Webber loses out in safety car incident

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Mark Webber was elbowed off the track in the second safety car period
Mark Webber was elbowed off the track in the second safety car period

Mark Webber was pushed off the circuit and lost several places in a controversial incident behind the safety car during the Chinese Grand Prix.

Webber made contact with Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren as the field was very tightly bunched up before the re-start after the second safety car period.

Should the stewards get involved over the collision?

Webber had jumped in front of Hamilton and team mate Sebastian Vettel by making his final change of tyres earlier than his rivals.

As the second safety car period came to an end race leader Jenson Button slowed the field behind him causing several cars to run side-by-side and forcing Hamilton off the track at the hairpin.

As they approach the final corner Vettel, Hamilton and Webber were alongside each other and contact was almost inevitable. Hamilton and Webber banged into each other and the Red Bull driver lost out.

The regulations warn drivers not to slow unnecessarily during a safety car period, a charge that could be levelled at Button. And Hamilton may get in trouble for being too close to the car in front of him.

Should the stewards get involved or leave this one alone? Was anyone at fault, or was this just a racing incident? Have your say in the comments.

168 comments on “Webber loses out in safety car incident”

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  1. When I read these discussions, I often feel like I must be blind or something because I can’t judge the speed differentials or see all of the detail many of you guys seem to see. How many miles per hour was Button moving at when he led the field to the restart? Did one of you have a radar gun on him or have access to the team telemetry? How closely should others have been following under the wet conditions in a race where some were on rains, some on slicks, some on worn down intermediates? How much water was on the track at that point in time on that section of the track? There were an awful lot of variables out there, yet many of you speak with absolute certainty having only seen the TV feed, much of which was through a long telephoto lens. Maybe the stewards and other race officials consult with people who were actually in a position to judge what happened. Statistically speaking, they can’t all be imbeciles and people with biases so strong they would knowingly misjudge the race. Just food for thought.

    1. You missed all the cars piling up bhind him?

      You don’t realy need to have absolute numbers when you can simply see things go wrong.

      It’s like saying that you need to know the exact flow rate of a leak because otherwise you cannot see the water running down the stairs when your water is overflowing.

      1. Yes but if you watch the replay at a much slower rate you can see that button slowed quite gradually. It may even have been Rosberg that caused the pile up as he slowed much later and obviously much quicker which lead to everyone slamming on the breaks. Button did slow perhaps a little more than you would expect but it was a very tight hairpin and he did not suddenly put the breaks on.

  2. To be honest I think both Button and Hamilton/Vettel (since Vettel was on the inside of Hamilton who was on the inside of Webber) are at fault, it’s not penalty worthy. If anything, it’s more indicative of a larger problem i.e. lead drivers who assume the role of “safety” car and insist on turning into the best possible advantage. Additionally, when did the safety car line change from Start/Finish to before the last corner?

  3. Button isn’t going to get a pentalty an the only penalty Hamilton can receive is a grid drop for reasons Martin Brundle mentioned, regardless of whether they deserve them.

    This is because of the rules on issuing penalties. From what I understood from what Brundle was saying, to give out a 25sec penalty or a drive through the stewards must inform the teams 20min after the incident that it is being investigated. They didn’t do this for Button at all so the window has closed.

    For Hamilton, the incident happened early enough for the Stewards to award a drive through, but instead they chose to investigate it after the race. It didn’t happen late enough in the race for a 25sec penalty to be awarded but as they did inform the team managers in time, they can give Hamilton a grid penalty for the next race which I would expect to be 3 to 5 places. But remember Vettle receving 10 from the Aus incident last year, although that was very harsh.

    I’m going to check the regs to make sure I’m not being very silly right now.

  4. Second race where Webbers’ pit crew have stuffed him up.

  5. It’s time to change this stupid safety car rule !
    Can’t be that 50 seconds adv is lost in 2 laps because of few debris on the track.

    Teams work hard during the race to have their tactics spot on and things like that messed up all the race.

    FIA do something with that!!! It’s a disgrace for F1.

    1. x2 i agree. unbelievable sc

  6. I wouldn’t be suprised if that white line before the final corner was the safety car line. It clears up and “overtaking” technicalities if a car runs wide/slips on the astroturf on the exit before the finish line. So going off what the BBC said, The Ham/Web incident wasn’t an incident.

    Jenson drove slowly around the final hairpin. Fair enough. There’s no minimum speed limit. And if I caught up to a 10mph milkfloat on the road I wouldn’t accuse it of driving erratically.

    In the pits, Hamilton was released moments after Vettel. Vettel just got better grip out of the box, and that isn’t against the regulations.

    The only thing during the race that I would expect a reprimand for was Vettel’s pushing of Hamilton into the pit area. That lane was easily wide enough for two cars. No need for one to send the other into the wheelguns. Just a slap on the wrist and a general clarification for the other drivers will do though. Nothing harsh.

    And that’s my two-penn’th.

    1. “The only thing during the race that I would expect a reprimand for was Vettel’s pushing of Hamilton into the pit area. That lane was easily wide enough for two cars. No need for one to send the other into the wheelguns. Just a slap on the wrist and a general clarification for the other drivers will do though. Nothing harsh.”
      I totally agree.. penalty only mostly spoil the races. And it’s not really that big a deal isit. so a reprimand is enough.

  7. Oh come on. Stop this. If you do watch the replay, u can clearly see vettel moving purposely to his right side when he saw hamilton was there.. so as a racer, hamilton doesnt wanna give up his position so much.. is it wrong? and for the webber incident, vettel was beside hamilton, squeezing him.. so hamilton got no where to go. Is this his fault again? Just enjoy the racing guys..

  8. what a joke, Safety car to remove 0.5lb of debris?? What a disgrace. What a ***** disgrace!!!

    How much McLaren did pay Charlie Whiting for brining Lewis back in the mix with that decision?

    1. ~You don’t make any sense, it risked Button losing the race he had already won.

      1. Besides, Webber was ahead of Hamilton and Vettel right behind him. If anything it helped them even more than Hamilton. If they hadn’t messed up the restart that is.

        It begs the question what people “think” with when they make these accusations.

        It’s depressing to imagine that these people call themselves F1 fans.

        1. Most of these “fans” are rooting for their favourites and they can only see 1 point of view ie Hamilton is always on the wrong side. Nobody picked up on Vettel’s deliberate bunching up in pits behind Webber but if Hamilton had done it ………. we would have probably had 10,000 comments on it.

  9. Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion
    18th April 2010, 14:15

    What is disgusting for me is this new FIA sense… I mean, what seems incredible is to reprimand both Vettel and Hamilton for dangerous driving and not give a penalty for that. The same applies to Hamilton’s weaving. If it’s fine, ok, it’s fine and move on. Everybody celebrates it. But if it’s wrong then it is bacause it’s breaking some rule somewhere in the book. What can’t be is something like a reprimand…. COME ON. Plenty of penalties should have been given today and the only one who gets one is Alonso (although he maybe deserved two!!!!)

    FIA is anxious not to brake this new race karma, but this is going to end in personal vendettas. Let time do its work and you’ll see.

  10. To be honest, I think its fair to say that there is no love lost between Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton. Infact, this little feud goes all the way back to Japan 2007, inwhich Vettel rearended Webber behind the safety car.
    Despite pointing out the obvious that Sebastian had crashed into him using his ‘f***ing kids’ speech to the press afterwards, Webber also blamed Hamilton for bunching up the field behind the safety car. Such was the Australian’s fury towards Lewis, the scandal carried on to the following event in China.
    There have been other clashes, including this year’s Australian Gp inwhich Webber apologised for crashing into the McLaren driver late in the race. For me, the incident reminded me of Imola 2004 and the confrontation between Michael Schumacher and Juan Montoya. Granted, the Imola scrap was an act conducted in open racing conditions and not behind the safety car.
    The thing is, Montoya like Webber put himself in a position on the racetrack where he was always going to be dumped on the grass. With or without Vettel being there, Hamilton’s natural reaction was always going to be to run Mark wide. The question is, what were these guys doing ‘trying’ to overtake one another ‘before’ the race had gone green?
    If Webber had passed Hamilton and or Vettel under those circumstances would that indeed be against the rules?

    1. no because they were after the sc line so they were racing

  11. F1 is sport, just like boxing. We don’t need gentleman drivers like Barrichello, Webber or Trulli, who always grumble about dangeous driving. Today Webber’s radio complaint is just like a cry to Mammi.On the conttary,we do need “dangerous” drivers like Hamilton, Schumacher, Alonso or even Montoya. If this action is penalized, then F1 is really dying.

  12. “F1 is sport, just like boxing.”

    F1 is a sport, but it’s not like boxing. Maybe you should go and watch banger racing? That’s more like boxing!

  13. FIA just published the list of guest stewards for the next few races on formula1.com
    They are Mika Hakkinen, Niki Lauda, Ron Dennis and Anthony Hamilton.

    Amazing how McLaren has avoided penalties just before de suspended ban ends on April 29th

  14. I don’t beleive the steward are lenient on Hamilton at all. I think they have been fair with most of if not all their decisions, the pit lane incident was dealt with perfectly by the stewards. Two drivers racing each other, unwilling to yield, neither with the clear advantage. If anything it was Vettel who was being agressive by pushing Hamilton over towards the garages.

    Hamilton’s biggest problem is his dopey team costing him race wins and points. He is clearly much faster than Button, but is undone by stupid mistakes, mostly to do with tires, he needs to over-rule his team sometimes like Button does.

    Webber needs to stop moaning so much, he has caused plenty of collisions himself over he years, most recently this season when he slammed into the back of Hamilton. This incident was a combination of Button being an idiot and going far too slow, and below safety limits in my view during a race and the other drivers not paying attention. However, you cannot expect them to anticipate Button slowing down to crawling pace, he didn’t need to do that, and the same effect can be achieved by choosing the correct point to slow and then accelerate.

    If there is any punishing to be done it should fall on Button, due to that silly idea.

    However, I will entertain one conspiracy theory from the race. That is the ludicrous inclusion of the 2nd safety car spell for what appeared to be a handful of debris on the track. It seems to me the safety car was going to be brought on for the slightest little thing as soon as the cars were seperated by massive gaps. All so as to increase the spectacle instead of safety in my view.

    1. Wow, jou must have seen something different from me the last couple of races, where Lewis is clearly much faster than Button.

      Qualifying – 3 : 1 for Button.

      In the races Hamilton often drove the car faster around the track (and with great overtaking on track), but then again he lost time with pit stops where Button did not have to make up this time in the first place because of some good calls.
      I think Button is really good at the moment and Hamilton can learn something from that efficiency.

      As for the safety car I was puzzled by this one as well and a “make it more exiting” motive sprung to mind as well. Maybe they thought it dangerous, because the parts were hard to see in the spray from the car.

      It would be good if the FIA gave some good grounds for bringing the SC out there.

  15. I haven’t scrutinized the replay, but this is not a complicated issue.

    Virtually every single race will feature some one attempting to pass on the outside in a slow corner and getting pushed off the track. It simply is not against the rules, or practice, of F1, to escort a competitor to the grass if you “have the racing line.”

    Let’s also recall the related Hamilton Rule promulgated at Spa—if Webber had actually got around or regained his spot in this situation by running off track, he would have had to give the spot back. People forget the clear the implications of that terrible bit of rule-making: if you are not definitively, probably all-four wheels, ahead on the outside pass, you proceed at your peril, and any gains you make by “getting pushed off the track” will be taken away anyway. So Webber’s whinge is moot.

    Anyway, I dont hear anyone complaining about Michael being Michael and chucking Massa off the road at the hairpin in similar fashion. (It seems that is the only racing skill Schumacher has not lost.)

    In brief, Hamilton’s move was by the book, consistent with prevailing mores, and not unsafe.

    At the risk of falling into hooliganism, let me say it takes gall for Webber to make this claim given his now notorious habit of chopping and blocking, and the fact his interesing-theory passing style caused him to ram the man he now accuses in the last race.

  16. Mr Zing Zang
    18th April 2010, 17:06

    You are so blind. Did you not see Vettels’ redbull pushing Hamilton into Webber?

  17. It wasn’t Jenson’s fault as I see it (or saw it). He didn’t slow down suddenly, he slowed down gradually, and as Rob B said, Rosberg left a gap, accelerated and then slowed down to quickly which caused the bunching up. I think the 4 drivers behind Jenson at that point should be reviewed if at all. And regarding Lewis, I think it was okay as the safety car line was crossed when he made that move and it was legal as per my understanding of this year’s regs. What demands a review is the Vettel/Lewis pit incident which was clearly unsafe and unwarranted for. Both were at fault equally.
    Also, Alonso’s move on Massa at the pit lane entry was not very legal imo.
    Well, stewards’ call it is and as it stands, there was no action taken. Whatever..

  18. C’mon guys! It’s racing! Good for webber, he had a taste of his own medicine. That’s now considered “equal”! Hahaha! He’s like a kid who lost his ice cream for being stupid enough not to protect it. Even Vettel was on the tip of his anus to snatch Lewis, but sorry for the redbulls! They thought they’re always the fastest…wrong! Redbull…owned!!! Bwaaaahahaha!

  19. when the fia were giving penalties people complained, now they are acting in a different way, and people complain even more. Make up your minds.
    I think bernie is right, f1 can’t be a democracy.

    1. Agree with bernie – rational and dispassionate fans are a rare commodity so best to do what Bernie thinks is good racing and we can pay our monies…..

  20. The bunching only happened because of a very long straight into a very slow corner and one following driver (2nd or 3rd) wasn’t paying enough attention (or was trying to be too clever). This cascaded in them all almost stopping, just like someone hitting the brakes on the motorway an it all stopping for no reason. I don’t think there was much wrong with what Button did I’ve now watched it about 10 times) but it was towards the limit.

    As for HAM, BUT, VET it was effectively one RBR causing the other to go off, HAM just happened to be piggy in the middle.

    I think the pit lane moves by HAM, VET, ALO, MAS were just as bad if not worse, but nothing should be done about those either.

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