Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton said he was grateful to be alive after being hit in the head by rival Max Verstappen’s car at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The ‘halo’ head protector took most of the blow as the Red Bull stood up and landed on Hamilton’s Mercedes at Monza. The Briton said the inside of a rear tire hit his helmet. The collision knocked the two out of the race. Hamilton, 36, said he was experiencing neck pain and would likely need to see a specialist before the next race in Russia on September 26.
“I feel very, very lucky today, thank God for the halo. It finally saved me, you know, and saved my neck,” he told reporters. “I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on the head by a car before, and that’s a shock to me. If you’ve seen the picture, my head is really quite far ahead.
“I’m so, so grateful that I’m still here. I feel incredibly blessed. I feel like someone was watching over me today.” I’ve been running for a long time and we’re taking risks there everything the weather. I guess it’s only when you go through something like this that you get that real shock of the way you look at life and realize how fragile we are. “
Stewards called the two drivers in after the race and decided Verstappen was mainly to blame, handing the 23-year-old Dutchman a three-grid penalty for Sochi. Hamilton was glad the stewards had acted.
“I am ultimately proud of the stewards. It definitely sets a precedent and I think it is important for us to move forward for the safety of the riders,” he said. “When you get away with things like that, then it’s easy to keep doing it.”
Hamilton also said he was surprised to see Verstappen get out of his car and “just walk by”. “At the end of the day when we have incidents the first thing we want to make sure the guy we crashed with or crashed with is OK,” he said.
Verstappen had criticized Hamilton in July when the two collided at the British Grand Prix and the champion celebrated his eventual victory as the Dutch driver was checked in hospital.
(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)