Video: Hamilton faces investigation over Vettel crash

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Fuji Speedway, 2007 | Daimler ChryslerThe 2007 world championship has taken another controversial twist as Lewis Hamilton faces a possible punishment for his driving in the Japanese Grand Prix.

Amateur video of the crash between Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber has led to an investigation into Lewis Hamilton’s driving in the run-up to the crash.

The video shows Hamilton closing up on the safety car then slowing down and moving to the right moments before the crash that eliminated the Red Bull and Toro Rosso drivers. See the video below.

In the safety car period that followed Sebastian Vettel hit Mark Webber, putting both out. Leader Hamilton said afterwards that he had radioed the pits asking that Webber be told to give him more space after fearing a collision.

This video shows Hamilton moving to the right and slowing down just before the crash. Vettel, who will be moved back ten places on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix as a punishment for his role in the crash, admitted he was busy watching Hamilton when he hit Webber.

But Webber said Hamilton’s driving contributed to the crash: “It definitely contributed to Sebastian hitting me up the back because he [Hamilton] wasn’t doing what he was supposed to be doing, clearly.”

After the race Hamilton said: “When we were behind the second safety car, I was constantly on the radio to my engineers to tell the Red Bull team to get Mark [Webber] to make a little more of a gap because I couldn’t go any faster because the pace car was in front of me, so I was trying to keep the distance with him and then I’d move over because I couldn’t see Mark and then he’d just appear alongside me, so he kept out-braking himself.

“I felt something was going to happen, and I guess my instincts told me right.”

Hamilton has a 12-point lead over Fernando Alonso and 17 points over Kimi Raikkonen with 20 points left to be won over the final two races. (Thanks to Sidepodcast for the video tip).

More videos from the Japanese Grand Prix:Fernando Alonso looked set to claim pole position in qualifying but a last-gasp lap from Lewis Hamilton pipped the Spaniard by 0.07s. (Apologies for the music – nothing to do with me).

Ferrari got plenty of pit stop practice in after they sent their drivers onto the soaked circuit on intermediate tyres. The team later claimed they had not received an order from the stewards instructing all teams to start on extreme wet tyres.

Hamilton won the Grand Prix but Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica stole the show with this thrilling tussle in sight of the chequered flag.

Don’t miss your chance to win one of ten copies of James Allen’s new book “Michael Schumacher: The Edge of Greatness” in our exclusive competition. Enter the competition and read an exclusive excerpt from the book, and read the review now! (NB. Competition only open to UK residents.)

Photo: GEPA / Mathias Kniepeiss

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69 comments on Video: Hamilton faces investigation over Vettel crash

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  1. Magnus said on 4th October 2007, 11:18

    Last one is already gone. :(

  2. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th October 2007, 11:24

    Fixed!

  3. David M said on 4th October 2007, 11:40

    I remember at the time wondering if there’d be a complaint about Lewis’ behaviour on the restart. I know there’s always some gamesmanship about when to drop the hammer, but his behaviour seemed a little excessive – hasn’t someone been penalised for that in the past? (I’m thinking Montoya but can’t quite remember why).

  4. AndyJ said on 4th October 2007, 11:47

    pretty damning evidence.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th October 2007, 11:51

    That’s not the restart, though, David – the Safety Car’s lights were still on.

    Fisichella was punished at China in ’05 for deliberately slowing the field to let then team-mate Alonso get his pit stop done so that Fisichella wouldn’t have to queue.

    But I don’t recall a driver being penalised for slowing the field at the start – not when Schumacher slowed the pack at Monza in ’00, which led to Jenson Button crashing, nor Rubens Barrichello’s very odd rolling start at Brazil in ’03.

  6. interesting comments from Tost:

    “Look at the video. Sebastian would have had to have gone between the cars (Webber and Hamilton) and there was no chance. It was totally unexpected. It looked like Hamilton was stopping, that is why I went to the stewards.”

    it’s amazing what a bit of amateur shooting can contribute to a season, eh?

    and to think that Bernie tries to prevent people taking their own videos at races. on the strength of this i say he should be encouraging it, if only to cover up his own companies deficiencies!

  7. nellyweb said on 4th October 2007, 12:01

    But all lewis did was move to the right so he didn’t hit the safety car up the back end. Looks like it might have caught webber by surprise, but the fault still lies with Vettel. Vettel should have been looking at Webber not Hamilton.

  8. Okay, now we will find out for sure where the FIA’s loyalties lie.

    For the good of the sport, it’s imperative that those who cause accidents are punished. Also it’s important that the title race goes down to the wire as far as viewing figures are concerned.

    Both of these points can be aided by a Hamilton penalty at this weekend’s race – if 10 grid places are good enough for Vettel then they are good enough for Hamilton.

    The FIA have been accused of trying to manufacture a championship for Hamilton though, which would make a penalty unlikely which is plainly wrong in my view.

    So let’s see what the stewards are made of!

  9. oliver said on 4th October 2007, 12:05

    IMHO the driver has responsibility for the car he is driving. Vettel i believe is to blame, he showed a serious lapse in concentration, and hence the accident, from the video it can be seen that hamilton went completely to the edge of the track, there was more than enough track width of anyone one to do what they wanted, but vettel was too close to webber, and was distracted.

    This is also the main reason why drivers dont wave to the crowd as they drive past, they concentrate on the direction in which they are headed, its also possible in this case that vettel could probably have been distracted by a track marshall doin cartwheel while stripped to his underwear.

    You are not allowed to overtake under the safety car, but you are allowed to get ahead and wave the car back infront of you. Did u also notice how far back other cars behind were away from vettel?..why didnt it have an effect on other cars too if they were all close together.
    Webber was seriously shadowing Lewis, and Sebastien was even more seriously shadowing Webber, and not really concentrating.

  10. Philip said on 4th October 2007, 12:14

    I agree completely with Oliver.
    Hamilton had to take avoiding action as the safety car had slowed too much in the corner. Hamilton was smart enough to stop hitting the safety car and managed to control his car from sliding off the track. But Webber was going so fast that he was within 5 car lengths of the safety car while Hmailton was taking evasive action. Vettel was even closeer behind Webber. Both Webber and Vettel were guilty of driving far too close behind the leading car. Hamilton is completely blameless here.

  11. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 4th October 2007, 12:16

    Okay I’ve had a few watches and here;s what I think – they didn’t punish Schumacher at Monza in 2000, I fail to see how they can blame Hamilton for this. Yes, he slowed down, but it’s not as if he did it directly in front of Webber – he was clear over on the other side of the track.

    And I have to chime in with Sidepodcast’s comments that this is a brilliant example of how amateur footage shared on the Internet can be good for the sport, and how short-sighted it is of FOM to be taking videos like these down.

  12. Philip said on 4th October 2007, 12:18

    And one other thing. The maximum 5 car lenghs rule is OK on a dry or dryish track. But in the torrential flooded conditions, it is ridiculous and should be increased to 10 car lengths.

  13. keith, you said it yourself in a post not so long ago (about allen’s book on schumi), the stewards have more evidence these days.

    if they can prove it, they can dish out punishment. in 2000 they may have had suspicions but no proof.

  14. Guy Smithurst said on 4th October 2007, 12:39

    as i see it, lewis was atthe side, i think Webber and vettel are just two guys who had a bang. Lewis was at the other side of the track, it was rainging prety hard, you could say that Webber broke too hard and that Vettel just hit him, what has it got to do with Lewis, set of bloody prima donnas the lot of them,it is never their fault is it! i liked Webber, whod oes he think he is coming out with comments about kids on race tracks, what has he done that gives him the right to lord it over younger drivers, ibet in a equal car most of the ‘kids’ would leave him in the dust, Kimi, Lewis etc……..if you cannot stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. maybe he shoudl be driving Touring Cars.

  15. hamilton’s driving was strange, but unless we see what he could actually see behind the safety car, it is difficult to judge.

    still, the main blame stays with Vettel, he was way too close to Webber, and Webber, who was way too close to Hamilton … if they kept safe distance, as all the others behind them did, no accident would have happened …

    Tost says the main reason why he went to stewards is to cancel the 10 grid places penalty for Vettel, not to penalize Hamilton. Although this video shows what TV did not show, I am not that sure it helps Vettel’s case…

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