Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton could just collide again on the circuit this season. Formula 1 technical director Ross Brawn fears this, he hints in his column.
“I don’t think either of them will hold back for the rest of the year, but I hope the championship is won on the track; not in the crash barriers or in the stewards’ room,” said Brawn, who was team boss in Formula 1 for years at Ferrari and Mercedes, among others.
Verstappen (Red Bull) and Hamilton (Mercedes) ended up in the gravel box together in the Grand Prix of Italy on Sunday after a collision. Earlier this season, the two title rivals also touched each other at Silverstone. Verstappen then shot hard off the track; Hamilton continued and won the Great Britain Grand Prix despite a time penalty.
“We went through Silverstone, which was a major and controversial incident. But, frankly, I don’t think it changed the dynamic,” Brawn said. “You currently have two roosters in the yard, and we see the consequences of that. It’s a shame they ended up in the gravel because it could have been a great race. Unfortunately, it has been taken from us.”
The stewards in Italy found that Verstappen was mainly to blame for the collision in the first corner immediately after Hamilton’s pit stop. “The fans are divided, I’m sure,” said Brawn. “It is clear that both drivers could have avoided this collision. But, ultimately, this is the consequence again when two guys sit so close to each other and don’t want to admit anything to each other.”
Verstappen has to be three places behind the starting grid at the Russian Grand Prix in two weeks as a penalty. The Dutchman goes to Sochi with 5 points ahead of the seven-time world champion in the World Cup standings.