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

  1. Wow… the excuses being thrown around here are astounding. You all really do love Hamilton, don’t you?

    Hamilton dove to the right and braked hard, thus, Webber had to brake hard as he was very very close to overtaking Hamilton. It’s the very logic of a chain reaction. If one comes to a near stop, the others must as well. I’d say that Lewis hit the brakes and dove to the right so Webber might fly right past him. He’d been making repeated attempts to do just that for several laps.

  2. Is this a stupid question – since there ALWAYS seems to be a problem behind the safety car in terms of speed (i.e. the safety car being too slow) – why, OH why don;t they just get a faster safety car?? surely they could strap some lights to an old F1 car or a champ car or ANYTHING – and have them run at a decent speed so they can keep their tyres and brakes up to temp, and not have these problems. It’s not exactly rocket science is it?

  3. Keith, you’re a stats man – how about totting up for us the number of times McLaren have been “investigated” this season and comparing it with the number of investigations of incidents involving other teams? It may be that passions are more easily aroused in the Ferrari/McLaren war and so McLaren incidents get noticed more, but it certainly feels as though the ratio is about two McLaren investigations to one of any other.

    Or maybe Alianora could do it for us.

  4. Josh – this was covered somewhere, the pace car is the fastest thing they can drive that doesn’t require it’s own full-time crew, special tyres etc.

  5. Wesley said on 4th October 2007, 19:52

    Sounds logical to me JOSH!

  6. MYTC786 said on 4th October 2007, 20:11

    I think Hamilton was in his rights to slow down.. it was pouring. Vettel was the guy that was supposed to be watching the guy in front of him.
    Webber is mad that he has a crap car and thats why he wants Hamilton penalised. Alonso should keep his mouth shut and stop looking for handouts to try and win this years championship.

    Stop blaming a championship leader because you all envy him – Its not good sportmanship!!

  7. Webber was too close to Hamilton.

    Hamilton was too close to safety car – I think the distance is 5 car-lengths or so. Almost parallel to it. His driving to the right and braking could have made the other two confused for a second – wondering if he has shut down and what to do next.

    But in the end, looking at the video, I think all three needs to be punished.

  8. MYTC786 said on 4th October 2007, 20:21

    MAX penalty they can give Hamilton is a 3 place drop on the grid – IT WAS VETTEL’S FAULT

  9. oliver said on 4th October 2007, 20:48

    Vettel was probably thinking, oh wow im going to be second, until he heard the sound of carbon fiber first hand. When on the race track, u stay focused on whats in front of you, and not turn your eyes away to read road side advertising.

    What if Hamilton was slowing down because there was an obstacle in front, it would mean Vettel would still have collected that obstacle. And why did he spend so long looking at Hamilton, did he want to wave, or ask him what he had for breakfast?

    My belief, if you are on the race track, and you do not focus on whats in front of you, the sound of carbon fibre would remain consistent.

  10. oliver said on 4th October 2007, 20:50

    By the way, does anyone know if they have been able to retrieve Webbers steering?

  11. Magnus said on 4th October 2007, 21:41

    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.”

  12. speedtents said on 4th October 2007, 21:51

    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

  13. MacademiaNut said on 4th October 2007, 21:52

    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.

  14. C-type said on 4th October 2007, 22:07

    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.

  15. Vertigo said on 4th October 2007, 22:12

    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?!?

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