Lewis Hamilton feels the halo cockpit protection device saved him from serious injury or worse in his crash with Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix, and was surprised his rival did not check on him when he got out of his car.
Title rivals Hamilton and Verstappen crashed on lap 27, with the latter attempting to overtake at the chicane at the end of the pit straight.
Verstappen’s Red Bull ended up colliding with Hamilton’s Mercedes, and was launched into the air and on top of his rival.
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A rear tyre brushed Hamilton’s head, but the halo took the brunt of the impact - much to the world champion’s relief.
“Honestly, I feel very, very fortunate today," Hamilton said. "Thank God for the halo. That ultimately saved me. And saved my neck. I think in the actual moment it was a big hit.
The rear wheel landed on the halo and I think the inside of the most cambered part of the tyre landed on my head.
"I think I will be travelling these next days, but I will probably need to see a specialist to make sure I'm good for the next race because it is getting tighter and tighter. But I'll live.
“I've been racing a long time and we are taking risks out there all the time, so I guess it's only when you experience something like that that you get that real shock and you look at life and realise how fragile we are.”
Hamilton’s initial reaction was to try and get his car back on the track, while Verstappen got out of his cockpit and walked back to the pits.
The Dutchman - who was handed a three-place grid penalty at the next race in Russia for causing the collision - failed to acknowledge Hamilton, which came as a surprise to the Briton.
"I was still just in race mode, so it was just like, 'how can I get going again?' I was sitting there in a little bit of pain, but was thinking, 'come on let's go,'” Hamilton said. “But unfortunately the car wouldn't move.
“I did see Max get out and just walk by and I felt that was a little bit surprising, because ultimately when we do have incidents, the first thing we want to make sure is that the guy that we collide with or crash into is okay.”
With five points separating the two in the title race, and it being the second collision between them this season, the relationship between Verstappen and Hamilton seems strained.
Asked why he did not check on Hamilton, Verstappen said: “Lewis was fine, he was still trying to reverse.
"I was already out of the car. When you're not fine, you're not doing that.”
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