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. DaveW said on 28th June 2010, 23:33

    Oddly, no one has yet noticed here whether any one of the other drivers who finished between Hamilton and Alonso, i.e, any of those who could claim some actual injury, issued epic press comments about Hamilton’s role in the decline of civilization?

    Let’s see, any pulsing veins at RedBull who lost massive ground in the WCC as a result? Renault who had a run at a podium? Perhaps Button made his comments in private, being so neat. Just Ferrari? OK, then.

    Alonso, Luca, and the bloke who tossed the beer bottle on the road, are standing alone together.

    • Gusto said on 29th June 2010, 8:26

      If HAM did do it on purpose then good on Him, As for the beer bottle on the track why wasnt the safety car deployed, to see a marshal running on a live track was as shocking to watch as WEB`s crash, and if it was thrown Valencia should be struck off the calender, where will it end, bricks an stones?

      • Oliver said on 29th June 2010, 11:14

        Was the bottle even thrown at a specific car, or an open space on track?

        I mean, Turkey got a severe reprimand for having dogs on the track, for your information, dogs have legs and a mind of their own. But bottles just don’t wake up and take a hike.

  2. Jasper said on 28th June 2010, 23:35

    Whatever the case, I’m disappointed because that Safety Car robbed us of what was shaping up to be a fascinating Vettel-Hamilton-Alonso fight for the win. I’d much rather be looking back on that than another silly bit of unneeded F1 controversy.

    I think it’s time the FIA introduced a safety car system that helps preserve the race rather than shake up the order. I want to watch real racing!

    • Dave Blanc said on 28th June 2010, 23:37

      I’m with you Jasper. We need some better rules around the safety car – i’m not interested in watching a lottery i want to watch the best drivers race each other and for the best driver to come out on top.

  3. The Limit said on 28th June 2010, 23:51

    I think Hamilton did take advantage of the situation. His post race interview to me was very unconvincing, and in truth, what else could he say? The McLaren pitwall must have known that the Webber crash would bring out the safety car, indeed they would have seen the safety car leave the pits knowing that Hamilton was still on the start finish straight. It is impossible for me to believe that McLaren did not inform Lewis of this fact before he drew level with the safety car, or even came within sight of it.
    I am sure Fernando Alonso is thinking along these lines, as were Ferrari yesterday when they released their statement. As for Alonso, I think his anger is as much related to Ferrari’s lack of performance in 2010 as Lewis Hamilton’s supposed antics. It is worth remembering that Alonso entered this season as one of the favourites to win the world championship, in a car that is without doubt the most coveted drive in Formula One. Fernando was supposed to bring about a new drive and era to the Scuderia, following on from the heavily criticised Kimi Raikkonen. Lets face it, since the Bahrain Gp, this year has been one long frustration after another for the Spaniard. He crashed during practice at Monaco, pretty much destroying his chances for the event, aswell as a qualifying gaffe at Turkey. And, as if to add insult to injury, he has seen Red Bull and McLaren become stronger and stronger as Ferrari struggle to find their groove.
    Valencia had, if the press were to be believed, a turning point for Alonso and Ferrari. The team had installed upgrades to the car, and Fernando was showing good pace, infront of thousands of his own countrymen.
    We all know that there is no love lost between Fernando and Hamilton, and McLaren as a team basically.
    Ofcourse it must have hit a raw nerve, to see the McLaren flash past the pace car and into to sunset. However, despite all the hoopla, Hamilton was punished for what he did whether it was by accident or on purpose. If the rules are at fault, then it is the fault of those who are incharge, not the drivers.

  4. Peter Hermann said on 29th June 2010, 0:18

    I’m surprised about the ‘Alonso would have done the same’ answers. Surprised becaused i don’t remember a single incident where Alonso tried anything alike. He knew he had to stay behind the safety car and that he did. Hamilton did not.

    Deliberate or not, the incompetence of race control is astonishing, most of those guys have been doing this for years and still don’t know how to do it correctly..should i believe this? Nah.

    Dunno about Hmailton being deliberate. Quite sure of Whiting being deliberate. He is the one who sends out the safety car. Out with Whiting!!!

    • Hare (@hare) said on 29th June 2010, 2:12

      i don’t remember a single incident where Alonso tried anything alike.

      Yes you do, remember Hungry 2007? Alonso holds Hamilton up in the pits so that Hamilton can’t get a final flying lap in, despite being quicker than Alonso in 2 sectors. This is the reality of Alonso vs Hamilton, Alonso can’t stand Hamilton past formalities? :)

      video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWJCGInsVUs
      article : f1fanatic

      • Hardly the same thing. For a start this was during quali. For a second, it was done in direct retaliation for Hamilton refusing to allow Alonso do an extra hot lap. Thirdly, Ron Dennis knew full well what had gone on and left Alonso high & dry in the steward’s meeting afterward, so that Alonso copped the penalty. So really, Lewis did the wrong thing, Nando reacted (whatever your private thoughts are on the manner in which he reacted are a different thing altogether), and Nando got the punishment. And whilst I tend to agree that Alonso is not always rational when it comes to Hamilton/McLaren and needs to move on a bit, I can certainly see why he feels that way.

        • Oliver said on 29th June 2010, 9:16

          I disagree with you on that. Ron tried to make excuses for Alonso that it was a team error and the result was that Mclaren got fined or deducted points or both, I believe. You seem to have forgotten that Mclaren got punished along with Alonso.

        • Hare (@hare) said on 29th June 2010, 9:33

          I’m merely pointing out Alonso has the malice in him to try and perform some sort of action to put off Lewis’ race, nothing more.

          The principle is, in fact, exactly the same thing, if not more so, as it was clearly deliberate, Lewis’ was debatable. ( As we are in fact debating it! )

          He’s not an angel. Ron Dennis was furious with Alonso and his race engineer, as you can see in the video. (he removes the race engineers headset and radio and talks to Alonso himself ). I think if it was my team, I’d be furious as well.

          However I do agree he needs to forget it, be the bigger man, and move on. Some of their fans will eventually fall out of love with them.

          People want to see the best drivers in the world racing. He’s been overtaken in the last two races in slightly embarrassing ways as well, which can’t help the ego.

      • tactical said on 29th June 2010, 9:20

        Do you know whom that final flying lap belonged to? Alonso. Do you know who decided not to respect that agreement and made Alonso going nuts? Yep, the same boy.

        Perhaps there’s a spoiled child with an unlimitless ambition, forgiveable if at least he recognized his tactics, as Senna did in the past for example.

        Alonso is showing maturity on one side, but a tryly passionate racer, boils when unfair play gets no REAL punishment.

        Cheers.

        Cheers.

        • Oliver said on 29th June 2010, 10:59

          You are tactically missing the point. I am referring to Ron Dennis trying to defend Alonso and hence got Mclaren into trouble. What Preceded that is of no relevance to the point being made.

  5. wasiF1 said on 29th June 2010, 3:27

    If Hamilton was trying to stop Alonso then it was a great shame for him as they both fought hard but fair in the Canadian GP now this will fire up things more.

  6. Splint3r said on 29th June 2010, 8:02

    If Ferrari’s moaning helps change the SC rules sooner rather than later, then im all in with Ferrari moaning!

  7. Shiraz Dada said on 29th June 2010, 8:37

    These drivers are very competant and knowledgeable about teh rules but play stupid.
    There was definately a alternative motive to what LH did wether by his own decision or in cahoots with the guys at pitlane.
    There is no way he was confused about what he was doing and his actions definately was to disadvantage the guys behind.
    Hope this goes further and we get another teary eyed interview from him of how sorry he is !!

    • Oliver said on 29th June 2010, 9:27

      The drivers know the rules, but the safety car was moving, now knowing if you will break the rule or not depends on how fast the safety car is moving towards a line. A line you will meet after a corner.

    • Hare (@hare) said on 29th June 2010, 10:05

      @Shiraz I’m not convinced they do know the rules as well as you think they do. They have to radio in to get clarification.

      Case in point is the Schumi overtake at Monaco on the last lap, where a number of drivers radioed in for clarification, including Alonso and Schumi. Both got different answers, and reacted accordingly.

      As far as I know, there’s no exam on the rules, in order to get a licence.

      I’m afraid you’re making a bit of an assumption :)

  8. Shiraz Dada said on 29th June 2010, 8:39

    Forgot to emntion how surprised i am that teh FIA regulations are so vague on details in its rules. This for the pinnacle of motorsport !!!
    There is also a double standard in the punishments that have been dished out over the last few years for infringements.

  9. Oliver said on 29th June 2010, 9:12

    Its so easy to to decide the correct action to take when watching events from your TV. I bet if Lewis had that helicopter shot, he’d have just driven as fast as he could.
    Deciding, how fast am I going, how fast is the safety car going, how far am I away from the safety car line, Oh is the safety car going to cross the white line illegally…….Thats too much. And I we see the details clearly, a driver doesn’t get that view, so even when he relates the events later, he doesn’t get it right.

    What is pushing anyway? pushing on? Does pushing mean driving at breakneck speeds? or moving along. Should that be taken to mean he lied? or just taken to mean he had his feet on the throttle pedal?

  10. The reason Hamilton slowed down was due to the delta reading he got on is steering wheel which tells all drivers they should slow down, which Hamilton did but on seeing the SC he wanted to pass it so carried on, it;’s obvious that Alonso didn’t slow down on seeing the Delta reading as he also wanted to pass the SC, which in itself is dbreaking F1a rules…

    Even with Hamilton slowing down, Alonso was too far behind him to catch the SC & overtake it, so blaming Hamilton is a way of taking the higlight off his imept performance, as we saw later when he was over taken by Kobayshi..

    You can tell Alonso wasn’t on form due to him trying to get teh other 7-8 drivers in fron’t of him time penalties so that he could finish higher up the table.. this isn’t about other drivers breaking rules, maiking mistakes, it’s all about Alonso & his inept driving ability…

    • tactical said on 29th June 2010, 9:25

      NO.

      Alonso was perfectly able to follow Hamilton, just look at videos and review timetables. Hamilton first accelerated, then slowed down when probably saw the ocassion, knowing also both of them had to pit at the same time and he had to change front wing. So he knew for sure he would loss position to Alonso then.

      The point here is Hamilton tried his gamble, and again a rule was bended from stewards to its maximum in order to ‘limit damages’.

      Cheers.

      • Hare (@hare) said on 29th June 2010, 9:55

        Actually, the video shows Lewis slowing down at the Start/Finish line, you’d have to assume this is something to do with the delta times as you can’t see the actual SC at this point, he then speeds up a little, lifts off slightly as he sees the car, then passes the car.

        All of which makes no difference to me. If he backed Alonso up, it was a great move!! Personally, I would like to think that I had the cunning to do the same if I was in that position.

        I think if I was Alonso, I’d be really annoyed too, but there’s nothing to do about it at that stage, just race.

        I’m sure if Alonso did it, he’d be hailed as a genius by his fans. I’m fairly sure McLaren wouldn’t be making such a big noise about it though.

        • Oliver said on 29th June 2010, 11:04

          The video also showed The safety car swerving towards Hamilton then corrected itself, this caused Hamilton to pause.

  11. Btw, if anyone should be agry at anyone else, then it should be all the drivers that got stuck behind Koybashi Suaber which gave Hamilton the 13 second gap so that he was able to do the penalty drive through & still come out in 2nd place…. if those cars behind him had been better, then they would have been able to pass Hamilton while he was in th epit lane… so I say again, it’s down to Alonso’s inept driving that caused him the problems nothing else :)

    • tactical said on 29th June 2010, 9:32

      Again, NO.

      First we had a weird situtation caused by SC, an unpunished driver, and then probably a completely frustrated man in a circuit known for allowing scarce overtakings without risking everything (cannot compromise the championship), unless you try something different as Kobayashi did.

      Sometimes logic, and just not you desire to bash would be sufficient to see things different.

      Cheers.

      • Hare (@hare) said on 29th June 2010, 10:01

        @Cyprus-Toon mm, you’re on your own here. No one’s gonna be angry at the drivers behind Kobayashi, or indeed at Kobayashi

        @tactical He was punished. That’s what a drive through is. It just didn’t significantly disadvantage him to the satisfaction of many.

        By his own word, is Kobayashi took someone out with his overtaking, he wouldn’t be hailed as a hero, but a zero. The fact is, he did it. So he deserves the applause! We have a real racer in F1!! :)

        • disjunto said on 29th June 2010, 10:05

          I don’t know, might have been amusing if kobayashi took alonso out, just to see what they would have moaned at.

          • Hare (@hare) said on 29th June 2010, 10:08

            @disjunto Ferrari never moan. They just consistently and continuously raise questions and pursue answers on behalf of all the real race fans in the world ;-)

          • disjunto said on 29th June 2010, 10:09

            oh ok ;) my bad :D

  12. tota said on 29th June 2010, 9:28

    Even if the answer is YES, than congratulations to Lewis. I’m badly tired of moaning from RED side of garages. After each race, they are just coming with so many new “why”, they are not competitive. New teams, other drivers, race trucks, etc. I’d ask the question. When they come to conclusion that their real problem, is their new driver? It is shame, that they put all support on Fernando, who is, as describe by Italian media, just “fake master”, and turn more attention to Fellipe? That should pay back to Ferrari.

    • bosyber said on 29th June 2010, 11:51

      I don’t think that that will make all the difference. The car just is not entirely fast enough, and they do seem to have issues getting the qualifying tires just right (McLaren improved on this from earlier, Red Bull are top notch with that this year). On top of that, they were a bit too confident after testing and Bahrain, I think, which backfired after.

      Especially after a year like 2009, there is pressure to do better, but that pressure seems more stifling (and leading to rants and excuses) than it helps to focus and get results, sadly.

  13. Hare (@hare) said on 29th June 2010, 11:45

    I think having the time to look at the video, listen to people, things people spotted. I’m convinced Lewis is just telling the story as it is, and he’s not lying.

    – I do think he cared more about getting to Vettel than worrying about Alonso.
    – he slowed down at the start finish, possibly because of delta times
    – sped up slightly
    – saw SC when he was level with it. (SC veered across white line slightly)
    – he slowed slightly
    – as the SC was technically in the pit exit lane, he pushed on when he realised he was level or already past, although as a result missed the SC lane.
    – he wasn’t lying. I don’t think Alonso was that important to him.
    – in light of this the punishment is fair.

    However, you can see where Alonso is coming from, under pressure, frustrated. He’s getting overtaken more often this season. He probably expects to win another championship with Ferrari. I feel for him, but this is racing, he needs to get on with it.

    • Hare (@hare) said on 29th June 2010, 12:14

      - saw SC when he was level with it. (SC veered across white line slightly)

      Should read:

      – saw SC ahead of him, THEN draw level with it.
      – SC veered across white line slightly

  14. Toncho said on 29th June 2010, 11:53

    From his comments you can really tell that he knew about the rules, the second SC line… He did not hesitate about that part during the press conference, so why he slowed down???
    Again, he does not remember the rest of the history. I guess that’s the clever thing when you have been caught before lying, if you say that you don’t remember the telemetry can not proof you are lying…
    LH has an impressive record in terms of penalties, drive throughs, reprimands,.. He have also lied before or said not to remember important (negative) information like in China 07. A record difficult to ignore when considering the case. He is not the sportsman of the year and has never hesitated to cross the rules in his favour. So the answer for me should be a clear (but unfortunately difficult to prove) YES
    On the other hand, the farce of last Sunday is not entirely his fault. The FIA should work out a better SC system and once and forever a better and clearer penalty system. Is completely absurd to give penalties that are not effective, they should be able to adapt the penalty to the crime. Otherwise, any penalty is a lottery when you can’t be sure what the driver is going to get.

    • bosyber said on 29th June 2010, 12:12

      Hamilton is hardly the one who set the benchmark for using tricks: only look at Schumacher’s record and you see that tricks by team (hey Ferrari, yes, Benetton you too) and driver do give advantages. About before that, I don’t recall, I was too young in the 80ties and before. Alonso cannot escape some of the bad actions from 2007 (he did test and discuss those spygate info, not Ham), and he profited from his team manipulating Singapore 2008, known by him or not.

      Sad, but the truth: in the real world, in F1, and in football (see players going to the ground upon no impact at all to get a penalty), cheating does work, especially if you are not caught on time, and often even then, as you can delay justice enough for it not to work.

      To avoid that, you have to make rules clearer (maybe by making them simpler?), and in the real world, we have judges to decide and use common sense.

      In sport that does not always work, as the ‘judges’ themselves then get called partial by teams and fans alike, regardless of fact.
      Thus, making rules that micro manage and are thus complicated seems the only option. Sad but true.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th June 2010, 14:24

        I suppose when looking at Piquet, Prost, Mansell and lets not forget Senna, we could find a long list of “unfair” things. Some of the actions are something their fans came to be “proud” of, like a trademark move!

        I do think the FIA should work at simpler rules, this saves them from having to make stop gap solutions for detials they oversaw and makes desicions easiere for Race control and better to unserstand for drivers, teams and FANS.

        About the judges, just to bad even in the “real world” politicians and media often question what they are doing. Sometimes because of inconsistency or wrong desicions or worries of corruption, (Trademark of Mosleys FIA, usual in Italy, a lot of Easern European countries, Russia, Africa Asia, etc.).
        The recipy to improving that is the same everywhere:
        – clear rules
        – Indepentdent Judges having the right knowledge
        – consistent judgements, at best the rulings should be explained in the open
        – a big help are open procedures where everyone can see what is discussed, so any doubts are taken away.

  15. even if he (lewis) did impede his getting past the SC, Alonso should have passed the SC on the outside (the penalty would still have been the same for both of them) that way Alonso wouldn’t have complained .. maybe Massa could have followed both as well .. ;)

    • disjunto said on 29th June 2010, 13:25

      Hamilton pass was marginal, if Alonso passed it would be an obvious offense, and probably a bigger penalty. if Massa passed, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him DSQ, since he was way back and would have been a massive safety issue.

      other than that, good plan ;)

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