The collision between the championship contenders has been a major talking point in the week since Monza. The FIA race stewards found Verstappen was “predominantly to blame” for the incident, saying the “manoeuvre was attempted too late…[for Verstappen] ‘the right to racing room'”.
Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix as punishment.
Alonso, a two-time world champion and one of the grid’s most respected talents, felt it was simply unfortunate that the pair banged wheels, which was then followed by Verstappen’s car getting airbourne after driving over one of the sausage kerbs on the edge of the corner.
“Well, they are there, both champions, and they are always fighting to the limit,” Alonso said.
“To be honest, it seems an unfortunate position and corner and kerb — the car jumps a little bit, and then they touch tyre with tyre, and the rubber makes one car fly over the other.
“But it’s low speed, you know, they are at 30 or 40km/h, there is no danger.
“So I don’t think that was a big thing. Silverstone probably yes, but [at Monza] it was just a racing incident. I think Lewis tried to run wide in Turn 1 to force Max to maybe cut the corner. Max doesn’t cut the corner, stays on the outside, but then there is no possibility to make the corner on the inside for Turn 2.
“I think they both did what they should do. Unfortunately, they touched each other. I saw the replay of the start as well, and [Antonio] Giovinazzi and [Charles] Leclerc, they touched in the same way. [Lance] Stroll and [Sergio] Perez, they touched at the start in the same way in Turn 1 and 2.
“But they didn’t touch wheel to wheel, rubber to rubber, tire to tire. So there is not the same outcome. But this is a very typical maneuver at Turn 1, Turn 2, and they have been unlucky that they touch tire with tire.”
The collision means Verstappen is still five points ahead in the championship heading to Sochi. As he already has a grid penalty, Red Bull is expected to change Verstappen’s engine for the event – doing so will see the Dutch driver drop to the back of the grid as it is outside of the allowed components for the year.
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