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)

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  1. F1fan said on 29th June 2010, 15:32

    Hamilton failed to comply with the rules, Alonso meet standards.

    Result:

    Hamilton 2, Alonso 8.

    This is justice offered by the FIA

  2. Dry Crust said on 29th June 2010, 17:52

    There is a question which no one seems to have answered: How did Vettel and Hamilton get to be first and second behind the Safety Car for the restart? Logic says that either they had to slow down and let the Safety Car go in front of them or they had to do a full lap of the circuit faster than the Safety Car, overtake all the other cars, then take their places as first and second.
    And what is the point of this? The point is even if Hamilton had blazed past the Safety Car hundreds of meters either before or after that line on the ground, he would still have ended up second behind the Safety Car, and that Alonso would have been third. While Hamilton broke the rules, the end result would have been the same if he had legally passed or had chosen not to pass i.e. Vettel =1, Hamilton = 2, Alonso =3, etc.
    Notice that: no difference. See that! There is not one iota of difference between what took place and what could have taken place.
    Let me go through it again.
    If Hamilton had legally passed the Safety Car, as Vettel had done, then … he would have been second behind the Safety Car at the restart.
    If Hamilton had chosen to not overtake the Safety Car, then … he would have been second behind the Safety Car at the restart.
    What Hamilton did was to illegally pass the Saftey Car and at the restart he was second behind Vettel.
    See that: no difference!

    Yes, Hamilton broke the rules, but that did not disadvantage Alonso or any other driver one little bit. We know this because Vettel overtook the Saftey Car legally and was the car leading the pack at the restart. If Alonso had stayed out, then he would have been third and not Kobayashi.

    • disjunto said on 29th June 2010, 18:00

      Hamilton and Vettel were able to drive around the track faster than anyone stuck behind the safety car, allowing them to get into the pits and out again before the safety car had caught up with them.

      Everyone behind Massa pitted before they got to the SC and so were able to catch up the SC without losing much position. Either the SC started letting people through or it went all the way around with Alonso and Massa stuck behind at a slower pace while everyone caught up with them after having pitted already. Once Alonso and Massa pitted, they got dropped into the pack still coming up to the SC and lost positions as a result.

      The issue isn’t anything to do with Hamilton going past them, it’s to do with the SC coming out in the middle of the pack, and causing the people on the S/F straight a massive disadvantage to the people that got out infront of them AND people who were able to get into the pits before reaching the SC.

      To prevent this, they need to change something in the rules by closing the pits during SC or something similar.

  3. Johann said on 29th June 2010, 21:03

    I stick with my first statement: Hamilton pushed Alonso behind the SC and then bolted, though just a bit late, just like the penalty he earned for it.

    On other matters: The final turn must have been a very busy place when the SC came out since, according to the drives, 9 guys were taking it. Man that must have been a good dice. LOL

  4. aNT366 said on 29th June 2010, 23:44

    It is amazing the FIA, are making sense of the word MA. F. I. A.

  5. Palle said on 30th June 2010, 0:06

    All of You who think that Hamilton tried to stop Alonso from passing the safety car have overlooked the real crime in this incident:
    Red Bull caused this on purpose to put Vettel in front:
    On first lap Webber simulates a tire problem by dropping down the grid to 9th. Then to make it plausible that he had a problem with a tire, he pits and get a fresh set of tires. To make sure that he gets out behind a slow Lotus, the pitcrew acts as if the wheelnut on one wheel is causing problems. Now Webber gets out on track behind Kovi, attacks him, slipstreams him and make a huge collision to get the safety car applied exactly after Vettel has passed the pit, but before the number two driver (HAM) could pas. In this way Red Bull would make sure that Vettel would get max points and their worst competitors: HAM, Button, Alonso and Massa would get caught behind the SC, while everyone else pitted and thus they would loose a lot of points, because it is difficult to overtake in Valencia.
    If You ask: “Why on earth should Webber agree to this scam?” the answer is simple: Red Bull of course favors Vettel and they have blaimed Webber and forced him to pay something back to Vettel in this way to compensate Vettel for the lost points because of the accident caused by Webber in Turkey.
    At the same time Red Bull could show how dangerous it is with these slow backmarkers like the Lotus.
    The fact that Webber was very angry after the accident – throwing his steering wheel out indicates he has received drama lessons to play the role perfect or he was just angry that he had been forced to do it.
    Red Bull have received help from Briatore to think this up – he even try to help by claiming that Hamilton should have had the Black flag for passing the SC.
    How do You like this theory? ;-)

  6. Mr. Zing Zang said on 30th June 2010, 3:32

    Hamilton is the smartest driver on the grid. People just don’t want to accept that.

  7. cbd said on 30th June 2010, 15:55

    I think this “sport” is totally corrupted.

  8. MouseNightshirt said on 30th June 2010, 18:13

    Is it bad of me that Alonso getting screwed over, by being held up by someone being deliberately slow infront of him, raises a smile on my face?

    Hungary 07 anyone?

  9. anthony lobatt said on 1st July 2010, 0:10

    14 reasons why the Grand Prix of Valencia was manipulated

    1) Charlie W. is viewing the positions in the race of all drivers via GPS

    2) Charlie keeps the pit-line closed the when the first 4 cars passed(statement by commenting that Massa could not enter the pi-lane because it was closed).

    3) Charlie opens the pit-lane immediately so that all other drivers to enter the box.

    4) Charlie orders the safety car out just in time for Vettel and Hamilton pass fair enough.

    5) Hamilton slows to avoid passing Alonso at the safety car.

    6) Hamilton miscalculates times and is forced to overtake the safety car not to get stuck.

    7) Charlie sees everything but GPS does not report because that was his interest.

    8 ) Charlie heard the radio conversations of Alonso with his team (they have access to all radios) but does nothing to Hamilton

    9) The cameras didn’t show all that has happened.

    10) At the insistence of Ferrari by research, Charli expected just in time to punish Hamilton without the penalty had consequences in positions loss for Hamilton.

    11) Ferrari knows all the drivers time on their way back to the safety car, again denouncing what happened to Charlie.

    12) Charlie postpone the investigation to finish the race.

    13) In an atonish form FIA decides penalized 5 seconds with just a breach of eight deserving drivers drive through penalty.

    14) What was the Hamilton and Vettel speed in front of the safety car before they enterd in the pit lane???

    FORZA ALO

  10. Alpha said on 1st July 2010, 5:29

    One thing I think many of us missed is that did the safety car travel at a constant speed? By look at the clip again, it looks to me that the Safety Car accelerated all of a sudden. If it didnt, Hamilton would of gone pass it before the safety car line 2. It sounds funny to say that a safety car out accelerate an F1 car! But it did!

  11. The Celt said on 6th July 2010, 9:31

    The problem in Valencia was not Hamilton.
    The main problem with SC was that race director not ordered that cars behind SC should pass.

    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.

    If Charlie would have allowed that, both Ferraris would have maintained their positions or would have been able to overtake Hamilton in pit lane:
    Hamilton must change his nose cone, and lost a lot of time in pits.
    Hamilton made a small mistake, but it was Charlie’s decision was that changed the race

    Google translate.

  12. Nesto said on 8th December 2010, 0:17

    Hamilton did it blatantly to screw Alonso, simple as that. He was his nearest rival and was going to lose out to him. As I watched the race, I see Hamilton coming into the pits, Vettel having already left and Alonso is nowhere to be found, WHAT !?!? A replay shows what happened. Hamilton could have easily blown by the safety car but didn’t and heres why. He made contact in the opening laps that damaged his front wing, he wanted it changed, we heard this over team radio but we don’t hear anything further. They (McLaren) “were looking into it.” How does the team change the front wing w/o being overtaken by Alonso ? Trap him behind the safety car. We didn’t hear any further team radio so we can’t be for sure if the team thought it up or Hamilton did but it was clearly deliberate despite Hamilton’s so-called claims of “blinking lights” confusing him post-race. Alonso was not going to let go of Hamilton’s tail but Hammy slowed him so to the let the SC get between them. As we all saw, he did it to the point where he violated the rules. How the incident was not further investigated I’m not sure. I was surprised that Alonso blamed the stewards and not Hamilton. Alonso had every right to be peeved especially after a “penalty” had no effect. This same thing got Hamilton blackflagged in GP2. He broke a big rule and while “punished” was not in reality this time. Then in the next race, utter irony for Alonso as he is the one punished w/severe consequences. I rank Lewis’ & McLaren’s actions at Valencia ’10 up there with the worst and can’t believe it wasn’t further looked at. Everyones’ attentions were focused on the guy who got the wrong end of the stick. Truly odd… Lewis do something shady ? Impossible!

    To conclude, this is all the fault of the stupid safety car. The stupid deployment and the stupid rules. I think the SC is unnecessary 99.9% of the time. Off the top of my head, Singapore ’08, Valencia ’10 and in the final 3 races of ’10, the SC disrupting the race order. That is seriously wrong. Teams will always use the SC to their advantage as they do everything else. But a SC that comes out due to an accident should NOT result in a lottery effect and teams gaining or losing position. It should simply pause the race and we resume as it was before. Close the pits or make everyone resume their original grid position at the restart.

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