Controversy as Lewis Hamilton hits Kimi Raikkonen in pit lane

The Canadian Grand Prix took an astonishing twist as Lewis Hamilton eliminated himself and championship rival Kimi Raikkonen in a pit lane crash.

Hamilton had been leading the race but as the field pitted at once during the safety car Raikkonen and Robert Kubica left their pit boxes before Hamilton.

But the three had to stop for a red light at the end of the pits and Hamilton, apparently not having seen it, hit Raikkonen’s Ferrari. Nico Rosberg then ran into the rear of Hamilton. Raikkonen and Hamilton were eliminated while Rosberg pitted for a new front wing and continued.

Hamilton appeared to have turned to avoid Kubica’s car and hit Raikkonen’s instead. It probably was been that he was trying to avoid the pair of them.

But the less charitable will suggest that, faced with the inevitability of hitting either car, he preferred to take out the driver who was his more likely championship rival.

Afterwards Hamilton said he’d seen the red light but didn’t manage to stop his car in time.

The stewards will investigate the collision after the race.

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132 comments on Controversy as Lewis Hamilton hits Kimi Raikkonen in pit lane

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  1. SoLiD said on 9th June 2008, 22:38

    great sight Oliver.
    And as said above, with stoplights Hamilton would have seen them stopping much easier!

  2. Oddball said on 9th June 2008, 23:41

    Another interesting fact (which really only adds to Hamilton’s blunder) is that Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren CEO) in his post race Q&A session states that Hamilton was ALSO warned about the red light over the radio!!

    Q: Did you give Lewis a warning about the red light over the radio?

    Whitmarsh: “Yes.”

    (http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/68161)

    And as for some of the previous comments regarding pitlane behaviour; this is an area that is supposed to be a non-racing zone (hence the pit lane speed limit), and this is also the reasoning behind the (only on the face of it seemingly harsh) penalty of a drive through for just exceeding the speed limit. If anywhere on the race track a driver must expect the unexpected it is there – other drivers pulling out (being let go to early by their lollypop man), team personnel crossingthe pit lane. After all, going down the pitlane on the speed limiter – there isn’t much else to do but to look out…

  3. Oddball said on 9th June 2008, 23:56

    Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren CEO) in his post race Q&A session states that Hamilton was ALSO warned about the red light over the radio!!

    Q: Did you give Lewis a warning about the red light over the radio?

    Whitmarsh: “Yes.”

    (http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/68161)

  4. Oddball said on 10th June 2008, 0:56

    @ Hondo: I believe you are talking out of the wrong orifice IMHO. There are no provision for any flashing red light meaning “proceed with caution” in any racing rule book I’ve ever read. The closest parallel to a difference in a steady light to a flashing light would be stationary yellow and waved yellow flags – and in general a waved yellow is considered the stronger warning. A stationary yellow flag is considered to mean (yup, you got it) “proceed with caution”, whereas a waved yellow flag is usually interpreted to add the words “be prepared to stop”…

    In fact, even if there had been no red light at the end of the pitlane, the cars are not allowed to rejoin the track unless the GREEN light is lit.

    From the current sporting regs:
    39.2 During the race, drivers leaving the pit lane may only do so when the light at the end of the pit lane is
    green and on their own responsibility. A marshal with a blue flag and/or a flashing blue light, will also warn
    the driver if cars are approaching on the track.

    40.7 Any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or which is deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers at any time whilst the safety car is deployed will be reported to the stewards. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.

    40.11 Subject to the requirements of 40.6 above, whilst the safety car is in operation, competing cars may enter
    the pit lane, but may only rejoin the track when the green light at the end of the pit lane is on. It will be on at all times except when the safety car and the line of cars following it are about to pass or are passing the pit exit. A car rejoining the track must proceed at an appropriate speed until it reaches the end of the line of cars behind the safety car.

  5. Withmarsh said that they did warn Hamilton. Thus, discussion is over. It was Lewis mistake. Nevertheless, I agree that bigger lights would be helpful.

  6. @ William and Haplo
    Sure, being consistently last isn’t much good to anyone – apart from getting track experience, and I agree a ‘Champion’ is someone who wins every race. But thats the point – there is no driver this season who has won every race, but Kubica has nearly always been on the podium, as Hammy was last year. If there was a definitely better driver who was consistently winning this year we wouldn’t be having this argument.

  7. Terry Fabulous said on 11th June 2008, 12:25

    Ten years later, addding my two bits…

    Did anyone else notice James Allen’s comments immediately after the incident?

    “Oh the pit lane is closed and Hamilton has hit the back of Kimi Raikonnen. Presumably the red light was on, it’s green now. I would love to know if it was red when Ferrari stopped. But Lewis Hamilton has smashed into the back of Kimi Raikonnen in the pitlane.”

    So in the heat of the moment, one and half seconds after the incident. James Allen’s first thoughts were that Kimi had break tested Lewis, presumably willing to have his car smashed up for the ability to destroy Hamilton’s.

    Biased?

  8. Yeahk, that and “his team should have informed him about the red light” or something like that.

    I can’t believe a F1 driver can’t see a red light and or know the rule book, at least the bit about racing.

  9. Chris Harrison said on 26th June 2008, 14:02

    Radioed from the team or not, it’s in the rules that there will be a red light shown whilst the safety car is passing.

    Hamilton should have known that, and should have been prepared for it. As he wasn’t, he was given a completely fair penatly.

  10. Jraybay-HamiltonMclarenfan said on 13th June 2010, 18:04

    going down pitlane you’re supposed to be single file. I think hamilton turned to avoid kubica but Kimi was parked inside there.

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