Webber hits Kovalainen and flips (Video)

Mark Webber’s European Grand Prix came to a dramatic end when he crashed violently with Heikki Kovalainen.

The Red Bull and Lotus drivers were racing for position and collided at the fastest point of the track approach turn 12.

Webber hit the back of the Kovalainen’s car and flew through the air.

A very similar crash happened at the same place in the GP2 sprint race this morning, with Josef Kral the unlucky driver flying through the air. He was taken to hospital:

Webber suffered a similarly violent accident at the wheel of a Mercedes sports car at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1999. On that occasion the car flipped of its own accord.

Webber and Kovalainen were racing for position and there was nothing obviously wrong with Kovalainen’s defensive move.

But we’ve discussed before this year whether slower cars should bother racing for position with the front-runners. Should Kovalainen have got out of Webber’s way?

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82 comments on Webber hits Kovalainen and flips (Video)

  1. etre said on 27th June 2010, 16:35

    Cmon guys , be fare with the australian. Was a racing accident. His maneuver was common in F1. No one could react fast enough. Lotus was slow , nobody’s fault.

  2. ciaran said on 27th June 2010, 16:44

    This crash reminds me of the Patrese Berger crash in Portugal 92.Here it is
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e5A55atmAc
    It was a hard smash but it was a racing incident.It is a blameless incident.Kovalainen should have moved over but Webber should have been less agressive.

  3. mateuss said on 27th June 2010, 17:10

    Webber all the time proves himself useless in making decisions in close combat, in Australia he was terrible from start to finish, more recent example is Turkey, where I completely lay the blame on Webber, and now this, I’am sure he is never gonna win the WDC because he always crumbles under pressure!

  4. Jared404 said on 27th June 2010, 17:16

    How hard should Heikki Kovalainen defend his position? Considering his team mate finished 4 laps down.

    I’m almost certain he could not have defended his position for the remaining 49 laps. But you never know…

    • mateuss said on 27th June 2010, 17:46

      It is worth reminding that Trulli had a problem at the beginning of the race, and was 2 laps down already when he came out of the pits at the beginning of the race, and also rest of the newbies finished only 2 laps down.

  5. djdaveyp said on 27th June 2010, 17:32

    Unlucky for Mark Webber there. Just a small error.

    Imagine if the kerb was one of the high ones they use at Monza etc. Could have been a lot worse!

  6. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 27th June 2010, 17:52

    Well it’s a racing incident for me, but if there’s any blame it’s got to be Webber really. Kovalainen weaved away from Webber, it was his own decision to follow him.

    • SAW said on 27th June 2010, 18:37

      Its not Webbers fault. Its possible that HK was moving aside for MW to pass, but he has mirrors too, so to brake hard early before the corner was just stupid when MW was up his behind. It is so obvious from the incar camera that HK braked at the wrong time for the wrong reason. Many above have bagged the Australian commentary team for their comments, but I agree with them. I would rather listen to experts who have been closer to F1 than any of us than opinions of backseat drivers who have no idea. Look at the incar camera, it is obvious that the space MW left for safety disappears in an instant because of HK’s actions. HK’s fault without a doubt.

      • Tim said on 27th June 2010, 22:11

        In a post-race interview Webber said that he doesn’t blame Kovalainen for the incident.

        Webber mentioned that the Lotus had braked 80 metres earlier than he (Webber) had braked the previous lap. But given that Kovalainen was 1) well off the racing line and on the dirt to defend his position and 2) in a slower car, perhaps Webber should have taken more account of that.

        Some of the commentary just after the incident asked why Heikki had bothered trying to defend from a much faster car. Turn the point around – why was Webber so desperate to pass a much slower car? Webber himself said he’d have been past in 15 seconds anyway so a bit of patience wouldn’t have hurt – no more than landing on his head, anyway.

  7. KateM (@katem) said on 27th June 2010, 18:46

    Kovalainen shouldn’t have to yield like DC is suggesting but IMO he was jinking around a bit too much while defending. More Webber’s fault, but Kovalainen wasn’t completely innocent.

    At the end of the day, it was a racing accident and the most important thing is that both are OK. What would have happened in the “good old days” doesn’t bear thinking about.

  8. disjunto said on 27th June 2010, 18:56

    this was a scary crash,everyone I was watching with stopped breathing when the car started flipping, shook me up for a good couple of minutes.

    but it goes to show the amazing safety features these things have, how do you flip a car at that speed ani walk away from the crash?

  9. DamionShadows (@damionshadows) said on 27th June 2010, 19:07

    Thank God for the massive amount of runoff area, i’d hate to see what would have happened if there had been a wall right on the side of the track.

  10. Nelson PK said on 27th June 2010, 21:13

    Well, as tragic as it was, this accident reminds me of Gilles Villneuve hitting Mass at Zolder after both swerved left at the same time. Villneuve sadly died, but Webber was unscathed. This shows how much F1 is advancing saftey-wise, because it was only last year where Glock suffered that horrible cradh at Suzuka where he broke his leg and vertebrea, and it was also last year when Massa’s freak accident occured. This year, no one has been injured in a crash, especially this one and that Chandhok-Trulli incident at Montecarlo.

  11. simon. said on 28th June 2010, 0:22

    Racing incident for me. Classic car of much faster car overtaking a slower car in a tricky spot. Kova undoubtedly has to brake earlier in a Lotus and his slight weaving completely blinded Webber’s braking spot, who was then caught out by Kova braking.

  12. dragon said on 28th June 2010, 1:17

    Of course, no-one is to blame, as such. The OneHD commentators sounded a little ridiculous lambasting Kovy – but did I find Daryl Beattie’s comments about Gascoyne amusing.
    It’s much like Webber said. He was simply caught out with where the Lotus had to brake. Another car, he would have been able to come back on the right like he was trying to, and attempt to out-brake on the pass.

    A lot of us (including me) have previously disparaged the amount of run-off these newer tracks have in the name of safety, but I think we’re all extremely thankful in this case it was there!

  13. John Cousins said on 28th June 2010, 1:55

    Well, as one of the worlds biggest Mark Webber fans, It hurts me to say that it was probably Marks fault. The channel Ten (one) commentators really are too emotional and patriotic to be commentating fairly. The fact is that when Webber gets a REALLY bad start he gets a kind of red mist and just goes crazy trying to win back positions. He goes from being calculated to being overly aggressive. Kovi’s lotus really is a bucket of poo compared to the RB and Mark should have considered the fact that Kovi’s braking point would have been much earlier than his own. You have allowances for the fact that they are doing 300kph but really it comes down to Mark not giving enough room. My heart was in my mouth as Webber hit the tyres! Never have I been so glad to see a steering wheel tossed from a car. As for Kovalienen moving out of his way… Well… we all must race by the rules, whether you like them or not. They were racing for position and quite frankly that’s all there is to it. If Kovi let Webber past he wouldn’t be doing his job. Remember De-grassi and Alonso in Monaco.. I love watching that stuff. Congrats to all the people past and present who have worked to make F1 cars so indestructable!

    • Frank from Oz said on 28th June 2010, 2:20

      I’m a Webber fan myself and I agree with you 100% on this one. Here’s hoping for a better start at Silverstone!

      • Agreed. I love Webber and my heart was in my mouth when I saw that car take off (with the strangest feeling of deja vu) but I have to say that I thought it mostly Webber’s fault. He needs to work a bit more at keeping a cool head when things start to go pear shaped, a la Melbourne & Valencia. He also has to work hard to ensure that the setbacks of the last two races don’t derail his WDC challenge.

        I’d have loved for BBC to have interviewed him after the incident though – what pearler of a comment would he have come out with?

  14. A-Safieldin said on 28th June 2010, 2:06

    I think maybe the f duct could have done something to the balance…. i dunno it just seems weird that redbull ran the f-duct and that happend

  15. wong chin kong said on 28th June 2010, 3:18

    No, Kova certainly should not let Webber through. Kova is racing for position. Webber is no novice, should be able to gauge how fast he was approaching the car in front, adjust his throttle and brakes. This is pure poor judgement by Webber and hopefully he doesn’t repeat the same mistakes or there will be some more airborne F1 cars. In F1, you can’t have a sign flashing at the back of the car “Slow car ahead, exercise caution.”

  16. Peter said on 28th June 2010, 4:20

    I’m an Aussie and a Mark Webber fan but even I am prepared to say it was a racing incident. Kovalainen had every right to be defending track position regardless of who was behind him because they were racing for position. So what if the Lotus was 3 or 4 seconds a lap slower than the Red Bull? Does that mean that Heikki is only allowed to race his teammate, the Virgin’s and HRT? IMO, no. The back markers have as much right to “race” for position as anyone on the circuit, despite the opinions of people like David Coulthard.

    Now, if the Lotus was being lapped it might be a different story. But, it wasn’t being lapped and was under no obligation to yield simply because Webber was in a faster car.

    An unfortunate incident the crash may have been, but that’s all it was, a racing incident with neither driver any more to blame than the other. Kovalainen braked early, Webber misjudged the situation. End of story & move on to Silverstone IMO.

  17. David said on 28th June 2010, 4:29

    I wouldn’t lay the blame on any individual. It was just a racing incident.

    Kova braked about 120-130m before the corner, 40m+ earlier than Webber (and most other cars) had been at the time. But that (I’m assuming) is simply due to the car.

    People saying Webber couldn’t have made the move obviously didn’t realise how early Kova braked.

  18. Dane said on 28th June 2010, 5:07

    Red Bull gives you Wiiiiiings

  19. Jack Holt said on 28th June 2010, 10:34

    From the reply I saw (on the BBC site during the Webber interview) Kovalainen was weaving left to right before the incident, preventing Webber from getting Alongside. He then braked 80m earlier than Webber normally would. Terrible driving from Kovalainen, there’s no excuse for weaving across the track, especially when the performance differential is that extreme.

  20. AB576 said on 28th June 2010, 10:36

    i like webber – but this is the second time he has failed to move the steering wheel – once when he was been passed (vettel) and now when he was was trying to pass – sure webber is a great guy, charming and nice – and i am thankful that he made it out of that horrific crash today – but common webber! turn the wheel when you have too!

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