Lewis Hamilton says 'halo' safety system saved his life in Max Verstappen crash
Lewis Hamilton says Formula One's halo safety device saved his life in a crash with Max Verstappen at the Italian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver was hit by the Dutchman during the 36th lap at Monza as Verstappen's car went flying over the top of Hamilton's.
All Formula 1 cars have a 'halo' in front of the driver's head, a curved bar to protect drivers.
And seven-time world champion Hamilton reckons it saved his life with his collision with Verstappen at Monza.
He said: "I feel very fortunate today. Thank God for the halo which saved me, and saved my neck.
"I am so grateful I am still here. I feel incredibly blessed that someone was watching over me today.
"I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before - and it is quite a big shock for me.
"We are taking risks and it's only when you experience something like that that you get the real shock of how you look at life and how fragile we all are.
"If you look at the images of the crash, my head is really quite far forward in the cockpit."
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff added: "The halo definitely saved Lewis' life today. Without it, it would have been a horrible accident which I don't even want to think about.
"The championship was good fun up until now but we saw the halo save Lewis' life today. We don't want to see someone seriously hurt."
Verstappen attempted to squeeze past Hamilton on the first corner, a right-left chicane, as the Mercedes driver exited the pit land, but the Red Bull driver ran off the track and onto the kerbs, before ending up on top of Hamilton's car.
Both drivers were forced to retire as Verstappen's former teammate Daniel Ricciardo sealed his first win since Monaco in 2018 with Lando Norris completing the McLaren 1-2, with Valteri Bottas finishing third.
It's not the first time the Championship rivals have come head to head this season as Hamilton controversially hit Verstappen at Silverstone who would be forced to retire, while Hamilton would go on to win the British GP.
And Verstappen reckons the incident today could have been avoided if he was given enough space.
He said: "Today was very unfortunate. The incident could have been avoided if I had been left enough space to make the corner.
"You need two people to make that work and I feel I was squeezed out of it. When racing each other, these things can happen, unfortunately."