Maldonado punished for spat with Hamilton
Mercedes
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Aug 2011   |  6:30 pm GMT  |  202 comments

The FIA Stewards have penalised Pastor Maldonado for the incident in qualifying with Lewis Hamilton.

The Venezuelan will drop five grid positions from 16th to 21st on the grid after the stewards decided that he was the one most at fault.

Hamilton gets off with a reprimand, but it’s important to recognise that in the stewards’ eyes he too is guilty of “a breach of the regulations” by causing an incident under article 16.1 – in this case the relevant definition from the menu of definitions in that Article must be “caused a collision”.

Close inspection of the replays show that as Maldonado drives past him after their contact in the final corner of their Q2 laps, Hamilton moved to the right on two occasions, but on the second occasion Maldonado drove into him. It is for this deliberate action that Maldonado has been punished.

One rival team boss said that Hamilton was equally at fault in the incident and his body language afterwards indicated that he felt he might be in for a penalty. He even talked about the possible scenario that he could be starting the race near his team mate, Jenson Button, who is 13th on the grid.

One of the stewards this weekend is Nigel Mansell, 1992 world champion with Williams. I spoke to him on Thursday and he said that he enjoys the work and that he feels that in calls over an incident – such as this one – the other stewards really listen to his point of view. The influence of ex drivers, especially champions, in the stewarding process has generally made the decisions less controversial over the past two years and has certainly given it more credibility than with certain decisions in the past.

Maldonado’s take on it was, “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.”

Hamilton said, “It wasn’t a racing incident. Through the last corner I had to get past and we perhaps touched. I don’t know if he was upset about that and perhaps wanted to make a point of it. I don’t know, I haven’t spoken to him.

“It’s clear from the footage, we are going down a straight which curves to the right and I can’t go any more to the left and somehow his car ends up hitting me. I didn’t drive into anyone.

“I went a little bit right and I saw he’d moved out so I went back and then he was in a blind spot. I though he was coming past and then he ended up coming into me.

“They (the stewards) played back the footage and my in-car footage. But they don’t seem to have his in car footage for some reason. They can only record nine cars and the camera was on Barrichello’s car.”


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1

James, I have yet another question about Hamilton’s overtake on Maldonado.

It’s clear LH was faster and took a better line to overtake and finish his astonishing lap but, nonetheless, he made contact with PM while the latter was on his flying lap.

Could it be seen as a breach in article 31.7?

2

It’s always about interpretation isn’t it? Maldonado was 2 secs off the pace in that sector on that lap, but he was caught up behind Kovalainen. And 2s would not have got him into Q3

3

Thanks James,

Of course I agree it’s about interpretation (the main reason for the 200+ comments on this article).

What I’m curious about is the plausible case in which a top driver, trying to get the pole, encounters a significantly slower one intending to qualify… let’s say 13th.

The way I saw it, both drivers would have the right not to be “impeded”. And I can’t find a rule stating the slower driver has to give way (For some reason I just remembered Monza 2006).

I also understand “traffic management” has become a major issue both in Quali and Racing to avoid such situations.

4

What Maldonado did was totally unacceptable. I don’t care if he was in the heat because of whatever Hamilton did, but you don’t act like that in front of hundreds of millions of people. It’s crass and uncouth and reflects poorly on the driver as a mature person. Same can be said about Hamilton and his well documented outburst earlier this year. For shame Maldonado.

5

Hamilton does it again, [mod]. It’s one thing to use your skills to create an advantage, like Senna, Mansell, Prost, Lauda et al. It’s quite a different thing to cause incidents by your arrogance and lack of mental discipline. Hamilton should have got away from Maldonado’s car by slowing or driving to the side of the track instead of contributing to the damage of his car.

6

F1 bosses know that Football gets huge following based on emotion – so they are working on stirring up emotions in F1 …

Really, though, this is the kind of thing that drove me away from F1 (I had to come back here to see what everyone was saying, having seen the incident on the news!!!), the lack of objectivity … we all saw something that looked like road-rage, and that should have a big penalty. The suspect driver has absolutely no sane explanation for why his car suddenly crashed into another car, after driving alongside it for a short while.

But, we see no clarifications. And a light penalty. And are led to believe that the stewards seemingly don’t have as much information at hand as we expected …

Why does F1 refuse to change … ?

7

Apologies for bad typing………

8

If you saw the footage form the front of the action you clearly see Hamiliton move twice………one small jink towards Maladono and the second towards him as Maldano is also moving to his right………..both to blame on second move……..however you have to ask yourslef had Hamilton not jinked right the first time would the incident even happened. Sundays move by hamiliton clearly shows the type of peer arrogance that Senna A. had………

9

Also, Hamilton is in cool down mode, driving slowly and Maldonado catches up and goes to pass but obviously slows down enough to hit the side of Lewis’ car. It has to be intentional – he justifies it by saying “he lost control” – oh dear.

10

“Surely”… there isn’t any Maldonado’s on-board footage of the incident nor any proof of deliberately causing it.

Also, the telemetry haven’t been aired to show whether PM slowed down of LH accelerated (if any of those occurred).

Most likely, the stewards made their decisions based on the two videos everyone have seen (which actually prove both pilots drive into each other).

11

“Surely?” Yes – all the cars have onboard cameras of which the footage is available to the FIA, as well as the telemetry.

I think the FIA can see exactly that PM did it on purpose, just as LH had to muscle through to get a time on his hot lap.

12

Surely the stewards have seen Maldonado’s onboard footage which shows him deliberately driving into Hamilton.

Given that this was deliberate and that they are no longer racing or qaulifying makes this incident unique in F1 history?

Maldonado should be sent home for causing an accident on purpose. Safety and reputation on the sport is more important than their spat.

J.

13

its amazing how much disagreement there can be over a piece of video which everyone is viewing with the same human eyes.

Ham’s move on maldonado going into the chicane was fine, nothing wrong with that, he didnt’ exactly have to barge his way past as maldo gave a lot of room and was caught unawares.

regarding the incident after la source, it is clear that both of them try and intimidate each other. Maldo doesn’t initiate it, as can be seen from the video. It’s ham that turns to the right initially to..i dont know what…to scare him or make a point? Maldo does however….have the last word. Both of them move into each other, Maldo more so than Ham, but never the less, Ham does move right a few times.

This is why the stewards also gave lewis a reprimand, he wasn’t entirely innocent in the whole thing. You dont need the onboard footage of either car to see this.

That’s all there is to say on it.

14

Maldo took a swipe at Lewis – end of story. Regardless of any provocation (which in all honestly i don’t beleive was the case) it is totally unacceptable to take out your anger of another driver when you are in a racing car. Someone could have been killed. Maldo should have been banned from a race at least to show that the sport will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. If you look at how he approaches Hamilton, you can see that he was determined to have some kind of altercation with him. If he misjudged his attempt to show him he wasn’t happy – should he be driving a car that does such speeds?!?! He could kill himself or others if he misjudges this!!

I am a hamilton fan, but i will be the first to say if he has done something wrong as ultimatly i am a F1 fan and want the best for the sport. I don’t think he was at fault in this case. Now lets have a great Belgium GP!!

15

Has anyone noticed that in the final chicane when Hamilton was about to overtake Pastor that Pastor got shown the blue flag? And Hamilton gets a reprimand for that? I don’t see any other refraction that Hamilton is guilty of. Other than turning right in a right hander corner when Pastor clearly turns left. I simply do not understand it. Pastor deserves another penalty for impeding Hamilton in the last chicane. Like I said, he did get shown a blue flag. It is pathetic stewarding, simply pathetic and dissapointing.

16

James: In the past the stewards have used telemetry in making their decisions. Did they have access to Maldonaldo’s telemetry in making their decision?

17

You are absolutely correct. If they didn’t have video I am sure the telemetry from the car can show down to the nth degree when and by how much each driver turned the whee.

I think they don’t want to loose South American money and probably to Maldonaldo aside and said in very stern word to never do that again or you can join Nelson Piquet where he is racing.

They needed to give some responsibility to Hamilton so it wouldn’t look so blantanley like Maldonaldo was let off.

Just my thoughts

18

Dear Allen,

I would like to point out that I am not British nor Venezuelan and that I am a Hamilton fan.

It seems clear to me that the two moves to the right (as you mention)made by Hamilton triggered the colision.

The second move to the right and the first to the left made contact (front weel x back weel) spining Maldonado towards Hamilton.

In my humble and unbias opinion, both are wrong but I believe that Hamilton provoqued Maldonado with his first move to the right.

In order to make the Championship more interesting they left Hamilton keep his grid position so he can fight Vettel.

I believe that blaming only Maldonado is absurd.

19

**Off Yopic **

James in years gone many drivers, notably Mansell used to take a REALLY wide line round La Source. 1-Is this still legal? where is the circuit limit white line

2-With the latest simulation software can you say if this wide laine was faster all else being equal?

THanks

Martin

20

Must keep wheels inside white line

21

Schumacher had both his front wheels of the track on lap 28. Are you’re allowed three transgressions in the race?

22

James,

Can you give us any more hints as to who the ‘rival team boss’ you mention, blaming LH, is? Top team? Midfield? Red car? White car?

Clearly, at least one team has a deranged principal.

23

Doing a bit of fishing because keen to alleviate the threat!

24

There was one person at fault for the incident yesterday: Hamilton. He instigated it by barging Pastor out of the way at the bus-stop, and then weaved into Pastor’s path on the run down to Eau Rouge. But yet again, Hamilton isn’t punished for deliberately trying to crash into another driver.

F1 has turned into a disgrace with its clear pro-Hamilton bias.

25

Hamilton’s overtake of Maldonaldo was textbook, absolutely textbook. Maldonaldo late-apexed the chicane exit, looking to get past Rubens and hoping for another lap, and Hamilton parked it precisely on the apex, looking absolutely under control.

I genuinely would show that video as a great example of a really good (and opportunistic) overtaking manoeuver.

Hamilton has got a lot of things wrong this season, but that overtake absolutely wasn’t one of them.

Not Hamilton’s fault that Maldonaldo was frustrated by being delayed his team-mates mistake, overtaken by a much quicker car, and then running out of time for another lap.

26

I’m reading these comments and clearly can’t understand – are you people really watching TV through national flag? Why 90% of commentators are crying about Lewis getting reprimand? Did he lose anything? There should be a new rule in F1 – the one who gets in a way of Hamilton (the one who always have problems with other drivers) should be banned for racing forever, isn’t it?

27

James,

Surprised your write up doesn’t chime with what 95%+ of people could see with their plain eyes – Maldo had a fit of road rage and trashed another’s car. For an F1 driver, completely unacceptable. How do we know Hamilton wouldn’t have got pole with an untouched car? – can you imagine the uproar if the roles had been reversed?

The fact that other drivers (and Mansell) are allegedly hinting LH was partly at fault just goes to illustrate the envy out there. Pay drivers like PM are never going to reach the heights – this ‘penalty’ will tell them they’ve nothing to lose if they want to go in for a bit of attention seeking. I’d love to hear Frank Williams’ take on it.

5-place grid drop for PM and a reprimand for LH? – a joke – Mansell should be ashamed.

28

I wonder if Maldonado is still emotional about Lewis’ Monaco pass ?

29

“Pass” is an interesting term to use.

30

Absolutely Maldonado fault. I can nit see why anyone would allow this guy to drive in the race. Let hope his temper and lack Of ability don’t affect the race result.

I would have disqualified him from the race. He is not in a race winning car and must understand that is hammy or vetel or alonso need to get past on their flying lap, then they are going to get by. Even if it is unexpected. He shouldn’t then retaliate. That’s just damn stupid and dangerous. Let’s hope the penalty has caused him to think akthou I doubt it.

31

Reading the comments makes me wonder how many actually studied the footage from the various cameras. The wheel-banging at the chicane is aggressive but perfectly normal driving when a slow car gets a fast car up the inside line. What happened after they crossed the line was silly from both drivers – LH gesticulating and PM weaving and – Ooops – I didn’t mean to actually hit him… One wonders what Frank Williams will have to say – he’s nobody’s fool 😉

32

Maldonado was not happy with Lewis’s pass earlier on, I guess. But a bad move though from Maldo.

33

Maybe Maldonado should be more upset at himself for giving Hamilton the opportunity to make that PERFECTLY LEGAL move and not noticing it before it was too late?

34

Hamilton did provoke maldonado by swearving right something bbc commentators turned a blind eye at. Maldonado was out of order though and should have got a 10 grid penalty like schumacher when he put barrichello up against the wall last season. But i like these things makes the sport more interesting.

9 cameras available is pathetic for the richest sport in the world.

Was it me james, im sure vettel didnt use his DRS on his pole lap, didnt see him use it on climb up 2 eau rouge and les combes??

35

Two broken legs for Maldonado from a huge crash up into the fence would have made him realise the potential consequences of his actions far more than a 5 place grid penalty. Drivers receive more than that for changing engines or getting an overtaking manoeuvre wrong. Maldonado’s move would have got him knocked around the paddock by other drivers in junior formulae, he should count himself lucky today.

36

Here we go; the Hamilton fans come out to justify why it should be OK to make contact with another car (it isn’t) and the rabid anti-Hamilton fans point to yet another incident that OUR LEWIS has gotten involved with.

Lewis has pushed plenty of drivers wide in his time, and I will admit to a wry smile creeping across my face as Maldonado gave Lewis something back in return – someone was going to get tired of his antics sooner or later. But the rules are the rules – you can’t hit another car, and that was a rule both drivers broke. It’s about time that the rules were applied to everyone, regardless of team, championship standing or fan appeal.

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