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. Allen said on 28th June 2010, 20:26

    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?

  2. Nuevo said on 28th June 2010, 20:53

    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..

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th June 2010, 22:19

      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.

  3. KeithS said on 28th June 2010, 21:05

    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…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th June 2010, 22:16

      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.

  4. DannyJ said on 28th June 2010, 21:22

    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!

    • 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.

    • Gazz. said on 29th June 2010, 21:42

      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

  5. Robbie said on 28th June 2010, 21:44

    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. ‘

  6. SchumacherFan said on 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.

  7. John Edwards said on 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!!!

  8. Chris said on 28th June 2010, 22:27

    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.

  9. SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 28th June 2010, 22:31

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

  10. Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 28th June 2010, 22:34

    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.

  11. maestrointhesky said on 28th June 2010, 22:52

    Is it just me or does anyone else notice that the safety car appears to cross the white line just in front of Hamilton and this is the cause of his hesitation! My view is that Hamilton thought for a moment that that the safety car was going to pull out directly in front of him, fully crossing over the white line. When he realises that it’s not, he puts his foot down again and makes it around the corner in front. If anyone was at fault then it’s the driver of the safety car who should know the rules like the back of his hand. It appearS to me now that it’s a good job Hamilton’s position wasn’t diminished as this could have been seen as an own goal by the organisers!

    • edinfreak said on 29th June 2010, 12:39

      I totally agree with you. This is exactly my point. When HM was crusing the safety car crossed the white line and HM slowed coz of this and when the safety car went back between the white line he passed the car. Now from my understanding when the safety car passed the white line (official end of pit lane) HM was only half the car’s length behind. At the speeds they are travelling it would be very difficult to judge this.

  12. John H said on 28th June 2010, 23:20

    There is one thing that is not correct for definite and I agree with Alonso on this one… why did it take 20 laps to give the penalty to Hamilton when it was clear on the replays he went passed after the SC line?

    The drive through would have affected him much more and for me, it’s this 20 lap delay that would put the ‘manipulation’ thoughts into Fernando’s head, and perhaps he has a point.

    About 20 people in that stewards room and 20 laps… it doesn’t look good.

  13. Eric said on 28th June 2010, 23:24

    no way was Alonso going to get passed that Safety car, full stop. regardless of Lewis hesitation.

    i can see now why the stewards took so long to give a penalty though, looking from Lewis point of view “cockpit image” he would have found it hard to tell if he was in front or not.

    even Alonso would of had a hard time knowing if he Lewis had made it from his angle “cockpit image”.

    but the aerial view was definitely the killer for Lewis.
    trouble was Lewis didn’t have the luxury of this view in his cockpit.

    no i believe he got it wrong at the time, “more likely hesitated” and got stung for it.
    unbeknown at the time didn’t cost him any places…

    “Lewis” well done on creating another excellent controversy.

  14. Dave Blanc said on 28th June 2010, 23:27

    I’m not sure if Hamilton hesitated deliberately or not, by do you know what, I HOPE HE DID. The Spaniard has gone from being a highly respected double world champion to a bitter man who constantly moans and complains. He also makes a heap of mistakes (since 2007 when he had a real team mate always has done). I’m sorry to those Alonso supporters out there but you know deep down what i’m talking about. They say adversity brings out your true character – try comparing Mark Webber (Vettel taking him out and then his team not supporting him) to Alonso and it’s like chalk and cheese.

  15. alonso said on 28th June 2010, 23:29

    why is FIA always in favour of hamilton?? I don’t understand, this is not an sport.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 28th June 2010, 23:46

      Clearly they aren’t. You only have to look at a race like Spa ’08 to see that’s not the case.

      If they were, they wouldn’t have given him a penalty at all.

      • Polishboy808 (@polishboy808) said on 29th June 2010, 9:13

        Well they still favour him and this is obvious in just about anything else that he does. Any thing he does wrong, its either a reprimand (that does nothing) or a penalty that either way still does nothing. The FIA need to start hidding their favoring of Hamilton a little better because people are finding out, and just about everyone on this website know it.

        You would have to be foolish and naive to say and actually beleive that the FIA is not biased towards him. That or your a Hamilton fanboy, in which case I sympathise you as you have to defend your beloved driver just about every race.

        • bosyber said on 29th June 2010, 9:22

          Or paranoid to believe he is. Most drivers got off rather easily this season, and after the last few years, with questionable penalties (quite a few in favor of Ferrari too!) I was glad of it. But now we see that maybe they do need to tighten the reigns a bit.

          Apparently unlike Alonso, race control had a race to mind during and after the SC-period. I really think Alonso could have salvaged 7th if he would have minded his own race instead of Hamilton a bit more.

          Without the SC period, Alonso and Hamilton might have fought Vettel, and it would have been great for Ferrari and the WDC if Alonso won that, with Vettel second.

          But it didn’t happen, and would not have happened, because Vettel was always in front of the SC, so as soon as the SC happened, Alonso was forced to live with 6th at best (Hamilton behind SC, overtaken on pitting for nose). But he didn’t seem to care for any points, as long as Hamilton was punished. Not good.

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