Formula One: Lewis Hamilton credits halo for saving his life in crash

Lewis Hamilton was jockeying for position with Max Verstappen on lap 26 and the two collided.
Lewis Hamilton was jockeying for position with Max Verstappen on lap 26 and the two collided.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MONZA, ITALY (REUTERS) - Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton credited the halo device for saving his life in a crash during Sunday's (Sept 12) Italian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was jockeying for position with Red Bull's Max Verstappen on lap 26 and the two collided, with Verstappen's car winding up on top of Hamilton's.

The halo cockpit safeguard, which protects the driver's head, deflected Verstappen's rear tyre away from Hamilton's head and onto the front of the car. It has been used on the F1 circuit since 2018.

"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, but all I could think was to get going again."

A few hours after the accident, Hamilton, 36, said his neck was hurting.

"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," the Briton said.

Verstappen, who holds a five-point lead over Hamilton at the top of the drivers' standings, walked away from his car, uninjured. Race stewards found him "predominantly to blame" for the accident and assessed a three-place grid penalty for the Sept 26 Russian Grand Prix.

He disagreed with the penalty.

"Today was very unfortunate," the Dutch driver tweeted.

"The incident could have been avoided if I had been left enough space to make the corner. You need 2 people to make that work and I feel I was squeezed out of it. When racing each other, these things can happen, unfortunately."

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia won the race in Monza, Italy.

Hamilton holds the Formula One record for wins with 99, surpassing the 91 races won by all-time great Michael Schumacher.