Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Hamilton says Albon clash was “racing incident”, Wolff calls penalty “harsh”

2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Mercedes have criticised the five-second time penalty Lewis Hamilton was given during the Austrian Grand Prix.

Hamilton said his collision with Alexander Albon was a “racing incident”, while team principal Toto Wolff believes he should not have been penalised for the clasj.

Hamilton and Albon made contact at the exit of turn four. His penalty dropped him from second place to fourth in the final race classification.

“I had great pace to catch up with Valtteri [Bottas] and then a really unfortunate scenario with Alex,” said Hamilton, who also tangled with Albon at last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

“I mean, I can’t believe we’ve come together again, but it really felt like a racing incident. But either way, I’ll take whatever penalty they [stewards] feel I deserve and move forwards.”

Albon fell to the back of the grid and later retired from the race while Hamilton continued unimpeded.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said he felt the stewards didn’t claim the collision was a racing incident but did argue that five seconds was harsh.

“I would definitely say that from my perspective, the five seconds were too harsh,” Wolff said.

“We looked at the video now a couple of times. Lewis was having full lock in the corner. Albon had about 40 percent of the road left to make the corner. [It was] different to lap one where Lewis had to back out of Albon pushing Lewis.

“So in my opinion, not justified. But I recognise the complexity of the job, of coming up with the right decisions. Some go for you, some go against you.”

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73 comments on “Hamilton says Albon clash was “racing incident”, Wolff calls penalty “harsh””

  1. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
    5th July 2020, 18:00

    Great defence by Hamilton.
    Just kicking everyone who tries to overtake him.

    1. He did a Schumacher without turning in to his rival.

      It looked perfectly sensible holding his line, but he has not left Albon a cars width of space.

      Atleast he crashed admirably and gave us a Norris podium. Hamilton is good even when he fails.

      1. hamilton first lap first corner along side albon, and albon pushed ham off track was fine… ham same position, albon impatient, ham is at fault weird analogy…stewards did their utmost to kick ham off the race before the race started!

        if alonso was here today, he would say one word to palmer ooops i mean horner… “KARMA”

        1. @mysticus no, not same situation, not same position. First lap Hamilton was not ahead, meaning Albon could dictate the line. It’s a move Hamilton knows very well as he employs it all the time as well.
          In this case Albon WAS ahead, so Hamilton being behind cannot dictate the line anymore. .

          Racing 101 really.

          1. Correct.

          2. you sure about that?
            at 9-10-11 secs… it is carbon copy! cold tyres! sc start cold tyres where do u think ham was gonna go?

        2. Nobody here uses the word ‘intentional’ in this incident! This is what I saw on the replay…he intentionally ran him off by bumping his front wheel on Albons rear wheel…it look very planned!

      2. It looked perfectly sensible holding his line, but he has not left Albon a cars width of space.

        @jureo there was more than a car’s width of space at the corner exit here

  2. I watched back Hamilton’s onboard just now. Yes, he wasn’t pushing the throttle. Yes, he was pretty much full on steering lock. But once he saw that Albon’s car is ahead and he was drifting outside towards the other car, he should have braked. I think the 5 second penalty was right for this incident, but it was gutting to see it happen to Albon again.

    Plus Hamilton has always been on edge when someone tried to go around the outside of him, I don’t like his style that he nudges or leads the attacking car off the track just as it is about to get past him (2015 Japan, US starts are the prime examples), it was inevitable that this will bite him back. He was lucky that he got the smaller bite this time I think.

      5th July 2020, 18:17

      What about Albon doing the same thing to Hamilton on lap 1 turn 4. Where Hamilton has the sense to pull out so there was no collision

    2. ian dearing
      5th July 2020, 18:18

      Braked on full lock? Yea that would have worked a treat. Take your foot off the peddle in that situation and he would have washed even further out.

      1. The don’t understand racing and aerodynamics.
        Sometimes even slowing down suddenly in a very tight and fast corner and cause a sudden loss of grip especially when you are fully committed into taking the bend.

      2. Okay, I explained that clumsily (and I’m not sure I can think 100% straight in the heat we have here, so I might look at the incident in a few days and realize I’m wrong). The way I see it, he should have braked just a little bit longer, as Albon was already alongside/slightly ahead when he released the brakes, so he would have been prepared to be able to take a tighter line if needed. The way he did it, he took to the racing line, which doesn’t allow another car between the left of him and the gravel trap. That’s why I feel it was avoidable.

        (yesterday I also had a silly comment here regarding the yellow flags which I now regret, that especially with the footage that was released later and caused Hamilton’s grid penalty, I now realize was bad judgement, so I’m not on top form, sorry if I winded people up unnecessarily)

        1. If he had any skill he would have realised his car was going to understeer into Albon before hand and prevented it from happening.

          I think he was trying to be cheeky and it cost him. He had history doing this – eg, running into Ricciardo in Hungary a few years back.

          1. when albon in same situation, ham abandoned and went off… what is so different? impatience is RBR drivers’ dna? max is no different, and he even bumped wheels into lec and bumped him off last time around and no issue was raised… something with dutch mentality? if dutch man or brand does it to opponents, it s ok, if otherway around press the ww3 button…

        2. @hunocsi They were side by side at the apex of the corner. Albon got better traction due to his fresher, softer tyres so got half a car length ahead at the exit of the corner, but by that time it was too late for Hamilton to do anything to change his line, braking/lifting would have made little difference. There was more than a car’s width on the outside. Harsh penalty

          1. Check out the on-board… Immediately after the impact he steers away from the kerb to the right.. not at all “full lock” ,so that story doesn’t fly.

          2. watch the on boards…

            albon did two of the exact same moves to hamilton bomb diving! first corner, ham avoids crash
            wacth from 7.59
            https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=L6ixUBAGcFI
            ham ahead, albon again kamikaze dive ham aborts!

            red bul fans can kid themselves all day… experienced driver knows when to abort, albon i think is given orders to dive to ham at all costs… no other reason… red bul whining all weekend and keep blaming and moaning non stop is getting really annoying!

            i think mercedes should go to stewards with these two move by albon to explain to them why they avoided giving albon any penalties! two moves albon does to ham are identical to ham situation, yet ham is at fault! really… kudos to ham took all the penalties like a boss without whining like reds…

            also i would love alonso’s comment about this red bul whining: “KARMA”

    3. Yet Vettel diving down the inside and hitting people seems fine…

      I can not see how Hamilton did anything wrong. He would have seen Albon very late, Albon knew that was a risky move just as any good driver would, He thought it was worth the risk but it turned out not to be the case. Hamilton did nothing wrong. Neither of them should be penalised for that incident. If Hamilton had not been at full lock then I would agree with a penalty but he was at full lock and taking the racing line. The only reason Albon appeared where he did was because his tyres were so much more grippy.

      I am massively happy that Norris got a podium but I do not agree with the penalty at all.

  3. DAllein (@)
    5th July 2020, 18:21

    Totally agree – just a racing incident

    1. DAllein (@)
      5th July 2020, 18:22

      Verstappen got away with no penalties for much worse

      1. Easy to say, now prove it. When did Max ruin someone’s race (and not his own) AND got away with no penalty? Go on, prove that!

        1. What the..??? Are you 9 years old or something? “Go on, prove that!” Classy.

        2. @w0o0dy
          thats the easiest thing…
          they dont call him crashtappen for no reason!

          and it never is his fault! first thing he does always, go on the radio, and yell someone crashed into me

          1. Only total nitwits call Max Crashtappen.. so end of conversation for you.

  4. José Lopes da Silva
    5th July 2020, 18:22

    The current qualifying system, which two-thirds of F1 fans support, again showed its flaws. Having everyone packed doing their laps results in:
    – we don’t see their laps live because the camera (and our brain) can only focus on one of them;
    – if someone goes off (if we have 10 can simultaneously, the odds are high!) and everyone is packed, the odds of everyone having their laps ruined for yellow flags are also high;
    – otherwise, we start this sterile thing: so, it was Bottas who went on purpose, like Schumacher-Monaco-06 and Rosberg-Monaco-14? Or not? Hamilton did not see the yellow flag? Or did he? And the stewards attitude towards either of the drivers? Who are they protecting (because no one believes they are just doing their job)?

    We ended up with Hamilton starting 5th for no reason other than the nature of the qualifying system. This was not “sporting truth”. This was a gimmick.

    Not being possible the 1996-2002 system (which kept the sport’s spirit), I’d rather have the qualifying race instead of this “penalised-no, not penalised-yes, penalised after all”.

    Thankfully we had an excellent race, with an excellent and timely decision regarding Hamilton not giving room to the car ahead of him.

    1. ColdFly (@)
      5th July 2020, 18:40

      Not sure what “sporting truth” means, but how does it cover evolving track conditions and variable weather?

      PS spend a few bucks on F1TV (and possible a VPN) and your brain can watch each quali run over and over again.

      1. José Lopes da Silva
        5th July 2020, 18:44

        “Sporting truth” is what everyone throws when someone talks about changing the qualifying system.

    2. According to my eyes, Bottas went off because he tried to improve his already awesome lap.

      Hamilton saw Bottas driving a beach buggy in the sand and carried on with his lap.

      1. red bull started whining too much! i doubt that ham saw it like 100% sure that it was yellow nor he would have enough time to react mid corner, esp no yellow before entry, and right about the same place on the right side, someone waving green flag! stewards made a mistake! they admitted about conflicting messages yet today, they managed to screw up the order and they messed up the race all thanx to please dutch team/drivers! to be honest, i really didnt enjoy it, esp the penalty was harsh, why does ham has to slow down for a car when ham is the one on racing line, and other driver is pushing luck (esp when in 1st lap 1st corner same position reversed and albon happily pushed ham off track!!!), and two SC periods already stole close to 30secs from merc cars! 1st one, merc was 18 sec ahead, sec 10 sec ahead… on top of that penalty was racing incident!

  5. Maybe it was a racing incident, but maybe such racing incidents should not happen in the first place. Drivers need to acknowledge that they have been beaten…

    1. “We looked at the video now a couple of times. Lewis was having full lock in the corner. Albon had about 40 percent of the road left to make the corner. [It was] different to lap one where Lewis had to back out of Albon pushing Lewis.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      5th July 2020, 18:55


      Drivers need to acknowledge that they have been beaten…

      Not sure I follow. Shame for the kid but the least he can do is ruin his race without ruining other drivers’ races.

      1. Is it possible that Hamilton was “in full lock” as it is put above, precisely because he was attempting an impossible defense, rather than considering to concede the corner?

        1. @gpfacts Why concede the corner when you’re side by side at the apex? What kind of racer would he be? It’s important to fight for your position. He left more than a car’s width. I hate when drivers roll over and let people past too easily. The outcome really was a shame for Albon but this was a racing incident at the end of the day

          1. The rules say that you cannot deliberately hit someone. It’s your responsibility to prevent contact and ONLY if it is impossible to put blame on one driver more than the other can they give a penalty. “Predominantly to blame” is a requirement. In this case Lewis could avoid contact but didn’t. Albon could not even see Lewis there as he was 3/4 past. So even when you feel Albon should have been more careful or patient. Lewis was predominantly to blame so the penalty is just. Although not harsh enough in my opinion. It should not be that you get to keep your position by hitting the opponent and ruining his race. Maybe they should upgrade the penalty to 5 places instead of 5 seconds.

          2. Only if they cannot blame one more than the other, can they qualify it as a racing incident.

            Sorry I changed the sentence in my head but it wasn’t clear in writing.

        2. He wasn’t. Check the On-board. Immediately after hitting Albon he steers away to the right, not a little, 1.5 meter or so.

          1. @Dom: and @gpfacts: see responses above this one

  6. Albon was totally in control around the outside there, he had enough grip with his tires to do so. If anything Hamilton should’ve admitted defeat sooner.

      5th July 2020, 19:01

      Totally agree. Even as a Hamilton fan, I could see he clearly had lost the position and knew it to a great move by Albon. In almost every overtake the driver being passed could contact the other car. He had to avoid the contact.

  7. GtisBetter (@)
    5th July 2020, 18:49

    I agree, these silly drivers thinking they are in a race. Just move over when another car wants to pass.

    1. GtisBetter (@)
      5th July 2020, 18:50

      Was @sravan-pe

    2. Hamilton had lost the position. It was a good move by Albon, who had his new nose ahead and pulling further ahead. Hamilton should have avoided the cost of contact with Albon’s rear wheel. Penalty deserved in my book, sadly.

      1. same way, albon should have avoided pushing ham off first corner in exactly the same situation… only difference ham could go off track! no other difference! he is only penalized bcoz it is dutch red bull circuit, and albon suffered… i wonder if it was first corner he tried and ham pushed him they would still penalize ham blatantly ?

        1. Saad Mughal
          5th July 2020, 21:20

          Albon didn’t push Hamilton off in the first corner. Hamilton bailed before they were properly side by side in the turn. Hamilton was not ahead of albon during the corner, so albon was entitled to the racing line at the first corner.

          In the second instance, albon was ahead during the corner, which entitled him to the racing line which he took. It is the car behind’s duty to cede and the car ahead’s allowance to take the racing line. Hamilton was drifting wide and misjudged the distance to albon. We saw sainz and norris being overtaken in the same spot around the outside , both locked up to avoid contact with the overtaking driver. Both avoided collisions and penalties. Hamilton of course being the driver that he is, took a little risk, tried not to lock up, thought he could make it but didn’t. Just a simple mistake.

          As I said. The two incidents are different because in the first, no driver was ahead, so the driver on the inside (albon) dictates the racing line. Hamilton bailed early anyway. In the second, albon was ahead so he dictates the line, car behind must be ready to cede

      2. given that he was already on full lock, what could have he done differently? pray for it not to happen?
        this is racing.

        yeah, he could’ve give up on the position sooner, but why should he do that ? the race wasn’t over.
        he was already behind on much more worn tyres. Albon was the one with more to lose and recklessly crossed his live without clearing him completely.

        Racing incident.

        1. Hamilton was not on “full lock”. He could and should have avoided. He knew Albon was there. The position was lost. He had just as much to lose as Albon, but thankfully did not suffer serious damage. Rear suspension (Alb) is stronger than front (Ham). Hanilton was fortunate to not have race ending damage.
          (ps I am a Hamilton fan)

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    5th July 2020, 19:01

    Wow, feel bad for Albon but he should have gotten a penalty on top of the result today.

    Probably wouldn’t have hurt if he had gotten it in Brazil to begin with since he got a free pass there too.

  9. In a similar situation norris managed to not hit the car that overtook him. F1 cars have pedals and steering wheels and drivers can change the direction and speed of theirs cars even in corners. Even if someone out there thinks this magical unchangeable trajectory exists the driver still initiates that magical trajectory – drive makes a decision. Norris chose to avoid the other car, hamilton probably misjudged it. Making a bad judgment is worth a penalty and in the end he got off light. I don’t think hamilton hit him on purpose, too much risk to damage your own front wing and front suspension. Tie rods have broken on much smaller looking contacts.

  10. It is a racing incident, in that it was an incident occurring when people were racing fairly for position. But it was a clear advantage earned. It’s like if your arm is tangled with a player in soccer after he gets past you and he falls down, or if you make a tackle for the ball and miss and trip the guy, that’s a foul. All the more reason he should just apologize. After all Albon is not a rival or someone who is going to get on this insta and talk trash about Hamilton.

  11. Looking at the best available photo of the moment of impact (from high up on the inside of the corner, looking side-on at both cars), Hamilton’s trajectory was clearly taking him left in spite of full steering lock to the right, but Albon had track space and an entire kerb on his left. Had Albon used some of that he probably would have fully passed Hamilton before/if Hamilton continued to wash wide. I think Hamilton left a car’s width but Albon didn’t fully utilise it despite being the one passing with massive overspeed. Looked like a racing incident to me.

    1. Basically, clumsy from both. Hamilton running wide was presumably an error and problematic with Albon in the position he was (although would have been acceptable if Albon had either been alongside having not won the corner or cleared of into the distance fractionally sooner), but Albon forced contact, at least earlier than it might have happened, by keeping unnecessarily close to Hamilton on the exit of a corner with room to his left.

      1. i watched it many times, and albon was awfully close, and he took the corner tight and it was awkward looking as albon was trying to turn into ham rather than ham drifting outwards! ham penalty is only please non stop whining big mouth redbuls since the season started at last!

  12. It was a racing incident, Yes maybe more Hamilton’s fault but still nothing more than a racing incident that I don’t feel deserved a penalty.

    People used to look at things like this, call it a racing deal, the drivers may discuss it & that would be the end.

    I don’t know what has gone wrong to end up where we have now where it almost feels like f1 & fans push for penalty’s for almost every little thing.

    When 2 cars are racing close & hard unintentional contact can happen & that should go back to been an accepted fact rather than been something that has everyone screaming for a penalty.

  13. Oh boo frigging hoo Hamilton and Mercedes, Albon was ahead of you by the time you hit him, and he went into the gravel and ended up plum last whilst you carried on trouble free, and it’s the second time in 3 races with the same driver. I actually feel the 5 seconds wasn’t harsh enough given how Albons race was ruined

  14. 1, It was a racing incident. Hamilton’s trajectory is clear throughout the corner, he doesn’t deviate. If Albon can’t mentally picture the geometry of their lines through it by now, he shouldn’t be racing. It’s not like Hamilton pushes him out further. Hoping the other driver decides they should compromise their speed out of the corner, rather than you compromise yours, is a dumb way to go about racing. Albon still had track left, he just wanted to keep the ideal line for speed out. That isn’t justification for the other driver getting penalty. As mystic one says, it was also a replay of Lap 1 when Hamilton, in the Albon position, went wide.
    2. Horner is ridiculous asking for an apology. Let’s all imagine Verstappen had done the same as Hamilton to Leclerc, say. Horner: “I’ve had a word with Max and not only do we think his penalty was right, possibly a bit lenient, I’ve told him he should apologize personally to Charles for the incident.” We can all hear that happening, I’m sure.

  15. I think that Lewis is a really decent racer and this was definitely a racing incident….there were a number of far worse incidents that did not even seem to be reviewed, let alone a penalty being given. Red Bull and/or Christian Horner have been gunning after Lewis for months. To receive a grid penalty an hour before the race is definitely unusual, especially since the stewards had already ruled on the matter. From the information available, it looked like the yellow display seemed to come on simultaneous to Lewis passing and it definitely looks like the dust from Valteri’s car going off was an obvious distraction, when you consider how fast these cars are now travelling. As far as I can tell, there is always politics at play at the highest level of F1.

  16. I personally see the Ham/Alb incident as a racing incident. They were side by side at the apex of the corner. Albon gets better traction due to his fresher, softer tyres so gets half a car length ahead at the exit of the corner, but there was more than a car’s width on the outside. Theoretically Albon could have opened his steering a little, knowing that Hamilton was alongside and it wasn’t going to be possible for Hamilton to move further to the right. The penalty was harsh on Hamilton, I think maybe influenced by the harsh outcome for Albon

  17. Imagine if this was Hamilton on the outside and Albon drifting in to him?

    There would be penalties given.

    1. @jureo It happened. Exactly. Lap 1. Hamilton went wide instead of colliding. Albon could have done the same (arguably restarts should have the same leniency on the first lap as the race start, not actually sure of that’s the case).

  18. WHY o why didn’t Merc order Bottas to let Lewis through after the penalty? That would have allowed Lewis to make up time on those behind and allow Bottas to remain within 5 sec of Lewis and the result would have been a 1-2 for Merc.

    1. Optics… I would have looked bad. I doubt that Val would have gone with that line anyway.

  19. The best thing of the incident was seeing Hamilton battling when defied wheel-to-wheel for a change. I’m tired of seeing him cave like every time he goes toe-to-toe with Verstappen. Even at Hungary last year he once again chose to go wide into the runoff. I hope Albon and Leclerc (not to mention Vettel, if his dizzyness will ever pass) starts pressuring him more often.

    1. Seems to work for him. 6 WDCs back that up. I know what you’re saying and Lewis style has changed significantly over the years but he knows to pick his battles over the course of a season. As a Lewis fan it can be a little frustrating but by seasons end you understand.

      1. Totally. One can’t ever say he is wrong for thinking in the long game. But from a viewer standpoint, it seems such a waste with so much talent, racecraft wise, around him.

  20. The penalty is, in my opinion, deserved.
    Hamilton, had hope, by not leaving enough space to car’s width that the inexperience of Albon would mean he would lift.
    But with the possibility with his first win in sight, Albon kept it planted. Hamilton’s left front tire touched Albon’s right rear and round went the Red Bull.
    Albon couldn’t be expected to go any wider, he was pulling ahead, he couldn’t see Hamilton in his mirrors (because he had his car 75% of the way past), but Hamilton on the inside could see exactly what was happening so he was the one with the responsibility to avoid the clash.
    Other drivers, during the race, were able in the same circumstances to deal with the situation in another way.

    1. Well the nearest circumstance was Hamilton v Albon when the roles were reversed at the same corner. Hamilton pulled out of the move to fight another day.

  21. What I want to know is why Norris didn’t get a penalty for an almost identical situation with Perez when Perez was in front on the corner.

  22. The pictures (not TV camera’s) also show that Albon had heaps of space on the outside, even on contact & didn’t need to be anywhere near Hamilton’s car. With the softs, he would’ve had far better drive & still taken the place. Hamilton had committed to a line & was ahead when he did so. Hamilton never changed his steering lock to push out Albon either. By the time Albon was equal to Hamilton there was nothing that could’ve changed the outcome. It was all to do with the positioning of the cars into the corner, where Hamilton was ahead. Hamilton literally left him two car widths of space & Alex chose a tighter line to the car that was ahead of him. I was genuinely hyped to see Albon overtake him but I don’t see this being anything but a racing incident. Especially considering last year & all the young drivers essentially forcing rule changes with harder driving & more lenient penalties. It works both ways.

  23. It’s a shame for Albon, especially as he didn’t need to make that risky overtake. He had the beating of the Mercedes in those fresher tires.

  24. interesting, for the most part comments above are simply people supporting their favored driver and trying to convince other of this, seems very few of you can actually look at the facts and interpret them without bias.
    I’m pretty sure the Stewards know a lot more about the telemetry, trajectory, full lock or not, position in corner, speed, drift, who should avoid who ETC.

  25. So, a racing-incident…
    Then Hamilton & Mercedes must protest asap!
    It costs them 6 important Championship/Constructor points.
    Hamilton has too many penalty points, at the start of the season already.
    So, protest this awful decision!
    Or wasn’t it that awful after all?

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