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. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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.”

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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

    Red Bull gives you Wiiiiiings

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. renzo said on 28th June 2010, 11:26

    Red Bull gives you wings!!

  12. KeithS said on 28th June 2010, 20:46

    DC’s comments about lesser teams/slower cars should let faster cars through reminds me of his (non)performance at Monaco in 2001 when his McLaren was stuck behind Bernoldi’s Arrows for an interminable time. I recall him requesting Bernoldi to be asked to let him past – and he failed to tag along when the leader lapped them both. His views obviuosly haven’t changed, but his (worthwhile) involvement in the drivers’ safety aspects have (in his eyes) justified and strengthened his opinion.
    It is racing – if you want to get past, you have to use your speed/power advantage and skill to pick the moment. A racing accident – and it would not truly be racing without them.
    Webber is presumably looking to develop the aura of Schumi – when you see him in your mirrors you know he will force his way past, so you might as well do it the least painful way to the both of you. Webber presumably had his dander up after his poor start – I’m all for s*** or bust racing al la Mansell, who always performed best when he’d cocked it up and the red mist had decended.
    I likewise am relieved that the chassis strength and integrity resulted in no injury.

  13. wasiF1 said on 29th June 2010, 3:14

    Both accidents were scary especially Webber’s one as he landed on his head & if you see the video you can see how deep did his care hit the tyre barriers. I will blame Webber for the incident he should have been a bit patient as the Lotus is 3-4 second slower than his Red Bull he didn’t needed to slip stream his car, he misjudge the speed of his car. But thank heaven he is ok.

  14. 1. Lotus are supposed to race for the position and allowed to move to the inside to defend before taking the corner.
    2. By moving to the inside, the Lotus had picked up ‘marbles’ which are bits of rubber that come off all the cars tyres and when these marbles stuck to the Lotus tyres, their grip would have been reduced for a few corners – this is why the Lotus had to brake a little earlier, so as to allow for the reduced grip.
    3. Webber simply made the mistake of following the Lotus to the outside in an attempt to maximise the slip streaming gain in speed: he already had enough overtaking speed and should have stuck to the inside and attempted to outbrake the Lotus.

    Webber’s mistake and an embarassing one at that.

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