Hamilton and Maldonado come to blows on track

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Update: Maldonado handed penalty, Hamilton gets reprimand

Lewis Hamilton and Pastor Maldonado were involved in a controversial exchange during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Maldonado drove into the side of Hamilton’s car at the exit of La Source at the end of Q2.

Hamilton had passed Maldonado at the final corner of the previous lap, barging alongside the Williams which had been held up by cars in front of him.

After they crossed the line Maldonado drew alongside the Williams and swerved into the side of the McLaren, knocking part of the front wing off.

Speaking in the press conference Hamilton said: “I’ll have to look at it afterwards.

“But I think I was at the end of my Q2 lap. At the chicane as I was just finishing there were two Williams just sitting there going very slowly, I think they were just about to start another lap, but there was already a red light. So I had to try and get past, which I did. And I lost quite a lot of time there.

“Then as I was coming through the exit of turn one I saw Maldonado approaching quite quickly. He came past, he came around me, and I didn’t move anywhere but he happened to swipe across me.

“I don’t know whether it was intentional or not but I guess we’ll see shortly. I just said I’m going to sit here and wait for the stewards to call me up rather than go back to the brand centre.”

After repairs, Hamilton was able to participate in Q3 and take second on the grid: “The front wing was quite badly damaged, my sidepod, and I thought my front suspension was damaged. I think the front toeing is probably a little bit out.

“Fortunately the guys did a great job and put it back together.

“I just think once the flag is out and the red lights are on there’s no need to be racing. There should never, ever be an incident and unfortunately there was.”

The pair previously collided in the Monaco Grand Prix. Maldonado retired from the race due to the incident and Hamilton was given a post-race time penalty.

Update: This is what Maldonado had to say about the collision: “He slowed down a lot at the end of the session, so I tried to go past him. I then felt contact at the back of my car. I don?t really know what happened. It was a difficult moment.”

2011 Belgian Grand Prix

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221 comments on Hamilton and Maldonado come to blows on track

  1. badger (@badger) said on 27th August 2011, 14:55

    From my initial impressions of the video it looks like hamilton twitches to the right as if he suddenly sees maldonado and thinks twice about joining the racing line as Pastor is there. Maldonado then drives away from the dry racing line into the side of Lewis. I can’t wait to see the telemetry though. If Maldonado is guilty he should at the very least be excluded from tomorrows race.

  2. Lets have a vote )

  3. Xanathos said on 27th August 2011, 14:57

    Before jumping to conclusions, I’d like to read Maldonado’s response and see some onboards…But even if Maldonado’s to blame here, it makes one think why Hamilton seems to be involved in almost every controversial inciedent on track…

  4. guido (@guidof1) said on 27th August 2011, 14:57

    does anybody know or recall of any similar incident/accident after the red lights went on?? is it possible to to get a grid or time penalty if the matter under investigation by the stewards is ON TRACK but OFF SESSION???

  5. mminga said on 27th August 2011, 14:59

    from the few replays I saw, I saw Hamilton twitch his car towards maldonado after the hairpin. that said was Maldonado took it a step too far.

  6. Mike the bike Schumacher (@mike-the-bike-schumacher) said on 27th August 2011, 14:59

    I am anything but a Hamilton fan, but this was clearly Maldonado’s fault. If Hamilton moved across, i’d say it was only to follow racing line, he was already in Q3, he wasn’t going to risk damage to his own car. Maldonado deserves at least to be sent to the back of the grid and should nearly be disqualified.

  7. Toothpickbandit said on 27th August 2011, 15:01

    If you believe that both cars drove into each other then it comes down to motive. You could say Hamilton turned right as this was the way the track was turning. Absolutely no defence can be made for Maldonado turning off the racing line towards the barrier. Furthermore, why would ham damage his car when he’s got pole to fight for? Mal new he was out so had nothing to lose by damaging his car deliberately.

  8. F1 Observer (@f1-observer) said on 27th August 2011, 15:04

    This is building on what I wrote on the F1 Fanatic Live feed:

    It would be nice to have an overhead camera shot of this of incident. It looks as though Hamilton moves to his right but are we just seeing him taking the corner? Hamilton had so much more to lose from a collision than Maldonado having qualified for Q3. Other camera angles suggests that the blame lies more on Maldonado’s shoulders. If found guilty, never mind disqualification for tomorrow’s race, a ban for the next few races is in order. It’s a downright dangerous to pull a stunt like this especially in such conditions. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I hope appropriate penalties are given to show that this is not acceptable.

  9. foolsm8 said on 27th August 2011, 15:09

    It takes two to tango and I think both drivers are to blame here. Then again, I really didn’t found this scene so bad, so the stewards should give them both a rebuke or a small grid penalty at most.

  10. Rex.T.Zephron said on 27th August 2011, 15:09

    There was no reason to overtake Lewis, there was no reason to get so close to the back of Lewis before swinging out, there was no reason to overtake so close to him on such a wide part of the track and at speed. Leaving aside the actual collision, those moves were stupid enough considering the flag had dropped!

    • Mads (@mads) said on 27th August 2011, 15:25

      I agree!
      I can’t really make my mind up on the incident, because i think the camera angle and track turning slightly is confusing. An onboard of Ham and Mal would sort that out. But as you say there was no reason for Maldonardo to get close to Hamilton.
      The sessions was over and they were just cruising back to the pits.

      You often see drivers overtake each other on the in lap, but they leave a lot of room and they only overtake if the other driver is going really slowly, which lewis wasn’t.
      There was just no need for Maldonardo to get that close at such a wide part of the track. He even slipstreamed Hamilton for christs sakes!
      Maldonardo should get told to to come back at FP1 at Monza, or maybe just sit out the rest of the season.
      Revenge can sometimes be justified in a race situation if it doesn’t involve deliberate ramming, but getting that close on an in lap after Q2 is just plain stupid.

  11. Maldo shoud either get a massive multi-race ban or none at all, according to whether it’s deemed deliberate or not, but anything in between would be absurd IMO.

  12. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 27th August 2011, 15:13

    There is no way Hamilton will have wanted to initiate contact. After all, he had another session of qualifying to take part in.

    Hamilton did make a small swerve into Maldonado’s line, akin to a brake test or a way of expressing his dissatisfaction at what had happened at the Bus Stop. That is wrong, and he should be given a warning for such behavior, but as far as Hamilton’s involvement goes, in my opinion that’s it.

    Maldonado on the other hand should really know better. It’s one thing to be a bit hot headed but to do what he did is completely unacceptable. Of course, we don’t know the full story and we don’t have access the the type of camera shots and telemetry that the stewards do and I’d love to be proved wrong, because I hate to think that a driver would be ok with deliberately hitting competitor on track.

    If Maldonado did commit the offence (and from the limited footage I’ve seen, Maldonado was behind when he hit Hamilton which pretty much says it all) then I really hope we see a race ban…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 27th August 2011, 23:21

      I would think Maldonado just wanted to get close enough to show Hamilton he is not impressed with his driving.

      But still it deserved far more than a meagre 5 place grid drop. Schumacher got more for almost hitting a car last year.

  13. reggie said on 27th August 2011, 15:14

    If Hamilton took his head out of his backside for once, he my have seen it coming!!

  14. W-K (@w-k) said on 27th August 2011, 15:15

    As the session was over there was no need for Hamilton to expect Maldonado to overtake him after La Source and therefore Hamilton, I think, was moving right, as they all do, on the racing line, which is down the right hand side.
    I think the twitch of Hamiltons is because he is surprised by the passing manoeuvre.
    Hamilton then moves left and Maldonado keeps comong across and side swipes Hamilton.

    Definite DQ at least.

  15. DavidS (@davids) said on 27th August 2011, 15:21

    Let’s remember that the rule that gets used when incidents like this occur is “causing an avoidable accident.”

    While Maldonado’s actions were hot headed and stupid, Hamilton did not take any action to avoid the incident, which makes him at least partially responsible.

    • I sincerely hope you’re not being serious. Look at the footage again, Hamilton is about half a car’s width from the grass, Pastor has like 70% of the track to his right, as the track eases right, he had no buisness being anywhere near Lewis.

    • DaveBlanc said on 27th August 2011, 15:49

      David S take your Hamilton hating some place else – it’s quite sad really. This one is as blatant as can be. Maldonado -what were you thinking? That’s right – you weren’t thinking. Goodbye F1 career -you’ve proved yourself a liability and the inability to think. David S- feel free to join Maldonado’s movements – there’s no place for hatred of a F1 driver.

      • 100% agreed.

      • dfektor said on 27th August 2011, 16:46

        no its not that blatent. hamilton after the race said he felt impeded by maldonado, he put his hand out of the car angrily after passing maldonado. he then appeared to slow right infront of maldonado and then jink at him. maybe David S is right, maybe hamilton was as hot headed as maldonado and accelerated into the incident as maldonado was passing him.
        Hamilton sounded sheepish and defensive in post race, and he said he didnt move as maldonado passed him which is a lie.
        goodbye f1 career? hardly – hamilton has driven toyotas off the road at 200mph in monza and his career is still going.
        maybe you should leave f1, not David S – as you obviously cant take an oppinion, which these forum comments are for.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 27th August 2011, 17:59

      WRONG AGAIN Davids.

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