Points leader Verstappen was attempting to pass Hamilton as they entered the Monza circuit’s Turn 1 chicane, but their tires came into contact and launched the Red Bull on top of the Mercedes as they slid into a gravel pit.
Close-up images show the right rear tire of Verstappen’s car landing squarely on the ‘halo’ safety device surrounding Hamilton’s cockpit and colliding with his helmet as it passed by.
After the race, Hamilton credited the titanium device, which was added to Formula One cars in 2018, for saving his life.
“Eerlikwaar, I feel very, very fortunate today,” Hamilton said during a media briefing several hours after the accident.
“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.”
Hamilton said he was experiencing neck pain and planned to see a specialist.