Hamilton and Verstappen will not back off, says Brawn

Formula One F1 - Italian Grand Prix
FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Italian Grand Prix - Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy - September 12, 2021 Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton after crashing out of the race with Red Bull's Max Verstappen REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini/File photo

September 13, 2021

LONDON (Reuters) – The title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen is likely to stay full-on to the end of the season despite the pair crashing into each other at Monza, Formula One boss Ross Brawn said on Monday.

Italian Grand Prix Stewards deemed Red Bull’s championship leader Verstappen was at fault for Sunday’s collision and handed the Dutch youngster a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Russia.

Brawn, a former Honda and Mercedes team boss and ex-Ferrari technical head, said fans were sure to be split on who was to blame.

“It’s clear both drivers could have avoided it,” he said in his regular post-race column on the official http://www.formula1.com website.

“Ultimately, I think it’s another consequence of two guys going head to head and not wanting to give an inch.

“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.”

Sunday was the second big clash between the two in the space of five races after earlier wheel-to-wheel incidents.

At the British Grand Prix in July, Verstappen crashed at speed and ended up in hospital for checks while Hamilton went on to win in front of his home fans.

That race, like Monza, followed an experimental Saturday sprint qualifying race and Brawn saw “plenty of positives”.

“It shook up the order and led to a slightly evolved grid, which in turn created a different dynamic in the race,” he said.

“I think it offers a lot — and we still have a track to try it on. Then we’ll make an objective assessment and work out a way forward.”

He said the Italian Grand Prix also delivered “the strongest ever weekend streaming numbers we’ve ever seen on our OTT platform F1TV”.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)