the inside of the Red Bull’s rear tyre hit his helmet as the car landed on the Mercedes’ halo.
He is likely to seek medical advice about his neck before the next grand prix in Russia in a fortnight.
“I probably will see a specialist just to make sure I’m good for the next race, because it’s getting tighter and tighter,” Hamilton said.
Verstappen walked away from the crash site without speaking to Hamilton, which Hamilton said surprised him given how the Red Bull had landed on the Mercedes’ cockpit.
“I saw Max get out and just walk by,” said Hamilton.
“I felt that was a bit surprising. When we have incidents the first thing we want to make sure is the guy we collided with is OK.
“But the good thing is I was able to get out. It was a long walk back but we live to fight another day.”
When asked earlier about why he hadn’t paused to check on Hamilton’s condition, Verstappen said he took the fact Hamilton was trying to reverse the Mercedes away from the crash site to mean he was unhurt.
“Lewis was fine, he was still trying to reverse when I was already out of the car,” Verstappen said.
“When you are not fine, you are not doing that.”
Though Verstappen’s explanation was not put to Hamilton directly, the Mercedes driver did say that his decision to try to rejoin the race was more a sign that he was still full of adrenaline than that he had escaped injury.
“Looking back at the footage, it happened incredibly quick in the car and I was like ‘all I can think of is getting going and how many positions I’m losing’ – I’m still in race mode,” said Hamilton.
“I’m in a little bit of pain but just like ‘let’s go’ but the car wouldn’t move.
“In the moment it was a big hit but all I could think of was could I get going again.”