Seven reasons why so many F1 fans are furious about Hamilton’s penalty

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After the stewards took Lewis Hamilton’s win in the Belgian Grand Prix and handed it to Felipe Massa comments flew into F1 Fanatic faster than I had time to read them.

Inevitably many have reacted to the decision based on whether they’re fans of Hamilton or Ferrari, which is understandable. But reading the hundreds of comments here and elsewhere I get the impression most ‘neutral’ fans and even some avowed Ferrari supporters find the stewards’ latest controversial decision too much to take.

This is about more than just Ferrari versus McLaren – this is about the poor state of racing in F1, and the sport’s reputation being brought into disrepute by its own governing body.

What was Hamilton supposed to do?

Much of the discussion yesterday hinged on what Hamilton should have done to avoid a penalty.

Some criticised him for cutting the chicane. But what was his other option? Given how close he and Raikkonen were, and how sharply Raikkonen turned in on him, I don’t think he would have been able to avoid hitting Raikkonen just by braking. In which case, as Dan M pointed out:

If he stayed on track and caused an accident with Raikkonen he would have gotten [Kovalainen’s] penalty, instead he went off, spared both cars and gets penalised for having a competitive advantage.

Hamilton himself said: “Kimi ran me wide. To avoid an incident, I had to go up that part of the track.”

If Hamilton had no choice but to cut the corner, what did he need to do to avoid a penalty? He let Raikkonen go entirely past him. Presumably the stewards wanted him to let Raikkonen go further ahead. But how far away did he need to let Raikkonen to be sure he wouldn’t get a penalty? There’s no way of telling by looking at the rules.


It almost goes without saying that the stewards’ decision makes no sense in the context of recent decisions. As Thomas O pointed out Felipe Massa went off the track and gained an advantage at least once while racing Robert Kubica in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix:

Was Massa punished? No.

Adding to the inconsistency, race director Charlie Whiting told McLaren he thought what Hamilton did was legitimate.

A great race ruined

After the race many people on the live blog remarked on how exciting it had been, especially after the dreariness of the European Grand Prix.

If there’s one thing all F1 fans like it’s a proper, wheel-to-wheel battle for the lead. The stewards interfering with that not only spoiled the race, it gives the impression they don’t want drivers overtaking in Formula 1. As The Limit said:

Today we witnessed one of the most thrilling battles in years, by two of the most gifted open wheel drivers. They gave no quarter in their quest for glory, and none was given, even to team mates. All the frustrations, the pressure, was released, the gloves had finally come off. How I would have loved, to have talked to you all about the quality of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton today, about the ferocity of their battle, the skill that was involved.

Sadly, all we can talk about is what followed, not on the track where it belongs, but in a boardroom.

Punishment out of proportion

Assuming Hamilton did gain a slight advantage by not letting Raikkonen past by enough, the punishment seems grossly disproportionate to the crime.

The stewards could easily have instructed him to let Raikkonen past again – indeed, they’ve done it in the past in F1 and it’s common practice in other motor sports.

Instead, they relegated Hamilton behind two drivers who weren’t even involved in the battle for the lead. Where’s the justice in that?


The innuendo about the FIA favouring Ferrari has hung around F1 for years. The barge board and Michelin tyre scandals in 1999 and 2003, Fernando Alonso’s dubious penalty at Monza in 2006, and McLaren’s staggering punishment in spy-gate last year are just a few examples of occasions when the FIA has been accused of protecting F1’s most famous team.

Hamilton’s punishment is just one more reason why so many F1 fans think the FIA is biased in favour of Ferrari. And if the game is rigged, no-one will want to watch.

Another court room battle

The 2007 season was ruined by a seemingly unending string of controversies that ended up before the FIA Court of Appeal. And here we go again.

Many F1 fans are sick of the politics. They want to see races decided by the racers.

F1 brought into disrepute

We may grumble and groan about its idiosyncrasies, but F1 fans at heart are passionate about motor racing and see Formula 1 as one of the top forms of motor sport.

Decisions like this which seem unjust, out of all proportion, and designed to favour one team over the others, are hugely damaging to F1’s public image.

No-one wants to admit to liking a sport if the rest of the public see it as being corrupt. The FIA stewards brought Formula 1 into disrepute yesterday.

See the original discussion in full which already has over 300 comments: Lewis Hamilton stripped of Belgian GP win – another asinine FIA penalty

The comments below have been split across multiple pages. If you are having trouble viewing all the comments click here to see them all.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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268 comments on “Seven reasons why so many F1 fans are furious about Hamilton’s penalty”

  1. All completely fair points and I don’t think anyone could argue with them.

    I do think a little common sense from Hamilton could have been beneficiary to him; if he was so much faster than Kimi, why not wait a couple of corners and have another go. Of course, this way is more instinct and great racing, but maybe if he just let Kimi stay in the lead for La Source, he could have waited until past Eau Rouge and then down the next straight… then he definitely would have avoided a penalty that he shouldn’t have got in the first place.

  2. “What was Hamilton supposed to do?”

    Use his brain instead of his balls. Let Raikonnen pass clearly Le Source and attack him at the end of the Radillion, before Les Combes…. He was clearly faster and there was two laps to finish the race… plenty of time and opportunities.

  3. I’m a Mark Webber/Red Bull fan.

    Lewis deserved the penalty. It’s just not that hard to understand.

    He cut the corner when he didn’t have to. By doing so he was far closer to Kimi than he would have been if he’d braked, turned, and negotiated the chicane. In this position he should not have overtaken Kimi but he did, thereby using the advantage he’d gained in cutting the corner to overtake Kimi,

    What should he have done? Easy, let Kimi by, slot in beinh him through la Source, and the try for an overtake after that.

    If you want precedent then look at the Alonso Suzuka 2005 incident with Klein. Same incident, same penalty.

  4. Architron – where in the rules does it say he wasn’t allowed to pass Raikkonen at the next corner? Based on the precedent set by Massa at Fuji, Hamilton was entirely correct to assume he could pass Raikkonen at La Source.

  5. Keith – Was it necessary? Was that his final attack? Even Mr Ed Gorman (whose balanced opinion is well known!!!!) said that he felt Lewis was launching his attack too soon.

    More about brains. He was the clear winner being second. He was taking two more points from Massa, his first rival at the moment. He didn’t need to overtake Raikkonen. Do you remember that song? It seems so similar to Shanghai and Brazil…..

  6. i’ve tended to avoid conspiracy theories, and i’m no mclaren fan, but if the FIA want to get rid of their reputation for favouring ferrari they really went the wrong way about it.

    there’s blatantly no reason whatsoever for any investigation. and no reason to wreck the results of one of the most memorable F1 finishes in years.

    hamilton clearly gave the place back, and for me the argument that he got an advantage somehow by doing just doesn’t hold water. if he had backed off through the chicane, passing back behind kimi, then hamilton would have been right behind going into the straight and in exactly the same position as he actually was after conceding the place.

    how far should hamilton have fallen back? enough that he would have no chance at an overtake going into la source? he’d been right on kimi’s tail and looked cleary faster in the conditions, so that makes no sense.

    in the difficult conditions, in the heat of a battle for the front, hamilton did amazingly well to keep his cool and heed the message from his team to drop back. i’m sure his team didn’t have time to work out exactly how far the FIA needed him to drop back (somekind of abitrary, unspecified distance apparently) and it would have downright dangerous for hamilton to musing on that while at speed, in the wet, on dry tyres, right next to another car.

    maybe ferrari, in the spirit of the sport, might back up mclaren in this matter. there’s no way that, if the tables were turned, domenicalli would agree with the decision.

    and it definitely seems counter-productive by the FIA to reach that decision. it seems to me (and lewis and mclaren would probably feel the same) that they’ve basically said hamilton would have been better off just dropping back and not challenging kimi at all.

    in a time when F1 is in vital need of aggressive, confident risk-taking that was displayed on sunday, for the FIA to punish that is sending out a very wrong message.

    great job lewis, most entertaining 4 laps of the season!

  7. Architron – whether he should or he shouldn’t have been trying to pass Raikkonen is a different argument entirely.

    What I’m saying is that, based on the rules and on precedent, Hamilton thought he’d done exactly what the stewards expected of him. It’s a desperate state of affairs if a driver in second place doesn’t want to pass the driver in first place because the rules make it too risky, which brings me back to one of the points made above.

  8. Excellent race,

    went to bed last night without having checked the sites and the disgrace that followed.
    when i read the headlines htis morning i was appaled.

    i didnt see hamilton doing anything from a unsporting point of view (on purpose), the two had a fair challeng and reacted according to the circumstances.

    great race, but then Massa winning in that way…. no no no and again nooooooooooooooo.

    i am a true Massa fan but i didnt like the way it was done (looking forward to hearing his view).

    now rules are rules, but i dont think 25 seconds is a propper repremend for the situation. maybe 25,000 euros in light of the last race’s penalty?

    FIA shame on you,

  9. As Graham points out above – what is the correct distance to drop back? Arguably Hamilton could have waited until after La Source to over take Raikkonen.

    But ultimately, Hamilton’s move didn’t matter in the end anyway: Raikkonen got the place back later the next lap, and then span off. Hamilton’s move did not affect the rest of the race at all. How, then, did he claim an advantage?

    Also, to reinforce the consistency point made above, check out this unpunished example:

  10. My point of view… I think that penalty doesn’t suit very well. It can be, although my understanding says that he had left Kimi pass and he was smarter than Kimi at Le Source. I don’t like to see this penalty, while Schumi made so many chicane-crossing at Hungary 2006, while battling with De La Rosa for free. Do you remember?

    You’re right, it’s a matter of another discussion if he should have calm down or drive so agressively. I loved that final races. They are priceless, something to remember. But, with distance you’ll find that he should have secured the points, the same Fred should have done last year at Fuji, or Lewsi at Brazil and China. He is not going to be remembered by how he won-lost this race, but how many championships he will win.

    PD. I’m with you that this rule needs to be clarified. I’ve read that you can’t overtake at the next two corners if you gain and unfair advantage, but I’ve read articles that stewards called and found nothing about it….

  11. great race but the penalty was a shambles. Race stewards are **** *********!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. I’m a “neutral” boy myself so here’s my contribution…

    I don’t know how the FIA are going to argue their point but what i was thinking was that when Lewis came out of the chicane, he might have already been applying the throttle before Kimi took the lead back on the straight. Maybe the FIA are thinking that Lewis should have kept of the throttle until Kimi took his place back. I can’t prove any of this obviously but it’s the only logic i can think of.

    As for people thinking Kimi pushed Lewis out of the chicane, they may be onto something: I’ll have to compare Kimi’s racing line through the chicane with previous laps but he was hugging the left hander suspiciously close there.

  13. Actually, that throttle explanation is really thin when I think about it. Don’t kill me please!

  14. If Lewis would have gone unpenalized than this would have probably become the most popular way to overtake.

    Go into a chicane, break late, show to world you had no other option and then just lift off the throttle enough for the person in front of you to get slightly ahead and then overtake him at the end of the straight.

    I am not saying that Lewis did it intentionally. But the penalty was a must to ensure that it did not happen again.

  15. I lay claim to the name “chicane-gate”

    i’m sticking to my guns, both should be penalised, they were hardly on track must of the time which gave both an advantage.

  16. although a penalty in the next race would have been more just, taken the win away from Hamilton was well… nasty

  17. Architrion: “But, with distance you’ll find that he should have secured the points, the same Fred should have done last year at Fuji, or Lewsi at Brazil and China. He is not going to be remembered by how he won-lost this race, but how many championships he will win.”

    I’d disagree. Great drivers are remembered for those stand out moments of great racing.

    When i think about schumacher, i don’t think “seven titles, wow” i think about all the stand out moments (good and bad) that he had.

    Sport, F1 or otherwise, for fans is all about entertainment. I (and hopefully others too) want to see drivers going for the win, if that doesn’t happen then I can just sit by the M25 and watch that because it’s basically the same thing.

  18. @AJ:

    Are you saying that Hamilton orchestrated the whole incident on purpose? Solely to get a tow on the straight into La Source?

    Are you having a laugh? =P

  19. How do the F1 stewards expect to retain any credibility if they keep making these ridiculously controversial decisions. To demote a championship contender at this critical stage of the season because of a move which seemed to comply with the regulations shows an appalling lack of judgement.

    There is enough criticism about F1’s current lack of overtaking without the authorities penalising a driver for a series of great moves. Racing should be decided on the track and not by these faceless officials!

  20. “He didn’t need to overtake Raikkonen. ”
    Great, is that the kind of F1 we can hope for?

    Pathetic frankly, pathetic.

  21. While on the topic, which other driver’s engine has been tested lately?

  22. Mud sticks; it’s going to take some doing for the FIA to remove the tarnish that they really are NOT Ferrari Internationale de l’Automobile.

    The whole after race proceedings is just a shambles and 2007 again, but in a different light. Idiots.

    The 10 none Ferrari teams should leave F1 and create their own league and tell that old 20th century gnome to shtick it where the sun don’t shine along with the FIA..

  23. I’m so disgusted with the whole thing that I can’t even be bothered to go into comments boxes or forums and argue with anyone over what’s happened.
    Whether I’ll bother actually watching another race remains to be seen…

  24. The last 10 laps are ENTIRELY the kind of racing we should be clamouring to get back in F1 and NOT punishing drivers for touching on corners.

    The drive through for Kovalinen earlier in the race was just as disgusting imo, it was a racing incident?

    I wonder what would have happened had Raikonnen spun Hamilton out when he touched him in La Source. Penalised? I doubt it.

    Im not saying he should have been either.

  25. Something we forget is that maybe the Stewards also have some “history” in mind when they apply a penalty . Go back to France , he did a similar move (and was penalised) , go back last year to Monza , he did same again , but that time he gained a position from Massa , and he got away with it. Maybe he was warned back then ?

  26. Jean – If I remember correctly there was a mitigating circumstance at Monza last year – Massa tapped the rear of Hamilton’s car, which is why he went across the chicane.

    At France, of course, Hamilton didn’t give Vettel the place back, and as I wrote at the time I thought his penalty was deserved. This time he gave Raikkonen the place back… and still got a penalty.

  27. indeed Jean, the stewards werent too happy about him jumping the chicane at the wall of champions too, its like an unfair advantage.

    if a red bull did that it would fall apart/break/explode

  28. then Timo’s car would explode as well, for no apparent reason.

  29. First, I’m not a fan of Raikkonen / Massa nor Ferrari.

    Following this link and based on the engine sound, I haven’t heard Hamilton slowdown after cutting down the curve. He is only focusing on how to take back the track properly and accelerate all the time till the next corner.
    Raikkonen overtaked Hamilton not because he is slowing down but because he was taking better the curve.
    If Hamilton didn’t cut the curve then he would never been to close to Raikkonen and overtake him at The Source.

    Then I do believe that Hamilton’s move deserves a penalty because rules exist and clearly he has got an advantage.

    But because it is racing then rules should be more flexible or decision should be more flexible to not false the championship. In the 80’s, LH would never have a penalty but since the 90’s, security on track is more important to FIA than racing essence.

  30. Keith, question for you. Has a GP victory ever been taken away hours after the champagne podium celebrations before? Is there a precedent or is this the first time? I think if this is the first time, the whole of F1 is in serious trouble.

  31. Keith, last year you wrote…

    “Behind the Finn was a gripping battle for seventh led by the Honda of Jenson Button, who was revelling in driving a circuit that minimised the flaws of the dreadful RA107. Nico Rosberg made several attempts at the first chicane before finally nailing the move at Roggia on lap 20.”

    This was from your 2007 Italian Grandprix review. I seem to remember Button and Rosberg being involved in a very similar situation to Hamilton and Raikkonen and no penalty was addressed. My memory isn’t 100%, perhaps you could try and dig up a video of Button and Rosberg’s battle as it seems far more relevant than that of Massa and Kubica’s.

  32. @audiq7 youre basing youre views on the sound on a video on a website?!! DO you not think Mclaren’s data is a better basis for views.

    This is getting just as ludicrous as the decision now.

  33. S Hughes – yep, quite a few times. I’ll do an article along those lines later today.

  34. ‘Are you saying that Hamilton orchestrated the whole incident on purpose? Solely to get a tow on the straight into La Source?’

    Graham, didn’t AJ say that Lewis didn’t do it on purpose? But the decision here could’ve left an opportunity for other drivers to do it intentionally.

    As it is, Lewis was thinking on his feet. He thought he had done enough to avoid the penalty, when it turns out he shouldn’t have taken advantage right away.

  35. “People can explain everything”. Especially fallen in love…

  36. at this time there is 10363 people who think that penalty is wrong …

    one question: how many spectators were on Spa ?
    the simple reason for question is if we have spectators on track even near to people sign that petition, then FIA must really re-think what they doing …

  37. S Hughes, the most obvious example was Japan 1989, where Senna’s win was taken away and given to Nannini after Senna and Prost took each other out at the final chicane (final chicane? sounds familiar, no?), therefore sealing the title for Prost that year. In some ways, that was even MORE controversial than yesterday.

    Spa 1994 also saw Schumi lose his win. But that was because his car’s underbody/plank was too thin, which is pretty much an open-and-shut/black-and-white case.

    Alain Prost also lost a win of his… was that in 1985? I believe that was because his car was underweight. Not so sure, though. :)

  38. more than a hundred thousand was at Spa, mail. long way to go…

  39. @Matthew,
    Unfortunately, this is the only source that I have. I would be very happy to have/consult McLaren data so if you can redirect me to the url where I can consult them, it would be nice.

  40. btw great article by Earl Alexander on f1-live

  41. I’ve read on other website that McLaren said that LH is 6km/h slower than KR on the line but I don’t that is the proof that LH has slowdown to let KR pass. McLaren needs to give more detailed data otherwise they would loose the appeal. I hope that FIA will let these info public so everyone can check.

  42. @Keith

    “This is about more than just Ferrari versus McLaren – this is about the poor state of racing in F1, and the sport’s reputation being brought into disrepute by its own governing body.”

    F1 stewards make me think about Football referees and about how many mistakes they’ve done during WorldCup, Euro, or Champion’s League. I don’t think it will disrepute anything, it’s only a way for people to talk about F1 as a controversy sport as usually, there is nothing happening on the tracks as after the start, cars will follow each other till chequered flag.

    And when we had a fantastic battle on track, they’ve found something controversy to add.

  43. According to ITV-F1 McLaren had submitted their telementary data to the FIA Stewards, which showed how much Lewis was braking/slowing down during the chicane. They are launching the appeal because they feel this information has been ignored in making the decision to penalise Lewis.
    What makes it worse (to me anyway) is that this started with McLaren asking for confirmation from Charlie Whiting that they had done the right thing, and although his word isn’t gospel, its usually good. The Stewards appear to have picked up on this conversation/email/whatever and made their judgement.
    I don’t think the Ferrari team (ie those in the garage) had anything to do with the initial judgement, as they normally are jumping with anticipation if they call for an enquiry against McLaren. This time they seemed as surprised as everyone else. Although its equally possible for Jean Todt or Old Schuey to have mentioned it to someone…..

  44. TOTAL CRAP!!!!!!! Just one more way for Massa to win the title. He can’t do it on his own so the FIA will win it for him. DISGRACE %#&^ Ferrari and the FIA.

  45. The previous FIA president is Jean-Marie Balestre who was famously said pro-Prost vs Senna when Senna was disqualified at Japan GP in 1989 after winning the GP. Now since Mosley is president, people are thinking that FIA is pro-Ferrari. I remembered when during the domination of Schumacher, they have changed for 2003 after 3-in-a-row championship won by Schumacher the point repartition from 10-6-4 to 10-8-6 for the 3 first so a victory is less important from a championship point of view. Everyone has said at this time it was for penalising Schumi-Ferrari because they’re winning too much.

  46. according to the Metro newspaper (which titled it “SPA WARS”, chortle), McLaren have to get permission from the FIA before even getting to the court of appeal, thats crazy…. they have to ask the people who handed out the punishment whether or not they have grounds to appeal said punishment.

  47. Those of you who are expecting a fair appeal of the stewards ruling may be waiting in vain. Apparently, you can’t appeal a drive through penalty at all, and this was the basis for the 25 seconds applied to Hamilton’s race time. Clever these FIA stewards. They could have done that to Massa at Valencia but chose a fine instead. That’s the big problem these days, consistency and fairness in application of the rules. I’ve been watching this ‘sport’ for 30 years now and it’s been perceived as being badly biased in favour of Ferrari for a long time, but never as much as this.

  48. When I heard about the steward’s decision I was fuming, and although I have calmed down a bit it may have influenced my post. But then isn’t Formula One supposed to be about passion.

    I haven’t had time to read the 300+ comments on related articles so I don’t know how much of this has already been said or not.

    Firstly as has been pointed out Lewis let Kimi passed straight away after the chicane before making his proper overtaking move. If Lewis had tried to take the chicane he could have taken both of them out of the race. So I think Lewis did enough not to warrant a punishment.

    Also when Kimi wan wide onto the tarmac run off areas on the first few laps and the last few laps when the track was wet he seemed to get better traction than the drivers who stayed on the circuit, so surely this can’t be that much different.

    As the stewards decision at the last race was essentially
    ‘Yes Massa’s release by Ferrari did break the rules but no accident actually took place and as he didn’t gain a result altering time advantage we will just fine them’
    You could argue that as Kimi overtook Lewis again later in the lap before crashing out the missed chicane didn’t change anything either.

    I thought the steward’s decision at Valencia was due to a policy of not wanting to change the result of the race, (mainly the winner and the rest of the podium), due to issues the casual fan/general public would think of as a minor infringement of the rules, just like the fuel temperature irregularities at last years Brazilian GP, rather than any Ferrari bias. So I thought this would come under this same category if the stewards did decide the rules were broken.

    On a separate subject, was anyone else surprised at how quick Heikki received his punishment? It seemed to be announced just over a lap after his coming together with Webber (I realise that Spa is the longest circuit so 1 lap takes longer than at other circuits).

    I admit that my memory may not be 100% but it seems to me there have been other incidents in recent years like Lewis’s & Heikki’s and they have not always resulted in a steward’s inquiry let alone any punished.

    The main criticism of Formula One is the lack of overtaking, especially for the lead, then you have the best finish to a Grand Prix for a while and the stewards do this. Decisions like this do nothing to help the image of Formula One, and I could easily see people stop following the sport if the Championship is decided this way rather than on track.

  49. Hi Keith,

    I’m a portuguese follower of your blog, quite a nice source and view of F1, keep on going.
    I’m also a Ferrari supporter (very much because of their road cars operation) and a kimi fan.

    That said I’m not going to argue about the sanction, it seems to me an artificial way to promote the show. And I don’t even like Massa.

    Let me instead point out another ‘issue’ that I find dully forgotten by everyone:

    After overtaking Raikkonen, when Hamilton exits the Radillion towards Les Combes, he swerves left (his left) then right and then left (on the braking approach), the regulations stipulate that only one change of direction can be taken, he took two.

    It is pointless to argue if it adds to the fairness of penalty or not, I’m just notting the agressivity with wich Hamiltons makes his point, and if Ferrari is being protected (which I shamefully agree) last year at Hockenheim Hamilton was taken back to track by a tractor and no penalties were issued…

    In the end I believe that if the title goes to Hamilton it will be well deserved (and I missed Silverstone), Kimi is a shadow of himself in previous years and I don’t even want to speak about Massa, current regulations benefit the pole sitters and in that field Massa can be good at his day.

    Just don’t raise the flag so high :)


  50. Phil – I saw that same report so I looked up the clause under which Hamilton was punished in the sporting regulations and couldn’t find anything that said McLaren have no right of appeal. Can anyone else find it?

  51. @AJ post 14 and others who repeating that Lewis regained track position.
    Lewis was in front of Kimi entering the right hander and NEXT to Raikonen approaching the left- Kimi shut the door on him- unless he could stop the car in 15cm he would have collided. He Avoided an accident. Had he not done what he did, he too would have recieved what Heikki recieved.

    He then gave up the place and passed behind Kimi-not JUST let him in front- Kimi was the whole car ahead, as opposed to entering the chicane where Lewis was a nose in front.
    So having being in front and then level through the corners, Lewis ceded position to be behind Kimi. How on earth is that gaining an advantage.

    The point is Lewis was ruthless- Had Kimi done the same the Ferrari lambs would be bleating about how great a racer Kimi was.
    Lewis had carried out his obligation as written in the rules. There is no argument about spirit of the law. Schumacher defiled it’s corpse!

  52. @Phil
    How could you explain then why between 1979 (last championship won by Scheckter) to 2000 (Schumacher)there is any Ferrari’s driver who is able to win a driver championship if FIA is pro-Ferrari ? They were too bad maybe as they didn’t penalize other teams as much as they can ?
    Raikkonen would never won the 2007 championship if McLaren has managed better the situation between Alonso and Hamilton last year and it is not FIA who gave the championship to Raikkonen but Hamilton/McLaren by not focusing as much as they should on Raikkonen/Ferrari. It’s still unbelievable for me that LH lost the championship with 17 points ahead with 2 GP to run.
    I hope that LH will win the championship this year because he deserves and he is best driver than Massa but all the assumptions saying FIA is pro-Ferrari are not consistent.
    And I’m not a pro-Ferrari (and particularly since the day when they order to Barrichello to let Schumacher win in the last lap of a GP)

  53. Sorry, gained track position, not regained

  54. bernification, the question here is… did lewis take advantage of kimi at the next corner? if so, was he able to take advantage ONLY because of the distance he gained while cutting the chicane?

    One corner leads to another, and not only should you give the place back, you should not gain an advantage into the next corner.

    that’s the point of contention here.

  55. I have yet to see any supporter of this decision describe what Hamilton’s advantage was beyond the fact that he passed the Ferrari later. Once more, he entered the corner beside the other man, and dropped behind him afterward. At the start finish line, Hamilton was exactly where he would have been, if Kimi did not push him off the track. If fact he was worse off than if he had gone through the corner properly because he then only had half the straight to slipstream instead of the full straight. That is the long and short of it.

    Kimi gets to drive people off the track, at will, including his teammate, but the non-red cars have to play by Marquis of Queensbury rules. This race made me wish JPM was still in the McLaren because he would have taken Kimi (and himself) out of the spot.

  56. I live in Brazil and turned this morning to the F1 race reporter Celso Itiberé who writes for Globo, Rio’s main daily paper. I thought this would be a good test, since he’s a balanced writer with an ear to the paddock. His reaction? To give an idea the article is entitled ‘Absurd’ and starts:

    ‘What do I think of Lewis Hamilton’s punishment? I’ll separate the syllables so there’s no doubt. Pan-to-mi-me. A ridiculous, absurd decision that will only increase the belief that FIA on one hand favours Ferrari and on the other detests Ron Dennis.’

    He then simply repeats what most of us saw: Hamilton taking the chicane legit, swerving off to avoid an accident and returning the position as required by regulations. He then goes over the inconsistenices in steward decisions in recent F1 and GP2 races and ends by commenting that fellow Brazilian Massa didn’t deserve the victory for his bureaucratic and timid race.

    I think the case is actually simple. Hamilton did the required to the bare minimum, which is 100% sufficient. The rest of the arguments over ‘how much’ he had to give back the position are pure speculation outside any reasonable interpretation of the regulations. All the arguments over ‘race advantage’ are made meaningless by the fact that the incident had no direct bearing on the final positions of the race. But if they are to be pursued, the same can be said of Raikkonen’s own off-track excursions, which gave a race advantage – though these were of course perfectly OK too in any sane world of motor racing.

  57. “Instead, they relegated Hamilton behind two drivers who weren’t even involved in the battle for the lead. Where’s the justice in that?”

    LOL ! , i guess you should go back to probably every drive through penalty in the history of formula one then. It isnt about Kimi regaining his place, it was about punishing Lewis Hamilton for gaining a competitive advantage, no matter over whom it was obtained.

    Commenting here after a long time, just couldnt resist the temptation.

  58. Did Lewis gain an advantage by cutting chicane ?
    If You answer is yes- he deserves the penalty.
    If You answer is no- well You need to go to oculist cause You’re a blind fan boy ;)
    Thats all.

  59. Captain Caveman
    8th September 2008, 15:07

    I really do not see what the problem is.

    The rules are the rules and Lewis clearly gained an advantage from cutting the corner. He tried to make amends by letting kimi past but still managed the situation to ensure he was in a position of advantage even though Kimi was ahead (slipstream / tow.)

    Thus the overtake move before La Source needed to be penalised against.

    Don’t get me wrong I love racing and that is was I saw yesterday, but the problem is not that Hamilton received a penalty but the fact that in the past FIA etc have not constantly punished against it. Irrespective if it is between 1st and 2nd or 11th or 12th.

    Long and short of it, most people (viewers) would have realised that this would have been an issue a nanosecond after the overtake move was made, maybe just maybe a more experience driver & RACER would have known this.

    Non the less a great race.

  60. @Keith – At the time Hamilton cut the chicane, his front axle was around the same position as Raikkonen’s rear axle, so I don’t agree that Hamilton had no option – a moment on the brake would have avoided contact and both cars would have made it round the corner (albeit with the McLaren slightly further behind).

    @Journeyer – I think that’s exactly the issue, the stewards may have thought that Hamilton gained the advantage of not being a couple of car lengths behind rather than a few centimetres behind braking into La Source.

  61. The stewards really need to be dealt a long hard blow on their heads for punishing Lewis.

    1. Yes, Lewis cut a chicane to get position. He made a mistake; but he gave it back.
    2. He overtook him on the next corner, hmm.. may be a little dodgy since he had a better run to the hair-pin by virtue of cutting the chicane. A little dodgy move, but nothing more

    3. Lewis later spun, and gave the position back to Kimi anyways.

    So whether move. 2 was dodgy or not, no “sporting advantage” was gained in the end.

    How this common sense evades stewards is mind-boggling.

    FIA sucks.. Lewis – the new reinmaster

  62. -When someone claimed that Massa should be punished in GP Europe, for something he didnt´t could do nothing about it (it was the lollilop mans fault) I felt that a penalty for the driver was very unfair.

    -It´s unfair to driver also that the penalty is not imediattely applied. If they put de Drive Trough Flag immediaatilly to Hamilton, he would win the race because there was 3 laps only and he could came in to the pits in the last lap.

  63. The rule states that if you cut the track and pass you must give way that position and not gain a position before the next corner which Hamilton obviously did not do. Also the rule states that if there is a penalty within the last 5 laps of the race it will be a 25 second penalty. I do not see what all the crying is about, the rules are there look it up and read it for yourself.

  64. There is indeed doubt over the admissability of McLaren’s appeal: more here

    Were the FIA to refuse to hear McLaren’s appeal it would only pour fuel on the fire.

  65. Journeyer, I addressed exactly that point, Kimi and Lewis were level going into the chicane, Kimi SHOULD have left a gap- he could see Lewis going in and knew he was there.

    This kind of manouever is seen time and time again in many different motorsports where the two in contention are side by side through opposing corners. If you go round the outside on one bend you are on the inside for the next bend.
    Kimi closed up the gap. He left Lewis nowhere to go. Had he left space, Lewis would have come out with his front wheels roughly half way along Kimi’s chassis (and got on the gas earlier), so no definately, he did not gain an advantage.

    PS. Did Kimi gain an advantage when he had to take avoiding action to miss a spun Hamilton, ran exteeemly wide at LaSource and buried the throttle to straight line it down to Au Rouge?

    That’s the same thing we are talking about. Ok, he never passed Lewis, but you tell me that is not the point here, what you are saying is that even though Lewis gave the place back, he gained an advantage by not taking a corner. Well, so did Kimi. Any penalty?

    Just ridiculous.

  66. @Fernando: could you point me where these rules are written … I’m curious to read them

  67. @Fernando: :D I mean exactly where is written:
    “The rule states that if you cut the track and pass you must give way that position and not gain a position before the next corner”

  68. to Brar, “-When someone claimed that Massa should be punished in GP Europe, for something he didnt´t could do nothing about it (it was the lollilop mans fault) I felt that a penalty for the driver was very unfair.”

    This has already been covered, see below.

    see the video for comparison
    (start watching at the 2:00 mark)

    Total inconsistency in application of the rules. What is deemed a fit punishment for one car is not fit for another under the same circumstances. After yesterdays race, definitely lends credence to the FIA in-bed with Ferrari conspiracy. I will definitely start watching for the black helicopters now.

  69. Sumedh, your point 2 applies, but there is no “a little dodgy” about it. Hamilton carried better momentum only because he cut the corner, and he chose to cut the corner because it had advantage rather than doing it because he had to. McLaren data during the cutting of the corner makes no difference and Raikkonen having a car jink in at him from that angle probably had him lift. All in all Raikkonen’s outside pass was better. Hamilton was all ratty and couldn’t help himself.

  70. Motion: “Hamilton carried better momentum only because he cut the corner”

    Perhaps, but even if he was he must have backed off because he was going slower than Raikkonen at the start/finish line.

  71. To be honest, ban slow-speed chicanes. They’re fiddly, clumsy looking, and have ruined every single piece of track they have been shoe-horned into over the past 15 years.

    Don’t want to remove chicanes but don’t want people cutting them either? Stick a wall in the way, or spikes, or brambles, or gravel, not more racetrack.

  72. ajokay, i love the idea of brambles…

  73. I’m still confused why Kimi has received no penalty for weaving in front of Lewis. I understood the rules to say you can make one defensive manoeuvre. Not to mention he bumped into the back of Lewis. What can the defensive reasoning possibly be for these two infringements which resulted in no penalty.

    Again I must stress I’m a huge F1 fan. I like all the teams and yes favour some slightly but not to the exclusion of others. When Michael cleanly slaughtered the field, I loved it, even though many did not and found it all to predictable. Glock, Alonso, Piquet, Kubica, Trulli, Vettel, Sutil, and many more have all kept me greatly enthused and enthralled as they have all performed at times beyond expectation. Again I stress I enjoy all the teams and the tremendous efforts they put into the sport.

    But what I do not like and find very sad is when the playing field slanted in favour of some. Despite my great respect and enthusiasm for Michael Schumacher I did not like his dubious antics at times. I voiced my concerns with friends then as I do now even though I wanted him to win.

    But now its just become a sad bad joke. The stewards need to be brought to task. These behind doors meetings must be made public. This original result must stand. This is clearly not a level playing field and all the teams should let it be known. I think it goes without saying that if the tables were reversed last year during spy gate, I have great difficulty believing Ferrari would have been given a $100 million fine by the FIA.

  74. Niki Lauda explains quite nicely why the penalty is wrong: (audio)

  75. @Fernando, please show us this wording you refer to, I haven’t heard that definition. Not even in the official announcement the FIA made last night regarding the rule that Lewis supposedly broke.

    If you could show us that wording on an official FIA website that would certainly clear an awful lot of this confusion up.

    Much appreciated.

  76. bernification [comment 65],

    ‘Kimi closed up the gap. He left Lewis nowhere to go.’
    It’s a hard move, but a fair one. This one’s also done pretty often. It was up to Lewis to fall in line behind.

    ‘PS. Did Kimi gain an advantage when he had to take avoiding action to miss a spun Hamilton, ran exteeemly wide at LaSource and buried the throttle to straight line it down to [E]au Rouge?

    That’s the same thing we are talking about. Ok, he never passed Lewis, but you tell me that is not the point here, what you are saying is that even though Lewis gave the place back, he gained an advantage by not taking a corner. Well, so did Kimi. Any penalty?’

    Nope, no penalty needed. Kimi LOST time by going wide at La Source. Missing the apex means going longer than you need to, therefore losing time. While Lewis CUT the chicane. He took a shorter route, therefore GAINING time. Nothing ridiculous about that.

  77. More silliness from the FIA after a race ending that stirred the blood.
    I feel REALLY bad for Kimi… if he knew a penalty was coming to Lewis, he could have calmed down and finished the race.

  78. Here’s an interesting article about which rules were broken:,18954,3265_4116523,00.html

    If you want to read the regs yourself Fernando stuck the link on post 67.

  79. @Chalky – this is exactly what is written in URL which you point … I also checked these and don’t find anything about what is said in post67 by Fernando …

    “Article 30.3 (a) of the 2008 Formula One Sporting Regulations’ makes no mention of whether an advantage had been gained and instead states that ‘During practice and the race, drivers may use only the track and must at all times observe the provisions of the Code relating to driving behaviour on circuits’. The near-identical Appendix L chapter 4 Article 2 (g) of the International Sporting Code adds that ‘The racetrack alone shall be used by drivers during the race’.”

    so Hamilton is punished because he leave circuit … nice :)
    I’m really curious where exactly is written all about this advantage and corners rule

  80. Have not seen this point raised yet…

    People keep mentioning the issue of Lewis using Kimi’s tow or slipstream to his advantage when he was behind him just before La Source – the following factors make this hard for me to believe:

    1. Due to the wet conditions of the track, surely they were both going as fast as they felt possible in those conditions – getting into another car’s slipsteam just prior to a tight hairpin in the wet would surely be a disadvantage? If you’re travelling at what you feel is the fastest possible speed for the conditions and something causes you to go faster then that would result in an off-track adventure, surely? I may be wrong, but isn’t slipsteam only ever really fully noticed when both cars are flat out down a long straight?

    2. It appears to me that the reason Lewis seems to have such an advantage going into La Source is that he simply outbraked Kimi by a significant margin. I’ve watched the footage over and over and just after Kimi cuts across to the left of Lewis you can clearly see his speed reduce in comparison to Lewis’s.

    I firmly believe that the combined issues of Lewis’s superior ability in wet conditions with the McLaren’s superior ability to maintain tyre conditions in the wet would have allowed Lewis to outbrake and therefore pass Kimi into La Source regardless of whether he had cut the previous chicane or not.

  81. @Paul F – agree
    just listened to what Lauda says and I completly agree with him

  82. What annoys me in this debate, is that people think that only McClaren is being singled out for penalty decisions. Really? Kimi got a pretty nasty decision in Monaco for an incident by his team before the race even began and the incident endangered no one nor their position in the race as it hadn’t even started. It was also on a track where overtaking is incredibly difficult so once a high position is lost, it is hard to get back. Did Ferrari scream conspiracy or that FIA were McClaren lovers then? No.

    But hey , I am a “neutral” but I think yes, Lewis did gain an advantage. But I also think that the decision was handled badly, in horse racing, the podium isn’t done until the stewards have made their decision and that is what should have happened here.

    Finally, although I am a neutral in the McClaren vs Ferrari, I do think that this season, Lewis has been a little too cute in skirting very close to the edge of aggressive competitive driving & rule flouting. Some moves he has got away with, some he has been punished for but perhaps this was one move too many for the stewards. If they had not made any decision, the cutting corners would become the norm, not the exception. One thing is for sure, there is certainly some clarity to this rule now! Drivers will know the consequence, after this incident, it has to be uniformly enforced.

  83. “AndyWolf 8 September 2008 at 4:04 pm
    ajokay, i love the idea of brambles…”

    A minefield!!!!!!!! I’d like to see someone cut the chicane then!

  84. Simply put, Japan 2005, Alonso cut the chicane trying to pass Klien. He let him past just BARELY as Lewis did, then passed him at the next turn, but was told by the stewards to let Klien back past because they felt that Alonso didn’t drop back enough the first time around.

    Lewis DID gain an advantage, this is a FACT and THIS is the penalty that should have been applied.

  85. ‘One thing is for sure, there is certainly some clarity to this rule now!’

    Not really, Kate. That will only happen if the stewards explain WHY and HOW they got to their decision, including releasing all pertinent evidence IN FULL to the public domain. Otherwise, we’re all grasping at straws, at the mercy of the local stewards’ interpretation.

    But knowing the FIA, it won’t happen.

  86. Wow, so many opinions. And some of them worth reading.

    From my understanding, it’s really quite simple. For such a harsh penalty, there must be some very convincing evidence. The outrage felt by so many neutral fans demonstrate this is 100% not the case, and therefore this is a very poor and destructive decision by some people who have already shown they’re not very clever.

    It just leaves me stunned that I actually bother to watch this “sport”. I’ve been a fan for 20+ years. Will I ever learn that it’s because of these regular feelings of total outrage that I still tune in? I doubt it!

    Seriously… what illogical ruling will they come up with next? Non-F1 fans must be wetting themselves.

  87. Journeyer – agreed, this rule is totally unclear now. Massa went off the track and gained an advantage at Fuji and didn’t get punished, Hamilton went off the track and gained an advantage at Spa (and yielded the position back) and didn’t get punished.

    And the next track on the calendar has two chicanes…

  88. If Massa wins the championship he most likely will not get the applause he deserves and that would be unfortunate.

    I believe the penalty was far too much, but it was not Massa’s fault (other than the fact her drives for the red team). I see him being ridiculed for winning the championship with the help of the stewards rather than because he is a very fast driver.

    If Massa wins the Championship by more then 4 points, then it will be a moot point but, like last year, its likely this will come down to a few (unearned) points.

  89. What was Hamilton supposed to do?
    First, wait for a realistic opportunity to pass. Second, IMMEDIATELY give back the position rather than farther down the straight.
    The argument that the rules have been inconsistently applied might be true and does hold water, but only in the sense that the rules need to be applied consistently. That has nothing to do with this particular incident.
    A great race ruined
    How many would be claiming this if the roles of Kimi and Hamilton had been reversed?
    Punishment out of proportion
    We have the calling for consistency in applying the rules, but in this case the rules should have been side-stepped and Hamilton simply told to let Kimi past. The argument that Hamilton shouldn’t have been penalized because Kimi crashed out anyway doesn’t hold water: an infraction if an infraction.
    What does a conspiracy theory have to do with whether or not Hamilton broke the rules or was unfairly punished? NOTHING!
    Another court room battle
    I don’t like the thought of a delay in finalizing this incident, but would you have no mechanism for appeal then?
    F1 brought into disrepute
    In your opinion, but that doesn’t necessarily make it so. Max’s little escapade was supposed to have done the same thing, but it didn’t.
    Let’s see . . .
    In previous posts about the points determining the championship (rather than the number of wins), it was argued that `consistency’ matters. Here, the argument is that Hamilton was right in going for the win—after all who wants to watch a race where every driver’s first concern is protecting his points position rather than go for the win. In the same thread(s), Kimi was criticized for going for the win and Massa criticized for not going for the win. Which is it?

  90. Sorry Journeyer, what I meant is that after all this furore, the stewards will have to disclose their reasons or to be seen to be favouring one team or one incident against another and that when the dust settles there will be clarity. Else all teams & drivers will be saying “but what about” and “when this” and the rest of the season is tarnished. So in order to stop this fuss, they will have to issue a clarification of when & why the rule applies. Or I am just being too wishful & naive?

    Another set of rules that need clarification (in my opinion) are the safety car rules, I’ve seen many penalties issued this season for seemingly “innocent” infractions, yet those heavy penalties were imposed

  91. ‘And the next track on the calendar has two chicanes…’

    And it’s at Ferrari home turf too. Who KNOWS what they’ll come up with there?

  92. Guys, here is Hungary 2006 – at 4.20 Michael cuts the chicaine to keep ahead of De la Rosa, but does not give the place back at the next corner.

    Should have Schmi got a penalty for that?

  93. Also, wasn’t Lewis essentially on the racing line going into the final chicane – positioned on the outside of the corner? If there had been barriers such as the ones in Monaco, and Kimi had taken the same line he did yesterday he would have hit Lewis – an incident that may have seemed remarkably similar to Kovi/Webber earlier it the race. We would have surely then expected a drive-thru penalty for Kimi…

  94. Dan M, I agree with you. I almost wish that Massa, Kimi and Lewis DNF in the next few races and Kubica does the impossible & wins all of the remaining races and takes the championship.. Else if Massa wins, people will think he did not earn it when he has done some excellent driving in the last few races, if Lewis wins, all of his supporters will crow for weeks, days, years… and give Winston Churchill like speeches.. “we’ll fight them on the chicanes, we’ll fight them at red-light pit stops” . Go Kubica!

  95. William,

    ‘How many would be claiming this if the roles of Kimi and Hamilton had been reversed?’

    All the Hamilton fans. And there’s a lot of em.

    ‘What does a conspiracy theory have to do with whether or not Hamilton broke the rules or was unfairly punished? NOTHING!’

    Well, many think he didn’t, but the FIA punished him to help Ferrari. The conspiracy theory has got A LOT to do with this.

    ‘Max’s little escapade was supposed to have done the same thing, but it didn’t.’

    It did, but Max is just ignoring it. The teams still want nothing to do with him, you know. Which reminds me… isn’t he coming over to Monza? :)

    ‘In the same thread(s), Kimi was criticized for going for the win and Massa criticized for not going for the win.’

    Where did you read the bit on Kimi? Didn’t quite see that. As for Massa, well, he was nowhere on the pace, so there was nothing to go for, really.


    ‘So in order to stop this fuss, they will have to issue a clarification of when & why the rule applies. Or I am just being too wishful & naive?’

    That’s what we all want, but don’t wait for it. I’m not.

  96. Keith i agree with all of the points you have made and this bitter and shambolic act by the stewards is just great testimony to haw biased the FIA is. At least don’t make the punishment so obvious and painfully harsh for all us true f1 fans to see what these so – called heads of sport really are. Great hard racing destroyed by 2 – 3 people’s and FIA’s ‘want Ferrari to win’ attitude they rob someone of a talented victory.

    If Mclarens appeal is dismissed they should just boycott the next race and again show how bitter the FIA is.

  97. Why have we not heard from Max Mosley on this issue… or have I just missed this?

  98. Fernando @

    Not good enough: cite the written rule, if it exists as you’re claiming. The stewards cited the following:

    Breachs of:

    Article 30.3 (a) of the 2008 Formula One Sporting Regulations

    – which is: ‘During practice and the race, drivers may use only the track and must at all times observe the
    provisions of the Code relating to driving behaviour on circuits.’


    Appendix L chapter 4 Article 2 (g) of the International Sporting Code

    which is:

    ‘the race track alone shall be used by the drivers during the race.’

    In other words they based their remarkably informed decision on the concept that ‘drivers have to use the track’.

    Since this is not always possible, other rules are taken as *accepted practice*, which is the ‘regulation’ McLaren asked Whiting to confirm when they asked whether LH had complied with race rules (which Whiting apparently did).

    Waiting for you to find and post the rule you’re citing, really.

  99. Chaz we would not expect to hear from Mosley in my view, the decision was in the hands of the race stewards and with an appeal pending in the FIA court there is no way Max should be offering his opinion of the event.

  100. Journeyer: I think you mis-interpreted what I wrote. If Hamilton had been in front going into the chicane and Kimi cut the corner, etc. and been penalized for it, the McLaren / Hamilton fans would have deemed it just and correct—and further claimed it was about time Ferrari was punished.
    The only thing the conspiracy has to do with is the conspiracy theory.
    If Max’s escapade did bring F1 in to dis-repute, the please cite chapter and verse.

  101. Even Stefano Domenicali thinks the penalty was ‘a little bit extreme’ apparently:

  102. chaz, diseased rat,

    if it’s true that Mosley will go to Monza, I’m sure he’ll get asked about it. if anything, Max would be relieved that he’s answering questions on an stewarding scandal, not his personal scandal.

  103. This was the most deserved penalty I’ve witness in F1 since Schumacher took out Villeneuve.

    I’m a huge Hamilton fan but I said to my GF as soon as it happened, he’s gained a serious advantage and the stewards would penalize him.

  104. Keith – My wife asked me a great question, but I struggle to find answers for. Perhaps you can enlighten us?

    My lady asked, “Why does FIA favour Ferrari? What’s in it for them?”

    What was the histroy behind it? How long this favourtism lasted for? What reasons are behind this? Did Enzo Ferrari fund Max’s lawyer tuition? Or Ron Dennis commit some cruellest of sins in his previous life, and it’s now to pay back via Max Mosley in this life? Or Ferrari foots Max’s bill for his S&M escapades?

    Ok seriously, I’m really interested to know just why FIA favours Ferrari, or it’s just a series of coincidence?

    Keith – Great blog! You’ve turned me into a freak addict of your blog. I check your site at least twice a day. And the quality of responses from your friends, fellow bloggers, and fans, are top class. I don’t see any immature rants that are infested in other F1 forums. (Or have you deleted them haha…) Keep up the good work! Cheers.

  105. Yes, David, I think that it comes down to an interpretation of what “driving behaviour” is & in FIA’s opinion cutting a chicane to gain an advantage is not within the guidelines. For me, it is not a case of that Hamilton is seen to give or seen to try and give the advantage back, it is why did he cut it in the first place? Was he really going to crash into Kimi, was he going to crash himself? Or was it a cheeky move that got punished, (if harshly & badly)

    Rule 30.3 of FIA 2007 rules is an interesting one & perhaps Hamilton was more in breach of that than 30.3 (a) of the 2008 rules.

    30.3 2007 states: Any driver intending to leave the track should signal his intention to do so in good time making sure that he can do this without danger.

    By quicking diverting his car & cutting the chicane, he left the track but not in good time, unlike a pit stop. The crucial element here is “intention”, did he have control of his car? Yes. He was not spinning out of control, he did not suffer a car malfunction. So he did not signal his intention in good time & he left the track, so back to intention. Was it to avoid a dangerous situation? Lewis says that Kimi left him no room. Fair legal move on Kimi’s part and a tactic often employed by Lewis himself. So was he avoiding danger when he left the track not in good time? No – so I believe he was judged on his intention, not the post “this is what I did and try to make amends” actions … But I am not a steward :)

  106. I may be missing the point here, but any advantage gained by Lewis was most certainly null and void in my book when Kimi put his car in the wall. Had Hamilton won agaist Kimi the driver he was racing, then perhaps the penalty would have been just. Kimi was under no direct presure from Hamilton when he met the barrier. It was pure driver error and some bad luck.

    To gift the race to Massa equates to the same gross misconduct that would have been witnessed if the race was gifted to Hamilton in Valencia. But by inconsistant rules Massa never received the penalty he should and neither did Lewis.

  107. Spencer, it does seem odd I grant you but I used to be a swimmer. I was in a relay team which “won” the race by half a lap of the pool, we were so far ahead of the other teams. The officials however told us that the last swimmer on our team had broken by the equivalent of half a hand. They wanted in the end to award us with second place as we had not gained any advantage by the half a hand considering we won by half a pool length. But the team refused the second place as rules are rules & they had been broken. It would have been a ribbon that I never would have been proud of winning

  108. ‘Ok seriously, I’m really interested to know just why FIA favours Ferrari, or it’s just a series of coincidence?’

    The reason… depends on who you ask, really. Some say it’s because of their racing heritage (i.e. most popular and recognizable F1 team; more wins = more fans; more fans = more ratings; more ratings = more TV money), others say it’s because of their sheer political pull (with many ex-Ferrari men in the FIA). But yet others say it’s just sheer coincidence. Again, it depends on who you ask.

    ‘I may be missing the point here, but any advantage gained by Lewis was most certainly null and void in my book when Kimi put his car in the wall.’

    Rules are rules, Spencer, and if they need to be penalised, they must be given out even if the offended party is no longer in the running.

  109. I was going to buy a Skoda, but change my mind after the Belgian Grand Prix. If a Ferrari can commit any offence in the Rule Book without penalty, then with my driving, Ferrari is the car for me.

  110. Kate

    The point I’d make is that either you leave everything open to dubious interpretations of ‘intent’ etc. (a situation left open by the written rule apparently) or you have a much simpler rule such as ‘giving back’ the position (which seems to have been the accepted practice).

    I think Hamilton’s move at the chicane was fair, giving space to Kimi to pass on the inside. This Kimi did, but then cut left (on the racing line) thereby cutting off Hamilton. Hamilton complained and had he crashed into a wall as some wished he could have (including Kimi!) I think we’d be debating whether Kimi was right to cut him off and cause an incident when he could have allowed room.

    I also thought Hamilton was nudged slightly too, but in any event he was forced off track. Thereafter the question is how he should ‘undo’ the advantage gained. Just return the position (which he effectively did) or give way (time, track, what?) by some undefined amount? How can he calculate this?

    Do you not see the point? He tried to overtake, KR defended – great – and as so often, LH had to go off track, only cutting the corner in the process. If we are to see any overtaking and racing, the rules have to allow some margin for these incidents and some immediate form of the driver correcting the issue without being penalized (unless driving dangerously). The existing ‘unstated’ rule resolved this issue adequately I think. Sure the stewards can now ‘interpet’ the written regulations in a different way but you have to ask why now? And what was Hamilton supposed to do, or anyone else in the future?

  111. I had read this argument in some other forum on why FIA favors Ferrari. I think it makes sense, here it goes:

    [b]Whenever FIA blunders, first to blabber around are Renault, Mclaren and all other teams. When Ferari is at the receiving end of such blunders (Fuji 2007, Monaco 2008), they shut up and accept.
    Ferrari supports Max Mosley when the rest of the world cries for him to be sacked. Ferrari doesn’t threaten a breakaway series.
    Its a give-n-take between Ferrari and FIA. You save our ass; we will save yours :)[/b]

  112. “Rules are rules, Spencer, and if they need to be penalised, they must be given out even if the offended party is no longer in the running.”

    I agree but this is such a grey incident as Lewis did conceed the place in line with the rules. Nowhere does it state how much time should be lost when a place is conceeded, it’s interpretation is down to no more than an opionin.

    In my opionin, as no sporting advantage was gained agaist Kimi, then this incident could have been delt with by a fine, the same way that Valencia’s only talking point was.

  113. Please forgive my bad spelling of opinion!!!! :)

  114. @MIKE

    You should still buy a Skoda and with the money you will save, you will be able to pay every penalty you could have in your whole life!

  115. Lewis was making up close to a second a lap at the time of the incident, and was right on Kimi’s tail. The writing was on the wall, as they say. When he bypassed the chicane, he slowed and allowed Kimi to regain position, proving his intent to comply with the regulations, by allowing Kimi’s car to completely pass him.

    Hamilton gained no more competitive advantage than he already had, which he displayed quite handily by completing his last lap 9 seconds quicker than Massa. On the last several corners he had already proven that with the current track conditions, he could significantly outbrake Kimi, and that is exactly what he did at the next corner. The chicane incident did not provide the advantage at the next corner, the rain did.

    Maybe when it rains they should just dock Hamilton a lap or two, at least that way they would know where they stand at the start of the race, instead of an hour or two after.

  116. @Kate

    I like your analogy but do you really think Massa is looking at the trophy thinking I really kicked butt at Spa.

  117. Absolutely right JF. Hamilton displayed all the assets of a true sportsman by handing back the lead to Raikkonen after gaining an advantage at the chicane where he was forced off the circuit. McLaren telemetry showed quite clearly that Hamilton was travelling 6kph slower than Raikkonen, and behind him when they crossed the line. At what particular moment in time or at what particular gap there is between the two cars, before competetive racing is allowed to commence, seems to be the question that the stewards have considered in awarding the penalty to Hamilton. The fact that Hamilton could easily have given Raikkonen a 20 second lead and still have outraced him before the finish is irrelevent. They are both professional drivers racing each other, and Hamilton did this most splendidly.

  118. The thing that bedevils this whole controversy is the fact that the decision was taken retrospectively. I cannot think of any other sport that would permit a situation where matters of opinion by an official (as opposed to matters of fact which, even then, are pretty rare)could be taken into acccount to influence a result after prizes or trophies have been handed out and spectators have gone home. We can all have an opinion about whether Hamilton was right or wrong but it is up to the steward to make up his mind straight after the incident as to his opinion and act accordingly and not wait until hours later after a committee meeting. That is what he is paid for and he should stand or fall by his decisions. Football referees do it all the time (did a ball cross a line, was it a penalty etc). formula 1 should be no different. The fact that it was at the end of the race is immaterial. An instant decision (if if was deemed Hamilton was wrong) would have meant he would have to do a drive though before he crossed the finish line. Then we could be having the same debate that every other sport has (competence or otherwise of officials) but at least in the knowledge that the result stands.

  119. I’ve deleted a couple of comments from here for breaking the terms of the comment policy. I realise this is a charged debate but can we avoid the insults please. Thanks!

  120. Keith. Is it worth doing a blog on “how many times and under what circumstances stewards decisions have been over ruled” or have you done one already?

  121. i dont think the massa-kubica battle can be used as an example of inconsistency in penalties and ferrari bias because as brundle says in the commentary it was not just massa who gained an advantage by going off-track as they both did

    that said i do not agree with Hamiltons penalty however this is not the first time this has happened (alonso-klien suzuka 05)and although that was not given a punishment as such the stewards told renault that they would also have gotten a drive-thru if alonso had not relinquished the place

  122. In a rather interesting little twist, it seems Ralf has spoken out in Germany’s most popular newspaper Bild, supporting Hamilton, describing the move as being ‘fair overtaking’ and stating that ‘Lewis deserved the win’. In a move that is bound to anger his brother, Ralf went on to state

    “In my experience, Ferrari has always had priority in F1, which we have seen in many situations”

    Wonder if Luca has had a word with Michael about this yet? Would love to be a fly on the wall for that one.

  123. It’s been obvious to me for years that there’s some hidden world in F1 which we never hear about. Boring corporate stuff like the things that go on with FIFA and the Olympics. (see )

    We sometimes get little glimpses into this like the 4th steward – the one who’s at all the GPs this season who has Ferrari as a client although that’s been taken off his company’s website.

    I’m not saying he’s influenced by that, but there’s an obvious total lack of transparency here. Without transparency and open decision making processes, there will always be talk of conspiracy and conflicts of interest.

    Unfortunately there’s no way on earth F1 will ever solve this problem. It’s not in their interests and no-one is putting any pressure on them to solve it.

    Personally though, I’d love to read more about it! Anyone recommend any good books?

    Sport vs Business. So dirty. Ain’t it great?

  124. @ Paul re: Football referees

    Interesting comparison. You should note football fans are sickened every week by poor ref calls! The calls for slower decisions involving TV footage get louder every year. There’s even a website dedicated to correcting the bad calls. They even have their own league table with the “correct” points on it!

    Maybe something worth considering for F1 at this rate? That wouldn’t work. As we’re seeing today, the F1 rules can be bent to come up with any result you can imagine!

  125. Paul – I think that is a very good idea. A race referee -1 guy who calls the shots as it happens.

    This would mean that Mclaren could have clarified the legality of the situation within seconds of the event taking place. If the Referee had seen it as illegal then Mclaren could have given Kimi back the lead by Les Combes, giving the team to fight back and when the race ends – it ends and everyone knows where they stand.

    This creates much faster and consistent decision making – i.e. it doesn’t take 2 hours. Plus the Teams and Drivers will be able to learn if the race referee is particularly strict on certain areas of the rule and learn to prepare for marginal decisions.

    In having 24 hours to look back at this my biggest regret about this situation has nothing to do with the driver or the team involved, just that my emotions have been turned upside down by a group of 3 people that have probably never driven a racing car, 2 hours after the event.

    Could you imagine finding out that a goal in football or a try in football had been chalked off 2 hours after the match. The fans would never stand for it.

    Get a respected retired driver to be a race referee to stop this happening.

    Should video evidence turn up after the race of a driver/team doing a wrong, it should be reviewed the week after the race, or at the next race meeting.

    At least then we know who to point the finger at when we disagree rather than smearing the name of the sports governing body through the trash every other weekend.

  126. Has anyone brought up the fact that Heikki Kovalainen was penalised for causing an AVOIDABLE ACCIDENT and that had Hamilton not gone onto the grass then he would have done the same, even though it would have been Raikkonen’s fault for pushing him off the track.

    Just the latest incident decided by the FIA (Ferrari International Assistance).


    This link, posted by El Gordo, is the nail in the coffin for anyone still making the argument that was happened yesterday was fair.

    The similarity on the entry to the R/L chicane is uncanny, Michael slightly ahead on the outside, then cutting the chicane to avoid contact – so far, so identical. And what does Michael do? Does he concede the position BY THE ARBITRARY AND UNSPECIFIED AMOUNT that would have satisfied the stewards at Spa? Not a bit of it, he doesn’t concede the place at all, not even a single inch, in fact he slams the door on DLR in the next turn and carries on without a care, meaning he is (wrongly) still fighting DLR when they collide later.

    Not conceding the place, let alone BY THE RIGHT NUMBER OF CAR LENGTHS (whatever that number might be), was evidently just fine and dandy in the eyes of the FIA in Hungary. There was plenty of time to request that he give up the position, such action is commonplace (and would be fine), and yet – nothing. You can say that Michael DNF’d anyway (therefore no post-race penalty) but since when does a DNF protect you from a penalty (ask Lewis about Montreal and the first of his penalties in France).

    Yesterday was utter BS. Rarely has a double standard been more blatant or more obvious. Arguing against Lewis re-passing Kimi after he had already FULLY conceded the position is arguing against racing, and arguing that the steward’s application of the rules at Spa was in any sense fair is simply monstrous.

  128. With modern technology, more and more sports are changing over to ‘instant replay’ to assist the referee/judge in their decision to award a decision to one side or the other. Cricket & tennis have recently adopted this policy. In the case of Belgium, by the time a complaint was lodged by Ferrari, the video could have been rewound, viewed, debated and a decision made in the prescence of all concerned parties, long before the combatants have crossed the finish line.

  129. I look at it like this…

    …the decision will probably stand, so the best thing to do is take it as another learning experience…

    …hopefully this will give McLaren a bigger edge going into Monza (where they completely embarrased Ferrari in 2007). Instead of looking at it as a loss, Hamilton should see it as another +1 amongst fans (like Massa in Hungary).

  130. from the onboard video with hamilton i saw the wheelbanging with raikonen which justifies cutting the chicane. and i saw that he eased on the throttle a bit until raikkonen passed him. am definetly convinced this was a poor rulling by the three stewards(too few for my liking)

  131. Scott and Paul

    The race ref is a good idea (so it won’t get implemented of course :0) ). There would be some rough calls but there wouldn’t be the same feeling of political intrigue there is now. The advantage is that continual pressure from all sides means that isolated and instantly responsible refs in any sport who have to make their decisions as the sport (game, race) is unfolding tend to average out decisions, whether they have any personal bias or not. I mean *everyone* agrees Premiership refs are completely useless! But the fact is FIA is a lop-sided and obscure entity with a motley set of global commercial, political and personal interests and no real interest in being transparent or democratic. Much too plebian.

  132. Instant replay, 1 “ref” etc won’t work, because the rules are totally ambiguous. You can argue the rules both ways in the Hamilton case.

    And the footage is ambiguous too. Someone just said they saw wheelbanging on the video. Another said they saw Hamilton being forced onto the grass.

    I didn’t see any wheelbanging. It looked like they got close but that’s it. And I saw Hamilton drive onto green tarmac! Not grass!

    Who’s right? That’s right, we’re all doomed!

  133. So according to this article:,18954,3213_4116843,00.html

    The FIA didn’t bother investigating into Kimi’s overtake under the yellow flags.

    Funny that, isn’t it?

  134. The discussion by Sean and others points out the way Schumi rewrote the rule books as well as the record books. Schumi bascailly legalized swerving at starts, pushing people off course and every kind of nasty on-track behaviour that was off limits in the 80s. He got penalized early in his career, but eventually became so dominant that the refs wouldn’t touch him. Though I disagree with the decision yesterday, you have to see the irony here with Hamilton shoving people off the track right and left in Hockenheim, and the insane Massa-Kubica business in Japan, with Kimi pushing him off here. Also mention Alonso doing it to Hamilton last year at Spa. Its all cool now—but when is it illegal? Can you “take your line” and push a man off at the Parabolica next week and call it good close racing? In the current state of affairs “causing an avoidable accident” and the chicane cutting rules are nonesense.

  135. Paul F

    Thanks for the link. Interesting view from the McLaren.

    I’ve been following the sound of the engine of Lewis and it seems to me Lewis was accelerating as much as possible before and when you see Kimi passing on the right side.

    I’m not trying to make a point about the penalty. In fact I think was not deserved, they were just racing.

    But as there is many people making a point about L Hamilton let Kimi pass him, this video make me have some doubts on this.

  136. Ajokay – I don’t have a problem with that actually. Hamilton had gone off the track, Raikkonen was taking avoiding action, there’s mitigating circumstances. It’s a bit like when Schumacher passed Raikkonen at Magny-Cours in ’04.

  137. I think some of you need to go read this article from Lewis’ biggest fan James Allen:

    And to be really honest as much as I despise the guy’s commentary he is absolutely 100% correct in what he is saying.

  138. ajokay: Overtake under yellow flags means drive through. There’s no point in talking about it for Kimi, as he was out of the race a lap afterwards.

  139. Just thinking, I would love to have been a fly on the wall at the stewards’ decision making. What could they have possibly said, as they had one ear on the phone to Alan Donnelly (the conduit to Mosley) and one eye on the F1 regulations. Maybe the decision making process should be recorded (sound and vision) for utmost transparency – otherwise we will NEVER trust these ludicrous decisions. I hate to see the FIA apologists coming out of the woodwork. When you see all the evidence (as has been discussed ad infinitum on here), it is without any doubt that the decision was crazy.

    What will Lewis do at Monza – I feel for the guy as he probably feels crushed and deflated at the thought that even when he races magnificently, the win will be snatched from him in the most blatant display of unfairness I think any sport has ever seen before.

  140. It is becoming more obvious to me why none of my friends watch F1…..simply because they do not let the racers race.

  141. michael counsell
    8th September 2008, 22:37

    Not sure what anyone else has said but Hamilton should not have listened to his team and used his common sense not to pass Raikkonen at the first corner. He knows to to cut the chicane its obvious that if you overtake someone at the very next corner after crossing a chicane you gained an advantage. The team expected an immediate decision seconds after an incident thats their own fault for not thinking thinsg through.

    They way they need to argue is that the incident didn’t affect the race result. But at the same you don’t want to create a precedent of drivers cutting chicanes without receiving punishment.

    Most people’s reactions here is why a lot of F1 fans really annoy me…

  142. More evidence for Ferrari bias:

    A very similar incident, yet Schumi wasn’t punished

  143. So we now have Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, and Ralf Schumacher clearly speaking out against the penalty. Lauda called it “the worst judgement in F1 history”. Stewart says “This decision raises questions about their ability and, indeed, about the sport’s very governance.” Ralf “To me it was fair overtaking”.

    Are there any equally prominent racers who have spoken arguing for the penalty? If not then it’s clear where the weight of experienced racing opinion lies.

  144. Massa talking:

    “What Lewis did is the sort of thing that can happen, but I think he was maybe a bit too optimistic in thinking he could just hand back the position, albeit only partially to Kimi and then immediately try and pass him again.

    “Incidents like this have often been discussed in the official driver briefings when it has been made absolutely clear that anyone cutting a chicane has to fully restore the position and also any other eventual advantage gained.

    “If Lewis had taken the chicane correctly, he would never have been able to pass Kimi on the very short straight that follows it. That was my immediate opinion after seeing the replay. Maybe if Lewis had waited and tried to pass on the next straight, that would have been a different matter.”

    … I think Massa drop over 8-9 seconds from Hamilton, so how he measure where will be Hamilton behind Kimi in these conditions ? In other hand Niki Lauda says opposite thing:
    “if Lewis stayed behind Kimi through the chicane he wold past him in front of the pits, because Lewis and the McLaren at that time of the race in the wet was so much quicker”

  145. diseased rat (love the name), wouldn’t it be great and courageous, if a current F1 driver(s) spoke out against the unfairness? They are a measley lot in my opinion.

  146. Paul F

    Thats some excellent on-board footage.

    Kimi just couldn’t hack those wet conditions on the slicks, he was all over the shop… and the wall.

  147. @ aa:

    ‘Overtake under yellow flags means drive through. There’s no point in talking about it for Kimi, as he was out of the race a lap afterwards.’

    Uh huh? Ok, so.. how many times have I seen on this page, and the original thread ( people say “rules are rules, and must be obeyed” with regards to Lewis’ rule breaking and penalty, yet because Kimi ended up in a wall, his rule-breaking should go unpunished? eh? SOunds like you’re an advocate of ‘one rule for Ferrari, and another for everyone else too, are you an FIA steward?

    Kimi was out of this race, so he should be given a drive-through penalty in the next race.

  148. Following on from S Hughes’ comment above, and relating that to earlier comments about referees in football, I think one of the issues that causes our lack of trust in the governing system in F1 is that all decisions are made behind closed doors in a boardroom. In football and other popular sports the referee is very much in the thick of it, the majority of decisions are made there are then, and the decision process that the referee goes through is there for all to see – as with many decisions in F1, including yesterday’s, we don’t know how, or ultimately, WHO has the final word in these big decisions…

  149. I second that ajokay, amazing. I wonder if the stewards saw it, or were they taking their guide dogs out for a walk at the time?

  150. S Hughes yes I wonder what sort of sanction a current driver could face for speaking out against an FIA decision. I look forward to hearing what Webber has to say though, if anyone is going to offer a view it will be him.

    Actually saying that Coultard will almost certainly offer his view in his ITV column, and I’d be surprised if he supports the penalty. Let’s see.

  151. I’ve had a look on lots of sites since the race and I’ve yet to hear a single quote from any driver, past or present, or any team members that are supporting the stewards.
    Even Ferrari aren’t saying too much about it as if they’re feeling a bit embaressed by it all.

  152. It looked to me like both kimi and lewis avoided a collision fron another driver that had run off track and instead of running lewis’s car directly into another to end his race,he did what any other driver would do , cut the chicane and give kimi his position back. which he did. I do not see their decision , especially 25 seconds .WHAT!!!

  153. @ Keith

    Howdy mate.
    Do you remember after Lewis’s penalty at Magny Cours that there was brief discussion about Tarmac run offs?
    The gist of it was, that by getting rid of tarmac run offs or at least having kerbs of an appropriate height we would get rid of this whole situation. Driver’s either stay on the track, or go off track and risk nose damage or losing time in the grass. Get rid of the whole shooting across the kerb without consequence (yes you Sebastien Vettel).

    Disappointing end to a great grand prix but isn’t the interest huge! You are getting 100’s of comments!

  154. I’ve just noticed something. One of the stewards was French. The rules forbid any steward sharing a nationality with any competitor. Last I checked, Sebastien Bourdais was French.

    Therefore one of the stewards shouldn’t have been there, and his decision is therefore invalid.

    I remember Jarno Trulli was let off his disqualification in the US Grand Prix in 2001 because one of the stewards went home before the document disqualifying Jarno was signed. The same rule that led to that disqualification being overturned applies here. So McLaren should get a summary victory, if the rules are applied – and Toyota would also have done had they appealed Glock’s penalty in good time.


  155. @Alianora La Canta – nice :)

  156. Brilliant observation Alianora La Canta :-)

  157. William Wilgus
    9th September 2008, 0:32

    David #110:
    “I think Hamilton’s move at the chicane was fair, giving space to Kimi to pass on the inside. This Kimi did, but then cut left (on the racing line) thereby cutting off Hamilton.”

    You’ve got it wrong, my friend. Hamilton did not leave room for Kimi to pass at the chicane for the simple reason that Hamilton was trying to passw Kimi. Can we keep the facts straight? Thank you.

  158. William Wilgus
    9th September 2008, 0:47

    Scott Joslin #125:

    How can one man effectively monitor the entire race track in real time (“as it happens”)? From all angles? I don’t see how that’s possible.

  159. I was neutral towards Massa until I read these choice words he spoke:

    “On Sunday night, I flew back to Monaco and I was able to celebrate with my uncles…Arriving in Monza as the winner of the last race is a boost…”


  160. Alianora, after that, you may well need a safe house!

    A great spot. Wonder if anyone from MCL will daring enough raise it though? I expect not, but bet you just made them sit up a bit straighter in their seats. Both at Woking AND in Paris.

  161. Maybe we need to be clear what we mean by the term “gain an advantage”. To me, the only logical way you can define that is to compare the situation that KR found himself in after Hamilton cut the corner with the situation he more than likely would have been in if Hamilton had simply followed KR round the chicane.
    In other words, gven all the circumstances about weather etc, how realistic is it that Hamilton could have been in exactly the same position as he was at the point where all the controversy seems to begin (ie right behind KR half way or so down the straight) if he hadn’t cut the corner. If the answer is yes, hamilton could have been in the same position, the argument about gaining an advantage seems to me to be losing credibility. If, on the answer is no, he couldn’t then to me clearly an advantage has been gained.
    I suspect the only people who can answer that are those who are used to racing and as one whose only experience in this field is limited to trying to beat my daughters to the bathroom in the morning I am obviously not the best judge. Can anybody form an opinion on this.

  162. It is clear to me that it was an unreasonable move by the Stewards, pushed by Ferrari and the FIA to make sure that Lewis does not win. I was not sure if racism is involved but I am starting to think so…..

  163. OK, OK, OK. We all saw what happened. Here is my view: Hamilton followed the letter of the rule, but got a small advantage out of it. He re-joined the full-throttle club about 3 meters behind Kimi at the beginning of a short straight. He gifted himself a superb slipstream (with really very little space to use it, but still so close to the other car… even cyclists benefit from slipstream at 40 Km/h). At the very least he avoided the usual disruption on the aerodinamics from following another car in the preceding corner. He wasn’t that close to Kimi in the former 41 passes. Indeed, hardly anyone is ever so close to the guy ahead. We all here are hardcore fans, we all know that. Then, Lewis was superb on the brakes, hat off!
    Is that deserving as much penalty as he got? Probably not, but one could argue that Kimi would have not crashed had he not being in pursuit. Or he might, who knows.
    In my opinion Hamilton got a small advantage and a huge penalty for it.
    To make a soccer analogy, the home team throws the ball off-bounds because some player of the visiting team is injured. The visiting team then puts the ball in play 5 meters away from the goal line of the home team and goes pressing the poor defender that gets the “gift”? By the rules? Yes. Fair, nor quite. Then again, no referee would award a penalty kick for that, would they?
    Two more comments:
    a) about the zigzagging, Lewis is behind, if I get it right the spirit of the rule is only for the guy ahead, the guy behind gets no unfair advantage from moving as much as he wants. Then Kimi, ahead, did move quite a bit, but again, as it is normally interpreted, moving to the inside is a defensive movement, counts as one; then moving to the outside again is just going back to the racing lane and is normally allowed. So nobody at fault there.
    b) Superb web, Keith!

  164. I have to say when watching the race, it was not fair for hamilton to cut the chicane and then take the lead as a result, although he let kimi back into the lead, I felt he had gain an unfair advantage by tucking in immediately and then overtaking immediately.
    The right thing to do was to drop off a larger distance and let kimi lead into the next corner, then attack again.
    I am not sure why there are so many complains about what the stewards did, but hey, if hamilton gained an unfair advantage, he deserves to be penalised.
    Mclaren should stop protesting and just get on with racing.

  165. William @ ‘You’ve got it wrong, my friend. Hamilton did not leave room for Kimi to pass at the chicane for the simple reason that Hamilton was trying to pass Kimi. Can we keep the facts straight? Thank you.’

    Cheers for your personal and somewhat idiosyncratic view of the facts. (1) The fact Hamilton was trying to pass Raikkonen doesn’t necessarily imply that he didn’t leave room; (2) He must indeed have left room because Kimi duly passed him on the inside!

    It’s not a crucial point in terms of whether Hamilton complied with FIA regulations or not but I’d thank you not to thank me before hand for the thankless task of having to untwist your own distorted view of the facts. Thanks.

  166. Question: Who would have been penalized had Hammy and Kimi crashed out at the chicane in lieu of avoiding contact by Lewis cutting the chicane???

    An aggressive attempt at a pass by Lewis answered by Kimi leaving no room around the chicane. If both their races ended then and there would there have been any penalties? Or would it have been deemed a racing incident?

    My guess is that nothing would have been imposed as Massa would have won (the desired FIA result) and we would all be in the same place.

    Except that the stupids (Stewards) would have no doubt given Lewis a 10 place grid penalty at Monza for “rough driving”.

    Time for a new governing body to replace the politically corrupt and suspect FIA organization. A vote of no confidence is required, if at all possible.

    And I thought NASCAR was the WWF on wheels!! I never want to hear anyone on this or any other forum moan about the oval centric series again. At least they have a modicum sense of fair play left!

  167. @ 121 Louise 8 September 2008 at 8:15 pm
    i dont think the massa-kubica battle can be used as an example of inconsistency in penalties and ferrari bias because as brundle says in the commentary it was not just massa who gained an advantage by going off-track as they both did

    No, Brundle was commenting on the amount of times they touched each other, not going off track. Kubica went off once, not onto tarmac, and gave back the position anyway – either due to lack of speed or deliberate choice. Massa went off onto tarmac, and managed to take a place because of it. Had that run off area been any thing other than tarmac, there’s no way he could have kept the accelerator on to take the place. Essentially, he went round a much wider corner than Kubica did. Admittedly, he’s not the only one who did so, the commentators did comment on how many times Alonso went off track and found far superior grip due to it.

    On another topic, given quite how hard the FIA stomped down on Brundle for his witchhunt comments last year, do not expect anyone at ITV (or indeed any current racer) to speak out about this, regardless of what they think.

    And finally, some people have been chucking around the Dominicali “It was a bit extreme” quote without actually reading the question he was answering.

    “Q. We all know what the decision of the stewards is now, but could you tell us what was your first impression, your first reaction when you saw this manoeuvre between Kimi and Lewis?

    SD: Personally, I think it was a little bit extreme. It’s normal that when you attack that you are racing but the problem is that the advantage that may take by doing a manoeuvre and this is the key point of it, so I think that that’s the focus that has to be considered.”

    To me he doesn’t look like he’s commenting on the penalty, but the move itself, because that’s what he was asked about.

  168. There is simply no other way I can see to interpret this situation other than this:

    Hamilton did as he was supposed to do in letting Kimi retake the position. Thus, Hamilton followed the rulebook to the letter. Period.

    If the FIA wants to change the rule, then they need to change the rule. They don’t need to punish Hamilton for breaking a rule that doesn’t exist.

  169. The penalty was way too harsh. Someone suggested that they should have demoted LH by a few grid spots at Monza; that would be even harsher, simply outrageous and even more pathetic! In my view, Hammy looked legit. The arguments for the stewards’ decision (among the posts I’ve read) which sound plausible are:
    1. they didn’t want to create a precedent of cutting chicanes without consequences (weak)
    2. they wanted to spice up the championship and keep the battle very tight all the way to the end (strong).

    Look what’s happening on this board. Record num of msgs, everyone’s talking about it, people are charged up, commenting and opinionated (nothing wrong with that ;), and I think, despite statements of the form “i’m not watching again…”, we’ll all be glued to the TV this Sunday and follow the “saga” till the end.

    I’ve been watching F1 since the days of Villeneuve, Jones, Arnoux, etc. We had controversy and many side-track stories to charge us up in the past, from the mock-kickboxing with Piquet in Germany, to Prost winning the title over Lauda by 0.5 point (due to rainy Monaco), to the Senna-Prost statements before the Suzuka race (where they tangoed on the 1st corner), and the list goes on. The difference is that these days F1 is kind of blunt, it seems overly “scripted” (for lack of a better word). I’m not against professionalism in the sport but… driver/team statements tend to be “dry”, most of the races are boring and not much is happening (outside the track) in terms of driver personalities or even rivalries. You all comment how good last year and this year have been because the championship is close and it’s not only Schumy winning. Yes, it’s close but that’s the only thing that it is: close. This doesn’t mean it’s exciting. Close racing and exciting racing are different things.

    Obviously, I’m not suggesting that stewards should interfere to spice up interest in F1 ;) All I’m saying is that in the grand scheme of things, it’s not such a big deal afterall. LH should be able to win the championship (I’m sorry to Masa fans, he’s good, he’s improved a lot, but not championship material), the video of the last few laps at Spa is in the records for all of us to remember, we got reminded once again how great Spa is (i.e. excellent drivers and champions stand out there). So… bring on Monza!

    ps: I’m a ferrari fan since the beginning of time, and thru the years, a fan of G.Villeneuve, Lauda, Prost, Schumy, Kimi and others. Haven’t missed a season of F1, except the 2 years after Senna’s death.

  170. William Wilgus
    9th September 2008, 2:38

    David #167:

    I guess I did write that comment poorly and apologize for doing so. In the right-hand portion of the chicane, Hamilton DID leave Kimi room. However, your stating the Hamilton left room for Kimi to pass on the inside incorrectly implies that Kimi was passing Hamilton. I can’t agree with your subsequent “(2) He must indeed have left room because Kimi duly passed him on the inside!” because in my opinion Hamilton failed to pass Kimi. Please tell me how I distorted the fact that Hamilton was passing Kimi, not the other way around.

  171. The “Bottom Line”. The FIA has relegated one of the best F1 races we’ve ever seen into a complete joke. If this is what F1 has actually become, we really don’t need or want F1 back in the US. Remember we already have NASCAR.

  172. William

    No problem. I’ve just rerun the clip a few (too many!) times and I have to agree Hamilton didn’t pass Raikkonen – he outbreaked him on the outside, but by the time he turned in he was already behind. He couldn’t (I don’t think) have shut out Kimi if he’d tried. Point conceded. The next bit is tricky. The angle I saw on the TV seemed to imply Hamilton was nudged off-track, but I can’t find a clip of the same angle and it’s impossible for me to judge whether there was contact.

    But I think this is irrelevant. The rule understood by everyone, including Charlie Whiting, was that if you miss the chicane and gain a position, you have to give it back. Period.

    The stewards decision was effectively that Hamilton gained a sporting advantage by not sticking to the track. Think about this carefully. Nothing about chicanes, cutting corners, gaining a position. They’re talking about getting a racing advantage by driving off track. I can cite the rules they cite in their statement again if you like (but see above). Not on the inside or outside, just off track. So by their own sui generis interpretation of the rules for this incident, we could also examine Raikkonen’s use of the run-off track at Pouhon to regain speed he’d lost by spinning off, failing to go back on track as quickly as possible, and subsequently being in a position to overtake Hamilton at Fagnes.

    Also by their own interpretation of ‘sporting advantage’ in the bus-stop Hamilton-Raikkonen incident, it’s irrelevant in terms of any infraction and punishment that Raikkonen later spun off as this fact wasn’t factored into Hamilton’s supposed infraction: their time-scale for ‘sporting advantage’ is apparently minimal, the incident itself, not the overall race.

    Can you see this argument? I’ll leave aside Raikkonen’s pass under a yellow flag, which he didn’t cede.

    I don’t think there’s any way you can convince me this decision wasn’t heavily lop-sided and against most or all the drivers’ and teams’ practical understanding of the F1 rules for overtaking. Or that it isn’t heavily partial and inconsistent. And especially that it wasn’t against the spirit of F1 as a sport. But feel free to try.

  173. @ David
    I’ve also watched the footage a few too many times, in particular the on car clips. It seems to me that throughout the straight (after the chicane), KR is pulling away from LH. That is, KR is faster until the point at which KR heads to the left. Surely this is when Kimi hits his braking zone – which we know from the chicane would have been much earlier than for Lewis.

    Surely then if KR was indeed pulling away from LH until he entered the braking zone, by definition the advantage for Lewis did not come from cutting the chicane, but by being able to brake later for the hairpin.

    Interesting to know other’s thoughts on this specific point.

  174. Hamilton said he positioned himself to drive into Kimi’s slipstream – this was probably the advantage that he was punished for – he did profit from the chicane incident as he would most likely not have been in the same position had he not made the error,

    It seems to me this is a case of incident being clouded by the overall context. Should Stewards take incidents and contextualise them before punishing? I do wonder however, if Kimi had stayed on the track whether the incident would have received a 25 second penalty.

    Lets look at the actual penalties for taking an advantage themselves – why on earth is a drive through appropriate? For a 2 second advantage or less you get docked a 5th of a lap? Wrong and idiotic. Some sort of speed restriction should be applied – 5km off the top speed or something of that nature. I understand there a safety issues but it’s a start place.

  175. think about it people, if the track was monaco would he have braked more and gone behind kimi? or hit the wall?

    he saw empty road – easy escape and keep the speed and minimal loss of time and he took it.

    just because there’s tarmac there doesn’t mean you can just choose it as an escape option, the first option is to slow down and go behind.

    the corner should have had at least speed bumps through it like at monza and other tracks.

  176. also, has anyone actually read the massa interview? it’s quite level headed and explains it quite well..

    “Immediately after the podium ceremony, we knew the incident was under investigation and my first reaction was to find out what had actually happened, as I didn’t see it when I was on the track. What Lewis did is the sort of thing that can happen, but I think he was maybe a bit too optimistic in thinking he could just hand back the position, albeit only partially to Kimi and then immediately try and pass him again. Incidents like this have often been discussed in the official driver briefings when it has been made absolutely clear that anyone cutting a chicane has to fully restore the position and also any other eventual advantage gained. If Lewis had taken the chicane correctly, he would never have been able to pass Kimi on the very short straight that follows it. That was my immediate opinion after seeing the replay. Maybe if Lewis had waited and tried to pass on the next straight, that would have been a different matter.”

  177. Maybe he’s being penalised for being rubbish at the stewards interview.

  178. Thank you to Rabi @ comment 139 for the link to that interview, it was very interesting and explained more fully the stewards decision and without some of the emotive hysteria that others have written their articles with. Odd, as I usually find the ITV commentary team so completely biased towards Hamilton.

    Thank you also to Todd for that quote from Massa, it is something that all the articles on this incident have so far failed to address is that drivers have official briefings on the rules and they are then more aware of the potential interpretation of these rules by the stewards. Bottom line is that Lewis should have waited, silly really as he got the rain he prayed for so if he had been a little more patient, he would have won & kept the points. Still, being patient is not in character with Lewis.

    To Shashi @ comment 161 – I don’t think that Massa was indulging in schadenfreude at Lewis’ expense. I suppose he thought it was compensation for his loss in Hungary where he had such a big lead, that if his team were allowed to push the car the last 3 laps, he would have still won. He is also telling the truth, he had no part in the decision made by the stewards but mentally it is a boost, instead of a large gap in points, it is only two. If you ever watch Massa and Hamilton after a race, even if neither is on the podium, they congratulate each other on their race. I am usually very impressed by the sportsmanship displayed by Massa and Kubica. If they feel that another driver beaten them fairly and squarely by driving a better race, they say so

  179. @ bernification:
    “unless he could stop the car in 15cm he would have collided”
    Lewis was on the outside. His apex would have been slightly different than that of Kimi’s, at that point in time. I simply saw a driver choosing to straight-line a chicane.

    @ William Wilgus
    Your comments from post 89 are quite illuminating.

    To one and all who believe its Kimi, who nudged Ham out:
    Kimi had the apex through that corner. It is the fastest way possible around that corner. Clearly Ham was on the outside and had to wait for the other car, which just happened to be red in this case(it was NOT a Ferrari in France!!!).

    Also what Lewis could have done to avoid an incident is to brake/ lift off, or both(drivers use innovative braking techniques). Of course, he’d have lost some time with respect to Kimi, hence the advantage to be gained by cutting the chicane and the resulting penalty(anyone)? Though i wish that rules were more transparent about this. It is not rocket science. Though, i would think that still some people here would be voicing their displeasure, at Lewis being handed over the penalty. Do i think Lewis has learned anything from this/ France for that matter. Zilch, nada, cypher…

  180. By the way, Keith, I concur thoroughly with others… Fabulous website, thanks for all you must do to maintain it :)

  181. @ Kate
    Thanks for mentioning that drivers are given rule briefings.

  182. Kate, Sri, todd

    The comment about driver briefings in Massa’s interview is indeed informative, especially the fact they’re apparently told to return the position *and* any advantage.

    But this doesn’t answer:

    1) why this rule is inconsistently applied
    2) why a drive-through (or 25-second penalty) would be just
    3) why the rules the stewards cited on not going off-track and gaining an advantage weren’t applied to other incidents during the race where this occurred
    4) why KR wasn’t investigated for weaving to block Hamilton or overtaking him under yellow flags later at Fagnes

    But hey, it’s almost Monza already! Who knows, this time next week we may be discussing a whole new incident and dubious FIA decision ;0)

  183. William Wilgus
    9th September 2008, 6:03

    Sri #181:
    I take that as a compliment and thank you.
    David #174 et. al.:
    From watching the on-car camera video from Hamilton’s car in the right-hand turn portion of the chicane, it’s rather easy to see that any contact between Hamilton and Kimi in that turn would have had to have been extremely slight because you can’t see any `bobble’ of Hamilton’s car. It’s rather easy to see that While trying to negotiate the right-hander, Hamilton’s left wheels were off the left side of the track. (I can’t help thinking that it was `marble city’ where he was and was seriously too fast in the chicane.) In one of my viewings of that video I then saw Hamilton turning his steering wheel to the left of center, obviously opting to take the short-cut. From other videos, it’s apparent that happened at approximately the exit from the right-hander and entry to the left-hander.

    You’ll have to bear with me as I’m un-able to diagram this next part and will have to try and explain it.
    Visualize the track with a center-line around it—just as one finds on a two-way highway—and further visualize that center-line having distance markers (from the starting line) on it.

    In a video shot from the straight after the chicane looking back at the chicane, Kimi is negotiating the left-hander of the chicane and Hamilton is taking the short-cut and is almost back on the track. If you remember your geometry lessons and can visualize a line perpendicular to the track’s center line that passes through Hamilton’s car and another one through Kimi’s, you’ll see that at that point (time) in the race, Hamilton is farther `down the track’ than Kimi is—even though Hamilton is `off’ the track. THAT might have been counted as a pass by the Stewards. Regardless, Hamilton could not have been that far advanced down the track if he had not taken the short-cut.

    What happened going down the straight following the chicane was purely a drag race (acceleration contest). Viewing the on-car video from Hamilton’s car from the point he opted to cut the corner to the point where Kimi passed him on the straight, it’s clear from the audio that Hamilton never backed off—just the opposite. The simple reason that Hamilton was `6 mph slower than Kimi at the start-finish line’ was that was the best his car could do! (Hamilton `let him pass’ my @**.)

    So let’s get back to the unfair advantage of cutting the chicane. I can’t say the following is what the Stewards thought, but it’s one explanation:

    Being slightly off-track and in the marbles, there was no way that Hamilton could have taken the left-hander as fast as Kimi and would have had to follow him out of it. As everyone knows, the leading car exiting a corner gets to accelerate sooner and always opens a gap with the following car. Especially given Ferrari’s superior acceleration, there’s no way that Hamilton would have been in a position to challenge at the next corner—the gap would have been too great.

  184. Not given enough advantage back? Yeah he should let Raikkonen lap him first before attacking him again. There is no strict definition in the rule to quantify how you much need to give back. I bet you if the role is reversed, the FIA will not penalise Ferrari by saying the Ferrari has given the position back.
    The worst thing about this episode is, Ferrari did not even instigate the investigation. This further proves that the FIA is totally biased towards Ferrari. It seems when other teams are battling with Ferrari, they will get penalised when the fingernail is sligthtly over the line, but to penalise Ferrari it needs to be more clear cut. And that’s wrong.

  185. Keith , lots and lots of comments on this “hot” issue , as expected. I note your response on #26 , which is interesting. I can’t disagree as I only go by memory on the incident (now a year ago), however , again , it’s possible he went too hot into the corner , which made Massa tap him , then he went across the chicane ? So what I’m saying , maybe he has a “naughty schoolboy – (remember the guys who were always in trouble in the back of class …)” reputation when it comes to cutting chicanes? But if that is , I still think the penalty , especially handed out AFTER that thrilling race , and one which it looked evident Lewis would have won anyway , was too hard and generally bad for the sports reputation . They should instead have fined him with a warning , similar to what Massa got in Valencia.

  186. David @ 184

    Agree that Massa’s comment wasn’t all encompassing but presumably it depends on the question he was asked. I don’t disagree with you that the rule is not consistently applied but the drivers sign on each season knowing that 25s penalty exists, if it is imposed.

    A policeman does not always issue a fine to private citizen drivers either, there is some discretion in letting people off with a caution. Whether they should or not is a grey area, hence all this debate.

  187. Massa is known for rubbish comments, for sure.

    anyway, I got it, instead of chicance gate we should call this fight “Spa-Turn”

    HA! the 300…. milliseconds.

  188. “If Lewis would have gone unpenalized than this would have probably become the most popular way to overtake.

    Go into a chicane, break late, show to world you had no other option and then just lift off the throttle enough for the person in front of you to get slightly ahead and then overtake him at the end of the straight.

    I am not saying that Lewis did it intentionally. But the penalty was a must to ensure that it did not happen again.” – AJ

    AJ, he must’ve learned it from Massa at Fuji 2007 then. At that race Massa fought with Kubica at the final turn, went off the track, gained an advantage, came back in front of Kubica and finished ahead of Kubica. Guess what? NO PENALTY. If you want to ensure such things never happen again, punish Massa to the max. But nooooo, he was driving a RED car, so he gets off scott free.

  189. Isnt it odd that Ferrari did not lodge the protest? I would therefore assume that they felt at the time that it was racing as well. I am appalled at what impact this might have on the WDC. Anyway, this horse is beaten dead already and I dont think we should hold our breath for justice to prevail. Hopefully Lewis can put this mess behind him and deliver a sensational performance at Monza. He’ll just have to avoid driving close to anyone or risk getting a penalty for whatever reason! What a shame that F1 has become a mockery.

  190. Hamilton deserve penalty.

  191. Alianora:

    I’ve just noticed something. One of the stewards was French. The rules forbid any steward sharing a nationality with any competitor. Last I checked, Sebastien Bourdais was French.

    Therefore one of the stewards shouldn’t have been there, and his decision is therefore invalid.

    It’s a great spot and you’re right about people getting let off on technicalities. But I don’t think the ‘stewards must not share nationality with competitors’ thing is actually a rule.

    At the British Grand Prix the stewards included Tony Scott Andrews (British) and Garry Connelly (Australia), and at the European Grand Prix Graham Stoker (British) was one of the stewards.

    So either it’s not a rule, or a lot of recent decisions have been invalid!

    What more can we say!

    Everyone should stop being online stewards, and…LISTEN to what NIKKI LAUDA ……experienced world champion that drove for both teams had to say.

  193. Given that Lauda, Stewart, and even Ralf Schumacher have come out and called the penalty awful I think this debate is done. If any of you pro-penalty lot can come up with someone of similar stature who is also pro-penalty then we’ll start to listen again. If it’s just your personal opinion vs that of two previous world champions then I will struggle to pay attention to you.

  194. diseased rat, that’s not the right way out. Don’t rely on others’ opinions. If you think your case is strong, rely on your own merits. That just sounds about right, doesn’t it? :)

  195. Journeyer, actually no. Surely the view of a multiple world champion carries more weight than that of a mere fan?

  196. thats a home ovdeo of the bus stopp move from outside grandstand, look how far over kimi is and u will see hamo had absolutely no choice but to do as he did to avoid a crash!

  197. ‘Journeyer, actually no. Surely the view of a multiple world champion carries more weight than that of a mere fan?’

    But he’s just a spectator, just like the rest of us. He doesn’t know everything, just like the rest of us.

  198. I won’t comment on the Lewis vs Kimi incident. Everything one could have said about it has already been said – I would just encorage you to follow the advise of Fernando and read the rules. In fact the rules are mighty clear about when it is ok to retake the car in front after you gave back the position for having cut the chicane.
    I just would like to comment on the Massa vs Kubica incident. Come on! Have you seen the whole footage? They spent half a lap throwing each other out of the track and in the end, Massa did not cut the corner – he was throuwn out to the outside of the curve. The comparison with the Spa incident is total rubish. You may be upset that Massa was the beneficiary of the current decision, but he did not cause it – no need to try to “get back on him”

  199. Pitpass are reporting a rumour McLaren may withdraw their appeal. No quotes on it though.

  200. Conspiracy , mafia , money under the table if not anything worse !!!! FIA is not to be trusted , clearly show its favourism to Ferrari. I hope McLaren win this year championship , even if there are little possibilities…

    Personally I am hugely disappointed with formula 1 and I am not sure if I ever watch any other grand prix

    sorry for my english I am from Greece

  201. I have been thinking more about this and a horrible thought came to me:
    We can expect a Bernie-off-the-wall comment either at Monza or at the end of the season to the extent that ‘after the Spa debacle, the FIA are in no position to control the delicate balance of F1 racing, it would be much better if this was taken out of their hands’.
    This plays so well into Bernie’s desire to control all aspects of F1, and frankly, its worrying!
    Not that Bernie has any influence over the Stewards, of course…..

  202. Keith, why isn’t Charlie Whiting mentioned in the Pitpass article? It just says (FIA Safety Delegate).

    What’s up with that?

  203. QuePasa (69)
    To much rules to munch penalties. Bruno Senna for sure didn´t deserve that one to.

    If Hamilton had knowed he was penalised he could try to race even more,or make another crazy think like stoping to change tyres like Heidfeld. He could even even had the chance to win the race, because he was faster then everibody in all the wet conditions.

    What seens unfair is to have a penalty after the “game over”

  204. Just thought of an 8th really important reason why so many F1 fans are furious – the stewards’ decisions should be completely transparent and we should be able to see who they are conferring with when they make these decisions, otherwise they will never be fully trusted.

    I can’t think of any other sport where a decision which determines the outcome of a competition is decided in a room with anonymous people who are not required to fully explain how they came to their decision. This in itself is totally and utterly unacceptable.

    As an addendum, I have to say I am so sick of people who are saying they agree with the penalty. People are entitled to their own opinions, but rules are rules, millions of people have access to all the footage, and we could all SEE IN FRONT OF OUR EYES that Lewis complied with the rules as written down and yet was still penalised. To defend that is rotten, just plain rotten.

  205. yeah there’s a daily motion video link floating around that’s the last 2 laps from before hamilton overtook until the end where kimi crashed, and its incar from whatever car was behind at the time – and if you watch AFTER hamilton over takes kimi at the first corner, it switches to kimi’s view, and then at the other side of larouge on the main straight, he makes 2 swerves across the track – straight away i’ve said out loud ‘that’s an illegal move to defend a line’

    actually the link was in this post #29

    thanks to #29 – good find

  206. Perhaps it is time we direct our comments to the FIA International Court of Appeal:

    Please spread this address all over the web.

  207. Alianora La Canta
    9th September 2008, 11:17

    There are no regulations that prevent a race penalty (of any type) to be appealed. Practise and qualifying penalties cannot be appealed, but anything in a race can. The reason why drive-through penalties are generally not appealed is because by the time the formalities of protest had been organised and adjudged upon, the drive-through penalty would have to be taken to avoid a severe penalty for non-compliance.

    The regulation Hamilton is supposed to have contravened (Article 30.3) has nothing in it about sporting advantage or mitigation – it simply says that all drivers must stay on the track at all times. In theory, nearly everyone racing on Sunday fell foul of Article 30.7, yet only Hamilton was investigated. Kind of odd, don’t you think?

  208. It’s awful to read so many comments from so many angry people on what can only be considered the correct decision. Lewis Hamilton is no doubt a talented driver but he has proven time and time again that he is young dumb and full of……. There are a few clear indicators that he and any other driver should be responsible for. Firstly he tried to defend himself by blaming Kimi for his running wide “he pushed me as wide as he could” this is not true. I say this because every driver (even the Force India’s) know the track they are racing on and Kimi was clearly going wide as he would to take the exit out of the chicane, even if Lewis wasn’t there. So Lewis should have known that the move he tried was risky at best and should never have tried to take Kimi “on the outside”. If he had taken the right line and stayed behind Kimi he would have been able to take Kimi on La Source without issue. Secondly, by running wide he obviously had an advantage as he came out in front. Thirdly, the biggest mistake Lewis made was to come out in front of and then very gradually slip into Kimi’s slip stream for La Source. I think it’s unfair to say Kimi tried to block Hamilton before La Source because once again all Kimi was doing was trying to get a good line into the corner only to realise Lewis had stuck his nose in, hence his jink in and away.
    The bottom line is that Lewis is still young and over aggressive which is good and bad. Bad because he has plenty of time to make a fatal error and Good because he has plenty of time to learn so he doesn’t make that fatal error. The stewards had no choice.

    If the FIA are so anti McLaren and pro Ferrari then why did Alonso win two titles in recent past?

    By the way Keith – I think it’s a bit of a shame that you haven’t tried to arrest this clearly biased forum debate or at least acknowledge “the other side” of the argument.

  209. “Not a steward” – I have addressed the other side of the argument several times in the comments (in this post and elsewhere) and explained very clearly why I don’t agree with it. It’s ludicrous to call a debate ‘biaised’ – it is just a forum for people to share and discuss their opinions. If more people are supporting Hamilton’s position that the stewards then that’s just indicative of what msot people think, which is what I wrote in the post.

  210. I’m certainly in two minds about continuing to watch F1 after this year.

  211. Well one of my brother told me a FIA RULEBOOK updated in this year says that > “Advantage gained should be given back FOR ONE LAP” <
    Is it true?

  212. @Not a Steward: “If the FIA are so anti McLaren and pro Ferrari then why did Alonso win two titles in recent past?”

    I think you’ll find he won those titles in a Renault so not sure of the relevance of your point.

    as for trying to persuade Keith to “arrest” the debate I find that quite sinister. Most people like this forum because they are free to argue their different points of view. If you don’t like the arguments then post something constructive to the contrary or close your eyes but don’t ask for censorship.

  213. Referring to this onboard video:

    0.56 Hamilton storms into the corner, half a car length BEHIND Kimi
    0.57 realises that he won’t make it, cuts the chicane,
    1.00 engine note indicates he does NOT lift off to let Kimi past, he’s accelerating through the gears
    1.06 gets behind Kimi long enough for a tow
    1.07 immediately storms past him again into the next corner.

    Ballsy stuff and technically, he did give the place back, but he did it only long enough for a tow into the next corner – advantage Lewis.

    Incidentally, you can see that Kimi’s spin later (3.10) is due to a back marker on the racing line.

  214. Kate @

    I think the wider issue is that given this was a difficult or marginal call, the stewards have a responsibility to the sport as a whole and to put the incident in the context of the race. My argument is that they *already* did this in other cases by, for example, not penalizing Raikkonen since he later crashed out of the race.

    Hamilton has made up a lot of ground on KR in one lap and it was evident he was going to pass him on the new lap, as Massa argued – the question was how this would happen and if they’d both stay on track in the process. If he did gain a sporting advantage at the chicane (I believe if he did it was very minimal, too slight to warrant a penalty) in the context of the race, it wasn’t relevant to his win over Massa and Heidfeld. Ideally the stewards should have made a decision quickly (as they sometimes do!) and told Hamilton either (a) to let KR past again, or (b – presuming KR was already a DNF) given him a drive-through. (As Brar said, he could have then changed to wets!) Or if too late, they should have given him a 5-place grid penalty in Monza rather than damage the sport by overruling a race win. A grid penalty would have been worse I think in championship terms than the 6 points effectively lost to Massa, but less contentious and damaging of the spirit of the sport as a race.

    That said, McLaren should probably drop their appeal and concentrate on keeping Lewis concentrated. He’s every chance of winning the WDC still and if so, Spa 2008 will have its own special place in F1 history as the race he won but got 6 points.

  215. David – “[They should have](b) given him a drive-through. (As Brar said, he could have then changed to wets!) a race.”

    And then follow Schumachers cue and take your penalty on the final lap, because apparently that’s admissable.

    Changing tyres isn’t allowed in a drive through, mind.

  216. Diseased Rat (#195)
    “Given that Lauda, Stewart, and even Ralf Schumacher have come out and called the penalty awful I think this debate is done. If any of you pro-penalty lot can come up with someone of similar stature who is also pro-penalty then we’ll start to listen again. If it’s just your personal opinion vs that of two previous world champions then I will struggle to pay attention to you.”

    More interesting is what Ralf had to say about Ferrari and the FIA
    “In my experience, Ferrari has always had priority in Formula One, which we have seen in many situations”

    Certainly a little interesting.

  217. Mr Soap @
    Thanks for the rule observation, live and learn.

  218. I don’t think anyone has mentioned the GP2 race. I finally watched it on DVR last night and it was a child’s treasury of wacky rule enforcement. Within 5 laps I saw TWO drivers cut the chicane without penalty. The first, Senna, pushed by a pursuer in the braking zone, went straight through. No penalty. Soon after, another guy did the same thing. No penalty. Then, and here is the irony, Senna was launched from his pit against another car, precisely as Massa was in Valencia. Senna was given a drive-through, dropping him from first to last.

    Personally I would not have been pleased with a drive through for Massa, because though I am not a fan of the red car, Massa did not cause an accident. And to gift a win to Hamilton who was soundly beaten would have been a travesty. I just wish for enforcement that is not a complete lottery.

  219. @Shahriar – Well one of my brother told me a FIA RULEBOOK updated in this year says that > “Advantage gained should be given back FOR ONE LAP” <
    Is it true?

    Sorry I can’t find that on any of the rules available on the FIA website.

    The rule that Lewis broke according to the stewards was “GENERAL SAFETY” 30.3(a)
    During practice and the race, drivers may use only the track and must at all times observe the
    provisions of the Code relating to driving behaviour on circuits

    The referring Code is in Annex L Chapter 4 “Overtaking” 2(g)
    The race track alone shall be used by the drivers during the race.

    Nothing states about advantage, but I guess you can read a lot into these rules.
    Lewis overtook Kimi by not using the track (i.e: cutting the chicane)
    Therefore he breached both these rules.
    If they link the move at the chicane as a set-up to the overtake at La Source then it’s a valid penalty.
    That’s how I interpret their decision.
    We should stop talking about “advantage” as it’s just not there in the rules.

    But then do drivers lift off the throttle mid overtaking on a straight? :) We could go on for ages on this…..

    I guess one rule broken isn’t investigated by the stewards, especially rule 30.3(a) as drivers leave the track quite a bit during races. I’m assuming that this incident was looked at as it involved overtaking and a breach of the Sporting Code as well as the Sporting Regulations.

    If you want to compare incidents on previous years you’ll need to dig up the rules for those years as the wording is different. That makes it hard to compare it directly with Michael Schumacher \ Pedro De La Rosa in Hungary 2006. In that case Michael was defending against Pedro De La Rosa so if you go by the current rules he did not breach the “Overtaking” rule Annex L 2(g) when he cut the chicane.

  220. Mr Soap.. @ 218 unfortunately I think sibling rivalry plays more of a part in Ralf’s comments than it does…

    Can I ask what are the respective ages of the teams… is Ferrari the oldest established F1 team? Therefore more exposure to decisions, and therefore a perceived bias?

    Could it also be that only the decisions made about Ferrari or McClaren are the ones that people remember? There were other rulings made in that race regarding other teams but they have not merited over 200 comments.

  221. @William #185
    —–What happened going down the straight following the chicane was purely a drag race (acceleration contest). Viewing the on-car video from Hamilton’s car from the point he opted to cut the corner to the point where Kimi passed him on the straight, it’s clear from the audio that Hamilton never backed off—just the opposite. The simple reason that Hamilton was `6 mph slower than Kimi at the start-finish line’ was that was the best his car could do! (Hamilton `let him pass’ my @**.)——-

    Until You made the above statement, I was in agreement with some of what you had said. If you really watched the onboard video, you will see him looking at his mirrors on the right all the time waiting for Kimi to go past. And It is very obvious that you have no appreciation of the dynamics that was at play during the latter part of the race.

    If Lewis had applied full acceleration haven taken evasive action at the chicane, there was no chance in hell Kimi would ever have got close to him again. Atnd if Lewis was protecting his lead, it would have been easier to have just driven straight into Kimi’s path.

    The car’s engine sounds the same revving to 17000rpm or 19000 so it is naive of you to say Lewis continued accelerating without saying if he was accelerating fully.

    At that point in the race, Lewis was getting better drive from his car than Kimi was, hence Lewis was able to cut a 2sec lead to 0 long before he got into Kimi’s slip stream, prior to the chicane incident.

    Kimi said it was all or nothing, the way he approached the race, that might tell you why Lewis was forced to cut the chicane after they touched, because from a video that has since been removed, you can actually hear when the cars touched and Lewis chose the sensible option.

  222. Even on this dailymotion video you can hear a small “thump” when they touched

  223. Kate:

    Mr Soap.. @ 218 unfortunately I think sibling rivalry plays more of a part in Ralf’s comments than it does…

    Ralf Schumacher drives for Mercedes in the DTM. That doesn’t mean he’s wrong, of course…

  224. How far should LH have let KR go in front. They were bumper to bumper into the chicane, then LH let KR back in front. LH makes a fair move to get passed KR and then again the lead changed hands. LH is clearly the better driver in all weather conditions as KR couldn’t keep his car on the track. So is it really fair to hand the win to FM. He was miles off the pace and not in contention. It leaves a bad taste in ones mouth, but it all doedn’t matter as LH is going to win anyways!

  225. Two days after the verdict one of the stewards has finally bothered to speak about it, but hasn’t addressed any of the questions about the decision.

    This is from Surinder Thatthi (the one who complained about Sebastien Loeb’s beard being too long):

    There was no conspiracy against anybody, McLaren included. We acted professionally and within the FIA rules. Hamilton took a short cut inside of the corner while off the track.

    We had a choice to mete out a time penalty or 10 grid places in the next grand prix race. We opted for the former and handed a time penalty of 25 seconds.

    I know I am a very unpopular person in the United Kingdom now, but then I was doing my job and I know I acted professionally.

    As has been noted here already “Hamilton took a short cut inside of the corner while off the track,” is true, but it ignores that Hamilton gave the place back, that other people cut the same corner and had no punishment, and other people cut corners and gained advantages in other races and had no punishment.

  226. I read on ITV-F1 that KR isn’t giving up on his title hopes which creates an interesting situation. I reckon that the person who has most to gain from a successful McLaren appeal is their old driver Kimi. Think about it:

    LH: Still leading the championship either way
    FM: Still the lead Ferrari driver either way
    KR: if the decision stands his season is over and he’s forced to help little Fil win for the next 5 races. Ignominious end for a WDC defence.

    It’s unlikely but it would be quite funny if McLaren end up with a surprise star witness who comes out and says it was just a racing incident….

    The fact that he hasn’t said anything of the sort leads me to think this isn’t his last season in F1, otherwise he wouldn’t have much to lose.

  227. @Keith – may be someones telephone was turned off at that time :)
    btw is this is surprising you?

    for me interesting pars is:
    “We had a choice to mete out a time penalty or 10 grid places in the next grand prix race. We opted for the former and handed a time penalty of 25 seconds.”
    why this was not a case after Massa’s pit at Valencia ?

  228. Oliver #225:
    I find it hard to believe that someone would give a place back by `short-shifting’
    & Keith #229:
    We all have to remember that without a forensic examination of the videos AND the telemetry from Hamilton’s car as it matches up with the videos—and of course the knowledge of how to interpret it—none of us can PROVE anything. So all of what we’ve written is opinion—just as Lauda’s, Stewart’s and Ralf’s is.

    I’m done; thanks to all, I’ve enjoyed it.

  229. McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh has explained more about what went on during the race:

    From the pit wall, we then asked Race Control to confirm that they were comfortable that Lewis had allowed Kimi to repass, and they confirmed twice that they believed that the position had been given back in a manner that was ‘okay’.

    If Race Control had instead expressed any concern regarding Lewis’s actions at that time, we would have instructed Lewis to allow Kimi to repass for a second time.

    Hamilton added:

    I managed to get slightly ahead of [Raikkonen] in the braking area for the first apex of the chicane. He fought back approaching the second apex – but, in doing so, he left no room for me on the inside line. The only way for me to avoid a collision was therefore to cut inside the second apex.

    I came out of the second apex in front of Kimi and so I momentarily lifted-off on the straight, to ensure that Kimi got back in front. The team also came on the radio and instructed me to allow Kimi to repass, which I had already done. As a result, Kimi crossed the start/finish line ahead of me and 6.7 km/h quicker than me.

    After allowing Kimi to completely repass, I crossed from the left side of the track to the right side of the track, passing behind Kimi in the process. I then attacked Kimi on the inside of the first corner, and successfully outbraked him.

  230. hamilton clearly had advantage by going off and deserved penalty, i think

  231. If the contemporaneous race control approval is true and documented, its hard to side with the stewards. I believe what happened was that the stewards originally thought the move was suspect, but told Dennis it was OK, because they were hoping Kimi would relieve them of the need to decide by winning. They should not have said anything unless they were making the call at the time.

  232. I thought i will stay away from this mess but…here i am.
    First : Asking question what hamilton supose to do when Kimi did not let him past and He went to shikane. We need remeber that FIA did not give him penalty for that. He got penalty because he gain adbantage from that movement. So what hamilton should do or not should not do is not point. Point is what happened after that.

    Second. In some reason nobody , special not McLaren and Hamilton fans did not ask question about FIAs favorites over Hamilton in last season. 3 times if you really think about it. NOBODY was not shouting that FIA is giving favorite to McLaren. Hmmm… intresting….

    Seems that memory of F1 fans and speacial british are very very short.

    So if Hamilton get unfair punishment its because FIA gives ALLWAYS favorite to Ferrari but if Hamilton do NOT get penalty when he should its just right thing. If you do not know what i mean just go and watch all races of last season. You may or at least you should see that there was 3 cases where Hamilton clearly broke rules and FIA let him go.

    Sorry guys but i think there is something wrong…

  233. I have this to say after watching again the onboard footage of Lewis & Kimi’s battle,

    Trulli said if you choose to overtake on the outside, you do so at your own risk, and if there’s a wall there, Lewis will break for the corner…

    Well, you can see in the footage that Kimi breaks VERY early on the inside. It almost caught out Lewis, and had no choice but to go on the outside. While I agree Kimi got the line to the corner, and was slow enough not to drift to the outside for the next corner, Kimi did not give room to Lewis and deliberately close the door on Lewis, running him off track.

    So I just don’t buy those who say Lewis should’ve breaked for the corner, and will not have enough momentum to pass at La Source.
    1) He had no time to react to break and stay behind Kimi at corner 1 of Bus Stop.
    2) Kimi had enough grip to stay well inside after apexing corner 1 of Bus Stop
    3) Kimi could’ve easily leave just enough room for Lewis to stay on the outside, but chose not to.

    If Kimi DID leave just enough room, they’d be side by side going into 2nd corner of Bus Stop and the straight. So after Lewis cut the chicane and let Kimi pass, although the gap is quite little, but I think if they went side by side in the last corner, Kimi’s lead will be more or less the same, or Lewis could’ve pass him having a better drive out the inside of the 2nd corner of Bus Stop.

    But hey, that maybe precisely the reason why Kimi ran Lewis off track anyway…

  234. All the people who think the penalty was wrong, also consider this… Trulli is quoted by, to be stating that “Ham gained an advantage”

    He definitely knows more than us couch experts… He is known to be reasonably fair and an uncontroversial person. Knows better than Lauda, cos Lauda’s not racing, he used to(that was more than 2 decades ago).

  235. some pictures from last corner:
    taken from video pointed by LongTimeF1Fan (comment 404 on lewis-hamilton-stripped-of-belgian-gp-win-another-asinine-fia-decision)

  236. Keith and Co

    I understand that we all have a point of view and was only putting forward my own opinion. The reason I stated my disappointment with this thread is because although some disagree with the outcome from Spa the overall tone from many was to threaten boycott and throwing around accusations about FIA’s apparent bias towards Ferrari. I think as a “F1 Fanatic” you have a level of responsibilty to ensure that these debates don’t get out of hand as this one has. People complaining that the FIA are ruining the sport are the people we as F1 fans can do without in my opinion. This sport has been around for a long time and at this level you can expect a 50/50 decision to offend some but it’s the usual suspects that cry blue murder when it’s against them. Please explain to me why I can lose my licence for running a red light but it’s only a ten place penalty for Hamilton when he manages to wreck someone else’s chance in a race by doing the same?

    McLaren have decided to stand their ground and appeal the decision. I don’t think they will win but that doesn’t mean if they do that I will accuse the court of appeal of favouring McLaren.

    As for my point regarding Alonso’s title’s, I know that he wasn’t with McLaren but you can’t honestly tell me that you believe Ferrari are only favoured when McLaren is in question? That makes no sense at all. The bias people are talking about is in relation to any other team isn’t it?

    To clear things up. I think some people on this thread have made some interesting points but a majority have made comments that do nothing for the sport!

  237. ‘Not a Steward’ – Are you asking me to censor the side of the debate you don’t agree with? Not much chance of that I’m afraid.

    “Please explain to me why I can lose my licence for running a red light but it’s only a ten place penalty for Hamilton when he manages to wreck someone else’s chance in a race by doing the same?” – Because if you run a red light you could kill someone, which is a bit more serious than spoiling someone’s race.

  238. The Rules could also be tweaked to expressly state that if you have cut one corner, you should not overtake the car ahead of you until you have taken the following corner because clearly then the any advantage gained by cutting the last corner has been neutralized.

  239. I wonder if anyone can tell me the exact ruling from the stewards, and where I can find the exact wording of this ruling. I am still confused.

  240. I don’t know what you can or can’t do Keith but picking apart my opinion to suit your point of view isn’t it. I don’t know about killing anyone but you have to agree that the impact of Hamilton could have been worse and even killed someone. The point of a penalty in any sport should be to teach the offender a lesson so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again and even worse stop them from killing someone. Regardless, you have made an effort on a couple of occasions to inflame the situation to which people have reacted with some pretty harsh words. Do you think it’s for the good of F1 if people complain and carry on like this every time a 50/50 goes against them?

    Give me one decision that has been to the benefit of Ferrari that hasn’t come with the tag of “FIA again favour Ferrari”? If Massa had of run his machine into the wall in the last two laps and Alonso came across the line second would we be talking about how Alonso has the FIA in his pocket? In turn, that being the reason he got his two titles?

    Another point that wasn’t spoken about was that Ferrari also lodged a complaint about the incident, it wasn’t only the FIA that decided to investigate.

    I wouldn’t expect you to censor anyone but I think you haven’t helped the situation by starting several threads that anyone could see would bring out this arkane anti Ferrari sentiment.

  241. My apologies but I had heard at the end of the ITV broadcast that Ferrari had also lodged a complaint. As you so eloquently pointed out, they have since denied having lodged a complaint.

    At the same time I thank you S Hughes for coming to my aide in proving how abusive and intolerant some people can be.

    You can’t be serious when you say that because a minority have signed a dodgy, unofficial petition and said they have ties to Alonso and Ferrari that they do?

    What says it all about you S Hughes is that of all the things I said you could only find fault in what was a simple mistake!

    Thanks Keith for letting me post and hopefully bring some balance back to the debate. I don’t know about S Hughes though.

  242. Can I please ask everyone once again to refrain from using insulting language – comments like that will simply be deleted, which I have done in this thread. Let’s stick to the details of the debate.

    More info:

    Comment policy
    Rules on commenting (forum post)

  243. One last thing I want to say about this incident.

    Is it curious that Bernie Ecclestone said not one word publicly about all this? Is he not sensitive to the fact he is still supposedly “The Man Running the Show” in F1? Where’s the strong leadership after a crisis like this that rock F1 (yet again…)

    Is he busy in the background pulling some strings? Or just hiding away letting time to cool off the controversy? Maybe he’s summoned by CVC bankers to explain himself the “sporting nature” of F1?

    What do you all think? Is Bernie losing the plot or is he working on some crisis management plans? Or he just doesn’t give a ….

  244. In the post race press conference LH states he was ahead of KR into the chicane. On reviewing the racing LH was not fully ahead of KR, who held his inside line, which he was entitled to do according to Mark Blundle ex-McLaren driver/ITV co-presenter. Did LH gain an advantage by cutting the chicane – I feel yes he did for reasons as stated in earlier posts. However it was an asinine decision to give him a penalty due to the fact it failed to take into consideration the dry tyres in wet conditions.In this instance a more flexible interpretation of the rules would be more appropriate. Since the Ratzenberger/Senna double death San Marino GP of 1994, all vested interested parties within F1 have been paranoid about avoiding further deaths/serious incidents and have agreed safety regulations/rules, that systematically have been sanitising the racing. One consequence of this are these rigid asinine penalty rules that are applied inconsistently and stifle real wheel to wheel racing. Hence JPM quote at his first NASCAR press conference re F1, ‘’ you touch another car, you’re an animal.’’ . Another reason this particular penalty situation arose is because to appease national racing bodies the stewards change every race leading to inconsistent interpretation of the rules. A professional racing series like F1 should have a permanent team of stewards for each season to prevent these inconsistencies and accusations of favouritism. The bigger problem is that F1 is full of asinine rules both technical and otherwise that prevent true racing. This combined with the influx and demands of big corporate money/crass commercial exploitation (eg Australian GP – have a evening race or lose it) of all parties involved , who are turning this sport into a sort of Disneyesque pantomime. F1 is now a global money making business for all those who have invested in it or stand to benefit and that takes precedence over the sporting element. As long as it is like this, these bad decisions and bad rule changes will continue to occur to manipulate a showdown world championship finale. This following quote sums up in my opinion what’s wrong with all the current self serving F1 participants as whole and how asinine it has all become. This is a quote from LH regarding Monza, post race I guess, published in the British press on Monday 8th September. ‘’ I am pretty sure that as a team they will work together. I don’t know whether it’s in the rules, your not allowed to have any team orders.’’ Now how asinine is that presumptuous LH comment!!!

  245. audiq7 posted a link to on board video from Hamilton’s car. After watching that particular video, this is how it looks to me.

    During the lap leading up the the incident, Hamilton was catching Raikkonen at a tremendous pace, and in my mind, was certain to pass him before the end of the Grand Prix. Leading into the chicane Raikkonen appears to brake early, forcing Hamilton to take the outside line into the turn. Then, part way through the chicane, he cuts back across forcing Hamilton to cut the chicane to avoid damaging both cars. Then in the straight afterwards Hamilton cuts behind Raikkonen, which in my mind, shows that the position was in fact returned to Raikkonen.

    My opinion is that it was a terrible decision to penalize Hamilton. It was racing. Pure and simple. In fact, it was exactly what I’ve been craving from Formula One for years. Wheel to wheel racing by the most talented open wheel racers of this generation. What a shame the stewards weren’t so welcoming to the return of what made Formula 1 so great in the first place.

  246. while finding an f1 article i got this

    what is your opinion vote there.
    Why f1fanatic don’t have some poll as well?

  247. The stewards’ decision is no surprise to me, but if Raikkonen had had to cut the chicane to avoid an accident because Hamilton had legitimately held his line, and then Raikkonen had let Hamilton through again before crossing the start line, I believe the stewards’ decision would have been very different. In my opinion, their decisions have been biased in Ferrari’s favour for many years, and these days it’s that rather than money that puts me off the brand. How many others out there feel that strongly, and therefore own a Porsche, Aston, Audi R8, or similar instead. Probably not what Ferrari retail marketing quite have in mind, is it.
    The only solution I can see is to keep all the existing drivers, Ferrari then build 20 F1 cars, and the stewards scrap every McLaren, BMW, Renault, Red Bull, Williams, Torro Rosso, Honda, Toyota & Force India.
    It’s potentially a good idea because we real fans can enjoy close racing that allows driver talent to be paramount, the drivers would like it because their skills are easily seen, and the stewards would like it because Ferrari would win every race without them having to fix the result.


    Avoid an accident or avoid to lose to much ground?

    A 2 tenth diffrence at 80km/h is about 4.4m. At 200km/h it’s 11.11m. Not realy the same…

  249. nice shot … but let’s no remember that rain is falling at this time … did we need another Canada repeat ?
    already posted but look where are other cars at the same place, and where is Kimi:
    I’m with Keith on this
    “Raikkonen forced Hamilton off the track by swerving across the front of the McLaren”
    it’s racing nothing more, nothing less …

  250. Interesting article from Mark Hughes on the ITV-F1 website.

  251. @mail123456
    Sorry mate, i beg to differ. Ham could have easily averted a repeat of Canada by using his brakes.

    Surely this is not the first time that he cut a chicane, did he? Why defend his tactics(sure it feels like that) so ardently? Infact, i for one thought, “damn, that’s a penalty alright”, as soon as he pulled the move. The only thing which i did not understand was, what took stewards so long to penalize him?

    Also, see the link( from autosport, where Trulli pretty much puts to rest any doubts about whether there was an advantage to be gained.

  252. @mail123456
    Let me clarify that when i said, “sure it feels like that”, i meant that Ham uses this as a race strategy and sees no wrong with it. As per statements issued by him after both France and Spa.

    No insult was insinuated at ya(read it again and it seemed open to interpretation, “sure it feels like that” bit..)

    sorry if i hurt ya with that…

  253. @Sri – nothing to hurt :) we are state our arguments, did’t we ?
    I read Trulli statement when it was published and I completely agree with him. He is right about
    “In my opinion Hamilton got an advantage by cutting the chicane, Had he stayed on the road, he wouldn’t have had the speed to overtake the Ferrari.”, but only if track was dry. Ferrari’s were so bad in wet.
    I still think that
    “Raikkonen forced Hamilton off the track by swerving across the front of the McLaren. Hamilton had been entirely alongside the Ferrari going into the corner.” – Keith
    And also think that if Hamilton push his brakes hard in chicane he will be finish somewhere in Kimi’s car. It was wet and slippery. But that’s just my thoughts.

    “To me the facts are quite clear in retrospect. I have had a look at the videos, I’ve had a look at the published data which shows that Lewis was nearly 7 km/h slower than Raikkonen across the line, you can quite clearly see on the in-car camera that he lets him get completely in front, and in my view Raikkonen just braked very early.

    “Lewis went inside him, and if you look at the in-car camera stuff, Lewis drove around the hairpin very easily. He didn’t have a big slide, he didn’t have to correct it, he hadn’t gone in too deep and come out wide, it was a perfectly legitimate manouevre, and it wasn’t that much later that Raikkonen went past him.

    “This is racing, this is what we want.”

    These are from Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds.

  254. @Sri – just another thing about breaking
    why Kimi left track ? Why just not break there and stay behind, but he opted to leave track ? Did Kimi know how to use his breaks ?:)
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m just trying to say that on given time track was wet and when we judge we have to take that fact …

  255. Well it seems the other drivers think Hamilton broke the rules even if the penalty may have been harsh

    The article also states that

    ‘The problem is that the stewards in Spa had no choice but to punish Hamilton in the way they did once they had concluded he had committed an offence.
    If a driver is found guilty of this offence, they can choose one of two penalties – to drive through the pits, where there is a speed limit, without stopping, or a 10-second stop-go penalty in the pits.
    And if one of those penalties is deemed appropriate, and the offence is committed in the last five laps of the race, the rules give only one option – 25 seconds must be added to the drivers’ race time. ‘

    Funny how the stewards managed to think up a new, (and meaningless), penalty for Massa and Ferrari at Valencia.

    Then I read on Autosport that Coulthard didn’t think it would damage Formula One

    I think it is damaging Formula One. You only have to look at the number of posts on dedicated F1 sites such as this but also a comment on a non-F1 board on Monday when the subject came up was

    ’ Massa starts in second, slips to third, overtakes no one, finishes (a good way) behind Hamilton, and wins.

    Not a huge fan of F1, but that’s some interesting rules.’

    And then a work colleague of mine who doesn’t follow F1 said that she wondered if Hamilton was being penalised because he was black. I told her if there was some plot to stop him winning it was more likely do to with Ferrari International Assistance theories.

    While incidents like these may not stop dedicated fans from following the sport, (the sort of people who read F1 sites to catchup on the latest goings on rather than just from the mainstream media), it could put potential fans off and even sponsors if they think F1 is unfair, fixed or in some way bad for their corporate image. An extreme case is cycling where quite a few sponsors have left because of the drug scandals.

    Some posters on here have said that they think Hamilton showed his immaturity by not waiting to pass Kimi or not settling for second, and that he was racing Massa not Kimi I would rather drivers had a go at overtaking when they saw the chance, especially if it was for the lead, then just settling for second, the rules may reward consistency and reliability but I think drivers should go for the win if they can. Also, considering how far behind Kimi was in last years Championship before he won it by such a small margin in the end, shows that Lewis was right in trying to overtake, at that point in the race in wet conditions he was a lot later on the brakes than Kimi, but for all he knew Kimi could have got used to the conditions later in the lap if he had waited,

    As McLaren checked with race officials in the overtake was legit and they twice said it was, and the fact that the punishment didn’t fit the crime (if you accept he did break the rules) I would hope that the penalty gets overturned on appeal, but then I was shocked at the stewards original decision so I am not holding my breath.

    Love the site Keith, just wish I had the time to read it all. I seem to have a problem when I click on the link to read the 2nd, 3rd,… page of comments of an article with multiple posts, although the web address changes it either stays on page 1 or goes to the site home page. Is there some settings I need to change on Internet Explorer.

  256. PJA – a few people are having that problem intermittently and it’s been written about in the forum here:

    Technical problems

  257. Kieth above link is broken

  258. Working now.

  259. I’ve been talking about the FIA’s pandering to Ferrari for years now, ever since I started following Formula 1 just five years ago. Up until last year I had no real feelings either way against Ferrari. That was all changed after their (Ferrari’s) comments following the Brazilian Grand Prix.
    “Championships should not be decided in court.” This was Ferrari’s statement when McLaren petitioned for a penalty to be given to a couple of teams that were using fueling rigs with higher than allowed pressures and temperatures lower than the regulations stated. Regardless of whether there was any wrongdoing on any teams part, the statement from Ferrari was blatantly hypocritical.
    Getting back to this year and the biased decisions of the stewards and FIA. Kimi’s Ferrari had an exhaust pipe dangling by a cable. This was clearly a hazard to other racers, fans, and track side personnel. Fortunately the exhaust pipe didn’t hit anyone when it finally broke loose, but what if it had? They (Ferrari) had a pit stop where they could have removed the pipe, and race control had many laps to call them back into the pits to have it removed. Had this been any other team, I believe that the stewards would have called them into the pits. In this case it wasn’t about points or money, this could have been about a life. What if someone had been hit and killed by that exhaust pipe? What would the FIA say then?

  260. “254 The Old Codger 10 September 2008 at 3:00 pm

    “The only solution I can see is to keep all the existing drivers, Ferrari then build 20 F1 cars, and the stewards scrap every McLaren, BMW, Renault, Red Bull, Williams, Torro Rosso, Honda, Toyota & Force India.
    It’s potentially a good idea because we real fans can enjoy close racing that allows driver talent to be paramount, the drivers would like it because their skills are easily seen, and the stewards would like it because Ferrari would win every race without them having to fix the result.”

    I just read this and laughed my ass off. I think the Old Codger should take old Max’s place.

  261. Toby Thwaites 93
    24th March 2009, 19:33

    I loved seeing Kubica battle it out with the ferrari’s in 2007 and 2008 Japanese GPs, it was amazing to watch! Nothing wrong with them battling it out, however Hamiltons situation was very much different and was over one corner a pure advantage of which he did not give back to Kimi before passing him again :)

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