Hamilton/Mercedes fear Verstappen clashes will continue despite Monza penalty

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Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes believe more incidents with Max Verstappen are likely despite the "precedent" set by his Monza penalty.

The two championship rivals had their second collision of the season at the Italian Grand Prix, with the Dutchman going over the top of the Briton's car after bouncing over the inside kerb at the first chicane.

Since then Hamilton has praised the Halo for protecting him but is still seeking treatment for a strained neck after being hit in the head by a rear tyre.

But he has doubts Verstappen will learn from the events from Monza.

“This will continue," said Hamilton. "We have to learn from our scenarios on track and I don’t have a history of these incidents.

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“Ultimately, when you get away with things like that then it’s easy just to continue to do it.

“If that is the result then I think I am ultimately proud of the stewards," he said of the three-place grid penalty Max will take in Sochi.

"It definitely sets a precedent and I think it is important for us moving forwards for the safety of the drivers that there are strict rules set in place.”

Hamilton's view was echoed by Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who once again hinted there may have been some intent by Verstappen to take out his rival.

“We have seen similar incidents in the past between two drivers fighting for the championship,” he said.

"The real question is how many actions to prevent an opponent from winning do we want to see in the future?

“We have to find a “modus operandi” that will keep the confrontations under control, but that can only come from them.

“Lewis and Max must find the right way to face each other. Until they find it, there will be trouble.”

Certainly, the tension is only going to rise with eight races to go, and F1 motorsport boss Ross Brawn hopes the battle can remain clean.

“It’s clear both drivers could have avoided it," he said of the Monza clash. "Ultimately I think it’s another consequence of two guys going head to head and not wanting to give an inch.

“It’s a shame they ended up in the gravel because it could have shaped up to be a great race – and we were deprived of that.

“I’m interested to see what impact this has on their ongoing battle for the title. We have lived through Silverstone which was a major and controversial incident.

“Personally, I wouldn’t say it has changed the dynamic. I don’t think either will back off at either time for the rest of the year but I hope the championship is won on the track, not in the barriers or the stewards' room.”