'Lucky to be alive': Frightening truth about Lewis Hamilton crash
Lewis Hamilton has praised F1's 'halo' technology for saving his life in a frightening incident with Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix.
Australia's Daniel Ricciardo broke a three-year drought after claiming victory for McLaren in a race that saw title challengers Hamilton and Verstappen crash out of contention.
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Hamilton says he's grateful to be alive after being hit on the head by Verstappen's car in a terrifying crash that looked even worse on replays.
One particular angle showed just how fortunate Hamilton was as Verstappen's Red Bull hurtled across the top of his Mercedes, smashing through the vehicle centimetres away from the Brit's head.
Max Verstappen has to sometimes use his head man.
He wasn't gonna make that corner ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
I'll be surprised if there are people out here who will defend this.
Costly and stupid mistake.#ItalianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/tEkfNw8l7k
— The GLikeCoop 💙 (@ItsKingWanga) September 12, 2021
The 'halo' head protection device took most of the blow as the Red Bull lifted up and landed on Hamilton's Mercedes.
The Brit said the inside of a rear tyre had hit his helmet, with the collision putting both drivers out of the race.
Hamilton, 36, said he felt some pain in his neck and would probably need to see a specialist before the next race in Russia on September 26.
"I feel very, very fortunate today thank God for the halo. That did ultimately save me, you know, and saved my neck," he told reporters.
"I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before, and it's quite a shock for me. If you've seen the image, my head really is quite far forward.
"I'm so, so grateful that I'm still here. I feel incredibly blessed. I feel like someone was watching over me today.
"I've been racing a long time and we are taking risks out there all the time. I guess it's only when you experience something like that that you get that real shock of how you look at life and realise how fragile we are."
Stewards summoned both drivers after the race and decided that Verstappen was predominantly to blame, handing the Dutch 23-year-old a three-place grid penalty for the Russian race in Sochi.
Hamilton was pleased the stewards had acted.
"I'm ultimately proud of the stewards. It definitely sets a precedent and I think it's important for us moving forwards for the safety of the drivers," he said.
"When you get away with things like that, then it's easy just to continue to do it."
Lewis Hamilton unhappy with rival's reaction
Hamilton also said that he had been surprised to see Verstappen get out of his car and "just walk by".
"Ultimately when we do have incidents the first thing we want to make sure is the guy that we crashed into or collide with is OK," he said.
Verstappen had criticised Hamilton in July when the pair collided at the British Grand Prix and the champion celebrated his eventual win while the Dutch driver was being checked in hospital.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff slammed the incident as a "tactical foul" while Red Bull and championship leader Verstappen both saw the crash very differently, accusing Hamilton of not leaving enough space at the first chicane.
"I would say it was a tactical foul. He (Verstappen) probably knew that if Lewis stayed ahead that is the race win possibly," said Wolff, after a race that ended in a McLaren one-two with Australian Daniel Ricciardo the winner.
Verstappen was running in second place but lost 11 seconds in a slow pitstop that dropped him down to 10th place while Hamilton passed Norris to take the lead with Ricciardo having already pitted.
Hamilton pitted three laps after Verstappen and they then went wheel-to-wheel, with the cars making contact and the Red Bull lifting off the kerb and into the air.
"He just didn't want to give way today and he knew when he was going into two what was going to happen...but he still did it," the Briton told Sky Sports television.
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