Ross Brawn hopes Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s latest coming together at Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix doesn’t lead to this year’s title being decided in the “barriers or stewards room”.
Following a slow pitstop for Verstappen and slight delay in releasing Hamilton from his pit box, the pair ran side by side through the first chicane on Lap 26.
Verstappen tried to pass Hamilton, who emerged from the pitlane, on the outside at Turn 1, but the Mercedes driver was robust in his defence and the two made contact ending both of their races.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believed Verstappen’s move on Hamilton was a “tactical foul”, while Red Bull team principal Christian Horner felt it was nothing more than a racing incident.
The collision marked the second occasion both drivers had crashed with each other after the controversial first-lap accident at the British Grand Prix that resulted in Verstappen’s 51g impact at Copse corner.
While F1’s managing director of motorsport Brawn doesn’t see the incident changing the “dynamic” of the title fight, he hopes it won’t result in the championship being won through a similar outcome.
“Max and Lewis visited the stewards after the race and it was Max who was given the blame – and a three-place grid penalty for Russia – for causing the collision at the first chicane,” Brawn wrote in his usual post-race column.
“Fans will be split, I’m sure. It’s clear both drivers could have avoided it. Ultimately I think it’s another consequence of two guys going head to head and not wanting to give inch. It’s a shame they ended up in the gravel because it could have shaped up to be a great race – and we were deprived of that.
“I’m interested to see what impact this has on their on-going battle for the title. We have lived through Silverstone which was a major and controversial incident.
“Personally, I wouldn’t say it has changed the dynamic. You’ve got two cockerels in the farmyard at the moment and we are seeing the consequence of it.
“I don’t think either will back off at any moment for the rest of the year but I hope the championship is won on the track not in the barriers or the stewards room.”
Verstappen and Hamilton’s clash enabled Daniel Ricciardo to claim his first win since Monaco 2018 and end McLaren’s nine-year wait to score its 183rd victory in F1.
Brawn was full of praise for Ricciardo’s performance at Monza following the Australian’s struggles in his first year at McLaren since joining from Renault.
“Without a doubt, Daniel Ricciardo earns my Driver of the Day – in line wit h the fans,” Brawn said.
“Everyone knows the challenges he has had this year. He knows himself the reason for the dip in form. It took him a little while to settle in at McLaren but in the last few races, he has come back very strongly. I’m glad to see him competitive again.
“He is a real asset to Formula 1. He’s a great driver and a great personality. It’s wonderful to see him win. And it was deserved – as he didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend.
“Hats off to Lando, too. He, Daniel and the team were very sensible. They knew that fighting each other would have lost them time – and this was an opportunity they couldn’t afford to miss. Lando and Daniel are a team – and they made perfect decision. Credit to Lando, he saw the bigger picture and I know that his day will come not too far in future.”