Did Hamilton try to stop Alonso getting in front of the safety car? (Video)

Fernando Alonso’s race was ruined when he got stuck behind the safety car during yesterday’s European Grand Prix.

Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton finished second despite getting a penalty for overtaking the safety car.

Video footage suggests Hamilton may have done his bit to make sure Alonso got stuck behind the safety car.

In the video above it’s clear that Hamilton is behind the safety car when he crosses the second safety car line, then overtakes the safety car. That explains why he got a penalty under article 40.7 of the sporting regulations which says:

With the following exceptions, no car may overtake until it has passed the first safety car line for the first time when the safety car is returning to the pits. [...] Any car leaving the pits may be overtaken by another car on the track before it crosses the second safety car line.

However it looks as though Hamilton could have reached the second safety car line before the safety car, but slowed down before he got there. Why was that?

In the press conference after the race Hamilton was asked twice about the incident:

Q: Lewis, you had your drive through penalty. Talk us through what happened when you saw the safety car coming out and you were side-by-side on the track.
LH: I don?t remember too much about it to be honest. I was coming round turn one and literally as I got to the safety car line I saw that the safety car was pretty much alongside me. I thought I had passed it, so I continued and that was it.

Q: Can you comment a little bit on this penalty with the safety car? Did you see the car coming out of the pits? Did you hesitate to overtake it?
LH: No, when I came down the straight, I was accelerating, I didn?t see the safety car coming out and then as I came round turn one, we know that obviously the safety car was out but I was able to push until the safety car two line, I think, and at that point I saw the safety car alongside me and I thought I was passed, so when I noticed it, he was already behind and so I continued.

Looking at the video replay it doesn’t seem to me that he was ‘pushing until the safety car two line’.

Two interpretations seem likely. Perhaps Hamilton hesitated because he wasn’t sure whether he was allowed to pass the safety car as it was in the pit lane. But given his words in the press conference, it seems he was aware of the rule concerning the safety car line.

Alternatively, perhaps he was fully aware of his obligations under the rules and chose to slow down to hold up the Ferraris, hoping he could get ahead of the safety car but they could not. If that was his plan, it backfired, because he failed to get over the safety car line before the safety car did.

As it happened, the ensuing penalty was not as damaging for Hamilton’s race as it could have been – but he would have had no way of knowing at the time that would be the case.

Beyond the few facts we know we can only guess at what actually happened here. But I suspect Fernando Alonso believes Hamilton was trying to hold him up, and that would go a long way to explaining the fury in Ferrari’s reaction to yesterday’s race.

Do you think Hamilton was trying to get the Ferraris stuck behind the safety car? Cast your vote and leave a comment below.

Did Hamilton try to stop Alonso getting in front of the safety car?

  • Yes (56%)
  • No (34%)
  • Not sure (10%)

Total Voters: 3,784

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321 comments on Did Hamilton try to stop Alonso getting in front of the safety car? (Video)

  1. sato113 said on 28th June 2010, 12:37

    video taken down keith. copyright stuff

  2. Obbo said on 28th June 2010, 12:42

    One question regarding the poll. WHY WOULD HAMILTON GO TO THESE LENGTHS TO AFFECT ALONSO? He is not afraid of him, had already held off his passing attempts (while nursing a broken wing) and later demonstrated more than enough speed to continue to do so.
    I’ve just read an Alonso quote where he said “the race was for second” Given his demonstrated lack of any great passing ability on the rest of the field, how can Alonso seriously claim that he could have raced and passed Hamilton even if the safety car had not been deployed? Sure he was catching Hamilton for a while but, as we saw demonstrated later, LH was being conservative at the time.
    I don’t think Hamilton gives Alonso more than a passing thought, certainly he is not as obsessed as Alonso appears to be with him. Recently they were both asked if they would be willing to race as team-mates again, LH’s immediate response was that he would be happy to have a return match with FA. Alonso just said “No”.

    • mvi said on 28th June 2010, 13:33

      I think Hamilton like any driver looking for the championship is totally aware of and keeps close track of what all his competitors are doing.

    • EGC said on 28th June 2010, 14:06

      Because Hamilton was going to get passed on the pits, at this point he had to change his nose and Alonso not, so his pit-stop would have been faster (Alonso’s one)….

  3. David BR said on 28th June 2010, 13:02

    I’ve no idea, like most other people watching F1 this weekend, whether Hamilton slowed to ensure Alonso got stuck behind the safety car or not. I tend to think he was unsure what to do because he’s now fairly paranoid about regulations – witness his decision not to take Vettel at the restart. But the idea that he couldn’t think that fast is a bit against the evidence – Formula 1 drivers *have* to think that fast.

    But one thing’s for sure: Alonso thinks he did slow him down on purpose. So would he have done this to Hamilton? We all know the answer to that one. Which leads me to think he and Ferrari are really miffed because they think Hamilton outclassed them in sneakiness, that’s what *really* annoys them.

    Whatever – it’s over apart from the shouting. But that leaves the question of the end result of Alonso’s bitter complaining. Will it inspire him and rattle Lewis? Or the opposite? And what does it tell us about Alonso’s state of mind in general? Unhappy with the performance of the upgrades? Worried they’ll be left behind as this was Ferrari’s last shot at putting the car at the front? Worried Felipe is right on his tail now? Hmm….

  4. Matt Hubbert said on 28th June 2010, 13:03

    I find it quite amusing the way that Alonso behaves i can see to a point what he is saying about the length of time that it took the stewards to sort it out but thats not Hamiltons fault and he was punished. He is a class driver but needs to let his driving do the talking and not his mouth he sounds like a spoilt child. Thats the way things go sometimes for you sometimes against i dont hear Ferrari complaining when things go there way. The issue with the SC does need sorting out though to stop things like this becoming more of a problem

  5. Damn, FOM is faster than me.

    But I find an other video anyway, it is from the heli’s view. After watching the video I say Lewis hesitated, as he saw the SC, the SC was ahead of him, so he slowed down and was waiting for the SC to drive across the pit lane exit line, but the SC didn’t drive joined the track, instead the SC flowed the pit exit line, so Hamilton was able to get alone side and drive away.

    At the time Hamilton began to slow down, Alonso wasn’t even in the view of the heli’s camera, so I don’t think Hamiton intended to block Alonso. Just my opinion. Also Hamilton mostly likely did not know what the SC would do, that may be why he hesitated, otherwise why should he slowed down to let SC join the track right before his face, while he could have arrived at the 2nd line and overtake the SC intime?

  6. Prisoner Monkeys said on 28th June 2010, 13:18

    I have to wonder: how would Alonso have reacted if this race was anywhere but Spain? In the lead-up to the race, both Alonso and Hamilton were asked if they would consider partnering each other again. Hamilton said he doesn’t mind who he races with, but Alonso said that given the choice, he’s do everything he can to avoid being Hamilton’s team-mate. The attitude is clearly coming from Alonso. So I have to wonder if the show and the dance isn’t because Hamilton passed the safety car, it’s because he did it in Spain.

    It should also be noted that it’s very easy to forget that that drivers can’t see what we see – they can’t see their front wing. So they can’t see when a line is approaching once they’re within a certain range. My bet is that Hamilton’s hesitation came as a result of his being unsure how close he was to the line, rather than an attempt to sabotage Alonso’s race.

    • TMax said on 28th June 2010, 14:06

      PM Hamilton is a Better PR guy. he handles the press at the best. Alonso is a lot behind in these areas. He needs to do a lot of learning in that.

      They might say things in press, but it would really matter what they are talking behind the screens, which unfortunately a whole lot of us do not have access too. I am sure Hamilton would have different opinions than what he told in the press.

  7. PJA said on 28th June 2010, 13:31

    Any article such as this involving Hamilton and Alonso is bound to divide opinion. Personally I prefer to believe that drivers etc are telling the truth until they either admit otherwise or there is concrete evidence, so I don’t think Hamilton tried to impede Alonso.

  8. Mark said on 28th June 2010, 13:49

    looks like hamilton didn’t know where the safety car line was

  9. antonyob said on 28th June 2010, 13:53

    nice argument Mark, facts illicited from conjecture, based on supposition. ludicrous post.

    Check Silverstone in 2 weeks if you want to know how we feel about Lewis

  10. TMax said on 28th June 2010, 13:54

    I Voted Not sure because.

    TO sit there and plat such a thing in a split second is very difficult given that the whole thing was round the corner and the limited visibility of the drivers. So the Answer should be “No” then.

    Maybe the Mclaren Pits gave him some indication in what ever encrypted pit crew Radio that Fernando is behind him and it is easy to eliminate the Ferrari’s way then it is a “YES”.

    My answer to a question if Lewis Plotted this whole thing himself is “NO”.

    BTW a small Tit-for-Tat for Belgium 2007 eh ?

    I am wondering if the Ferrari’s are suffering from the Curse of the Small manufacturers. Each time Luca makes fun of them they end up finishing with the back markers :)

  11. Since Vetel had already passed the safety car by the time it even came out of the pit shouln’t the pace car have let by the the rest of the cars that were still on track at a controlled speed (Delta) to make it fair. Never mind if Hamilton deliberately blocked or not. I think the Stewards or safety car is more to blame here. I think Fernando is mad at Lewis in this situation because they were fairly close in points and Lewis sort of took advantage of the situation by not really blocking but not keeping a steady pace in which case both he and Fernando actually could have made it past the second pace car line before the pace car and not getting penalized.

  12. Chalky (@chalky) said on 28th June 2010, 14:20

    Maybe the FIA should look at amending the safety car rules and adopt those seen in other racing series.

    1) Close the pits when the SC is deployed.
    2) SC should wave past all cars until it picks up the leader.
    3) Open the pits.

    Problem is that this causes stacking as teams only have 1 box. Therefore, this could cause unnecessary danger in the pits?

    Only teams at the back would then have the advantage as they would take the compulsory tyre stop and lose little track position.

    So probably not a perfect solution.

  13. Tim said on 28th June 2010, 14:35

    It’s like coming round a corner and seeing traffic lights changing to red. You come upon an amber and make a decision to a) ‘nail it’ or b) go for the brakes.
    Hamilton’s a smart guy and took the gamble – and this time it paid off. Amber gambler!

  14. Kankunen said on 28th June 2010, 14:39

    Always Lewis. In 2007 the FIA penalty Alonso in Hungaroring for the pit incident…

    Lewis broken the rules and after the FIA change the rules…the FIA like Lewis win. This season Lewis are in all incidents and he is a great cheater and bad driver mate. Petrov incident, pole lap whitout petrol, pit incident whit Sebastien, stoping Fernando and overtaking the safety car…always Lewis, always cheater. Fia sucks and Lewis sucks. He is a great driver but whit this incidents he seem the FIA´s goldenboy.

    • disjunto said on 28th June 2010, 14:47

      Petrov: he was breaking the tow, lets not start this again. He was warned not to do it again

      Pole lap: he broke a rule which had minimal punishment, FIA have changed this rule to stop this happening. They’re not going to change the rule to make the punishment worse. Not to mention the fact that the time gained from less fuel was less than he got pole by

      Pit Incident: yeah, that was silly of him… and vettel ;)

      This incident, as I’ve mentioned before, the SC started to move infront of him, causing him to slow, once it moved back he tried to beat it to the SC line.

      Despite my defending of hamilton, I don’t want him to win the WDC, I really don’t like his attitude at time, but he doesn’t cheat, he bends the rules like EVERYONE else is trying to do

  15. rok said on 28th June 2010, 14:56

    If he wasnt the liar he is i would say he hasitated because he didnt know what to do… But unfortunetly he is a patological liar so he did it on purpose

    • Obbo said on 29th June 2010, 11:01

      @rok:
      ‘Symtoms of Pathological liars
      THEY OFTEN EXAGGERATE ISSUES. In this case, they may not be lying deliberately. They HABITUALLY LIE for many reasons, one being to HAVE THEIR OWN WAY in various activities.
      He/she think and BELIVE IN THEIR LIES COMPLETELY and often refuse to admit to the lie even when presented with evidence.’

      Hamilton has lied in the past. Incontrovertable. But had he been a habitual liar this would not have come as the shock and disappointment it did to his friends, fans and pitlane colleagues. When caught and presented with the evidence he admitted the lie. Part of that evidence was his own TRUTHFUL statements in a post race interview given prior to advice from a member of the team management. He should not have lied, it is a stain on his character that will haunt him, as now, but it does not make him a pathological liar. The statement ‘ I don’t remember exactly’ occurs time and again in interviews with drivers even when they have nothing to defend against. These are humans operating at the limit of their capabilities for long periods of time not machines recording every detail.
      In response to the ‘FIA favours Hamilton’ accusation: Remember that the situation that gave rise to ‘Lie-gate’ was brought about by the fear instilled in MacLaren by the penalties that had been levied by the FIA at every opportunity as a result of the now widely acknowledged Mosely/Dennis feud. That’s why they told Lewis to let Trulli past even though he did not need to.

      Sadly for Ferrari fans, the presuasive argument to me still is LEWIS SIMPLY WOULD NOT FEEL THE NEED TO DO THIS TO AFFECT ALONSO. He wanted to get after Vettel, whatever he did was to that end, nothing to do with a man he has always believed he can beat. Now if Vettel or Webber in a RedBull had been behind him, and Hamilton were the lightning quick tactical genius you obviously think he is then you might make a case.

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