Video: Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen investigated over blocking

Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen have been summoned to appear before the Malaysian Grand Prix stewards to answer questions about why they apparently delayed BMW’s Nick Heidfeld and Renault’s Fernando Alonso on their final qualifying laps.

The penalty for delaying other drivers in qualifying is typically five grid places – which would move the back from third and fourth to eighth and ninth. Should they be penalised?

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44 comments on Video: Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen investigated over blocking

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  1. The cars on the racing line on the left should probably be penalised, that looked terrifying from Heidfeld’s view.

  2. I’m not sure how I would call this one.  Certainly, they were on the racing line, and moving slowly.  They also made no effort to move away from the racing line, but you could equally say that if they had done so, given the closing speed of the BMW, and the fact that Heidfeld had already decided to go around them, that there would have been an accident of simply aircraft style proportions.

    It would indeed be unfortunate for the McLaren drivers to receive a penalty.  Heidfeld has every reason to feel aggrieved and clearly lost time.  However, you could argue that negotiating traffic is part of the game for both the team and the driver. 

    The important issue here is that of safety and for that reason alone the stewards need to issue clear guidance for the future.  Whether or not that should include penalising the McLarens is another matter.

    It was obvious from qualifying in Melbourne that this a problem of this nature was going to arise as a result of the new qualifying format – it was only a matter of time before it occurred.  What we need now is a clear decision from the stewards and guidance that outlines the behaviour expected from drivers in Q3.  If we don’t get this then every qualifying session will become vulnerable to this kind of uncertainty in the aftermath and that is the last thing that we need.

  3. I will be surprised if they do not get penalized. I did not look like the blocking was intentional but people got sent back down the grid for less serious blocking … 
    They may not have realized that some drivers are still on their fast laps but  they clearly impeded Heidfeld …

    With the new rules all the cars are going back very slowly to preserve fuel. But they should not do so using the racing line …

  4. It would be a harsh penalty if they were penalised. This is purely and simply the FIA’s fault because of their crazy qualifying rules.

    Although it wouldn’t be a surprise if  the FIA gave ferrari a helpingh and

  5. It doensn’t really look as thought it compromised Heidfeld that much from the on-board cam view from his car.The track’s wide enough although both McLarens were on the racing line and he had to dodge them.

    Mind you , I’ve seen Fernando Alonso penalised for a lot less than that not so long ago so the stewards are capable of anything… 

  6. I agree John there needs to be some clarification as to what drivers can and cannot do in qualifying – imagine something like this happening in Monaco for instance…

  7. Interesting, Hamilton just 2 positions behind Alonso. I cant wait to see this fight :)

  8. I think they should be penalised if they have actually blocked the other drivers. I think its only fair that way.

  9. Journeyer said on 22nd March 2008, 11:56

    Yup, should be interesting tomorrow.  But that penalty won’t mean as much if it does rain during the race.

  10. and they were, 5 places grid penalty for both drivers

  11. Another fudge from the fia. All you need to do is sneeze and you get a grid penalty these days! If you look at the video it is hard to judge what else they could have done — all the cars were going slowly.

    It is amazing that you get penalties for this yet, last year, with all the fuel funnies in Brazil (where the rules were clearly infringed) no penalties were handed out!

    Bottom line is that the FIA need to sort out this mess as tracks like Monaco will be a disaster. Also if it rains it won’t really matter at all. Will be fun to watch Lewis and Heikki try to come though the pack. Could see a few risks from Hamilton, so it will not surprise me if he does not finish the race

  12. nick c said on 22nd March 2008, 12:10

    Personally i think that would be very harsh. But to have hamilton further down the grid would be very interesting to watch. As much as i want hamilton to win the race i dont think he has any chance. The ferraris were unstopable out there.

  13. Rikhart said on 22nd March 2008, 12:28

    Thats deffinitely grounds for a penalty, in F1 you cant just look at your own belly and use the racing line at a snail´s pace during qualifying, very poor form there by both drivers.

    At least heikki (think its him on the back?) appeared to wake up and try to move out of the way, but damm just look at hamilton… Looks in mirrors and couldnt care less!

  14. Great news, but now FIA need to introduce a minimum time for an in lap to ensure fairness, makes for an interesting race. I imagine overtaking should be easy enough for the pair of them, although if rain comes, or if they are caught in someone elses accident at the start who knows what will happen.

    I would love to see Heikki beat Hamilton tomorrow. That would make for an interesting pairing for the rest of the year.

    Cant wait for a good action packed race tomorrow, lets just hope we dont have to listen to ITV crying over LH, and interview his dad yet again!

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