F1 POLL: Was Max Verstappen to blame for Lewis Hamilton crash? Was his punishment fair?
F1 

F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar

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The F1 title race took another dramatic turn on Sunday as rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the Italian Grand Prix. The pair collided on lap 26 as they both saw their afternoons come to a premature end.

The duo headed towards a chicane side-by-side after both had endured a recent slow pit-stop, but neither driver would buckle.

Verstappen drove over the sausage kerbs and hit into the side of Hamilton, with the Red Bull ending up on top of the Briton’s Mercedes.

The Dutch driver was later hit with a three-place grid penalty after he was adjudged to have caused the collision.

He will receive his penalty at the Russian Grand Prix later this month after F1 officials said he was ‘predominantly to blame’.

A post-race report by the stewards read: “Car 44 [Hamilton] was exiting the pits. Car 33 [Verstappen] was on the main straight. At the 50m board before Turn 1, Car 44 was significantly ahead of Car 33.

“Car 33 braked late and started to move alongside Car 44, although at no point in the sequence does Car 33 get any further forward than just behind the front wheel of Car 44.

“During the hearing the driver of Car 33 asserted that the cause of the incident was the driver of Car 44 opening the steering after Turn 1 and ‘squeezing’ him to the apex of turn 2.

“The driver of Car 44 asserted that the driver of Car 33 attempted to pass very late and should have given up the corner either by backing off sooner, or by turning left behind the kerb.

“The stewards observed on CCTV footage that the driver of Car 44 was driving an avoiding line, although his position caused Car 33 to go onto the kerb.

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“But further, the stewards observed that Car 33 was not at all alongside Car 44 until significantly into the entry into Turn 1.

“In the opinion of the stewards, this manoeuvre was attempted too late for the driver of Car 33 to have ‘the right to racing room.’

“While Car 44 could have steered further from the kerb to avoid the incident, the stewards determined that his position was reasonable and therefore find that the driver of Car 33 was predominantly to blame for the incident.”

The Italian Grand Prix was eventually won by Australian Daniel Ricciardo, with McLaren team-mate Lando Norris finishing second.

Mercedes did, however, extend their lead at the top of the Constructors’ Championship as Valtteri Bottas claimed third place.

Following Sunday’s eventful race, Verstappen leads the Drivers’ Championship by five points ahead of Hamilton, while Mercedes have an 18-point lead over Red Bull.

Have your say on which of the two drivers you think was at fault for Sunday’s crash below in Express Sport’s latest F1 poll.

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