Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Singapore, 2017

Wet standing start not to blame for crash – drivers

2017 Singapore Grand PrixPosted on Author Keith Collantine

F1 drivers have defended the decision to use a standing start at the Singapore Grand Prix despite the wet conditions.

Daniel Ricciardo said the decision to use a standing start should not be blamed for the first-lap crash which led to four drivers retiring.

Singapore, 2017
Singapore Grand Prix in pictures
“I think the grid was fine,” said the Red Bull driver whose team mate Max Verstappen was among those who retired in the collision.

“Obviously unfortunate for the guys involved in the crash but I don’t think they can blame the decision of the stewards or Charlie [Whiting, race director] for starting the race. I think that was perfectly fair and fine.”

Lewis Hamilton said “it wasn’t that wet really on the grid” before the start of the race and defended the decision not to use the Safety Car to start the race.

“I think it’s always worse when it’s a rolling start and being that there is so much spray it would have just been a lot more dangerous, I potentially think. So, I think it was the right decision.”

“I think they were right to start it as a standing start,” agreed Ricciardo. “As Lewis said, the grid was not too bad.”

“I would say if it was a rolling start, probably nothing would have happened in turn one. Because normally it just goes off in order and yeah, probably would have been clean and less exciting for the fans.”

Verstappen, both Ferrari drivers and Fernando Alonso retired from the race as a result of the crash.

2017 Singapore Grand Prix

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54 comments on “Wet standing start not to blame for crash – drivers”

  1. Totally agree with this. Having said that, I can’t remember the last time a driver got a good enough start to be leading into Turn 1 having started 4th, as Raikkonen looked like he would have done if the crash hadn’t happened. Perhaps the difference in starting speeds was exaggerated by the wetness, but it was perfectly safe.

    1. RAI had nowhere to go at the inside of turn 1. He had a stellar start but could never have made the corner well.

      1. I’ve just watched it again and I really think he would have been leading, he was fast enough to be well past Verstappen and at least slightly ahead of Vettel by the braking zone for the first corner. I certainly agree that being that close to the inside was far from the ideal line, but I think he would have made the turn in the lead.

        1. He would. And Hamilton would be second or third…

        2. RAI is looking extra Quick because Max actually lift a little tonget out

          I guess we never know for sure

          1. To get out I meant

    2. @ben-n Grosjean led the race in turn 1 in the 2013 Japanese Grand Prix having started 4th, and purely on the merit of a great start. I think that was the last time.

      1. ALO Monza 2011 4th to 1st also comes to mind.

        And one of the best for me was ALO Barcelona 2011 4th to 1st.

    3. Lewis started from 4th in the 2008 British grand prix and won the race.

      1. I would have assumed they meant at the start. Did Hamilton pass the three ahead of him at the start?

        1. Yes, then was overtaken back by Heikki going into Mggots/Becketts complex

  2. I think it’s fair to say that the wet start played a large part in the variability of drivers getaway from the grid and the reduced visibility for Vettel while defending. But a standing start was absolutely the right decision. Every other driver managed to keep their manoeuvres clean, Vettel didn’t observe enough caution for the conditions and we had a fairly safe collection of collisions.

    A safety car start would have just laid the foundation for a precessional drive to the chequered flag. A standing start obviously carried more risk, but it’s a risk within the driver’s control. Even Alonso who was effectively a passenger as his car was collected could have held back and been more cautious around the incident, but he pretty much had nothing to lose driving that Honda, and a potential podium to gain.

  3. Am I the only one who believes Alonso closed the door in a bit too optimistic way? If there’s no flying Raikkonen on three wheels, there’s still Max on the inside, so I’m not so sure this podium was so guaranteed.

    1. Had a proper look at some replays after your post and totally agree… it would have been either a collision or a very near miss. I think Alonso did actually leave enough space for Verstappen to also make the corner, but on a damp track there’s no guarantee Verstappen could have made a quick enough change of direction (his line looked like it was lead to a wide exit, and a collision with Alonso) to avoid contact.

  4. It’s funny how we just saw one of the biggest start incidents in the last few years and yet nobody and nothing is to blame.

    For one they could finally clearly outlaw a move like what Vettel did in that you are allowed to cut across on the straights, but no further than the car next to you. Not “sure, push them all the way to the edge of the track”, but just hold them where they are.

    It’s just absurd to allow drivers to push each others around on the straight. Especially just after the start there is a high likelihood of 3 or more cars abreast.

    On the racing line there is only one line. Clearly the car behind will have to yield at some point and when he doesn’t he simply will run out of space and either go off or crash and get a penalty. On the straight there is plenty space to leave cars where they are.

    1. The problem with introducing more regulations is that they remain just as subjective and tend to dampen the racing. Much better that the stewards make the right calls on incidents like this so that drivers know that some kind of limit exists and roughly where it is. The question is whether Vettel caused an incident with reckless driving and should have been penalized. Probably. Imagine if it was the last race, Vettel was ahead of Hamilton on points, and he’d done the same, only with Hamilton in Verstappen’s place. Still a legitimate move? I doubt it would be accepted in that situation. He’d have been seen to have taken out his main opponent to win the title.

    2. @patrickl @david-br
      You don’t need rules for this. Based on rules none of the three (four) drivers involved broke any rule. The question is more: is it wise to take the risk? I think it went wrong there. But in any case, sometimes these thing happen. When the driver in front is slower than the driver in the back, they come together at some point.

      1. I meant: you don’t niet EXTRA rules for this.

      2. @matthijs, Seriously? That’s why they DO need extra rules. They shouldn’t perhaps, but clearly they do since it happens way too often. Especially with Vettel.

        This is not about “sometimes they come together”, but about an unsportsmanlike and dangerous move which should stop happening. Like I said, there is no need to push another car off on the straight.

        1. @patrickl “there is no need to push another car off the straight”. You are right, that’s why there are rules to prevent that. You don’t need extra rules because the current rules apply. Vettel did leave space for 1 car, just not for 2. According to the rules he didn’t do anything wrong, but according to common sense he took way too much risk and paid the price. Vettel forgot he was racing Hamilton yesterday.

          1. @matthijs, Vettel did not get a penalty for that move. So the rules DO need to be amended to prevent it.

    3. Wow if even some fans want it to be more wrapped in cotton we are really in trouble.

      Its called racing snow flake

      1. Yes and it’s not called bumper cars.

        What’s a “racing snow flake”?

  5. I’m really pleased that we saw a standing start in the wet, because as a fan the excitement that usually builds up on a formation lap was doubled. If you add in the fact that F1 had never raced in the wet at Singapore before we had a rare situation where the drivers were heading off into the unknown and would have to tough it out against each other in really unforgiving conditions.

    These races really sort the men from the boys and there were a number of drivers I was really impressed with in the early stages of the race when it was most difficult. The rest of the race was quite processional but the first 10 – 15 laps were a real pleasure to watch.

    At the end of the day it wasn’t the conditions that caused the collision, it was a typical 3 into 1 situation that never ends well and could have happened on a dry track too. It was the right decision to start the race in the wet and I hope they do it more often in the future.

  6. So the two drivers that made it through corner 1 unscathed agrees it was a good idea. Go figure.

    That said, i do prefer this to a safety car start, but for the one driver who has repeated maintained lead thru safety car starts to say it wasn’t that wet is a bit rich.

  7. Agree, a wet start had no effect on the incident that took place.

  8. Couple of questions that occured to me…
    I’m not accusing the stewards of bias, but genuinely wonder if they factor such points into the handing out of penalties.

    1) If Vettel hadn’t torpedoed his WDC chances himself (which was a severe enough penalty in itself), would he have been awarded some manner of penalty?
    2) If it had been a WDC contender who was the victim of the incident instead of the instigator, would the instigator have been given a penalty? E.g. if Max did what Vettel did.

    1. @phylyp Sadly I think the answer to both those questions is yes. If Vettel had continued while VER and RAI retired then I’m pretty sure he would have been given a penalty. Same for if someone else had taken out Vettel or Hamilton in a similar way. Seems to be part of the stewards’ criteria and has been quoted as a reason for dishing out penalties before (see Grosjean Spa 2012 for example).

      I also think this was the reason Vettel was given exactly a 10 second penalty for his road rage moment in Baku. It conveniently put him back on the track pretty close to where Hamilton was after his headrest issue. Call me a cynic if you wish ;)

    2. I was a fool to believe in stewards, but not anymore. Yeah, I thought too what would have happened if VER would have done what VET did, would have been penalised for ruining the winning chances for 1 of the title contenders?! To tell you the truth… have no idea. It’s 50/50. There’re 50% chances they would have given VER some sort of penalty simply because he’s no title contender, yet he ruined most chances for 1 of the contenders, but I think there’re 50% chances he would have been cleared of any wrong doing, just like VET: racing incident. But I think the stewards are soft only with the top 3 teams: Mercedes, Ferrari and RBR. They have various reasons, latest obvious reason being “we don’t want to mess with the title fight”. Had it been a driver from another team except top 3 teams, I’m more than sure a penalty was in store.

      1. It was VER’s fault!
        If VER was Kimi…it was VER’s fault!
        If VER was VET…it was VER’s fault!

        Thats unfortunately the conclusions many are making.

      2. You’d have thought that with the ability to overlay ‘Bernie says don’t drink and drive’ ads on the screen to look like they are part of the track that they could ‘white out’ all of the cars in a similar way so the Stewards didn’t know who they were looking at so they could make truly impartial judgments based on the incident seen.

        For when they need to ask for a drivers comment the drivers perspectives could be quoted directly to the stewards by some randomly assigned person so they don’t know who said it just their reasoning as to why they did what they did.

        The steering wheels should be blurred also and the stewards should be kept from seeing the qualifying results so in the case of first lap incidents they don’t know who they are watching by looking at their grid position/steering wheel etc.

  9. I’m trying not to look at the images anymore, because each time it increases the feeling that VER would avoided the incident. I mean: yes, VET swerved greatly into VER, but, by the moment VER touched RAI, it seems that VET’s car was entirely ahead of VER’s car and the move into RAI was not necessary to avoid VET. Yes again, it is hard to expect that a driver is willing to brake in order to avoid a collision in a position dispute at the start, but VER lost the position to RAI and didn’t overtake VET. In conclusion, VER had no place between the ferraris and should have settle down into third (again, that’s very rational but hard to ask from a young driver).

    1. Max told reporters he actually lifted to back out but they squeezed him too fast. The rear tyres are much wider than the front ones so he hit RAI trying to back out

      1. Technically RAI hit VER. Front of rear right hitting back of front left. Also check VER’s onboard….Kimi cuts right way too early!

    2. The trouble with images is that they capture a snapshot of an incident which evolved from being nothing to huge in less than half a second, however I think this image shows that the contact between Kimi and Verstappen was unavoidable from Verstappen’s point of view.

      Kimi had already pulled back over to the right before clearing Verstappen, despite having plenty of track to play with, and his rear wheel caught Verstappen’s front wheel. If Verstappen had backed out any sooner it would have been before Kimi was even alongside. That’s not racing.

    3. Here is what happened: https://youtu.be/jtWufunt59w

      Kiki cuts VER off too early!

        1. It’s easy to see that VER swerves into RAI trying to avoid crazyman VET.VET was already way ahead of VER and had no reason to do that move.

        2. Sec 19….Kimi starts turning right!

  10. If that start had been under a safety car I would have switched off! Its getting ridiculous.
    These are the best drivers in the world (add a few that drive as they have money, less a few that are not driving as they have no money) and if they cannot start in that weather maybe try darts or bowling.

  11. Many will probably get angry with me and I know it was a different situation, but Hamilton himself cut across the track on Monza to block Stroll off who got a better start and could have probably had the inside line for the 1st corner. It was clear from the on board the stroll either lifted off or brake when Hamilton chopped across him. The difference is that there is no third car and Hamilton was probably a bit further ahead than Vettel was at max. What I’m saying is that it’s a normal thing to do during the starts. Btw, it was just a racing incident for me

    1. @siegfreyco, There is a difference between taking the line in front of another car and ramming into the side of them.

      The rules quite clearly state that when the following car has part of the front wing next to the lead car then he is considered alongside and rules apply for leaving space on the straight. These do not apply when the lead car is fully ahead.

      Although the stewards have difficulty with that simple rule too. When Rosberg rammed into Hamilton in Spain, they did acknowledge that Hamilton was alongside and Rosberg should have left some room. Still, they added their own twist in claiming that Hamilton hadn’t been alongside “very long” so Rosberg was excused. Nowhere in the rules does it state this as a distinction, but they can make up their own rules apparently.

      It’s similar to stewards going for the “sorry, but I didn’t see him” exception which seems to apply to every rule. Try that in real life, Sorry officer, “I didn’t see that traffic light had switched to red” or “I didn’t see that I was doing twice the speed limit”. “Oh ok, then that’s fine. On your way then.”

      ps Also this is a different situation from entering or going through a corner which have other rules.

      1. @patrickl Bad comparison. Vettel had no way of knowing Raikkonen was alongside Verstappen.

        Also, Hamilton was alongside Rosberg for a whole 0.2 seconds. Do you expect Rosberg to realize that and allow him space in that amount of time?

        1. @mbr-9, Exactly, he couldn’t know, so you don’t push people around when you can;t know if they have sapce to be pushed or not.

          The rules start when a driver is alongside. When you are in the wrong engine mode and your car falls still then you can imagine someone will be overtaking yes.

          BTW This is a whole new way of arguing: “defence from incompetence”

          You really think Vettel and Rosberg are that poor at racing?

          1. @patrickl Vettel didn’t even cause any contact; he had left enough space to Verstappen, but the space between Verstappen and Raikkonen was much smaller. If he did cause the initial contact then there would be a stronger case to punish him.

            The rules start when a driver is alongside. When you are in the wrong engine mode and your car falls still then you can imagine someone will be overtaking yes.

            That doesn’t change anything. Rosberg saw a move coming, and he made a legal defense. Hamilton was alongside for a whole 0.2 seconds, which clearly makes Rosberg incompetent for not noticing that Hamilton’s front wing was alongside his rear wheel in that amount of time.

            I imagine if a car was alongside for a single frame you’d still defend it and call the leading driver incompetent.

      2. @patrickl Sebastian did leave a car’s width to verstappen. The only problem was that kimi was on that width that Vettel gave to verstappen which vettel does not know

        1. @siegfreyco, Yes he couldn’t know. So it’s evcen more clear that this was a stupid move. It’s like closing your eyes when crossing an intersection. Just hope nothing comes and see how you make it to the other end. Brilliant.

          Well I hope you are happy, because he really ruined his WDC chances with this dumb move.

          1. @patrickl I’m not defending his move in a sense that is good. I would have preferred that he had not done it either as it wrecked his championship hopes. What i’m just saying is that moving across has been a move done countless times by polesitters but it’s only Vettel that they are singling out. In the same way, how could Hamilton had known that there was no third car tat might have rocketed during Monza. He fully went to the other side of the track during the starts. Btw, I’m not saying that he saying he had anything wrong either.

  12. Everyone saying Max shoukd have backed out should be consistent and say Vettel should have backed out in Canada!

    1. ThierryBoutsen
      19th September 2017, 9:20

      Let it go Mike.
      Double standards. And these guys come up with such lame and hilarious arguments like “But it’s different. VET is fighting for the championship and VER does not”. It’s everywhere. Just let it go.

    2. yes he darn right he should have backed out, he went to the left for no reason and raikonnen was clearly ahead…..

  13. guys please, don t try to hide the fact that it was all max verstappen fault he messed up 3 people s race plus himself, what the heck was he doing turning to the left while already raikonnen was past him and he hit alonso aswell in the end at the first turn, F this man, what is he doing?????!!!!

    1. It’s like they are all blind!!! Everyone knows that both the technical regulations Article 63.4 and the racing guidelines pp. 18.7 clearly and unambiguously state “No car shall attempt to pass, draw alongside or overtake, by any means, a Ferrari who has clearly indicated that they do not wish to be overtaken”

      Corrupt stewards, that’s what it is mate, we all wanted to see the procession and they act like maniacs in a race or something!

  14. I can’t accept some of the things being said as intellectually honest so…
    Point 1 : was the start move by Vettel illegal ? NO . Was it foolish ? Yes.
    Should Vettel be penalized ? NO . He broke no rule at least the rules as they are typically interpreter by the stewards although the F1 stewards are horrible .
    I have seen it written that if Verstappen did what Vettel did Verstappen would have been penalized . Now that is utter nonsense as we have seen time and time again how Verstappen does whatever he wants and is never penalized.
    F1 stewards are terrible and to a point some of the Sporting Regulations are also to blame for the problems in the sport so.. change them .
    Look at Indycar , the vehicles are not as good and certainly not as up to date technically as F1 cars and some of their tracks are boring yet Verizon always puts on an exciting race ( something that F1 certainly cannot say)
    Put in place Sporting Regulations for F1 that reward the driver who goes the fastest not the one who impedes the best.
    In Indycar there is little blocking because one can rarely do so legally and the stewards always call out the driver who abandons his line to interfere with another car or moves twice .
    Encourage and allow overtakes not blocks . If a drivers makes a good hard move let him go by ,don’t we all want to see that rather than a move into the passing cars line and a repetition of that same thing until the car behind has to abandon all thought of an overtake because his tires are wearing out ( and with front wings being what they are that wear down only takes a lap or two, max.
    Case in point :Football became really great for fans when it adjusted its rules to encourage offense rather than defense , when it made passing easier and helped the QB’s and receivers . Don’t we want the same in F1 . Help the driver who is passing not the one who is blocking . Overtakes are exciting , I want to see more of them so adjust the rules to encourage them .
    I am not saying that the car in front has to move OUT OF THE WAY but, I AM saying that the car in front should not be permitted to get IN THE WAY.
    Make this rule change and you will have better races , more exciting races pure and simple .
    If it were Football would you rather see the 10 to 7 game or the 37 to 35 game ?

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