Video: Hamilton faces investigation over Vettel crash

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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. Well, Webber certainly made his views clear on Hamilton at today’s press conference: “I think he did a s*** job behind the safety car. He did a s*** job and that’s it.”

  2. Another chance for the ferrari freight train to conquer through this Hamilton enquiry.
    There is one question that would be interesting to have an answer from the Ferrari president himself who has claimed that the maclaren is more ferrari than maclaren — how is it then that an unreliable ferrari this year which is losing them the title (Jean Totd)is not reflected in the ultra reliable maclaren

  3. Guys.. one of the main things you are missing is that, it was not the lap where the safety car came in. So, there’s really no rush for Webber to follow Hamilton that closely.

    Everyone who wants Hamilton to be penalized simply can’t handle the fact that a rookie is going to win. You guys are all prejudiced heavily.

    @Madhu. Alonso was experienced, so he was lucky. What rubbish? Luck doesn’t necessarily favor the experienced, otherwise, it wouldn’t be called luck.

    Get your prejudices away and then talk.

    We also had safety car problems in Canada where Hamilton was leading. Did you see any problems of this kind? No.

    When it’s raining this hard, it’s the driver who comes from the back that must be careful. So, don’t just blame someone for just going off too slow.

    Also, notice that when Massa went off, one of the BMW passed him. The BMW did not get the penalty. Massa got the penalty for getting his spot back. So, if anything, Webber could have gone ahead and claimed he was too slow. But, he wanted to play it safe. Same thing with Vettel. Even if Hamilton is stopping, why should you look away? You are anyway third, you should be following the second car in any event. So, it’s completely Vettel’s fault.

    Redbull’s B team took out the A team. They want to simply put the blame on a third party. Get over it guyz.

  4. Philip Says: And one other thing. The maximum 5 car lengths 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>>

    Exactly my conclusion, LH can’t practice start but can warm his brakes, under the rules, similarly he must stay within 5 car-lengths but in such conditions, such that warming the brakes seems almost close to a practice start in ferocity, it was as near to unsafe as can be (despite good piece of driving from Bernard in that safety car, traction control I assume). Vettel explained rather than excused himself, and from the video evidence, he had some reason. Redbull are cool about it ‘S*** happens’, was their website verdict, and Tost has defended SV, which is nice.

  5. Lewis got too close to the Safety Car and he took the corner too wide, he was always going to have to slice back across the track and that was always going to mess up Webber and Vettel. Also, I haven’t been on the website for a couple of days, but how the hell did I miss 44 comments in one day?!?

  6. ‘S*** happens’, sorry about that, but it was a quote from STR.

  7. Its stupid that Vettel was penalised for some unintentional as that and Hamilton not. Whether or not Hamilton was intentional or not is another case.

    Another thing to remember is that none us are F1 drivers (unless one of are in disguise lol). You’re only really there if you’re in the cockpit.

  8. 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.

    That’s a pretty good defence without him seeing a video… but if he needs a penalty you can’t really say much.
    But a 10grid penalty max then… who says he should be stripped from his points is just an idiot who can’t think straight. you have to give Lewis credit for his great race!

  9. Ok, I’ve looked at this again-not on company time this time, and I still have no idea what Hamilton was doing. Where was he coming from when he caught up the safety car? He was erratic and if his excuse is he was watching what was going on behind him before he nearly passed the safety car then he’s still erratic. But for Webber to say it had anything to do with his incident I’m just not seeing it. If either he or Vettel thought Hamilton was out due to a problem, Hamilton was well off to the side of the track when Vettel hit Webber. I wonder if Webber just couldn’t see how wide he had gone. Maybe Webber slowed because without Hamilton’s rain light he couldn’t see where the safety car was, Vettel already said he was distracted and rightly takes responsibility. I just don’t see this being Hamilton’s fault even if he did make a mistake. And right now I am one person who would rejoice if they yanked his points, started him at p15 in China and Kimi wins the next two races and I don’t care if he’s driving the family Skoda.

  10. The problem is with the inconsistency of penalties given to the drivers. I believe Vettel should have got 5 places for not concentrating, simple.

    I dont see now, how Mclaren can escape being thrown out of this years championship and next years aswell, based on one of their employee (on track) bringing the sport to disrepute,

    Hamilton should be stripped of his GP2 championship, and his present points tally should be handed over to Webber, for crying out loud(literarilly), he should be made to wear a blonde wig, and his super license should be shredded.

    After all he is guilty of bringing embarrasment to the sport, i mean, whaat kind of champions did we have in formula1 previously, or for that matter, experienced drivers. I remember Coulthard spinning out of the formation lap, the very first time he was on pole in F1, and it wasnt even raining then. Who can remember Webbers last race for Jaguar.

    Hamilton is not perfect, but his consistency frightens many drivers, the fact he is very focused in his very first season speaks volumes of his personality.

  11. Vettel has been quoted as saying he actually thought Hamilton had retired from the race when his car dropped off the pace like that.

  12. If a car has retired from the race, you dont stop to ask the driver, u move past. Initially he said he thought he was having a problem with his car. now its he thought he had retired…plz

  13. Your concentration should be focused on the car in front – for which Vettel has failed.

    However, if Hamilton “knew something was going to happen” he should know better.

    Regardless, in conditions where a lot of people have complained (instead of getting on with their duties), it is hard to say how they should’ve acted – and by this I mean Hamilton, seeing as he was forefront runner of the grid at the time.

    For Hamilton to say he did a good job, in light of the evidence shown, I find it an absolute debacle. I’m one of those who wrote him off as a rookie at Indianapolis – this kind of behaviour has affirmed the intent he has over the past controversies he has contrived. Such as overtaking Massa and, having clipped him, moved to cut across to “gain” an advantage over his opponent – he can make it look like his opponents mistake.

    Hamilton is in P1, he sets the pace – however, to be driving as fast as fast as he “is comfortable with” is not an excuse behind the pace car. Once you slow down dramatically, in safety car conditions and WAY off the racing line (or even Safety Car line) – what are drivers behind you meant to think?

    Massa was overtaken under Saftey car conditions because he made a mistake – what LH has done is to give the impression, hence Vettel swiping a glance to look at him, that there is something wrong by swerving way offline and underbraking when Webber and Vettel were trying to catch up. Webber brakes as he realises LH is NOT where he should be and is in danger of losing places for overtaking under the safety car – and at the same time Vettel is doing the smae thing but as he is behind Webber there is a slight delay. Next thing he knows, his front has humped Webbers backend.

    In my view, even though conditions were circumstantial, Hamilton’s actions are way worse than anything any past champion has done – why? Because he can make it look like his followers fault.

    And in that regard, this is what LH brings to the sport – an angle of winning that can be purposed as somethign different. In my view, bearing in mind I am British, I no longer wish for him to win the Championship – this is not how I want it to be. I would go as far to say, on Friday (today) I would, go to the bookies and, bet on him not winning the championship.

    Not because I don’t want him to win it – I’d rather someone else did and teach him a lesson. He’s too cocky for his own good and think the world’s behind him – and in my view, he is.


  14. MacademiaNut
    5th October 2007, 4:23

    All Hamilton has to do is finish 4th.. which I think he will comfortably do, unless there’s a misfortune of tire blowing out.. or engine failure.

    As long as Hamilton doesn’t finish lower than 5th, he secures the title.

    So, all this nonsense should hopefully end soon.

  15. Vettel should have been concentrating on the race and all this wouldn’t have happened. But lets see what the FIA will say on this issue.

  16. It doesn’t matter if conditions are bad, if Liuzzi was penalized for his alleged overtaking move under yellows with a time penalty, then Hamilton should be penalized with a time penalty as well. 30 or 45 seconds should be added to his time.

  17. talk about the drivers being prima donnas! – common sense – never mind rules dictates that you leave adequate room between the car in front in poor weather – webber was constantly trying to get the drop on hamilton and as for the guy that hits you up the jacksie – he is guilty of not watching where he is going – get of the kids back – ferrari do have friends in low places – and they have always bent the rules as close too the wire as possible – but that is forgotten

  18. I have looked at the video several times now, and I watched the race VERY closely. LH was not to blame. If anyone should be blamed it should be the FIA for allowing the race to go ahead in those appalling conditions. Wet racing is one thing, underwater Synchronised driving is quite another.

    Leave LH alone! He is the best thing to happen to F1 in years. Ferrari did not complain about a thing when Shu was winning all the races, and at that time the sport was dead boring, but they fought tooth and nail to keep it boring and Shu winning. Ferrari are a bad team of bad sportsmen, look at Kimi he can’t even get a sentence out without sending everyone to sleep, but as “the iceman” he fits right into their team.

    Lewis Rules OK!!!!! Everyone else shut up.

  19. Hurray!!!

  20. They just keep on coming, now Kovalainen speaks critically about Hamilton too (interview on autosport).

    Stewards seem to be taking their time, isn’t it evening over there by now?

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