Max Verstappen predictably argued the other side regarding his spectacular collision with Lewis Hamilton in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
Shortly after Hamilton had exited the pits, the pair came together as they entered the first chicane side by side, with the Red Bull driver on the outside.
Both drivers stubbornly held their line, leading to an inevitable clash that sent both cars into the gravel, with the Red Bull escalating the Mercedes.
Hamilton contended that Verstappen had forced the issue, but the Dutchman disagreed, insisting his rival had squeezed him and left him no space.
“We realised it was going to be close going into Turn 1,” Verstappen told Sky F1. “He cut across after the white line and I had to go onto the green part to not touch [him].
“I went around the outside, he realised I was going for it, and he just kept on squeezing me, and I wanted to work with him because I wanted to race.
“Of course, people then automatically talk about Silverstone, but these things happen. It was not nice at the time, but I think we’re all professional enough to just get on with it and keep on racing each other.
“I didn’t expect him to just keep on squeezing, squeezing, squeezing… because he didn’t even need to. Even if he would have left me just the car’s width, we would have raced out of Turn 2 anyway and I think he would probably still be in front.
“He just kept on pushing me wider and wider and at one point there’s nowhere to go.
“He just pushed me off to the sausage kerb and that’s why at the end of the day we touched because of the rear tyre making contact with Lewis’ tyre.”
Read also – Hamilton: Verstappen didn’t want ‘to give way today’
The incident was the duo’s second flash point in the race. But on the opening lap, at the Roggia chicane, Verstappen had muscled ahead while Hamilton had prudently backed off, albeit while running over the sausage kerbs.
The Red Bull driver was asked whether backing out of the move at the first chicane, like Hamilton had done previously, would have perhaps spared the pair a terminal outcome.
“I don’t think you can judge them exactly the same because he just kept squeezing and squeezing while I was really alongside,” said Verstappen.
“You need two people to work together to make the corner. If one guy is not willing to work, it’s not going to happen.
“We are fighting for position and unfortunately we touched. It’s very unfortunate what happened today, nobody likes to see that.”
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