Valencia’s short pit lane helps Hamilton hold onto second (European GP analysis)

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Valencia, 2010

It wasn’t just slow stewards which inadvertently helped Lewis Hamilton hold onto second place after his drive-through penalty.

Valencia’s short pit lane was the difference between him finishing second instead of sixth.

See below for more data on the European Grand Prix including the race progress and lap time interactive charts.

Lap 1

Lap 1 position change
Lap 1 position change (click to enlarge)

Mark Webber didn’t get off the line too poorly, but after Lewis Hamilton got alongside him he was punished to the tune of seven places by the end of the first lap.

First the Ferraris set upon Webber, then Jenson Button and Robert Kubica went either side of him as they rounded turn eight, both making it past.

By the end of the lap Webber had slumped from second to ninth.

Vitaly Petrov blamed his poor start on wheelspin as the lights changed, dropping him from tenth to 15th.

Pit stops

Pit stops
Pit stops (click to enlarge)

The normal routine of pit stops was just getting started when Webber’s crash brought the safety car out.

Most of those who could pit on lap nine did, several others pitted on lap ten, and the ones who lost out were the ones who had to follow the safety car around before coming in – Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa.

Hamilton spared himself that delay by illegally overtaking the safety car – unwittingly or otherwise. But as things worked out, the penalty he got for doing that was less than the time he ultimately saved by not following the safety car around.

Race progress

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Tick/untick drivers? names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

Hamilton came very close to not making it out in front of Kobayashi. Drivers have up to three laps to serve drive-through penalties and McLaren kept him out as late as they could to maximise his chance of getting ahead.

At the point Hamilton was informed of the penalty he was 2.2s behind Sebastian Vettel and McLaren’s radio broadcasts revealed he was saving fuel to attack Vettel later on. But once they knew they were getting a penalty Hamilton speeded up, increasing his gap over Kobayashi from 11.2s to 13.2s.

This was crucial, as typical pit lane time loss at Valencia is 12.7s. It’s the shortest pit lane F1 has used so far this year. Had the same situation happened at Shanghai, where pit lane time loss is 21s, Hamilton would have come out in sixth place behind Robert Kubica.

It’s worth reflecting that, not only did the stewards take rather too long to give Hamilton a penalty, but the only penalty available to them is one that varies in its severity from race to race. Hardly an ideal situation.

Drivers’ lap times

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Jenson Button grabbed the fastest lap late in the race with a 1’38.766. That was just 0.083s slower than the lap record, set by Timo Glock last year.

Lap chart

Lap chart
Lap chart (click to enlarge)

Adrian Sutil pulled off one of the race’s few overtaking moves and it paid off three times over.

As well as taking a place from Sebastian Buemi he was able to pull ahead and inherit another place from Kamui Kobayashi when the Sauber driver pitted.

It also meant he was far enough of ahead of Fernando Alonso that, when Sutil got his post-race five second penalty, he stayed ahead of Alonso.

NB. charts do not reflect time penalties added after the race.

2010 European Grand Prix

Browse all 2010 European Grand Prix articles

94 comments on “Valencia’s short pit lane helps Hamilton hold onto second (European GP analysis)”

  1. Valencia pitlane is still short but the speed limit is fixed to 60km/h

    1. miguelF1O (@)
      28th June 2010, 2:05

      this race shouldnt count for the champ but for several reason fia couldnt just do the right thing and penalise fairly all the drivers if fia dsq 10 drivers it would be very bad for f1 image and it would set an war inside f1

    2. the FIA should adjust the pit speed limit according to the length of the pitlane itself. therefore a drive thru penalty would be of the same severity at all tracks.

      1. yeah, because the speed limit is there to penalise drivers and not for the safety of everyone who works in the pits

      2. Sato does have a good point, but I think his idea, though not bad, is rather unworkable.

        Different tracks are just that, different.
        One day Hamilton will get a penalty where there is a really long pit lane, so it will all balance out eventually.

  2. great strategie by Sauber. Congrats to them.
    If the sc came in front of vettel, Button would have been first.. that would have been one lucky Jenson there

    1. And another one of Button’s standard lucky wins.

      1. It’s luck if it happens once in a blue moon. When it happens regularly it’s called skill. For all Hamilton’s dramatic racing, Jenson consistently finishes right up with him. So much for Hamilton’s “dominance.”

        1. What a silly comment. It is the teams responsibility to get their drivers up the ranking as high as possible – especially if the driver qualifies low – a la Jenson. Jenson has been “up there” with Lewis a few times due to the teams strategy; and rightly so.
          This does not take away from Lewis’s dominant drives. He has won ALL his placing due to his driving abilities, not due to his team making up for his shortcomings.
          In fact, his team has cost him positions twice this year!

      2. Ah, these things happen. It’s not like Alonso or Hamilton haven’t benefited from safety cars in previous races like China.

        Swings and round-a-bouts. They even themselves out in the end.

    2. I don’t think so – if the safety car had come out in front of Vettel, Button would have had to queue behind Hamilton.

      1. No he wouldn’t Button would have pitted the lap before Hamilton, just as he did in the actual race, because he hadn’t passed the pitlane exit, unlike Hamilton. No queueing…

        1. Ah, OK, I see what you mean now.

        2. but button had a five sec penalty given to him. would he have still been in first?

      2. Agree with Racer above.

        If the safety car came out correctly, then Button would have been the winner.

        And the top 4 would have been badly compromised.

        I think the SC rules need to be changed ASAP. I won’t mind the 2007 rule of “pit lane closure”, the only problem with that rule was people running out of fuel on the track, in 2010, that problem is gone anyways :).

        1. By coincidence, I scanned and posted an article that gives a detailed description of the first use of a safety car at the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport in 1973 and the tremendous controversy that surrounded it.

          Sorry for the delay but this has prompted me to try out the scanner I’ve recently purchased. A few weeks after this race I was walking through the paddock at Watkins Glen and picked up a copy of a racing newspaper that Marlboro was giving out. I was quite surprised to find a picture of the winner’s circle at Canada which had me in it. I’ve scanned the article which has great information about this race. That’s me in the 1st picture in the sunglasses at the left upper edge.

          Seems as if we haven’t progressed very far in 37 years.

          1. That is a really good article.
            Thanks a lot!

          2. I read it just now, nice find. It goes to show, Safety car is a complicated thing always hurting someone and handing others advantages, now and 37 year ago!

        2. I thought the “pit lane closure” rule was fine even with refuelling. Just a few teams could never understand the principle of building the possibility of a safety car into your strategy.

        3. That’s actually a great point. I always felt terrible for those drivers who HAD to pit or run out of fuel, and were subsequently punished; but now, that rule would work perfectly, and stop those who actually deserve to be on the podium from being compromised!

  3. It should be: when safety car is deployed everybody slow and not overtake. Then the safety car is reached by the first positioned and everybody queues. Only when the line is complete the pit is open and the drivers can change tyres (if they want, I’d prefer the rule of mandatory tyres change to be dropped).
    If one driver overtakes when SC is deployed or is too fast while SC is out, he immediately is forced to step down to last position, as a consistent penalty.

    No strange rules on pit lane opened or closed, no dangerous massive pit entries, no late decisions by the stewards.

    1. This seems like common sense to me. I never remember this sort of controversy or confusion about the pace car coming out in Indy car races when I was growing up.

      Only thing I wouldn’t agree with on this is the harshness of the punishment. I would say drop 5 positions or something. But yes, handed out immediately.

      1. I don’t mean to be pedantic or anything but the 1995 indy 500 springs to mind as something similar. Jacques Villenueve didn’t know he was the leader when the caution came out so he passed the pace car, as was normal procedure. Subsequently he was given a 2 lap penalty which he made up and then won the race because Scott Goodyear overtook the slow moving pace car on a restart. Anyway the real point is that the stewards screwed this one up badly and even as a Hamilton fan i can see he wasn’t punished enough, perhaps a stop and go would have been more appropriate.

        1. There already exists punishments from different transgressions, so the stewards just cant pick on out of their hat. The stewards cant try to over compensate because of the prevailing situation, that would be race manipulation.

  4. And no races decided by stewards “awareness” or pit lane lenght!!!

  5. I wonder why no one has asked this before.

    Considering the hypothetical situation where, Vettel and Hamilton pass the safety car and pit at end of lap 10, but Felipe and Fernando instead of pitting under the safety car just continue as they were.

    Then, we would have had at the restart 1.Vettel, 2.Hamilton, 3.Alonso, 4.Massa, 5.Kobayashi, 6.Button and so on…

    Now, at the race-restart, assuming no crash happens, Vettel and Hamilton should pull away from Alonso and Massa (since they have older tyres) and Alonso and Massa should pull away from Kobayashi (since, it is the faster car). Then, Hamilton serves his penalty on lap 28. He will most likely come out 4th behind Vettel and the 2 Ferraris.

    Now, the 2 Ferraris, will obviously look to pit whenever they have a 20-odd second gap to Kobayashi, which would be close to around lap 50 (A Ferrari can be assumed to be 0.5 seconds quicker than Sauber for 40 laps in-a-row).

    So, the Ferraris pit now and rejoin 3rd and 4th still ahead of Kobayashi and Button and start catching up to Hamilton in the closing stages.

    Thuhe worst case scenario, they could have finished 3rd and 4th, best-case: 2nd and 3rd.

    So they are indeed responsible for part of their dismal performance.

    1. It should be “Thus, in the” not “Thuhe”

    2. Hey, that’s a sane catch! :D Actually, they should’ve been savy enough to realise that.. Oh well.. The safety car rule piting blablabla is still pretty dodgy

    3. charles fox
      28th June 2010, 0:27

      Slight problem wwith the above mentioned strategy, is that Alonso and Massa were on the super softs being front runners forced to use their qually tyres, and we all saw how badly the hard gamble went for mercedes. so even the F10(“b”) which seems to be one of the kinder cars on its tyres couldn’t got 50 laps into the race, 20 would probably be asking too much. in which case they’d probably have ended up a little better than they did, but not on the podium.

    4. MacademiaNut
      28th June 2010, 3:10

      This is the reason the pit lane should be closed immediately after the deployment of safety car. Then, after a lap of safety car – after getting the order behind the safety car right – open the pit lane.

  6. Yeah that actually makes sense, to make the SC pick up the field first, and then they can pit, if they want. Seems a lot more fair. Now it’s just a matter of good luck where you are on track.. that sucks! And only favours drivers like incognito Button.

    But hey, next year we have mario kart wings and probably banana peels and turtle shells you can shoot at each other so, I guess good racing and fairness isn’t one of FIAs goals?

    1. “Now it’s just a matter of good luck where you are on track”
      Yeah that’s not right and the ferraris lost out badly (but as Sumedh said they could really have avoided it). It would probably help if the SC came out directly in front of the leader too although i suppose thats not always possible

  7. Interesting thought about the short pitlane. I wonder weather the Stewards were aware of that. It might have been more appropriate to give a stop and go here.

    Also i would like to get some information on the 5 second penalties given after the race. I must say i am happy the FIA is starting to use other than thos “standard issue” 20 or 30 seconds explicitly stated in the sporting regulations.

    But why did a different Penalty got used when in the last few years the FIA gave the impression those standard 3 options were the only ones available?

    Might this be a (undisclosed) clarification to the Stewards after Monaco?

  8. Schumacher may be not as good as Rosberg on qualifyings, but the man still knows how to pull a great start :D

  9. I’ve been thinking this for a while but why does F1 need a safety car? Surely the technology is there now to neutralise having a speed limiter similar to the one used in the pit lane. It would mean all the gaps would remain as they were, and as the cars would be reduced to a slow speed any debries could be cleared as easy as would happen with a safety car.

    Ok safety cars are entertaining but for years they’ve been creating huge injustices like those seen today. We should get rid of safety cars in the interest of the integrity of the sport.

    1. Hmmm, interesting point. The cynic in me wonders whether their main purpose is to act as moving advertisements for Mercedes…

  10. Today’s Grand Prix reminded me of Nico Rosberg’s race at Singapore 2008. After *that* crash he dived into the pits rather than waiting two laps like everyone else, and after a long delay he was penalised. But, like Kamui Kobayashi did today, Giancarlo Fisichella was backing the pack up so that he was able to emerge from his stop and go in 2nd place.

    Perhaps the rules need changing a bit so that the stewards aren’t limited to fixed penalties in so many cases. It doesn’t seem right that the impact of drivers’ penalties depends on the length of the pit lane rather than the severity of their wrongdoing.

    1. Oh yer I was thinking about Rosberg’s one as well, but thing is he would have run out of fuel and that rule in itself was a joke. But there was no reason why Rosberg shouldn’t have been given his penalty instantaniously.

    2. MacademiaNut
      28th June 2010, 3:21

      Yet, Alonso did not complain then as he finished first!

    3. Interesting point Ned..
      My only problem with the removal of the standard penalties is that it puts the entire weight of the penalty on the decision of the stewards, who change every weekend, and who we’ve complained about in every season I can remember.

      Perhaps a standard set of penalties per track? :) Or we could just leave the system as it is knowing that the ‘chance’ results of penalties eventually even themselves out.

      1. 5 second penalty doesn’t appear in the rule book as far as I remember, They can make it up as they go along.

  11. Probably mclaren and hamilton already evaluating the cost-benefit analysis when webber’s accident happened. hamilton took the decision tho cheat (passing the safety car on yellow )because he already know that if he caught cheating and penalized by the fia but still, the benefit of cheating will outweigh the penalty. Lets say the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

    1. Considering Lewis slowed down before the safty car hit the line, I don’t beleive any of what happened was intentional.

      1. Hamilton probably thought the safety car was already deployed when in actual fact its only deployed after the safety car line. Hamilton was then looking for that line and accelerated towards it.

        Safety car line at hundreds of km/hr? :-) well at least we got a photo finish between Lewis and Bert at the safety car line.

  12. Massa paid the price for Ferrari stacking their pit-stops. Not sure what other teams did that.

    Fernando could have been a lot higher though, the Hamilton penalty should have been at least a stop and go.

    I believe there’s a light for safety car on the steering wheel so no way he didn’t know.

    Valencia is always a crap race. What a difference between this and Canada.

    1. Haha and also the fact that it came out right in front of him. You can clearly see that on pics from the race that no way he could not seen it!

    2. I wonder where Massa would have stopped if he would not have made a stop. He would have been in front of Kobayashi and might have made enough of a gap to end in front of him, or at least close behind Button, maybe coining in on the 5 second penalty there.

  13. Mark Webber had a very bad first Lap… 9th starting 2nd is not really what the expectations of RBR-Renault are…

  14. it’s very unfair race but that is racing and ferrari will hit back is Silverstone with one two.

  15. Of course, if the rules are changed so that everyone can pass the safety car until the leader has caught up, nobody would lose out in a repeat scenario.

    Let’s face it, if it had been Alonso instead of Hamilton then the argument would be the same, but probably not if it had been Alonso and Hamilton. Seems once again it’s a question of who, not what.

    1. Hm, seems the thing losing out is safety, as in drivers, marshalls, doctors. Those cars would be going high speed through a track just being cleared, seems to nullify the need of a safetycar altogether, doesn’t it?

  16. 17 points in two races
    28th June 2010, 0:17

    Charlie Whiting helps LH much more!!

    Why didn´t he take 14 laps to penalty Alonso when he starts before time? He show his finger in an evident mistake of Alonso. He was penalized and anyone will do the same.

    Can you imaging that after begin before start you will have take some advantage if Charlie is going to take 14 laps to penalize you?

    Bruno Senna can try to start before next race (five seconds before or more) get the first place and after 14 laps and a drive through he will probably be on the points!!!!

    LETS BREAK THE RULES!!! The BBC are with us!!!

    1. Alonso’s false start was pretty easy to spot because he did it in fornt of the race director and with several cameras providing evidence.

      Race Control had to ensure the safety of Webber first and then get the race going again as soon as possible then they could investigate the Hamilton incident. Getting the evidence required to give Hamilton a penalty was difficult because all of the angles except the aerial footage were inconclusive. If the on-board shot had been clear then his penalty would undoubtedly come much sooner.

    2. MacademiaNut
      28th June 2010, 3:40

      If it is not for Alonso asking his team to talk to Charlie, this would not have been investigated at all. Alonso told his team only after realizing that they will not be scoring any points. The caption of “car #2 under investigation” came around lap 23-24 (probably a lap or so before the stewards were made aware of this rule infraction). In lap 25, the penalty was awarded.

  17. Schumacher was ahead of Kobayashi, and with the same plan
    would have followed Hamilton instead of pitting. Later when the Mercedes was faster he would have benefited from the lead he had and would have lost fewer places than Kobayashi and benefited from fresh tires the same way, with a podium finish a possiblility.

  18. I’ve just watched the highlights on the bbc website and have noticed something. The problem for Hamilton was that he hesitated and this meant the safety car had just passed the SC line before he passed it. I think I know why he did this.

    It appears to me from both the helicopter view and Hamilton’s onboard, that as the safety car takes the first corner in the pitlane, it runs wide over the pit lane white line as if it’s just going to rejoin.

    Obviously I can’t be sure, but it seems to be just after this that Lewis backs of, so for me, this is quite likely to be the reason. Obviously it doesn’t change the fact that Lewis passed the safety car and therefore had to be punished, but it may explain what could be considered a slightly leniant punishment.

  19. The chart I want to see is Keith’s daily sleep totals. It can’t be healthy. But this productivity, the continual improvement of the product, is much appreciated.

    1. I do alright :-)

  20. I’m really confused. So what actually happened when SC is not deployed in front of the lead car?

    Vettel is well ahead of SC, Hamilton got passed it, but Alonso, Massa, and the rest of the cars were stuck behind the SC.

    Then first wave of the cars pitted. who ever came out first is led by the SC. Then Vettel and Hamilton went around the track and pitted, and should have came out at the very back of all the cars, while SC leading the first car that came out in the first wave of the pitted cars…?

    Would anybody help me figure out how Vettel and Hamilton were still 1-2 when they pitted after everyone else? meaning they should have been in the back of the cars that pitted before Vettel and Hamilton…right? Why was the SC car still in front of Vettel??


    1. Regarding HenryL qn, it is true that the SC shld be picking up vettel. But as there was a delay , meaning Vettel passed the sc way before it is out, hamilton just beside it and went past it based on the white line (also the pit exit line) (Controversy), the rest of the cars including alonso, have to be trapped and lead by the SC. this means that hamilton n vettel would be able to drive around the circuit at a much higher speed as compared to the rest…

      So , both of them pitted and had so much time that even Hamilton can change his nose of the car… And when they pit, they are still considered to be leaders of race as they r infront of the SC by a lap. So the SC has to wait for them both.

      It is also because of this, those cars that r before Kobayashi before the crash (button, kubica, and co), pitted, but kobayashi didnt, so he sudd became 3rd.

  21. I’m rather amazed that Kobayashi could stay out on track on the mediums for 53 laps, even if he was creating a “Trulli train” effect which held up everyone else…

    1. He was holding people up? That’s news to me, his pace looked good…

      1. I agree with dragon, and if that rookie driver Schumacher had followed his example and stayed out he also might have had a good result.

      2. Well, relative to Hamilton and Vettel I suppose, Kobayashi got faster once his fuel went down and the track rubbered in, but once he went in for options, Button started posting fast laps…

  22. The question has to be asked why did the safety car not come out in front of Vettel.
    In situations like this the safety car needs to pick up the race leader asap. Maybe they need to think of deploying more safety cars at different locations. As we saw especially this week is they know exactly where each car is, so it shouldn’t be difficult.

    I do think the idea of using the pit lane limiter, good thinking there.

    About the drive through penalty, could they not make each pit lane the same length? Possibly modified with pit lane speed so that at each race the penalty is ~equal.

    1. There wasn’t enough time. The safety car was deployed just seconds after Webber’s accident. The replay makes it look like there was a lap or so between the accident and deployment.

      If you look at the replay of the accident, Webber flips & hits the barrier, as he comes to a stop the SC is deployed, and then the lap counter increments to lap 10 mearly seconds after that.

      The lap counter increases because Vettel crossed the start / finish line.

      1. That’s why I suggest there should be more than one safety car at different locations around the track. That way probably the second and most definitely the third safety car would pick up the leader, Seb Vettel in this instance.

        1. Exactly, we need more than one safety car, we don’t need a safety car star driver.

          1. And get results like with LeMans 24h, where the Peugeot and Audi cars were behind different Scars and this separated the field and took away part of the race?

            As far as i heard, Whiting let the SC and the medical car go out right at the moment Webber went airborne, even before he was full flight and coming down. It just takes a little while to get there.

  23. Just listened too Fernando Boolonso on the radio, you would think He had done a somersault and hit the barrier at 100mph, In the future I will watch him like a hawk, waiting for him to make the smallest of mistakes.

  24. Sorry Keith, it was not the short pit lane what helped Hamilton, it was the stewards decission (and the time they took them to apply it). You can´t set a penalty knowing it doesn´t penalyze at all the commited punishment.
    It’s as simple as that.

    1. As I wrote in the very first line “It wasn’t just slow stewards…”

      But I think you’ve missed the point. Even if the stewards had taken exactly the same amount of time to render their verdict, at a track with a longer/slower pit lane Hamilton would have lost more time and come out further down the field.

      To put it another way, in order for Hamilton to take his penalty and come out of the pits still in second he didn’t just need the stewards to be slow. He needed Kobayashi holding up his team mate and he needed to be racing at a track with a short pit lane. He got all three.

      1. He also needed the stewards to be lenient. A stop/go penalty would have put him 10 seconds further back.

  25. It’s a shame, and Hamilton is a never punished mischievous. F1 lost most of its credibility after this gp

  26. colin grayson
    28th June 2010, 9:32

    it says everything about alonso’s menatality that all he was interested in was getting hamilton punished
    he lost virtually nothing from hamilton’s mistake

    the real loser was….button ! if the safety car had come out in front of vettel as it really should have , jenson would have been sitting pretty !

    luckiest man of the day …vettel , if the safety car had picked him up , where would he and hamilton and alonso and maybe one or two others have come out ?

    1. Hamilton’s hesitation behind the SC prevented Alonso from overtaking it too. So Alonso did lose massively from Hamilton’s behaviour.

  27. Keith: “the only penalty available to them is one that varies in its severity from race to race.”

    A stop/go penalty was also available.

    40.14: Either of the penalties under Articles 16.3a) or b) will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the
    Stewards, unnecessarily overtook another car during the first lap.

    16.3a) is the drive-through, 16.3b) is the stop/go.

    Of course, a stop-go penalty also varies in severity depending on the pit lane, but would have been a much more suitable punishment in the circumstances. It would have put Hamilton back where he would have been, had he obeyed the rules.

    1. If drivers in the past have got drive-throughs for overtaking the safety car then that was the penalty they should have given Hamilton.

      1. But in the circumstances, the drive-through did nothing to cancel out the advantage Hamilton gained.

        The punishment should be proportionate to the advantage gained. Isn’t that just common sense?

    2. It seems to me the only defintion of suitable working here is “worse.” All this banging on about common sense and justice is very short sighted. If people want the stewards calibrating the penalty to the potential effect on the track rather than the severity of the violation, you will have all the disrepute, manipulation, and scandal Keith can write about. This position is precisely but exactly like saying a penalty kick should be moved closer to the goal if the attack seemed more likely to succeed than typical.

      I this race the stewards correctly applied their discretion. They saw that the race to the SC line was very close, that Hamilton was not somehow trying to game the system, and gave a penalty appropriate to the level of intent and the aggravation of the act, as it were. They did not give a penalty in an attempt to rewrite ongoing events in the race to satisfy someone or anothers “common sense” as to what the appropriate outcome should be. The purpose of penalty is absolutely not to cancel out an advantage. Sometimes it is more, sometimes less, that’s how it worked out. And the stewards are not on hand to dole out equity.

      Keith, your comment that the precedent of some instances should mean that in every case going forward doesn’t really work in its own terms, and it ignores the mode of discretion the stewards have in the race.

      1. Edit: read “absolutely” and “not” in reverse order.

      2. What I’m saying is, punishments should be consistent. That means not just giving the same punishment for the same misdemeanour (which is where precedent comes in), but also having selection of punishments that don’t vary depending on what track you’re at. At Valencia a drive-through penalty costs you 12.7s, at Shanghai it costs you 21s. That’s hardly fair.

        1. I never realized that, but it surely is an issue to be taken in consideration!

          There is still much to be improved in judging about and handing out penalties as well as in the right balance of penalties and consistent, predictable, judgement.

        2. But Keith, a drive-through 10 or more laps late is not really “the same punishment” as a drive-through immediately after the offence.

          Because of the delay, which allowed Hamilton to gain a huge advantage from the offence, a stop/go would have been more appropriate.

      3. DaveW: “All this banging on about common sense and justice is very short sighted.”

        Think about how penalties work when drivers cut chicanes. Drivers are usually only penalized when an advantage is gained. The point of the penalty is to negate the advantage. A driver can avoid a penalty by giving up the place he gained.

        This is common sense justice in action. When a driver gains an unfair advantage, the penalty should only do what is necessary to cancel out the advantage.

        Hamilton’s penalty was extremely lenient, because it did nothing to cancel out the unfair advantage he gained. A stop/go would have been more proportionate.

  28. Matt Hubbert
    28th June 2010, 10:32

    If Hamilton did pass the SC on purpose or not or did hold Alonso up is difficult to tell. I do think he got away with it to a degree but it is upto the stewards to decide what punishment he gets but there does need to be some clarity on this. Alonso does seem to still have a grudge against Hamilton but at the end of the day its up to the powers that be to give out penalties

  29. FIA rules are confusing at best and thats the cause of much confusion by people making posts.

    While the safety car is running out of the pits and still withing the pit exit. It is however not yet deployed until after it has crossed the safety car line.
    So saying a driver saw the safety car or not is of no relevance.

  30. by the way, Alonso’s comment about being 1meter behind Hamilton is basically correct, even though physically incorrect. Its called Lenght Contraction. In relative physics, as you move at the speed of light or close to it, lengths become shorter. :-)

    Even though they were just a few handful of millions of km/hr below the speed of light they were still moving fast enough for him not to be able to tell the difference. :-)

  31. Then you will have arbitrary rules and match fixing.
    If the FIA didn’t enjoy reading verbose wordings of their rules and regulations, we would not have a safety car line, but instant deployment of a safety car.
    Why deploy a safety car then still have drivers having the option of being able race the safety car to a line or be looking for a line to decide if they are ahead or behind a safety car.

  32. WOW!!!! “You are posting comments too fast”

    Come on Keith, I only type at 45Mph. :-)

    1. Sorry, we’ve got an intermittent problem with the comments today, should be fixed later tonight:

  33. valentina46
    28th June 2010, 11:24

    Totally agree with you guys..The pit lane should be closed until all the cars are behind the SC. But I think Hamilton’s punishment should have been the black flag. He didn’t only overtake the SC but also the medical car. So he didn’t even care about the health of a fellow driver.
    Alonso was so right about what he said after the race: The one who respects the rules finishes 8th, while the one who violates them finishes 2nd. How fair can that be?

  34. Finally a bit of luck for Hamilton! Its about time too.

  35. Interesting stat on laps led but can anyone tell me how many laps the Safety Car has led?
    Is it more than Alonso?

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