Safety Car, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017

Unnecessary Safety Car was “like NASCAR” – Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton likened said the Safety Car was used “for no reason” during the Belgian Grand Prix.

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Was Spa an encouraging race for the championship contest?

A positive thing for Ferrari to take out of this race is how close they are to the Mercedes cars. We all know the an overwhelming majority of the remaining circuits are fast paced and thus suit Mercedes, but the fact that Ferrari was able to stay so close shows that they are really on top of their game.

Spa is perhaps the most Mercedes-leaning track in the second half of the season, right up there with Monza, and Ferrari went on the attack. The race next week should also be hard for them, but never underestimate the tifosi crowd. Singapore should be Ferrari territory. Brazil, USA, and Abu Dhabi has a little bit of everything, so one can never know. And while Japan and Malaysia has long straights and fast corners, they also reward good aerodynamics, which Ferrari seems to be on par or better than Mercedes.

Vettel also seems very confident around many of the remaining tracks, especially in flyaway races. Despite the popular belief that the RB9 was made by God and Webber was driving with only one hand on the steering wheel, Vettel’s nine-win streak in 2013 indicated how he could perform consistently at a high level in the later part of the season. Expect him to have more of an impact, especially on circuits where Ferrari can find places to make gain (like the twisty last section in Mexico).

Personally, I still think the championship is Mercedes’ and Hamilton’s to lose. But so many times this season we’ve given the championship to Mercedes only to be surprised by Ferrari the following race, even the following day in the same weekend. This season’s not over yet, at least not in the drivers’ championship.
Duc Pham (@ducpham2708)

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  • 46 comments on “Unnecessary Safety Car was “like NASCAR” – Hamilton”

    1. I said exactly the same thing at the time and had simmilar thoughts in Baku. A safetycar really wasn’t needed. The VSC is perfect for this type of thing as the debris was cleared in seconds and well before the safetycar even found the leader.

      Safety obviously comes first but there were several gaps large enough for someone to run and clear that under VSC.

      1. Totally agree, I just finished venting my disgust (rate the race) at what clearly looked like an attempt to artificially spice-up the race. It was very nearly the last straw for me.

      2. As a F1 fan that isn’t a Hamilton fan, I can recall any number of times where a safety car/VSC call favoured HAM. Of course when this does happen there is no mention of it from him, but the complaints will always come when it doesn’t favour him. Nothing new here.

        1. Sorry but you seem to have missed the point that Mercedes where concerned about blisters on Hams car and that the safety car did in fact do him a favour.

          1. You’ve missed the point @grumpy

            This is nothing to do with Hamilton, Mercedes or anyone else. It’s discussing the fact the safetycar was thrown out just to spice things up. Who gained or lost is irrelevant. This shouldn’t happen in “sport” but it has now twice this year.

      3. I disagree with you there Timmy. Just look at the amount of debris strewn over the track before eau rouge (It was shown on the live feed, I’ve seen stills and gifs of it since, easy to find), the stewards needed a good gap to be able to get on track and clear that away. With a VSC they would not have gotten any gap, just cars going in intervals and somewhat slower.

        Sure, the whole thing could have been shorter (allowing Marcus to unlap himself took another 2 laps or so), but it was defenitely needed.

        1. There was also a ton of debris all down the kemmel straight – bits of tyre from Perez

      4. It is not the drivers call to judge the situation. Useless remarks from HAM amd RAI

        1. Oh so now we have robots that are not allowed to make judgement on situations or to make comments to the their team and race control … who is better to judge than the guys behind the wheel.

      5. I disagree that point is the most narrow point of the track with VSC they are still doing 80 km an hour any mistake by marshall and/or driver could lead to a fatality, from my point of vieuw marshall should only be allowed to go on to a live track on safetycar conditions, Vsc is fine if marshall are working in runn off area , as Kimi has showned that diver ignore yellow flags as it was safe to do so anyway, Lookj what happend in german F4 if they only throw a double waved yellow instead of a safetycar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpQU2MkBREc

    2. Today’s race showed once again how ridiculous and inconsistent the stewards are.

      When Perez accidentally overshot the corner just a bit, with no harm done to anyone, they’ve slapped him with 5 sec penalty, instead of for example just telling him to cede the place.
      But when he pushed Ocon to the wall, fully deliberately, going at full speed, breaking his front wing and puncturing his own tire, making a mess of the whole race and bringing out the safety car, they didn’t issue any penalty at all.

      Where’s logic in that?

      1. Yeh – I can just…just about see the logic in the Perez penalty – but in my opinion it was not warranted. He made the pass – making or not making the corner was immaterial to the pas that had already been completed.

        The incident with Ocon did indeed warrant a penalty, a far more serious one.

        1. @mach1 on the contrary, making the corner seems pretty relevant to any overtake. The overtake happened because he essentially got a double slip stream, and as a result carried a lot more speed into the corner than normal. He should’ve broken earlier and made the corner to show that he was capable of staying ahead. If it weren’t a chicane he would’ve gone wide and rightfully lost the position. If we allow every drive-by pass to end with a driver going straight across the next corner then what is the point in having the track limits?

      2. I actually have the stark opposite view to that. Normally I think the stewards are a mess, but today I somewhat think they got it more or less correct (except I felt Perez’s overtaking penalty was too lenient).

        Perez overshot the corner a lot, not a bit, and had there been a grass run-off as it was a few years ago, he would’ve rightfully lost those positions. A five second time penalty has proven time and time again to be too lenient. If a driver can get past illegally on attempt one, and pull out five seconds in a few laps then it’s worth taking the penalty, so the net result is that the driver who gained the illegal advantage still gets to keep their advantage. The alternative is sitting behind for several laps losing time, very often more than five seconds. I’d be in favour of returning to giving drive through penalties that have to be served immediately, when drivers disrespect track limits, as it used to be (or even better would be grass / gravel traps of course). Also, saying he wasn’t warned to give the position back, just because it wasn’t broadcasted on television doesn’t mean it didn’t happen (although naturally I could be wrong, but I’d be highly surprised).

        Then, the collision between Perez and Ocon looked to me like Ocon put his nose into a closing gap where a concrete wall appears. It seems pretty 50:50 to me, so it doesn’t surprise me at all that the stewards have taken a similar view. They have taken a pretty fair stance this year in not penalising unless one driver is definitely completely at fault, so I think they did a good job of upholding that.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          28th August 2017, 11:41

          God points about the overtake and the 5 second penalty being too lenient.

      3. The worse part is, Kimi was given the exact same penalty as Seb for simply ignoring a DWY.

      4. @mach1 I don’t think the penalty was because of the pass, I think it was probably because he gained a time advantage by running off.

        When he started braking for Les Combes Grosjean was right behind him but Perez exited the runoff much further ahead & he didn’t back off to give that time back. If he’d have lifted briefly & allowed Romain to get right on his gearbox again I don’t think he’d have got the penalty.

    3. Mark in Florida
      28th August 2017, 1:40

      They didn’t penalize Perez because he actually was able to generate the only excitement in this boring race.

    4. Ocon’s comments on Twitter is cringeworthy, it’s one thing saying something like that in heat of the moment, but now he shows his level of maturity.

      Instead of talking it out with Perez behind closed doors, he is just took to social media to vent his frustration.

      I thought Ocon was a idiot to do such a risky move when he could have done that easily on the straight, since doing that before eau rouge would have meant Perez getting the slipstream and coming back at him. And now with this tweet, it shows his level of maturity. Toto and other bigwigs would have noticed this.

      I still blame Perez for the accident, but Ocon is no saint either.

      1. On the same video he posted with that horrible comment it is Clear to see he was never alongside Perez. He was driving towards the wall and could have let off earlier. Instead he hit Perez rear wheel.

        So far Ocon is nothing more than a Hot head and not ready for F1.

      2. I think, mentally, Perez came out ahead.

        Ocon did not achieve the pass (a rather easy one, if he had waited) and that’s going to hang around in his head for some time.

        1. I would have let Perez have it stick to his gearbox and smoke him on the straight/DRS zone.

          Perez did that a couple of times to other cars if I remember right. Ocon needs to lose the anger so that he can think straight.

      3. Marian Gri (@)
        29th August 2017, 9:46

        +1

    5. Hamilton must build on the advantage they have on saturdays, if they can continuously start ahead in the coming races with this little pitstops he has done 80% of the job, from there on it’s just finishing. Let’s not forget he already has 7 out of 12 poles and he has only won from pole this season. He perhaps should’ve won Melbourne too (where he was on pole) and Baku (where he was on pole), and coincidently that only leaves Bahrein where he finished second. All other races he was not on it.

      In this formula it’s saturday that wins you the race, and a little luck on sundays.

    6. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t a driver allowed to change his line and defend his position? There is danger at those speeds but this is something the one who attacks should consider better, not the one who defends. Ocon’s behavior is showing that he did not anticipate any defensive move. Really?

      By the way, did anybody watch the similar incident in F2 in Hungary 3 weeks ago between Rowland and Markelov? At least Markelov was man enough to take full responsibility for it and not act like a cry baby.

      1. @sakis You’re wrong. A driver is allowed one change of line but only if the driver that attacks him has no part of his car already alongside his. Then the defending driver can still squeeze the attacker but only up to a point. He has to leave space enough for one car. Which Perez failed to do. There were plenty of examples of such things being punished severely like Schumacher squeezing Barichello into the wall in Hungary 2010.

        1. @montreal95 Okay. That’s fine as long as you consider front wing appearance as “alongside”. Can you do me a favor now that you mentioned this? Will you check Monaco 2013 RAI-PER incident and tell me your opinion on it? Thanks.

          1. @sakis I assume you refer to what happened the second time at the chicane? this one right? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_ZYZIP6wRE

            Now let’s compare it to this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eb0CG12rz1w

            There’s one crucial difference between the two incidents: At no point before the entry to the corner had Perez any part of car in front of Raikkonen’s. Braking too late and using your rival car as a stopping device doesn’t count as being alongside. So KR was allowed to turn in to the apex as usual. In contrast Ocon’s front wheels are level with Perez’s back wheels(even more than just the front wing) before the track narrows down on the inside(for the sake of comparison let’s assume it’s a corner). in that case Ocon’s entitled to a car’s width. Admittedly this is all fine margins and all people claiming Perez is an idiot because of this on various forums are only showing their low level themselves. There have been many such situations in the past including great drivers making mistakes such as this. And Ocon could’ve been more circumspect and patient against his team-mate and waited until after Eau rouge to try the pass. But that doesn’t mean Perez is allowed to squeeze his team-mate into the wall. Well they and the fans will both suffer as a result as FI will not allow them to race against each other any more.

            1. @montreal95 The “secret” answer to this puzzle is not the incident itself but what happened moments before it. That’s why I gave you the incident with RAI to explore. It was the first attempt that led to it. If you explore it a little bit more, with PER’s onboards, you’ll see a totally different defensive approach by Kimi on the 2nd attempt.

              Here, OCO was in front, knew his teammate had 5 seconds penalty and suddenly he sees him in front after the pitstops. Frustrated and emotionally charged obviously he wasn’t thinking clearly and I am 99% sure that he knew that this attempt would be all or nothing. He knew that there was no way PER would give him a clear opportunity so he tried the impossible. I was watching 2 coverages simultaneously, free air and PPV in my country, both have former racing drivers as guests and on both coverages they were surprised that OCO, not PER, did not get a penalty. “He tried to kill me” excuse is for the media hype. And it worked, according to 99% of the comments here and on YouTube.
              None of them seem to realize that they were both cleared by the stewards.

          2. Pointless with these people. Unfortunately Perez has been dealing with the double standard against him by the fans since the beginning.

            Kimi closed the door on Perez and it’s Perez fault. Baku Ocon puts Perez in the wall and it’s Perez fault on and on.

            Yet he has accomplished 7 podiums in cars that do not belong there. The Great VER got none with Toro.

    7. GtisBetter (@)
      28th August 2017, 9:14

      Kimi should read the rule book again and stop complaining. It’s not up to the driver to decide when he can lift and when not. Double yellow = reduce speed. Everybody knows this.

      1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
        28th August 2017, 10:30

        Yeah yeah yeah leave him alone he knows what he’s doing.

        You don’t have to remind him all the time.

    8. I think the drivers need to get used to the “Safety car” being used to close up the field for an action packed race. ala NASCAR/V8 SuperCar style sedan racing.
      I’m not a fan of this at all, but I fear it’s on the way :(

    9. @johnrkh Lol, there is no need for fear anymore. It’s already here. Either you forgot or you totally missed David Coulthard’s speech in Baku. He said that “SC had been deployed TO IMPROVE THE SHOW”. It’s not racing anymore but a show.

      1. @sakis I don’t listen to Coulthard, it’s not here yet. At Spa there was debris on the track LH was just not wanting the field to catch up, just trying to reduce the risk. That is what any smart tactically thinking driver would push for.
        When the change comes (if it comes) you will see the difference, the safety car will be out for no real reason at all several times per race.

        1. @johnrkh Maybe you choose to not listen Coulthard but you should consider that FIA put him there to interview the drivers. I honestly don’t believe that what he said was his personal opinion.

          Regarding the difference you mention, I have already seen it. I don’t know if you follow F2 and GP3 races but this kind of changes are always applied initially to the lower categories. You should have seen Hungary 3 weeks ago. At the feature race Leclerc was back on the field, his strategy didn’t pan out and he was way out of points. There were 2 SC sessions which helped him up. Next day on the sprint race while Leclerc was in the top positions, for two identical incidents with the previous day, VSC was deployed.
          It’s a show now, Hamilton, Vettel, Leclerc etc. have all this marketing and sponsors around them. FIA does not care for racing fans but for money that these drivers bring to this show. And they’ll do anything to please and not to upset them. For more look at the “we wouldn’t like to interfere to the championship battle” stewards’ statement. Gross.

          1. @sakis The 2 incidents in the Sunday F2 race in Hungary were not the same as the 2 from Saturday.

            On the Saturday the 1st SC was from a 2 car incident where 2 cars were stationary on the edge of the track with debris on the track to sweep away which required a dozen marshall’s to be on track to recover the cars/do the sweeping. The 2nd incident was a relatively big crash that required the medical car to be sent out.

            On the Sunday the 1st VSC was from a 2 car collision in which only 1 car was on the runoff with no debris on track & where the car was quickly pushed away by a handful of marshall’s in less than a minute. And the 2nd was a similar incident but where the car in the runoff was pushed behind the barriers in a little over 30 seconds again with no debris on track.

            The incidents on the 2 days were totally different, The SC’s were the right call for the 2 Saturday race incidents but the VSC was the right call for the 2 in the Sunday race.

            1. @stefmeister Were you inside the track to see debris? Sky’s coverage did not show any debris, both commentators didn’t mention something either. And the 1st incident (Saturday) was in a safe place and it took less than 20 seconds to remove the cars, according to what we saw on the screen. Videos are still there on YouTube to anyone who’s interested.

              The SC’s were the right call for the 2 Saturday race incidents but the VSC was the right call for the 2 in the Sunday race.

              Care to explain who are you to judge if it was right or wrong?

    10. I think they were right to bring out the Safety car. There was debris all over the circuit not just on the run down to Eau Rouge but also down the kemmel straight from Ocon’s wing & Perez’s tyre & its probably there was some debris elsewhere around the track from Perez driving back on 3 wheels. The VSC would not have given the marshall’s adequate space or time to properly clear away all of the debris.

      Spa is one of the fastest tracks on the calendar with some of the highest tyre loads they see. Even a tiny piece of debris can damage a tyre enough to cause a failure through the high loads of corners like Eau Rouge & I think its correct to ensure the track workers have all the space & time needed to clear away any debris.

      At Baku it was a similar story. Lots of debris in multiple locations around the circuit that again featured high speed sections with very little runoff & in that case difficult visibility around some of the barriers that would have made marshall’s sweeping the track under a VSC more risky than normal.

      1. I agree with this 100%. The cars were too spaced out to allow the track to be cleared safely under a virtual safety car, they had to close them up with the actual safety car.

    11. Fascinating to read about the thought Mercedes put into the race, sacrificing downforce, holding Vettel back through the initial section where he couldn’t pass and then gunning it along the straight, a real champions drive.

      Of course, detractors will just say because of the Merc engine. The same one that got passed by a Red Bull in the second car.

      Both Hamilton and Vettel are in a league above their teammates, Vettel moreso but only because Bottas is better than Raikonnen.

      1. On the straight I knew the Ferrari engine was no match for the Merc max power output. I am sure LH had that thing turned up to the max there. Every chance Merc gets they want to hide exactly how much power that thing makes. I know I would.

        1. Cool story bro.

          1. So you don’t believe everything you read after all. 👍

            1. Yeh I believe what I see. Like Bottas having the same engine upgrades and getting passed by a Red Bull, but you seemed to have missed that part of the race right?

    12. Actually cotd, apart from these 2 mega high speed tracks the rest are all high downforce regardless of the speed, the big blip was Silverstone where Ferrari didn’t do as good of a job as they should had.

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