Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes the Halo cockpit safety device saved Lewis Hamilton’s life when the Briton collided with rival Max Verstappen in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix.
The two title protagonists were battling for position as the race approached its halfway mark when they came together in the middle part of the first chicane.
Beyond who was to blame for the costly run-in, Wolff’s main takeaway from the incident was how the Halo had vitally protected Hamilton when Verstappen’s Red Bull bounced off the Mercedes and its rear right wheel came close to hitting the seven-time world champion’s head.
Click Here: Cheap QLD Maroons Jersey
“The Halo definitely saved Lewis’s life today,” said Wolff. “It would have been a horrible accident that I don’t want to even think about if we wouldn’t have had the Halo.”
Hamilton said he was suffering from a bit of neck pain after the pileup, but agreed with his boss that the Halo had likely allowed him to walk away unscathed, or indeed alive, from the contact.
“Thank God for the halo. It saved me,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on the head by a car before. My head really is quite far forward.
“I’ve been racing a long, long time, I’m so so grateful that I’m still here.
“Feel incredibly blessed, like somebody was watching over me today.”
- Read also: Verstappen didn’t expect Hamilton ‘to keep on squeezing’
Hamilton also admitted to being surprised to see Verstappen walk away from the scene of the pair’s crash without even checking on his well-being.
“I did see Max get out and just walk by,” said the Briton. “I felt that a little bit surprising because ultimately I think when we do have incidents the first thing we want to make sure is the guy that we crashed into, we collide with, is okay.
“But the good thing is I was able to get out and it was a long walk back but we live to fight another day.”
The stewards were set to investigate the clash which was the second high-profile run-in this season between Hamilton and Verstappen after their brawl at Silverstone in which the Dutchman suffered terminal consequences.
Wolff believes Verstappen had committed a “tactical foul” by trying to force the issue against his rival, but the Mercedes boss said the two drivers need to find a way to race each other cleanly in the future.
“Both of them need to leave space for each other, race each other hard but avoid accidents,” said Wolff.
“Either leave room in every direction, [or] there will be accidents, if it’s not clear – and it’s never clear cut actually.
“Like the Silverstone verdict was predominantly [to blame]. But they know in the car what they are doing and how they are racing each other.
“We should be watching with interest and hopefully not have eight accidents in the next eight remaining races.”
Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers
Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter