Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says the Halo “definitely” saved Lewis Hamilton’s life in his collision with Formula 1 title rival Max Verstappen in the Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton and Verstappen came together in a frightening incident at Turn 1 on Lap 26 of Sunday’s race at Monza as they battled for position.
Verstappen attempted to go around the outside of Hamilton to take the inside line for the second corner but was launched over the kerbs and onto Hamilton’s car.
The pair ended up beached in the gravel at the exit of the first chicane, with Verstappen’s Red Bull landing on top of Hamilton’s car after riding along the roll hoop of the Mercedes.
Replays showed that Verstappen’s right-rear wheel landed on the Halo, a cockpit protection device introduced in 2018 to improve driver safety.
“The Halo definitely saved Lewis’ life today,” Wolff said. “It would have been a horrible accident that I don’t even want to think about if we didn’t have the Halo.”
W12 💔 She kept LH safe though today. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/fdCZnUN8cd— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) September 12, 2021
Hamilton revealed after the race that he was a “little bit stiff and sore in my neck” after the wheel “landed on my head”, but added: “I’ll be okay.”
The incident is still being investigated by the stewards, with both drivers blaming the other.
Wolff accused Verstappen of committing a “tactical foul” on Hamilton to prevent his main rival from potentially retaking the lead of the world championship.
“I think Lewis gave a lot of space in Turn 4 on lap one and avoided a collision,” Wolff added.
“Maybe I am more unsportsmanlike than Lewis because I would have ended the race there [for both drivers], at least we would have had less engine mileage.
“What happened is the other way around but without avoiding the contact. This is what we need to avoid in the future, taking each other out tactically because you know you have lost the position.”
But Wolff stressed the incident needs to be reviewed so similar crashes in the future can be avoided.
“We don’t want to have situations in the future where one loses a position and the only way of stopping the other one scoring is to take him out,” he explained. “Both of them need to leave space for each other, race each other hard but avoid accidents.
“It was good fun until now, but we have seen halo save Lewis’ life today and Max had this heavy impact in Silverstone and we don’t want to get to a situation where we intervene because someone gets really hurt.”