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Mercedes suspect Red Bull knew Verstappen "was in the wrong"

Mercedes suspect Red Bull knew Verstappen "was in the wrong"

Mercedes suspect Red Bull knew Verstappen "was in the wrong"

Mercedes suspect Red Bull knew Verstappen "was in the wrong"

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin has suggested Red Bull knew Max Verstappen "was in the wrong" over his crash with Lewis Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix.

Unlike at the British Grand Prix, where Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and advisor Dr Helmut Marko vilified Hamilton for the lap-one collision, the duo were more circumspect following the incident at Monza.

The stewards sided with Hamilton on this occasion, declaring Verstappen "predominantly to blame" and handing the Dutch driver a three-place grid penalty for the next race in Russia.

Asked whether the punishment fit the crime, Shovlin said: "We obviously felt strongly Lewis had done absolutely nothing wrong and that Max was the one predominantly to blame.

"if you look at the fact even Helmut and Christian weren't trying to blame Lewis, it sort of feels like they know Max was in the wrong because they will try and blame Lewis at any opportunity.

"Ultimately, it cost Lewis a win, and certainly a second place, so you'll always feel three places is relatively easy to overcome if you've got a competitive car."

Up until the lap-26 collision that culminated in Verstappen's Red Bull landing on top of Hamilton's Mercedes, Shovlin feels the seven-time champion was in with a shot at a victory that went to Daniel Ricciardo as McLaren celebrated its first win for almost nine years.

It would have been a question of whether Hamilton would have been able to challenge McLaren given his problems in the sprint race in trying to pass Lando Norris.

"If you put the incident with Max to one side, for Lewis it would have been a race only against Daniel," assessed Shovlin.

"The issue in the sprint race was that Lando had some tow from the car ahead, so really it would have been a question of whether Lewis could have got by Daniel.

"You know that kind of zone Lewis goes into when there's a win on the table and he can see it.

"It would have been a good little battle at the end but it would have needed that pass on track to turn it into a win."

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