Lewis Hamilton avoids serious injury after Max Verstappen's car lands on top of his at Italian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen's car ended up on top of Lewis Hamilton's on Sunday at Monza. (via Formula 1)
Max Verstappen's car ended up on top of Lewis Hamilton's on Sunday at Monza. (via Formula 1)

Lewis Hamilton was able to walk away from a scary crash with title rival Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Hamilton came out of the pits right ahead of Verstappen as the two drivers entered the chicane at the end of the frontstretch. They entered the corners side-by-side and Verstappen's car ended up on top of Hamilton's after they made contact.

The driver protection halo implemented in 2018 to protect drivers from objects flying towards their helmets saved Hamilton from something serious. Verstappen's car landed right above Hamilton's head and it appeared that his right rear tire even touched the top of Hamilton's helmet even though most of the weight of Verstappen's car was held up by the halo. 

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Both Verstappen and Hamilton got out of their cars after the accident and walked back to the garage. Thankfully. That was an accident that could have been really bad had it happened five years ago. 

The crash's title implications and a penalty for Verstappen

The two drivers shouldn't have been near each other on the track after their pit stops. Hamilton had taken the lead of the race after Verstappen pitted from the lead a lap earlier. Verstappen should have rejoined the track in second among drivers who pitted behind Daniel Ricciardo, and Hamilton — who had just passed Lando Norris as Verstappen pitted — would have likely been third in that group a few seconds back.

But Verstappen had an 11-second pit stop, about nine seconds slower than it should have been. That put him further back in traffic than he would have liked. Hamilton's pit stop was 4.2 seconds — about two seconds longer than it should have been. Had either driver had a better pit stop they aren't in a position to crash. 

F1 announced after the race that Verstappen would receive a three-spot grid penalty at the Russian Grand Prix in two weeks. That means that if Verstappen qualifies on the pole he would start fourth.

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The wreck also means that neither driver will score points in Sunday's race. Verstappen will leave Monza with a five-point advantage over Hamilton after scoring two points in the sprint qualifying race on Saturday. Had Hamilton won the race and scored the fastest lap, he could have exited with a three-point lead over Verstappen. Or Verstappen could have extended his lead over Hamilton had he stayed ahead of the seven-time world champion.

Instead, we got a surprise winner of the Italian Grand Prix for the second consecutive season. Ricciardo took over the lead of the race at the start and then assumed it after the race restarted following the wreck between Hamilton and Verstappen. He held off his teammate Lando Norris for the race win over the final laps while Valtteri Bottas finished third after starting last due to an engine change. 

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