Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2018

Sirotkin says Hamilton did nothing wrong, Wolff calls incident a “non-issue”

2018 Brazilian Grand Prix

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Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin says Lewis Hamilton did nothing wrong in the incident between the pair of them in qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Sirotkin had to take evasive action when he moved to overtake Hamilton as both were preparing to begin laps during Q2. Sirotkin said he had to push harder than Hamilton on his out-lap because his tyres were more worn.

“The only tyres that I had were a scrubbed set from the end of Q1,” Sirotkin explained. “We didn’t have it in the blankets long enough so when I left the pits the tyres were minus 20 degrees [to target].

“So I had to push very hard all the way on my out-lap. I was really as quick as I had the grip for all the way around and I was still pushing all the way from turn 11.

“And then Lewis was there, he was obviously very slow, preparing his lap. Because I was coming so quickly I didn’t expect him to give me the room as we were both on out-laps and I had such a big speed difference between him that I just moved myself to the left, trying to get through. I think at the last minute he saw me and tried to move and I was like 200[kph] quicker than him on that point on the left so it was quite difficult to get around and avoid the contact.”

Sirotkin said he didn’t blame Hamilton for the near-miss. “I don’t think there is anything he did wrong, it [was] just the situation that I had to push, which is quite unusual for the out-lap. These things can happen.”

Hamilton said the incident was “completely unnecessary”.

“We had a space behind. Behind him there was a bit of a space so ultimately his lap and my lap weren’t great from that so hopefully he can learn from it.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff called the near-miss a “non-issue.”

“This was a warm-up lap and a misunderstanding between two drivers,” he said. “Sergey came out and said he didn’t lose any time and it was a misunderstanding.

“And for Lewis it was a misunderstanding, he tried to get out of the way whilst thinking that somebody was on a quick lap and wasn’t flagged to him. It could have ended up in an accident but it didn’t. So for me, a non-issue.”

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30 comments on “Sirotkin says Hamilton did nothing wrong, Wolff calls incident a “non-issue””

  1. What’s that star on Sirotkin’s overalls?

    This would have been much funnier if it was a Haas or a Sauber

      1. Three pointed star…

    1. There’s always a million ways of feeding any kind of controversy… almost every team and driver have something that connects them and we could use that for all sorts of conspiracies, be it engines suppliers, components, drivers, common interests. What’s your take on the Sirotkin incident?

  2. Lenny (@leonardodicappucino)
    10th November 2018, 22:32

    Toto Wolff: “It could have ended up in an accident” doesn’t that automatically make it an issue Toto? I personally found the lack of penalty for Hamilton very lenient (same with Vettel, see my other comment), but would have been able to swallow it except for that Hamilton called Sirotkin “disrespectful”. That was just uncalled for and seems like Hamilton is getting too big for his boots. Yes he is one of the greatest drivers of his generation, if not of all time, but that doesn’t mean no one can overtake you on an outlap. Sure it’s unusual to go at the speed that Sirotkin was going at, but the number one rule in dealing with situations of massive speed differences and little reaction time (especially in multi-class racing, but applies everywhere), is that the slow car holds their line, as it is the least dangerous and most predictable. Hamilton saw Sirotkin approach and, seeing the speed of the Williams and how little time there was, he should have just held his line. That would have been the most logical, the safest, and what Sirotkin would have expected. For me, that was dangerous driving, regardless of the fact that it was on an outlap.

    1. The article made it pretty clear. Judging by Sirotkin’s speed Hamilton thought Sirotkin was on a hot lap. So he tried to give the racing line to Sirotkin which is the best any driver could do. If Sirotkin didn’t want to be in that situation he shouldn’t have surprised Hamilton.

      1. also this

        “…thinking that somebody was on a quick lap and wasn’t flagged to him
        Out of the blue, sirotkin came and ham was not informed… esp coming that fast in an outlap was a surprise move to say/tone down the least! That doesnt mean it wasnt dangerous, but it wasnt intended or foul play on either side… people just like controversy for things like this if it involves certain drivers…

      2. Actually I agree with you, but you came to this conclusion after a little research and fact finding, the FIA seem to have dismissed the incident without doing the same, for me this issue is not that the incident happened, but the fact that the FIA didn’t (appear) to investigate it, I can understand if they did investigate it and came to the same conclusion as you /

        1. Totally agreed. Personally I’m not in favour of the penalty culture. I acknowledge that there will always be a gray area, but save penalties for the real severe cases and at least be consistent. Sirotkin (and Magnussen) have received a reprimand for driving unnecissarily slow during qualifying in this Brazilian GP. Kevin Magnussen got a reprimand in the Spanish GP. The case was alleged impeding & dangerous manouvre in Practice 1. The stewards accepted the explanation and decided that there was not a case of impeding. However ‘while the cars avoided a collision the Stewards deemed the maneuver to be potentially dangerous’.
          Hamilton-Sirotkin should have been investigated. There are more cases that the Stewards have an understanding of the mitigating circumstances but they still give a penalty or a reprimand. For me the investigation in itself or maybe a reprimand would be sufficient, but now Hamilton puts the blame on Sirotkin. I am not saying that maybe Sirotkin was partly to blame but it diverts the attention from the possible collision.

      3. Also the stewards would have known before Hamiliton did, that Sirotkin was approching is positon at speed, there should have been some way of warning him, or warning any driver in that situation. “driver approaching at pace – delta plus 100kph ”

        As it is Lewis turned in at the last moment precisely to give the faster driver the outside line… its strange how none of the comentators could see this. As if Lewis was expected to be clarvoyant.

  3. Uh oh… what are those baying for Lewis Hamilton’s blood going to do now? (Not a real question… that lot knows nothing but business as usual, facts be damned…)

    1. It’s been insufferable hasn’t it?

      The more I think about it, the more I wonder why Sirotkin was going so flat chat in the first place. If he wasn’t willing to slow down when he saw Hamilton, it was clear one or both of them were going to have heavily compromised flying laps in any case.

      1. Did you bother to read the article?

      2. It seems his garage has to accept some blaim. Not heating the tires, the last minute choise to use those tires, not thinking through what would be necessary to raise those tire tempurature, and ultimately the potential consequencies with slower drivers out on track.. This situation could occur again unless there are ‘rules’ which first recognises the leadup to this situation.

        eg ‘don’t send drivers out to qualify on cold tires’.

        There are plenty of tracks where this could have had serious consequences. Its fortunate that this track had a run off area and not a concreate wall.

    2. Apparently ignore this and carry on ranting and raving their weird conspiracy theories!

  4. what a humble guy is sirotkin… the other one acted like he is untouchable, a Vito Corleone or Al Capone

  5. In Austria Vettel was handed a 3 positions penalty in the grid, for impeding Sainz in a less dangerous way.
    That’s FIA having an inconsistent judgement at every race

    1. Yes, Vettel was given a penalty for not moving out of the way when Sainz was on his hot lap. Hamilton tried to move out the way for someone who was not on a hot lap. Maybe you are not the best judge when it comes to inconsistency?

      1. You are right. You are not in danger of having a horrible accident if you are not on a hot lap. HAVE YOU GONE MAD? I am sure that if the accident had happened, it would lead Sirotkin straight to the grid-penalty-store, and HAM to the Hero-for-surviving ritual.

        1. So, Sirotkin shouldn’t have tried to overtake Hamilton? I’m not sure you’re making quite the point that you want to here, because you’ve just very successfully made the point that Sirotkin definitely should have been penalised.

    2. Sainz was on a hot lap, while Sirotkin was on an outlap… that, & the fact that the very driver who was supposedly wronged just gave his opinion on what happened & provided a perfectly logical explanation of the series of the events that led to the incident should at least provide a bit of clarity as to why the two incidents are not the same.

    3. Dude.. before you start your “Vettel is getting treated unfairly” crusade.. maybe you need to understand that Sainz was on a hot lap, as compared to Sirotkin, who was on an outlap.

      1. Dude … you seem to think you can kill a guy if he is not on a hot lap. Hamilton endangered two drivers and himself and not even slapped on the wrist. That’s what happened. The other guy was called to the weighbridge at a crucial time when he absolutely shouldn’t have been. The officials weren’t ready. Contrary to many lies told on Sky, he shut the engine off. The official waived him off and Vettel started the engine and left. Read the FIA statement. They had to accept that Vettel endangered no one and only fined him for breaking the scale. How are Vettel’s “incident” and Hamilton’s two incidents even comparable? One doesn’t have to be a Vettel fan or a Hamilton fan to just be fair.

    4. Hey, kids… Get A Grip…!

  6. It was an non-issue. Hamilton wasn’t aware of Sirotkin’s high speed on an outlap and tried to make room the best he could. Sirotkin needed the fast lap because his tyres were too cold. Sometimes things happen without malicious intent.

  7. Can’t we just start both Hamilton and Vettel from the back? I mean, the championship’s already been won.

    1. Or still better, just decide the starting grid positions by popular vote because WDC is done and dusted /s

  8. The tires and aero are the cause for this.
    Everyone wants heat in their tires but then also protect them from tearing up. And then they want all this space in front of them because 1km is not enough to unsettle the cars and destroy the tires.
    The rule should be that every car has to be completely off the racing line when on outlap or inlap. Problem is that all the dirt is away from the racing line.
    Gasly almost had a huge one in Baku when Hartley was on the racing line during his in or outlap. Yesterday it was hamilton/sirotkin with a close call.
    One day we have a huge crash because of it and then there are no excuses or talking about non issue.
    If you want to drive so slow, drive on the dirty side/non racing line.
    We have the same rules on the roads. Stay in the slow lane if you are not going to pass or needing to go slower.

    1. “If you want to drive so slow, drive on the dirty side/non racing line.” This rule of thumb may work in theory , but driving on dirty part of the track will vary if you are driving slowing through a chicane. You will still be in the way of a much faster driver.

      Once again there should have been some way to notify the slower drivers that there was a faster car coming through.

Comments are closed.