A rueful Max Verstappen said his race plan for the Italian Grand Prix was made ‘redundant’ after his collision with Sergio Perez on the opening lap.
Verstappen started from the back of the grid, a penalty for his team’s decision to replace his car’s engine, but hoped the extra power would allow him to move quickly through the field.
However, at the first corner the cars bunched together and ‘everything almost stood still’, said Verstappen, leading him to clip the rear wing of Perez’s Racing Point. He was forced to take an early pit stop and could only manage eighth place in the final standings.
‘I tried to avoid him. These things happen when you start at the back,’ he said. ‘Just like the Belgian Grand Prix on the Spa circuit, this was a race we had to sit out.
‘Monza and Spa aren’t ideal circuits for us, although on Friday I thought our race speed was good. I’m glad to have these two Grands Prix behind us. I’m looking forward to a race where I can compete again. We’ll be back in Singapore.’
The race was won by Verstappen’s rival Charles Leclerc, whose second consecutive Grand Prix victory gave Ferrari their first home win in a decade.
Verstappen remains third in the drivers’ standings, just three points ahead of Leclerc and 99 behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton.