On Sunday, the Italian Grand Prix was filled with drama as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided and were both subsequently ruled out of the race.
In the 26th lap, the two drivers were locked wheel to wheel, and as Hamilton tried to squeeze Verstappen out of space, the Dutchman appeared to bounce off a curb on a corner, flying into the air and landing on top of Hamilton’s car.
Verstappen could be heard on his team’s radio saying: “That’s what you get when you don’t leave the space.”
Both drivers were able to flee the scene unharmed. After the race, the FIA, the world governing body of motorsport, announced that the incident would be investigated.
The two drivers had nearly collided earlier in the race when they came wheel to wheel in a battle for second place on the first lap.
“He pushed me wide,” seven-time world champion Hamilton said over the radio.
Hamilton told reporters after the race that he felt “fortunate to be alive.”
“I have been racing for a long, long time,” he said. “I am so grateful I am still here. I feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today. It is a big shock. We are taking risks and it is only when you experience something like that that you get the real shock of how you look at life and how fragile we all are.”
Hamilton added: “I don’t think I have ever been hit on the head by a car before. And it is quite a shock for me. If you look at the images, my head is really quite far forward. His rear wheel landed on the halo and the inside part of his tire landed on my head. I will need to see a specialist to make sure I am good for the next race because my neck is getting tighter and tighter.”
Daniel Ricciardo won his first race of the season with a calm and collected performance ahead of the drama.
From second on the grid, the Australian overtook Verstappen before the first corner of the first lap and went on to win the race.
Lando Norris, his teammate, completed a McLaren 1-2 by finishing second ahead of Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.
Ricciardo celebrated by taking off his shoe, filling it with champagne, and drinking it. Norris, another teammate, joined in the “shoey” celebrations.
“To lead, literally, from start to finish, I don’t think any of us expected that,” he said afterward. “There was something in me on Friday. I knew something was good was going to come.
“For McLaren to be on the podium is good, but a one-two? This is for team papaya.”
The rivalry between Verstappen and Hamilton has raged throughout the season.
Both have a reputation for ruthless battles, which is one of the reasons they are atop the standings this season.
Usually, one of the drivers has to withdraw from a race after one of their battles, but this time in Monza, both drivers crashed out.
As soon as Hamilton exited the pits, he joined Verstappen on the track. The Red Bull driver had the wide line, and as he tried to regain it, his car collided with Hamilton’s, causing both cars to come to a halt in the gravel off the track.
TV replays appeared to show Verstappen’s car colliding with Hamilton’s halo safety device.
On Formula One cars, the halo is a mandatory safety feature. The halo is a titanium structure that protects drivers in their cockpits after Jules Bianchi died in 2015, nine months after suffering head injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Following the race, Hamilton stated that Verstappen could have “absolutely” backed out.
“Exactly the same scenario that happened in Turn 4, where I went around the outside, I was in exactly the same position, but I gave way,” he told Sky Sports.
“And that’s racing. He just didn’t want to give way today. He knew when he was going into Turn 2 what was going to happen. He knew he was going over the curb but still did it. We’ll speak to the stewards and we’ll see.”
Red Bull driver Verstappen said he “just wanted to race.”
“You need two people to work together to make the corner but unfortunately, we touched. If one guy is not willing to work, it is not going to happen,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s very unfortunate what happened today but I think we our professional enough to step over it. I think for sure we can talk about it.”