Championship leader Max Verstappen increased his driver's championship advantage on Lewis Hamilton even after his crash because of his P2 in yesterday's sprint race, but it wasn't definitely the race he was hoping for, as his Italian GP stopped after only 25 laps due to a collision with his title rival at Variante del Rettifilo.
Today was very unfortunate. The incident could have been avoided if I had been left enough space to make the corner. You need 2 people to make that work and I feel I was squeezed out of it. When racing each other, these things can happen, unfortunately #ItalianGP 🇮🇹 pic.twitter.com/9xOmnqAtd8— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) September 12, 2021
The Dutchman gave his opinion on what happened during his post-race media session:
“We saw it was going to be tight into Turn 1 and Lewis also realised that, so after the white line, he nearly moved to the left under braking. So I already had to move onto the green side next to the track."
Verstappen thought Hamilton would fight fairly with him, but feels like he didn't give him enough space to stay on track:
“Of course, people then automatically start talking about Silverstone, but these things happen. Of course, it was not nice at the time. I think we are all professional enough to get on with it and keep on racing each other."
"But then nevertheless, I thought we were going to have a nice fight into Turn 1, through Turn 2. But as soon as I was next to him, he just kept on squeezing me more and more to the left."
"I still thought we’ll just have enough space to make it into Turn 2, but unfortunately, he ran me a bit too much out of road, so then I clipped the sausage kerb and that’s why we touched."
"Well, like I said, you need two people to work together. So if one guy is not willing to work, what can you do? It’s still going to happen," he concluded his retelling.
The Red Bull driver thought it was best to just leave the scene of the accident, as he believed that saying something while the memories of the accident were so fresh would do more damage:
“In that heated moment, it’s better to just walk off and everyone just to calm down. I’m sure we’ll talk about it.”
The collision wasn't the only disappointment Verstappen faced in today's race, as he lost the lead of the race to McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo on the first lap and suffered from an extremely slow pit stop, that had put him behind Norris as well:
"Today a lot of things went wrong. The start went wrong, the strategy went wrong, the pit stops went wrong. So a lot of things to analyse. I think overall, we were always quite strong in a lot of things, but today a few weaknesses which we’ll try to analyse and do better," he concluded, thinking already about the next race.
In Sochi, the Dutchman will deal with a three-place grid penalty, but, at the moment, he's still leading the drivers' standings with a five points gap on Hamilton.