Webber loses out in safety car incident

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.

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168 comments on Webber loses out in safety car incident

  1. Sven said on 18th April 2010, 11:47

    Both Hamilton and Alonso passed other cars in the pit lane entrance. Is this alowed?

  2. disjunto said on 18th April 2010, 11:51

    From what the BBC commentators said, the SC line was before the turn, this “accident” happened at the end of the corner after they were allowed to overtake, nothing wrong with it.

    Button slowing… maybe an issue there. but he did seem to start slowing a lot before the corner to try and bunch it up (as EVERYONE does) and just did a really good job at it because people weren’t slowing in time

    • Rob B said on 18th April 2010, 12:06

      From what I saw Button was driving steadily, but it was Rosberg leaving a gap, then accelerating up behind a slowing Button that caused the bunch up. Watch the reply and see Rosberg steam in behind a slowing Button.

      It seems a culmination of several factors. Rosbergs eagerness to get a good run, Button going slower than normal and the saftey car line being before the final corner. Throw some wet track into the mix and somewhere there is going to be some accidents.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 18th April 2010, 13:15

      From what the BBC commentators said, the SC line was before the turn, this “accident” happened at the end of the corner after they were allowed to overtake, nothing wrong with it.

      No, the cars are not allowed to overtake until they’ve crossed the start/finish line. Unless a car goes off the track, which is why Hamilton, Vettel et. al. weren’t penalised for passing Webber under a safety car.

      • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 13:25

        Nope. They changed the rule for this season. Now they can start overtaking from the first safety car line.

        Article 40.7:
        “overtaking is forbidden until the cars reach the first safety car line after the safety car has returned to the pits.”

        • They need to change the rule back, then. What the hell is a “safety car line”? Why not use rules that people can understand? That would improve the show.

          • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 22:39

            I guess they want the race to get underway as soon as possible. It makes for a more natural start than waiting for the cars to travel all the way past a few corners and then to the finishline.

        • BasCB said on 19th April 2010, 10:13

          A shame, nobody really informed the viewers of this. Why did they not show a coloured line on screen from which point everybody could overtake?

          We were all suprised to see action there and more confused than enyojing it!

          FOM get your act together.

  3. Jezson said on 18th April 2010, 12:00

    There was no ‘erratic acceleration or braking’ from Jenson. He slowed down gradually at the end of the back straight, so the drivers behind him should have done the same. If anyone was ‘erratic’, it was some of the drivers behind him.

  4. It was pretty sneaky by Hamilton, however if they were past the safety car line then I guess he didn’t do anything wrong, just capitalised on a good opportunity, and I say that as a Webber fan. It hardly messed up Webber’s race. It was already gone with the tyre strategy and the pit stop stuff up, that front right tyre change seems to be a continuing problem.

    I do wish that the stewards could dish out penalties faster though. Hamilton and Vettel’s incident in the pits probably should have resulted in an instant penalty for both. They are both guilty of putting the safety of pit crews in danger, and Alonso’s jump at the start was obvious after one replay, yet it takes so long to dish out punishment.

  5. xabregas said on 18th April 2010, 12:16

    In this case Hamilton should have had a penalty.
    Actualy i think only after passing the start/finish line they could be racing hard.
    F1 should use the same system as Nascar uses after a caution which is put them in double files before the safety car goes out, but they could only race which other after passing the start/finish line
    It whould spice even more the race.

    • The rule states that they can start racing when they cross the SC line so they were perfectly valid to be racing. Also if you actually watch the incident you will see that hamilton only moved over to avoid Vettel who was diving down the inside!

  6. GWbridge said on 18th April 2010, 12:16

    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.

    • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 22:42

      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.

      • 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.

  7. janus1339 said on 18th April 2010, 12:32

    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?

  8. Scribe said on 18th April 2010, 12:52

    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.

  9. Brake Bias said on 18th April 2010, 13:25

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

  10. ganmarau said on 18th April 2010, 13:31

    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.

  11. 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.

    • bowa said on 18th April 2010, 14:08

      “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.

  12. bowa said on 18th April 2010, 14:05

    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..

  13. derek said on 18th April 2010, 14:13

    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?

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

      • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 22:46

        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.

        • 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.

  14. Roger Carballo AKA Archtrion said on 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.

  15. The Limit said on 18th April 2010, 14:49

    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?

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