Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff has suggested Max Verstappen deliberately allowed a collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix as a “tactical foul” – traditionally a football concept where a team that has just lost possession commits a foul to interrupt play.
Verstappen and Hamilton collided in dramatic fashion halfway through the grand prix at Monza as Hamilton came out of the pits and the title rivals went side-by-side through the opening chicane.
Both drivers ended up beached in the gravel trap on the outside of the corner, paving the way for McLaren to earn its first 1-2 finish since 2010.
It’s the second major clash between the title rivals following their collision on the first lap of the British GP at Silverstone in July.
“Well the stewards will decide who is predominately to blame, we’ve seen that in the past,” Toto Wolff told SkySportsF1 when asked who was to blame.
“In football, they call it a ‘tactical foul’, he probably knew that if Lewis stays then that’s the race win gone.”
Wolff refuted the claim that the pair were alongside through the corner, believing Verstappen should have gone off track at the chicane and conceded the position in the same way Hamilton did at the della Roggia chicane on the opening lap.
“Then you go over the sausage kerb in the middle [of the corner], if you compare it to what Lewis did at Turn 4 on lap one,” Wolff added.
“There was no space left. Let the stewards decide, I don’t want to be a punter like some of my colleagues.”
Wolff is expecting further collisions if the stewards, who are currently investigating the incident, fail to take action.
“It was clear for Max in there that it would end up in a crash,” he said. “I think if we don’t manage that in the right way, and I’m sure the stewards will look at it in the right way, this is going to continue.
“We had a high speed crash at Silverstone. We had one car ending up on top of the other one on Lewis’ head [at Monza].
“Maybe next time we end up with a high-speed crash and then they land on each other.”