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Insight: Is there anything to Mercedes and Ferrari’s opening lap F1 collisions?
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Posted By: Editor   |  09 Jul 2018   |  2:08 pm GMT  |  561 comments

After two opening lap collisions in three races where a Ferrari has collided with a Mercedes, incurring Ferrari penalties, but costing Mercedes points, Lewis Hamilton, Toto Wolff and James Allison have all raised the question of whether this is more than a co-incidence.

Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene has dismissed the suggestions. And fans on both sides of the debate have waded in with their opinions.

With Hamilton having a bad start, Ferrari’s Raikkonen locked up and ran into the side of Hamilton as the pair were approaching turn three, spinning the Mercedes and putting the Briton to the back of the field.

The incident comes just two races after Valtteri Bottas was the victim of a misjudged braking attempt from Sebastian Vettel at the French Grand Prix, which also sent one Mercedes to the back of the pack.

Through a series of overtakes and a couple of safety car periods, Hamilton managed to recover to second place, but referred to “interesting tactics” from Ferrari when speaking on the podium after the race.

“Our team did an amazing job this weekend, we have so much support and so much pressure for us all,” he said.

“Interesting tactics I would say from their side, but we will do what we can to fight them and improve in the next races.”

When asked to elaborate on his comments on the podium, Hamilton added that he wanted to be in a position where he was less exposed to the Ferraris in the future races.

“All I’d say is that it’s now two races that the Ferraris have taken out one of the Mercedes, and a five-second penalty and a ten-second penalty doesn’t appear to feel… ultimately it spoils the race.

“It’s a lot of points that ultimately Valtteri and I have lost in those two scenarios. And, of course, it is a race situation.

“I couldn’t see behind me but we’ve just to work hard to try to position ourselves better so that we are not exposed to the red cars – because who knows when that’s going to happen again.

“We’ve got to make sure that we work hard together as a team to try to lock-out the front row and make sure that we’re fully ahead of these guys.”

When speaking to Sky F1, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also did little quell the suspicions that there could be more to the lap one clashes.

“A racing incident. Unfortunate because Le Castellet first time we got taken out and now it is the second time we got taken out,” said Wolff.

“It is a lot of constructor points. In [technical director] James Allison’s words, ‘do you think it is deliberate or incompetence?’. So this leaves us with a judgement.”

Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene, who was Allison’s boss when he was technical director at Ferrari, replied, ” James should be ashamed because he has worked here and taken our money. It’s always the British who want to teach us how to be gentlemen. Someone who has never driven can’t call Raikkonen incompetent. The real problem here is that they lost at home and that bothers them.”

Raikkonen owns up to mistake, believes penalty was fair

Whilst the Ferrari driver only dropped to fifth place, he still had to complete a recovery of his own and was involved in fair wheel-to-wheel combat with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, as well as Mercedes’ Bottas to take the final spot on the podium.

Speaking immediately after the race, Raikkonen put his hands up to the opening lap error and believed the penalty was justified.

“Yeah, it was my mistake. That’s fine,” said Raikkonen.

“I deserve it and I took the 10 seconds and kept fighting. That’s how it goes.

“Obviously on the third corner I locked a wheel and ended up hitting Lewis in the rear corner and he spun.

“My bad, that is how it goes sometimes. It was not a straightforward race.”

When asked about Hamilton’s comments regarding “interesting tactics”, Raikkonen brushed off the suggestion by saying it was a racing incident.

“Things happen sometimes. Funnily enough you start blaming us that we did it purposefully but he locked a wheel and unfortunately we touched and both paid the price for it and that’s how it goes sometimes,” said Raikkonen.

“It’s easy to say after the couple of races that we’re suddenly doing something against them but we’ve been hit very many times ourselves so that’s how it goes unfortunately.”

In a much less erroneous battle, Raikkonen was involved in a thrilling multi-corner contest with Verstappen at the first safety car restart.

Challenging for P4, Raikkonen swept around the outside of Verstappen at Brooklands, giving him the inside of Luffield corner, but the well-handling Red Bull allowed Verstappen to hang on around the outside of Luffield and out-accelerate the Ferrari on the exit.

With Verstappen having most of his car ahead of Raikkonen as they were both powering towards Copse corner, Raikkonen ceded the place and tried again laps later.

An example of how not to race around Copse corner was provided moments later when Haas’ Romain Grosjean collided with Renault’s Carlos Sainz, sending both out of the race.

Update: 10/07/2018 – Hamilton & Wolff want to move on from incident

Just one day after the British Grand Prix, Hamilton took to Instagram to say that he accepted Raikkonen’s apology and would like to put the incident behind him.

“Kimi said sorry and I accept it and we move on. It was a racing incident and nothing more,” wrote Hamilton.

“Sometimes we say dumb s*** and we learn from it”.

Wolff also looked to diffuse the situation when speaking to Polish TV channel Eleven Sports on Sunday.

“I said you need to question whether it was incompetence or deliberate – a stupid comment of mine in the emotion,” he said.

“But it was just a stupid manoeuvre and a stupid manoeuvre that happened a second time in three races – that’s why [I had] the emotion.”

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

What did you make of the opening lap collision between Raikkonen and Hamilton? Leave your comments in the section below.

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1

I think the last thing Hamilton said closes the matter except if KR got 10 seconds why didn’t Vettel?

That’s the biggest issue for me but it would have made no difference.

If it hadn’t happened at the last race Hamilton may not have did as well. Last to second seems pretty good to me. The points difference could be much worse.

Mercedes got lucky last year I think.

2

Anyone who accuses Kimi of crashing deliberately should be pointed at as being just as guilty. And a coward and a bias. The shame starts with the respectable leadership of Mercedes and the fia, To the journalists and to everyone who knows that it isn’t the truth but still promote that Ferrari is playing with fowl tactics.

I hope people can see now how Mr Wolff is about honesty and taking sides. In his own team in the Rosberg days how many times Hamilton caused collisions but turned a blind eye to it. I will hold Rosberg high for he won a championship against a very good driver and the team management and stewards. Most will never admit to that.

What happened to days of hrd racing and racing incidents where both were held responsible for racing each other and not giving space to da next driver.

3

yo, lewis sure went a long way to redeem himself in my eyes after his comments post race. I support lewis as I enjoy watching him drive, and that is good for the sport – but his persona was really really starting to get old over recent campaigns. This must not have been easy for him, so kudos. Well done lewis. Many people make mistakes in judgment or tone – but not all correct them.

4

Did he actually apologise directly to Raikkonen? I don’t think so. fake news.

5

Where did he correct himself? On his twitter account that is managed by a company and not himself?

6

While idou to there is a Ferrari team instruction to take out a Merc if the chance comes, the same sort of incident in two out of three races is u believable.

So I do wonder if team orders are to get in front in the first lap at all costs and damn the torpedoes.

7

Disappointing that there is even an article on this. We might as well say that James Allison was an employee planted by Mercedes to make Ferrari under perform for a few years while Mercedes win.

And considering the Mercedes and Hamilton both retracted what they said pretty soon after, it’s a pointless article. Come on guys – expect better coverage of F1, than a lame discussion as this.

8

I totally agree with you. I expected more from JA vs sinking to the level of trash publications like the Sun. And Ferrari’s team principal was gracious enough to accept Hamilton’s retraction. Even Kimi’s wife clarified and retracted her statement – it was directed at Team Mercedes, not Hamilton, and very few publications captured that accurately. The IQ level of JA’s audience seems to be decreasing each year.

9

These guys are the best drivers in the world, millimeter perfect and able to crazy things with a car with a precision that regular folks like you and me would think impossible. They are also human beings in a super heated competitive environment, and humans will tend to push the envelope of the rules in competitive situations. The elbows come out, a push becomes a shove when none is looking.

The inconsistency of the penalties is at issue here. If Kimi knows the penalty is harsh for spinning his opponent, maybe he lifts a touch sooner. If F1 wants the drama, they let them “race”. In the NBA, star players get the benefit of judgment calls. The inconsistency is baked in to F1. Vettel gets 5 seconds for taking out Bottas, in my view his move was worse than Kimi’s. Verstappen does the double move quite often — no actions taken.

Another example of this is the Ferrucci incident in F2. How is his tantrum and arrogance any worse than when Vettel rammed Hamilton during the safety car period in Azerbaijan last year? 10 second stop and go v. 4 race ban

10

Ferruchi also hit Maini twice in the race before the cool down bump.

He also:

– got caught driving from the F1 paddock to the F2 paddock with no glove on, which a strict safety rule.

– the reason he had his glove off was because he was on his CELL PHONE while driving the car in the crowded paddock.

– when he was summoned to the stewards to answer for all of these infractions, he “declined to attend,” because he had a flight to catch.

THAT is why he got a 4 race ban, not just the contact with Maini on the cool down lap.

He was already in hot water with the FIA before last weekend for applying to run MAGA stickers on his car. Nothing against MAGA, but political statements aren’t allowed on cars. The back and forth between the Ferruchi’s and the FIA on this matter would mean he was already on their radar.

Furthermore, it has been reported from multiple sources that both Santino and his FATHER have been mocking the entire Maini family for weeks, using fake Indian accents in the paddock.

The night after the Silverstone race, presumably while on his flight (the one he had to catch so couldn’t see the stewards) he went at Maini on Twitter, calling him a crybaby for crying on the radio (fact) and saying that the bump was justified because he was provoked during the race.

Only AFTER his Trident team came out in solidarity with Maini, saying they were pursuing legal actions to terminate Ferrucchi’s contract, and AFTER the FIA handed out the 4 race / 2 event ban did Santino take to twitter to post a grovelling apology where he took zero responsibility, didn’t apologize to Maini directly, and blamed the entire “mental lapse” on the fact he is a “20 year old Italian American with a passion for motorsport”.

This is the same kid who, when he was 12, had an article in GQ magazine where he was proclaiming that he was better than Hamilton, and talking about how he was going to fire his mechanics if they didn’t do what he wanted.

Apparently his father used to own a karting track in Jersey, where he was known for being a complete jerk. At the facility, Santino nearly killed several drivers when he drove a 4-wheel atv onto a live race track, causing karts to swerve to avoid him.

This kid has absolutely no business near a racecar or race track.

11

Thanks for the inside scoop

12

Twitch, Wow! I had heard a few bits and pieces about this incident, but didn’t realise how terrrthis kids behaviour was!

13

If anyone wanted to write a book, “How to Throw Away a Potential F1 Career in One Weekend,” this is the blueprint for it.

I follow a LOT of racing, and have for quite a while. I have NEVER seen a story this appaulling, wierd, funny, sad, confusing, and unbelievable in all my time as a racing fan.

14

Looking at F1 playback in YouTube, Ham could have given Rail more room for error, but oh well. That’s racing!” Nothing here folks.

15

I agree with J Villleneuves opinion here even though he is a crusty old fart. Raikonnen would have got less a penalty against another driver and another gp. Racing is dead, celebrity rules.

16

I wish Chris D would stop his attention seeking comments. They get old and boring quickly. Hamilton did atone for his comments afterwards, why haven’t you Ferrari trolls mentioned that? M*r*n.

17

R416, if you don’t like them, don’t read them. There’s a ton of posters on here that bang their drums tirelessly, and i skip them like stones over a pond.

Diversity of opinion is what makes this site…heck, i sometimes skip the articles and go straight to the comments…

18

@ Racer416…Hamilton has ‘atoned’. I haven’t seen any reports of an apology to Raikkonen for accusing him of cheating? Maybe i have missed it. Could you please post a source for me?

19

Why don’t you find it yourself, it’s widely available for the curious.

20

Why don’t you find it yourself, the information is widely available if you are well read

21

@ R416… You are a lone voice claiming that Hamilton has actually issued an apology to direct to Raikkonen stating that he is sorry for calling him a ‘cheat’. You just made that up…..

22

Kenneth, why would Lewis apologise for calling Kimi a cheat? That’s not what he said. He said that Ferrari had used “interesting tactics”.

23

“Well read”, as in spend a lot of time on twitter and the ‘gram?

Haha, kids these days.

24

Hamilton is a brilliant talent – that is until he starts to talk or think, I am note sure which is worse, but that’s when things go wrong.

The boy needs to listen to his employer and keep his mouth shut – just keep thanking the fans Lewis and all will be fine. Oh, and whats up with trying to fake a British accent ? Nice touch for the British GP.

Arrivabene shot back nicely , Wolff finally showed his true colours , okay men, put your dicks away, now can we go racing hard once more ?

25

Oh, and whats up with trying to fake a British accent ? Nice touch for the British GP.

Wait, he’s british so he’s not faking it. You’d rather accuse him of faking American accent most of the time.

26

As this saga goes on and on one thing is absolutely clear; it one thing to be crowned a World Champion be it team or individual, its another thing entirely to act like it. NO class at all from the current Champions. Its more than likely that Toto appeases Lewis as he has not signed a contract yet and equally that Lewis’s biggest concern is the brand ‘Lewis Hamilton’ Its a bit like an insurance company, you only find out how good they really are when something goes wrong. But hay anyone want to bet that the attendances will skyrocket for the remaining GPs?

27

@ Justabrit…That nom sounds like a breakfast food!! hahaha Rumor has it that it’s been signed already and that it will be announced at the German GP. Holpefully Vettel will scoop another win otherwise we’ll be harangued for hours on end by the Brit media about how this will be Hamilton, Hamilton, Hamilton. and the

28

Kenneth

Yeah the endless Sky bias gets old for sure. I watch the new F1 TV and i sure hope that they dump Sky if they get the opportunity. It would not surprise me if Martin Brundle was not part of the regular Sky team next year. Breakfast? what a good idea i am retired and have time to cook and eat it =)

29

@ JaB…well there you go…a new venture.

30

TW apology is not an apology… how Kimi on the inside was a “stupid manouevre”? What about all the other racing accidents where Kimi gest hit and no one says anything? There are two weights (actually three) and three measures ss pointed out by J Villeneuve. JV pointed out also and he is right if there were no accidents involved L Ham was getting max third and Vet Kimi would have closed most likely one and two. Reality is that was a tough loss in a track where usually Merc owns the field. Stupid manouevres are Santino Ferrucci behaviors … that guy better have his license revoked is an insult to sportsmanship (Haas does no need someone that can add a “hole” to their name).

31

Just think of that Flavio/Alonso team mate forced to trash in to a Wall. That’s disgraceful, and a understatement. We need to not let these two kinds of behaviour mesh into eatch other. By pure cowardness.

32

I thibk we should also reconsider the whole Lewis Rosberg dynanic. Who was evil and not, something Wolff uttered when Ros left. I would dag who was dirty and not disgraceful…

33

Seriously. We talk about safety, bringing in halos that look like rubbish, for driver safety. So after all this crap about safety, which of course is important, and should be taken seriously, since we have had serious incidens.

Now! To accuse someone, anyone, to try to deliberatly bring damages someone, with the possibility to harm that other driver seriously if anything goes wrong is outrageous, It’s shameful and cowardless.If you dont really have something substantial to bring forward. But there is nothing. Just a simple racing incident. I bet Lewis has caused so many worse incidents. We all know one at least, pretty bad one.

So he has the stomach to ask for a apology. This ballerina sees hinself as a victim, but fot what?

Should he not appologize first and foremost to the one he acused for doing this felony? Whitout any proof what so ever, to one of the cleanest racers around for almost 20 years. It brings shame to the whole persona that is Hamilton

34

Yadda yadda yadda. … you don’t have to like him. Just acknowledge he is the class of the field and the most successful driver on the grid. All this “nasty Hamilton” nonsense is music to mine and I’m sure Hamiltons, ears. He thrives on this stuff and always produces his very best when the siege is on… so crack on boys 😀 I, for one, am lapping it up xx

35

Maybe they are suffer from some kind of memento thing. They have to reconsteuct everything untill that episode in Canada. Tatooing clues on their body. Scribbling what seems to be nonsens on every days newspaper, just to end up back in Canada 10 year ago,

There they realize they started a operation called quote: “interesting tactics” They (Ham) ramed Kimi from behind, seriously could have injured hos neck.

All of this is of course sci-fi, but now according to Ham, Toto and Allison, something like this is really going on. Isn’t that something

36

This was a comment on another post but mod put it here so It’s out of context. Now it just looks funny but I guess that ess part of if. Enjoy

37

Kimi was about as straight-forward as someone could be (and as is typical of his no BS style). He admitted it was his mistake and acknowledged he deserved the penalty. End of story. The rest of this is just nonsense drama.

38

One wish the other part ess flöde to that kind of behaviour

39

Wasn’t Hamilton the one that lied to the stewards to get another driver disqualified? I’m more inclined to believe what Raikkonen says than what comes out of his mouth. #liegate2009

40

This incident says more about Hamilton’s thought processes than anything. Imagine if his on track tactics succeeded in Abu Dahbi 2016 and won him the championship. e.g. had Vettel crashed into Rosberg when they were so closely packed together at the end. I’m sure he would have seen nothing wrong with what he had done, had that happened. And all after saying before the race, that he wasn’t going to do anything dodgy to his teammate. He gets away with a lot of things, because he is such a skilled driver.

41

There would’ve been nothing wrong had ROS crashed at ABU D. Lewis used the only tool he had, he executed as well as he possibly could’ve and it was very much within the rules. You see.. Lewis pushes the rules to their limits but rarely goes over those limits. YES.. you’ll hark back to his first few years in F1 when he was very young but please tell me the last 3 incidents of lewis receiving an in race penalty. I stand to be corrected but I bet you have to go back at least 5-6 years for the last 3. Last I remember is the RIC pit lane entrance issue at..BAH 2017??

42
Stephen Taylor

I for one echo the thoughts of others and tell JA this isn’t really really insight just fact regurgitation The content here has taken a slight nosedive in consistency of quality since Motorsport Network took ownership – a real shame. Moreover, I think everyone should move on now . LH has now recognised it was a racing incident and accepted KR’s apology .

The incident was are rare blot on KR’s triple header copybook where he’s scored podiums in France , Austria and Britain . Ferrari are leading the WCC and failing a last minute bid for DR I see no other reason why KR shouldn’t be allowed to race for Ferrari until he’s 40 next year .

Haas need Leclerc more than Ferrari right now James because of Grosjean costing them bucket loads of points with race ending crashes and I would be astonished if Ferrari didn’t send Charles there next year despite your prior adamancy that a decision had been made to promote Leclerc to Ferrari .

43

I bet anything that Kimi drives for Ferrari next year. If he wants and has the motivation. The rest is nonsens, they have Leclerc in their books

44
Torchwood Five

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”

— Ian Fleming, Goldfinger

45

Perhaps a fair penalty system for causing a collision would be:

If the driver you hit is unable to continue then a 5 second stop go

if the driver you hit does continue then you stop in the pits until the impeded driver passes a line on the circuit that will cause you to be 10 seconds behind them.

46

I really don’t know about ‘party mode’ but Ferrari and the Mercs appear to be having quite a little shindig at each other! Seems to me they need to be kept apart? RB type downforce to Ferrari should do it!… Blimey, just think! All those skinny wings. It’ll be a breeze to five for red five.

47

Ferrari have responded to the Hamilton tweet.

I think we can move on to the Strategy Report now.

48

Can anybody recommend an F1 website where 80% of the commenters aren’t total tools spouting ridiculous conspiracy theories and total fabrications?

It’s getting increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff here.

49

When you find such a site. If there is one, I will gladly join also. Just to read some logic and honest opinion.

50

That’s because you’re in the wrong paddock.

51

I used to like it when JA’s replies were highlighted – that way you could quickly whizz down to the choice bits. James – any chance you could re-instate this please?

52

I’ll write one for you:)

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