Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Hamilton and Maldonado come to blows on track

2011 Belgian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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?óÔé¼Ôäót really know what happened. It was a difficult moment.”

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221 comments on “Hamilton and Maldonado come to blows on track”

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  1. 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.

  2. Toothpickbandit
    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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Rex.T.Zephron
    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!

    1. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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…

    1. 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.

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

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 100% agreed.

      2. 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.

    3. WRONG AGAIN Davids.

  11. In a world with competent TV coverage we’d have seen Maldonado onboard and Lewis rear view of this incident. within minutes after it happened. Right now all the general public sees is a head on shot. Come on FOM. This coverage desperately needs to improve.

    With the little info we have from just that camera angle it’s real hard to determine whodunnit. Hamilton twitches right on corner exit, but that could just as well have been the back stepping out on the wet or even Maldonado giving him a nudge from behind. We need to see these ‘additional angles’ stewards always say they have but that the general public NEVER sees.

    1. The back didn’t step out.
      The track was dry, and he wasn’t on the throttle enough to lose traction.

      1. oh, have you seen other footage then, talked to the drivers. Strange you can catch all that from that one shot we got on the coverage.

        1. Being a fan of motorsport, you should know how a car behaves. The back simply did not step out.

          It was an in lap, no driver gets on the throttle hard on the in lap because of engine life. As for whether or not there was enough traction, Maldonado had plenty.

          I have a HD recording on the incident that I can play back and forth in slow motion if needs be, using that and some common sense, it’s clear that the back did not step out on Lewis’ car, and that it was a flick.

          1. DavidS, you definitely do need to replay that footage because you saw something totally different to almost everybody else.

    2. In a world with competent TV coverage we’d have seen Maldonado onboard and Lewis rear view of this incident. within minutes after it happened. Right now all the general public sees is a head on shot. Come on FOM. This coverage desperately needs to improve.

      I strongly agree with this post.

      1. Me too. In football, the tv has a tendency to quickly prove referees were misguided if they judged a ball to be on the wrong side of a line, while referees are not even allowed to use that same footage. Here the stewards have all the footage and then some, but we don’t see it before the race edit or end of season DVD, if we are lucky.

      2. I’m starting to notice this more and more.

  12. Joe Saward has an interesting Maldano fact.

    A little history

    August 27, 2011 by joesaward

    Pastor Maldonado’s move on Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at Spa was not the first time that the Veneuzuelan has got into trouble in the course of his career, notably at Monaco in 2005 when he was given a four-race ban from the Renault World Series after ignoring yellow warning flags and hitting and seriously injuring a track marshal.

    1. there are also dirty driving facts about hamilton – including today in quali, there was a yellow flag in sector one and hamilton set the fastest time of sector one while the yellow flag was out.

      1. But there was no penalty, so presumably he didn’t go fastest in that corner? Bad example, surely there are other examples you could give.

  13. “We need to see these ‘additional angles’ stewards always say they have but that the general public NEVER sees.”

    Well, it’s the stewards that ultimately make the final decision, thankfully.

  14. Listen to his comments in the press conference.
    As a helpful hint, I’ll transcribe them for you.

    Uhh, pfff, I’ll have to look at it afterwards, but I think I was on the end of my ugh, my Q2 lap, and uhh, I got to the Chicane as I was just finishing, and there were ugh, two Williams, not ugh, going very slow. I think they were preparing to start for another lap, but it was already red light. And, so I had to get past, which I did, and then {coughs} ugh, I lost quite a lot of time there…

    1. I’m sorry I don’t understand your motive in stating his response verbatim, kind explanation?

      1. The person I was replying to asked me “why would lewis have any motive for swerving”

        I posted that quote with the important bit in bold to show that Hamilton may have felt that Maldonado held him up at the chicane.

        I posted it verbatim because I was trying to be funny. The post I was replying to got deleted because it called me a couple of choice words, and the post became an orphan.

        I posted a follow up post saying that it was OK to delete it (because it was completely out of context), but that post appears to have been deleted…lol

        1. Ah, understood.

          Still, motive or not, any sort of overtaking attempt post-flag resulting in a collision should in my opinion be the responsibility of the overtaker. Hamilton had no need to be aware of anything, what was Maldonado’s hurry, did he have to catch a movie? And Lewis was never going to brake, there ain’t no son of a gun out there who can scare Lewis.

          1. While I agree on the principle that the overtaking driver is responsible for the clean execution of the overtake, I believe that only applies in race situations.

            In race situations, you can’t expect a driver who is being overtaken to take drastic action to avoid an incident, as that would unfairly cost them time.

            However, they weren’t racing, no-one was losing any time or position. In these situations, it is the responsibility of BOTH drivers to avoid a collision.

            They are meant to be setting an example to all drivers. That is the part that most people on here are ignoring. What kind of example would it be if drivers are excused completely from punishment for an incident where the other guy was mostly to blame? The message that would send out is that people are entitled to not take avoiding action if the other guy is doing something dangerous.

    2. This response is about what happened before the finish line, the incident under discussion happened after the finish line.

  15. Keith, I think you’ll find that Hamilton drove into the side of Maldonado’s car.

    1. Thanks mate

  16. In the UK, you get the rear/back far camera angles

    From the rear, Maldonado has a very obvious straight line general collision course..
    From the front, it looks completely different, the front view looks 50/50, the rear view looks 90/10 blamewise..

  17. F1Fanatic.co.UK(for the win) is, as always when discussing Brits, fair and balanced – on par with Fox News. Where’s Maldonado’s side of the story in this “article”?

    1. I haven’t heard a quote from Maldonado yet so I can’t report one.

      I don’t know why you’re getting so worked up about a domain suffix. It means nothing.

      1. BBC Qualifying as it happened
        1445: And FINALLY here is Pastor Maldonado’s take on his incident with Hamilton: “It was a difficult moment, there was no reason from my side to have contact and from the side of Lewis. It wasn’t rainy conditions and we need to understand what happened. There was no need for contact after the chequered flag.” When asked if he agreed with Hamilton’s claim he had deliberately moved into his McLaren, Maldonado responded: “No, no, I don’t.

        He seems a bit evasive to me, not willing to say he stayed clear, but indicating he didn’t intend to hit HAM. Might have left too little distance?

    2. The point is it’s as clear as day who caused the incident i.e. Maldonado. FYI I’m not British.
      Your suggestion of bias is delusional.

    3. Miko, have you read what DavidS is saying over and over again.

    4. Noone is discussing brits we are discussing racing and Maldano be he british venezuelan or dutch was wrong to drive into hamilto whatever happened before to drive into another driver on purpose is wrong that it hwatever your race religion creed country or colour!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Rex.T.Zephron
    27th August 2011, 15:54

    Does anyone agree that we should be provided with full transcripts of what happens in the Stewards meetings after races?

    1. For what reason? So that we can disagree with the decision?

      1. Rex.T.Zephron
        27th August 2011, 16:11

        You can disagree/agree with a decision even without the transcript! I just think it would be nice to have first hand info rather than media twisted/distorted info or PR info from the teams…

    2. totally disagree

  19. I don’t get it…why should lewis have applied the breaks?

  20. Maldanado is a disgrace. He was slow in the chicane and held Hamilton up. Hamilton was right to overtake. Maldanado shud get a race ban

    1. why? wasnt he on a qualifying lap too?

      1. @Bus Stop Chicane, Only Hamilton was on a hotlap, not Maldonado. Of course Hamilton was having none of Maldonado holding him up, so he executed an overtake. This was during the session, where cars are allowed to fight for position.
        @La Source – Eau Rouge, The session was over. Both were on in laps.

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