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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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)”

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  1. This is a serious matter that should have been investigated way more: most people missed, didn’t notice, actually the safety car should have been given a drive through because it touched the white line on the pit exit. Since it wasn’t noticed live, the safety car should be now punished and be given +20 seconds delay on the final race time, thus allowing Fernando Alonso to win, Felipe Massa to be second, and most everyone else to be DSQ for unsportsmanship.

  2. Just listening to BBC podcast, Alonso said he feels sorry for the fans who came to see “a race like that”. What about the fans who went to Singapore 08 ?!

    1. I couldn’t agree more

      1. I was at Singapore 2008. Loved every second it & the scandal that unfolded afterwards have had not the slightest effect on that. Besides, when all you armchair viewers bring up Singapore 2008 in support of your latest Alonso-bashing argument, I can chime in as the person on the ground as it were, and state that I would not have changed being there for all the tea in China.

        1. I was there too, enjoyed it but thought at the time something fishy had gone on. My point is this is just so ridiculously hypocritical, don`t you think ? The only man in the field to have won a race through cheating, involving a safety car is bleating on about this ? And even if Hamilton had not passed the safety car Alonso`s race would not have gone any better. He is just obsessed with Hami, and feels Hami got one over on him. He cannot see how hypocritical or how foolish he is being, all he can see is Hamilton, coming out on top again.

  3. This proves yet again that Felipe Massa is the most unluckiest driver of them all.

    1. I must apologise to Felipe for jinxing him, by putting him in my Fantasy F1 team. :D

  4. Alonso is a paranoid cheat. When he’s bettered or a call doesn’t go his way he likes to think it’s because others are cheating to psyche himself up. After Monaco, where he exploited the early safety car deployment to finish 6th, no one said he wasn’t sufficently punished for crashing in qualifying. After Singapore 08 he shouldn’t open his mouth at all.

    1. One thing is to come into the race after a sc in a stochastic manner, and a totally different thing is that yo do so conditioned by someone else’s actions, and that is what is being discussed here. Believe it or not, it is quite likely that LH did that; and it is quite unlikey that FA would have done the same. But we will never know really.

      As for Singapore, for sure FA was not involved (my opinion after listening to him in so many occasions). If it is true what Piquet said, that was terrible (but had nothing to do with FA); but I also doubt it having heard so many things of the Piquet father and son and Briatore “romance” over the years.

      I and many others will appreciate a respectful approach when writing here. Thanks.

      1. So Hamilton is the smart guy who can calculate this in a split second.

        Yet Alonso being given the weirdest race tactics ever in Sing2008 doesn’t see anything wrong and just accepts it?

        win/win I guess.

        BTW Do you think FA racing his teammate in the pit lane is sports man like?

      2. It’s an opinion and a fair one at that. Nothing rude at all. Alonso’s attitude to Singapore 08 speaks volumes apart from the circumstanial evidence pointing his way. He shouldn’t have Hamilton on the brain so much.

    2. Fernando is not a cheat. If you remember it
      was fernando that blew the whistle and gave all the evidence to the F1 board about Lewis and Maclaren cheating by stealing FERRARIs technical data.(And even with all that info they still could not win the F1
      championship.) Cheats.

  5. Well, if he did what’s the problem? That would be smart driving within the rules.

    1. Come to think of it, you’re absolutely right. All drivers will exploit available loopholes if they’re quick enough. That is why there needs to be some way to make sure that the safety car picks up the race leader.

  6. It’s totally ridiculous to have a safety car come out of the driver who is 2nd. The safety must come out in time to catch the leader. If it doesn’t make it, it must wave all drivers past until the leader comes around again. That’s how it works in Indycar, Grand Am etc.

    The question whether the incident was intentional or malicious is really beside the point. It’s obvious it happened following confusion caused by incompetent race control, just like Monaco.

    1. Actually, I’ve just reread the Safety Car rules in the Sporting Regulations on the FIA’s website.

      It makes no mention of having to be deployed ahead of the leader.
      “40.6 The safety car will join the track with its orange lights illuminated and will do so regardless of where the
      race leader is.”
      “40.9 The safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind

      These two rules are incompatible as far as I understand them. If the Safety Car is deployed at any time, and let’s say the driver in 2nd place ends up behind it. Eventually, the leader will catch up with the rest of the field and line up right at the back, almost a lap ahead of everyone else. Without pitstops, he will never be behind the Safety Car, so, according to 40.9, the Safety Car will stay out forever.

      This makes no sense. Anyone understand it?

      1. Nope, it does make sense.
        “40.8 When ordered to do so by the clerk of the course the observer in the car will use a green light to signal to
        any cars between it and the race leader that they should pass. These cars will continue at reduced speed
        and without overtaking until they reach the line of cars behind the safety car.”

        That’s apparently what happened in the race. So, no problem as far as I’m concerned.

  7. I agree with those saying he tried to push Alonso behind the car. But, and now there is the twist, if he had made it past the Safety Car legally, it would have been perfectly okay with me. This is a, while sinister, intelligent piece of strategy that I would have my drivers try as well.

  8. Hamilton made a mistake and payed for it with a penalty i thing Alonso should shut up an make a better impression on the next race to prove Hamilton gain second place by cheating

    1. made a msitake and payed for it? they let it linger for 20 laps to let him get enough time between him and Kobayashi, then they “sanctioned” him ;)

    2. Making a better impression in the next race doesn’t prove anything about Hamilton gaining second place by cheating in this race.

      1. Yes, rather hard to see how he “paid” – but, wasn’t it actually Sauber strategy that made the penalty ineffective?

  9. Lewis Did nothing wrong.
    he was driving as he should until the safety car came out.
    once he had spotted it he was near enough along side it and at that point he lifts off, as to say “hang on I’m not supposed to pass that”.
    had he passed the safety car line before the SC did he would have not have endured the penalty.
    he hesitated, did not know what to do and did wrong, therefore serving a correct penalty.
    It was by no means an act to disadvantage Fernando, who by the way should be quiet and stop whining as Lewis served the correct penalty.
    he simply created enough of a gap to keep his second place.
    Had he have come out fifth, sixth, maybe even seventh Fernando would have left it he just wasn’t happy that Lewis wasn’t disadvantaged enough in his eyes.

  10. luis calderon
    28th June 2010, 19:58

    It is not the first time he break the rules or find a loophole in the rules. Same in Canada, the pit case with Vetel. No punishment or just a reprimand. Has he pay the FIA so he can do whatever he likes. It is not right what he does, and it seems that FIA likes it. The other driver should do the same, let see what happens.

    1. After Canada the FIA clarified the rules so drivers can’t do the same again. They did the same regarding Schumacher’s pass on Alonso at Monaco.

  11. i donno if any1 mentioned this b4 but i’ll throw it out there…
    if hamilton went all out and passed the SC b4 it passes the 2nd white line it would be alonso in hamilton’s shoes deciding if he can pass or not, and if so would it be massa complaining how alonso ruined his race?

  12. Yea he did it..He knows he can get away w/murder…look at some of his pranks..he even got a crane..remember?

    He is a very good driver, he doesnt have to sink to new lows and take advantage of his popularity, especially with the poorly run and UK biased FIA. He knows he’s going to get the calls, and the penalties, if any, will be light…

    This dude got no honor..Thumbs down..

    1. I can’t believe anyone is still bothered about the crane. Hamilton had the persistence to stay in his car while the rest gave up and got out. For that he should be applauded, not criticised.

  13. Re Hamilton’s memory, doesn’t the ‘don’t exactly recall’ come into play when the McLaren corporate machine has advised him to consider his words…?
    They do tend to make the rules too complicated. Hamilton had passed 2 flashing yellows, so he was expecting the safety car. The rule should be not to pass the safety car, wherever you see it, unless to avoid doing so would cause an accident (exactly like traffic lights). If you have to overshoot, allow the safety car back in front to avoid controversy…

    1. The rule should be not to pass the safety car, wherever you see it, unless to avoid doing so would cause an accident

      Actually I think the present version of the rule is much clearer and easier to enforce than the one you’ve suggested.

      At the moment the drivers know if they’re ahead of the safety car after the second safety car line, that’s fine. It doesn’t matter if they ‘pass’ it while it’s in the pit lane exit. And that is a good rule because, as you note, if they had to slow down and follow the safety car the second they saw it that could mean drivers having to slow down dramatically on the track.

  14. To my mind, Alonso has no place whatsoever moaning about other drivers antics. Aside from the fact that he’s supposedly a great driver, he’s as devious as the next man, and on this occasion, got overtaken by a rookie in a vastly inferior car!

    Anyway, how many times has Alonso been advantaged by the safety car, or employed dubious tactics on track? Piquet Jnr anyone? The single worst case of cheating in F1, Alsonso took the win, then stayed ominously quiet after the event. He’s happy for his team to cheat when it favours him it would seem.

    He has blatant double standards and is a back-stabber. How I will laugh when Ferrari descends into a farce over this guy, they’ll regret ever entertaining him!

    1. I don’t understand why this myth endures that Alonso was ‘given’ the win in Singapore. Sure, the team tactics helped, but that was just one variable in a race full of them. He still had to race, make no mistakes, have a reliable car, exceute pitstops correctly, and hold off the other drivers. Remember the old adage ‘to finish first, first you must finish’. While he may have had an advantage, Piquet’s actions did not guarantee the win. So for those reasons I beleive Alonso is justified in accepting the win. And there is no shred of evidence to suggest Alonso knew anything of the plan. But I know you rabid anti-Alonso brigade will never beleive that no matter what I or anyone else says.

      1. Where was he before safety car in Singapore ?

    2. Thank You!
      Honestly, Fernando is happy to call to question other drivers actions, when he knew only too well that the stunt Renault pulled endangered Nelson Piquet Jnr’s Life, and all for the sake of a victory!
      When Lewis makes a mistake such as this it is a “Disgusting Act” In Fernando’s Eyes, yet he is only to happy to endanger his team mates life for his own benefit.
      Consider This People.
      In fact I was reading an article in which Flavio Briatore claims that Lewis should have been disqualified and that he got off lightly!
      He got off only too lightly in the Singapore 2008 Scandal, he should have been banned from F1, If not all forms of Motorsport for life, Perhaps even endured a hefty Fine Even.
      Case Dismissed

  15. Martin Brundle says it just right on his blog. ‘Hamilton didn’t harm them; it was just fate and co-incidence as to where the safety car emerged. They should be equally unhappy about Vettel, who was just in front Hamilton. ‘

  16. SchumacherFan
    28th June 2010, 21:46

    I don’t think he slowed to put Alonso behind the safety car, I think that Hamilton was just unsure on what the current situation was, wondering whether to pass or slow down but in the end he did go past the saftey car despite slowing down and I think he slowed down because he was unsure of the situation and perhaps wasn’t crystal clear on the rules.

  17. John Edwards
    28th June 2010, 21:53

    Is it me or does anybody else find it hilarious that the Ferrari think the FIA manipulated the result against them?!!

    Well if they did; about bloody time, they have some way to go to even up the score!!!

    1. Hi John, yes I do!

  18. This thread is far below the normal standards for this site. The only ones still moaning about Hamilton are Ferrari and Alonso, hardly the paragons of virtue.

  19. Well the video shown on in the article now is clear, alonso was nowhere near Lewis to be slowed down.

  20. Sorry if this has already been posted but with 200 something comments i just cant read all of them. I’ve looked at many other websites as well as this one and am yet to hear what I think. He knew the consequences, but realised that the result outweighed them. He made around 1 minute 40 seconds, and then lost 20, its simple, you dont have to be a genius to figure that out. Its something he could have done in the car, he could have started slowing down and then realized it.

    He slowed down and hesitated, but then said he never did hesitate, so he deliberetly slowed down, not out of confusion, but for some other reason. Weather this be to slow Alonso or not, its odd behaviour and should be investigated by the FIA, and hopefully we get a fair judgement.

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