Mercedes’ pit error was understandable – Alfa Romeo’s was not

2020 F1 season

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Mercedes lost a potential victory at Monza partly because they failed to warn Lewis Hamilton early enough not to enter the pit lane during a Safety Car period.

Would other teams have avoided making the same error in the same circumstances? On the face of it the answer is ‘yes’, because only one other team – Alfa Romeo – made the same mistake as Mercedes.

But a closer look at the circumstances highlights how the pressure of time was different from team to team. With Hamilton, Mercedes had a much tighter time window to get the call right. It’s far from clear all the other teams would have done better in the same situation.

The basic situation was the same for everyone. The Safety Car was deployed on lap 20 of the race because Kevin Magnussen’s retired Haas needed to be pushed into the pit lane entrance. That meant the pit lane entrance had to be closed.

Ordinarily a Safety Car deployment at this stage in the race would prompt most drivers who had not yet made their mandatory pit stop to come in. Indeed, many teams immediately advised their drivers of their plans, such as Renault, who told their drivers to pit. It is rare for the pit lane entrance to be closed, and clearly many teams did not expect it to happen.

At the moment the Safety Car was deployed, Hamilton was leading the race and was the closest driver to the pit lane entrance. He was approaching the final corner, Parabolica, around 16 seconds ahead of second-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr.

From the moment the Safety Car was deployed, with Hamilton slowing to the mandatory delta time, it took him just 19 seconds to cross the pit lane entry line. This was the window Mercedes had to warn him the pit lane was closed. (It may have been even less than this: The stewards’ document indicates the pit lane was closed 12 seconds before Hamilton came in, suggesting a lag between the Safety Car deployment and pit lane closure).

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2020
Hamilton quickly left his pursuers behind after the start
Unfortunately for Hamilton, it took 23 seconds to get the message to him. He had already crossed the pit lane entry line and was lining up for his pit stop when race engineer Pete Bonnington told him: “Stay out, pit lane entry should be closed.”.

So did any team warn their drivers the pit lane entrance was closed more quickly than that? And, more importantly, quick enough that, if Mercedes had done the same, Hamilton might have avoided entering the pits and getting a penalty?

Before comparing the numbers it’s important to remember that the pressures of time were different further behind Hamilton. McLaren had the luxury of 16 more seconds to warn Sainz, and the drivers behind had even more time.

That said, one team was noticeably quick on the draw, and it was a team who consistently impress with their well-drilled pit crew and sharp strategies: Red Bull. Max Verstappen was told the pit lane entrance was closed 18 seconds after the Safety Car was deployed.

Even so, had Hamilton got that message that quickly, he would have been little more than a second from the pit lane entrance. A last-second swerve might still have spared him that costly pit stop.

Hamilton’s unfolding plight caused some amusement on the Red Bull pit wall:

To VerstappenThe pit lane entry is currently closed.
To VerstappenPit lane entry is closed.
To VerstappenLewis has pitted under a pit lane entry closed…
To VerstappenStay out Max, please, stay out.

McLaren also deserve credit for not allowing Sainz to follow Hamilton into making the same mistake. Sainz saw his rival had come in, which left him concerned:

To SainzCarlos the pit lane entry, at the moment, is closed. Pit lane entry is closed.
SainzOK it should be closed for everyone. They cannot do this to me.
To SainzWe want to pit but if it’s closed we can’t box.
SainzI kept going.
To SainzCopy.
SainzAre you sure it’s closed? Hamilton pitted though.
To SainzStay out is correct Carlos. Hamilton pitted but he should not have done so.

McLaren leaving Sainz out should have alerted any other teams who hadn’t noticed the pit lane entrance was closed. Some clearly only noticed at the last moment.

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Monza, 2020
Perez nearly made the same mistake as Hamilton
Sergio Perez, running fourth behind the two McLarens, was originally told “we will be stopping” when the Safety Car was deployed. His engineer hurriedly warned him “pit entry is closed” as he came within sight of it.

While Mercedes realised their mistake too late to warn Hamilton, they were able to tell Valtteri Bottas in time for him to avoid making the same mistake, as he was running 28 seconds behind his team mate at the time.

Mercedes had little time to get the call right and fell short by around five seconds. But while the 23 seconds it took them to warn Hamilton wasn’t enough for him, it would have been more than enough for every other driver in the race.

But Alfa Romeo blew the call even with a relative luxury of time. From the moment the Safety Car was deployed until Giovinazzi illegally entered the pits they had 75 seconds – almost a minute more than Mercedes – to notice that the pit lane entrance was closed.

George Russell, Williams, Monza, 2020
Russell spotted the vital signal Hamilton missed
The fact almost all of Alfa Romeo’s rivals had stayed out apparently failed to give them a clue. Giovinazzi’s radio was clearly working – they told him to pit at the exit of the Ascari chicane.

But as mentioned initially, Mercedes’ failure to warn Hamilton was only part of the reason for his race-losing penalty. Hamilton could have seen for himself that the pit lane entrance was closed via the red cross signals on the outside of Parabolica.

Which begs the question: Did any driver spot those lights for themselves without first being noticed by the team?

Take a bow George Russell. The team initially warned him the “pit lane will be busy” after the Safety Car was deployed. He then spotted the lights at Parabolica and asked if the pit lane entrance was closed, which the team confirmed.

Wonder if he’s mentioned that to Toto Wolff yet…

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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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74 comments on “Mercedes’ pit error was understandable – Alfa Romeo’s was not”

  1. Nice analyses. Yeah, I guess that the only way for Hamilton would have been if he had spotted the signs himself. But as so often, the driver has to prepare the car for the pitstop, turning nobs, changing settings etc. and he was off course keeping an eye to his right where Magnussen’s car was.

    For Giovannazzi, it really was quite strange. Didn’t Kimi run ahead of him on track too?

    1. @bascb Raikkonen was ahead of Giovinazzi after the start, but pitted before the Safety Car – a lap before Gasly – so he wasn’t looking to pit at the time.

      1. Ah, thanks @keithcollantine, that explains why they did not have to worry about him and stopping!

    2. I guess that the only way for Hamilton would have been if he had spotted the signs himself.

      I’m still flabbergasted that the team didn’t notice (and advice Lewis) that the pit lane was closed in those 12 seconds (just for the fun of it count 12s and you’ll notice how long that is). They have a lot of staff and the pit lane closed warning was issued prominently even to the FOM timing app users (about 12s before Lewis entered). There was no clutter or other messages just ‘SC deplyed first’ and ‘Pitlane closed’ shortly after that.
      @bascb

      But Hamilton isn’t blameless either. He only entered the pitlane once (as in most races). How difficult is it to check the lights for the pitlane which positions were clearly advised to all before the race. It’s like driving up to the only traffice light you pass during a 90min trip and you fail to notice it because you’re busy checking your speed in a school zone.

      1. Yeah, that is quite an apt. comparison there @coldfly

      2. @coldfly As the radio messages showed, Sainz also missed those “clearly advised” signs that the pitlane was closed.

        1. And others possibly.
          Not a strong excuse though: ‘Your honour, the car behind me jumped the lights as well!’

          1. @coldfly It actually is though. Speeding tickets can be reverted if the speed limit is not adequately made known. Especially for temporary speed limits this does work quite often.

      3. I’m not sure the traffic light is the best comparison when you consider how often a traffic light is red compared to how often the pit lane entry is closed. Very easy to not be in the habit of checking and expect your team to warn you, like they do for many other things.

        I have some sympathy for Mercedes as well because everyone will have their own jobs to focus on and won’t be checking the messages from race control every 10 seconds (Ted said in his notebook that someone in Brackley did notice, but the message didn’t get through in time). Evidently their systems need to be improved so it doesn’t happen again, but Alfa’s error was much worse… By that point even Crofty had noticed and said so on Sky!

        1. A better comparison would be to say that you’re driving and a sat nav has told you to go left at the next junction. You’ve gone left there 100 times in the past so you’re confident it’s correct. You’re driving through a school zone with a speed camera so you need to keep a close eye on your speed but you also need to adjust the multiple settings while you’re driving too. There’s a signal miles to the left and out of your natural eye zone and it’s a signal you’ve never seen before while driving. I think most people would still turn left. These comparisons never work but it’s rediculous to compare it to a red light as those are so common when driving and you purposely keep an eye out for them. It makes the mistake seem stupid when the article explains how most other drivers only stayed out because they had extra time to confirm it with the pits.

      4. Initially I thought your traffic light analogy was a good one, but then I thought about it a bit more and it’s not quite the same.

        Those two panels used to highlight pit lane closure, I believe under a normal safety car condition, where the pit lane remains open, would simply read SC like all the other panels around the track.

        If Hamilton saw something flashing in his peripheral vision he could reasonably assume it was saying SC without fully acknowledging it, given that he knew a safety car was deployed, and he’d already passed a number of panels saying SC.

        A red traffic light on the other hand, is always that, a red light and it only ever means one thing. A driver on the road who sees a red light in his peripheral vision will always be drawn to it, as it’s built in – it means stop, be it a red traffic light or another cars brake lights.

        I’m not excusing Hamilton here, as he should’ve read the pre-race notes, but given the multiple purpose of that particular panel, unless you’re staring right at it, it’d be easy to think it was just warning of the same situation as the other panels around the track.

        1. I see @cdavman.
          The analogy was more that you only have to check it once in 90min (and you are advised where it is).

          But I would as well rely on my many team members to warn me of something like that, even though the driver has the ultimate responsibility (and bears the consequences)

      5. All correct, but, the Safety Car was known to be out (I believe that’s indicated on the dash). Those lights, which while they’re visible to the drivers, aren’t where the driver will be looking going into the parabolica (try it on any racing game… you’ll be looking to the right as you exit the parabolica)– further, they were flashing, which they also would have been under just the safety car.

        So we have lights, in a poor position, giving information they don’t normally display, in a way that’s easy to miss at 140+ mph.

        Then, as you come around the parabolica, and the straight and pit entry becomes visible, there is absolutely zero sign that the pit is closed. And contrary to Crofty and Brundle’s whining, due to the relatively short pit entry, there’s plenty of time still to enter, or not enter, the pit lane. So the lack of warning lights at the pit lane entry is also unacceptable.

        Finally, Race Control didn’t flash up the warning at the top of the timing screen, or in an overlay like we see it on the world feed– No, they displayed it on either the 3rd or 4th page of the timing screen, which is either incompetent, or entrapment, I’m not sure which.

        So yes– Mercedes made a mistake, Hamilton made a mistake, but the FIA is acting like a bunch of amateurs– and that’s ignoring the fact that Magnussen’s car was in a safe enough place that double-yellows and a pit-lane closure would have sufficed.

      6. Hamilton, is a great driver. I guess when you’re that great your laser focus on one thing, driving. This caused him to hit Raikkonen in 2008 Canadian GP pit lane when he missed the red light showing at pit exit.

        I much rather put all the stuff outside of driving to the team responsibility of reminding him. I can live with a few mistakes here and there as long as I have Hamilton result.

  2. Normal the light would be on the right side the direction the driver looks to but here it was on the left side (ok way before the pitentry and on highspeed understandable left because the drivers are focussed on the road and will see it before they decide to commit to the pit entry.

    Lewis problem was here the safetycar it was too slow so Lewis was preparing for pitting and had his eyes to the right. (here should the team assist in)

    1. If there’s one thing this graph shows, is that direct race-control to driver messages could have alerted them all instantly

      1. Your right about this in other motor sports they have a system you described.

      2. Or they put the lights are at the pit lane entry.

        1. They did that.. on the left side..

  3. A team mistake more than a Lewis one, I think, although as the article says they were disadvantaged because of the short time they had. By the way, during the live commentary I’m pretty sure Brundle said the lights couldn’t be on the right side of Parabolica – why is that? My guess is that the curvature, the high speed, plus the racing line which is on the outside make it a lot more logical to put them on the left side.

    1. How is it a team mistake? Notice of pit closed was hidden on 4th page of FIA notifications and there are no lights on pit entry to warn drivers either. Look where the pit entry is for this circuit and where drivers are looking while preparing for pit stop. Those lights on left fence were yoke at best.

      1. lol, you are kidding right?
        Rewatch Lewis’ onboard, the timing screens are located in such a way that they show up floating above the apex of the corner. You see them while looking right.

        Besides Lewis is also very proud in stating he doesn’t do trackwalks. https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/track-walks-make-zero-difference-for-hamilton-788824/788824/

        1. How many of the drivers that do track walks spotted the panels?

        2. You do realize that the halo, helmet and speed can influence what a driver sees or doesn’t see especially when they are used to certain procedures which had already been established and then changed mere seconds before a driver can register such changes.

        3. Are these lights shown active during pitwalks? Is that what you are saying?

      2. Notice of pit closed was hidden on 4th page of FIA notifications

        No it wasn’t! It was prominently advised on one of the screens.
        (the page 4 reference is most likely a reference to the rolling total of race control messages).

        PS if you use ‘yoke’ as a ‘joke’ then use it when referencing to an Alonso action. At least I won’t get it otherwise.

        1. @coldfly you clearly got the “yoke” yoke, so I don’t understand what you’re complaining about.

        2. @coldfly – Your argument is a yoke! A yoke!

  4. Bwoah – regarding the title – you could as well argue that Mercedes has much more people staring at screens than Alfa Romeo has.

  5. I still don’t understand why a full SC was required if the pit lane was closed and they could throw the double-waved yellows, surely it’s one or the other? If they’d thrown the SC why not just wait until everyone had formed up and then move the car and if needs be close the pit-lane then? There’s probably an element of sour grapes here but I do think the FIA bear some responsibility.

    You throw a SC, so naturally everyone’s instinct is to pit, so anyone near the end of the lap is preparing for that, then you’ve got the incident on the inside of Parabolica, so you’re going to want approaching drivers to pay attention to that, then you close the pit lane, with a timing screen message that could be clearer and a double X on light panels on the opposite side of the track to the incident (that it seems easy to mistake for SC).

    Unusual chain of events aside, as others have said, why does the FIA lag behind other series and not have the capacity for the Race Director to broadcast directly to all drivers? Especially in important but uncommon situations, like the closure of the pit lane while under the SC. From a safety standpoint, it’s clearly advantageous (and on a personal note, the driver I follow would have had more time to react ;) )

    1. Deploying the Safety Car without closing the pit lane would have led to a large number of cars using the pit entrance within a short space of time, which was exactly what race control and the marshals didn’t want – the whole point was to keep that area of the track clear.

      And it would have been negligent of race control to send marshals out onto the track with only double waved yellows for protection, whether the pit entry was closed or not. What if someone ‘hadn’t seen the lights’ while the marshals were in the middle of the pit lane?

    2. That’s a good point about the race director having ability to speak directly to drivers – like an override button on all comms. Would come in useful in all manner of situations I think.

    3. Yes it’s all a bit of a nonsense isn’t it @tomd11. As you say as soon as they throw the SC it makes everyone come into the pits! And the communication was hopeless. I was typing the same thing just as you posted.

    4. From a safety perspective, it’s quite concerning. You close the pits so that marshals can push the car in while you know everyone wants to enter this pits, it’s like calling for trouble not to have better signals.

      Agree that voice communication to all drivers should be used in such situation or red flag if above is not possible. Get all cars in, push the other in and resume the race (comms to all being preferred option). 20sec (for the best) to notify of such important event is like eternity by F1 standards.

      Anyway nobody hurt this time (and car was enough off the line). It made for je interesting discussion.

      1. Marshalls should have a flag man directly signalling the drivers with double yellows well behind where they’re working.

      2. Shouldn’t Mercedes have anticipated this? We saw them pushing the car towards the pits long before it was declared CS, or pit closed. Anyone seeing that should be thinking about the next likely scenario. To be far

    5. @tomd11 That’s a really good point. They could have called the SC, let everyone who wanted pit, then closed the pit lane. Simple enough and fairer.

  6. The system is not really fit for purpose is it. If they have to stop cars entering the pitlane for safety then it takes far too long for everyone to get the message. Generally it’ll come with the safety car and that will make them all immediately WANT to come into the pits!

    I don’t know why Race Control can’t radio the drivers directly? They can listen after all, why not transmit as well.

    1. That’s and excellent point. It’s a safety measure, not a “gotcha” rule and thus should be fail proof.

  7. What is also clear after all the post race interviews is that Mercedes doesn’t do any trackwalks anymore.
    Not knowing where pit entry lights are, or not knowing which marshall posts are marshall posts and which ones are an escape road.

    The stewards’ document indicates the pit lane was closed 12 seconds before Hamilton came in, suggesting a lag between the Safety Car deployment and pit lane closure).

    I thought Brundle or Crofty said the pitlane closed the same time as the SC was released according to their timing screen.

    1. Reminds me of that time at Interlagos when Kimi took an escape road which wasn’t an escape road but a dead end.

      He too, skipped the track walk that weekend.

  8. I wouldn’t trust anything Crofty says. He often calls an overtake when it is someone defending or the other way round because he’s clearly not paying attention. Brundle has to regularly correct him.

    1. I wouldn’t trust anything Crofty says. He often calls an overtake when it is someone defending

      He did it again during the Monza race. Somebody overtook Vettel (which I thought was quite noteworthy) and he explained at large how this was a failed attack by him.
      Crofty is too busy trying (and mostly failing) to be funny.

      (As a follow up to today’s CotD) Crofty would be a bigger reason for me to cancel a Sky season pass than reverse grid quali could ever be.

    2. Oh crofty was brutal after the safety car. Instead of focusing on the race crofty had to tell us many, many times how we should have reverse grids over and over again.

    3. I think Crofty has an issue with Albon, it was Albon that was overtaking the Ferrari and he made out that Albon is about to be overtaken when it was the Red Bull that had just completed the overtake! This is not the first time he has tried to slate Albon but this Monza incident he was too quick in jumping on Albon and showing his true feelings. Give Albon a break he would have won that first race if Hamilton had not gotten in the way, and it would not have been a luck-in, but a genuine win. That incident has effected Alex’s confidence.

  9. Nice analysis, but obviously FIA should immediately inform pit one closed in big bold letters as it’s a matter of life and death of the thousands of Marshalls on the lane.

    This just shows how incompetent FIA is, hope karma comes back to bite the nuts that so well hit the information to the top dog.

  10. As the FIA stewards can hear the radio from every car its hardly difficult to establish a system where important notices are voice broadcast directly to every driver instantly and simultaneously flash warnings on the dashboard as already happens for other warning flags.

    How antiquated is it to rely on two small lights on the inside of the fastest curve on the track? A system blessed by the FIA which pontificates about safety.

    Too busy punishing excellence, probably, to catch up with the technology it seems already in use in other series.

    1. Every driver, and especially Lewis, is paid extreme amounts of money to drive. Part of driving is watching for roadsigns. No excuse there!

      1. As Lewis said, he’s not looking to the left. This isn’t Top Gun where you have Maverick and Goose and Goose is looking around for bogeys. Where there’s an accident the driver should be looking in the direction of the accident. If flags appear on the other side, they should be allowed to completely ignore them without a penalty except if those same signs were shown before.

        1. Only to the right. oke, so he only earned half his paycheck then ;)

  11. As others have said, I think the most important lesson here is for the FIA.

    Firstly, if there was a 7 second gap between safety car deployment and pit-lane being closed, why was that? Was it that there was a delay between the safety car and pit-lane decisions by the stewards, or was it that both decisions were made at the same time but one registered before the other?

    Secondly, the graph that shows when drivers were told clearly shows a sub-optimal method of notification of the pit-lane being closed compared to safety car deployment. That spread (and time lag) doesn’t occur when the safety car is deployed. Whatever the system is they currently use, this is a good opportunity to review and improve upon it. Anything related to safety should be an unequivocal message received by all teams and drivers ‘instantly’.

  12. An excellent analysis, Racefans.

    Race control was effectively racing Hamilton. They had to make their decision before he came around. They didn’t leave enough time to communicate to him. It wasn’t only unfair to him, but dangerous to everyone.

    I’m not sure if race control had enough time to do better. I suspect they could have, perhaps with better awareness of the track and recovery blind spots.

    I think drivers should practice these things in the simulator. Probably yellow flags too, several drivers get caught out by yellow flags every year.

    1. These things are communicated by track side lights, which were clearly visible as George Russell saw them and commented at the time. My guess is that Hamilton simply was busy switch fiddling and arguing about tyres and didn’t notice the lights. The sort of thing that on the road would get you a Driving without due care and attention endorsement.
      Why didn’t Magnussen coast into the pits though? He was going fast enough and stopped just before the white lines marking the entrance, right by the marshals post which wasn’t wide enough to move the car back.

      1. The problem is Russell was the only driver to spot them out of 20 drivers total. That tells the story in my opinion.

        1. The lights had been flashing for half an hour before the Williams car passed them.

  13. Would he still get that harsh penalty if he entered by mistake and just drove through the pitlane without any pitstop? I mean, he would only be losing time with that after realizing his mistake. Could mercedes instruct him like this to avoid the penalty? Just curious

    1. Driving in a closed pitlane is very dangerous. In the past people are disqualified just for that reason. Lewis came out easy.

        1. Check the f1 history and go wash your mouth

  14. Worth mentioning that it has very little to do with track walks. I think 80% of the drivers would have missed that light if they were leading, most of the drivers had to rely on their team to be informed, for Hamilton and the team it was a reflex, and the penalty was too harsh. Not complaining though, it gave an exciting race, otherwise would have been boring just like Spa.

  15. Finally, more and more people will realise that, behind the story telling and the glamour, the facts are there: Buscombe is nowhere near as good as her continuous self-promotion campaign suggests.

  16. Yet again it raises the question of whether the FIA Safety Culture and Management Systems are ‘fit for purpose’ and use ‘best practice’ as demonstrated in for example high hazard industries for decades.

    “Which begs the question: Did any driver spot those lights for themselves without first being noticed by the team?”

    Somebody has pointed out that the Safety Car observer checks all panels are visible and working.
    That’s not quite the same as noticeable to drivers with well known tunnel vision.
    Why not, with modern technology, use the simulators to check at circuit design that warning signs are OBVIOUSLY positioned for drivers?

    Similarly its long been demonstrated, with serious accidents in Aviation and Process Industries that with modern communications, and even with old alarm panels, that it wasn’t obvious which were important alarms against just warnings. Current systems are programmed to put the ACT NOW messages at the very top usually.
    I wonder if FIA has been through an exercise, with teams, to rank race messages and priorities them?

    The ‘Pit Lane Closed’ message was on page 3. Mercedes base control in England were the first in the team to see it!!

    1. Perhaps the oldest most experienced driver in the race has the answer.

      ‘What the f£&k does that mean?’

      And that was an age after LH coming past.

      Other drivers comment were not much different other than those that came by a minute or so later…

      Ridiculous to exp3ct a driver to decipher an unknown ancient signal completely out of eye line on a fast bend while managing pit stop settings and trying to ensure the stricken vehicle is not an issue and marshals are not stepping into the road.

      I mean come on by 5he letter of law the penalty was clear.

      By a realistic view what were they doing calling that a spot for exiting stricken cars when it actually was a picnic spot for a marshal.

      Mag did something right for a change.

      Bet the poor chap wishes he had just dumped it into the pits!

  17. Basic question. How come when the SC is called out (or in) or yellow or red flags are shown, we ALL know about virtually straight away. It pops up on the main TV screen. The teams also keep an eye on that. So why not the same for closing the pit lane? All the teams would have known in seconds and advised their drivers. Problem solved. Or the race director tells all the drivers simultaneously via the radio himself. Again problem solved. As this is a real safety issue – there could be an accident or fire in the pit lane, there’s little room for evasive action, and loads of people walking around – this should be a priority communication. Not a message tucked away on page 3 or whatever.

    The SC itself seemed contrived. You can see why. Had the race continued as it was, Hamilton would have finished way ahead of the rest of the field, lapping most and 40+ sec possibly from second, even without pushing.

  18. I happen to have a degree in human factors engineering and the message boards on the track are in the wrong location. This is why HAM thought there should have been a light at the entrance to the pits. The drivers are focusing on the side of the track where the pits are located. On this track the pit was on the inside of the track and the message was on the outside. The onboard camera has a wider field of view than a driver. Either place the message boards on both sides of track or put them in the most likely field of view for the drivers.

    1. Exactly, and a driver’s helmet tends to obscure even more of the view when he is moving relatively fast.

  19. A terrible way to lose a race – imagine if this had happened when Max Verstappen was ahead or Vettel was winning at Monza in 2008 or if it happened to Gasly. It’s mitigated by the fact that it happened to Mercedes who are simply the best.

  20. For those who live to play the blame game, this was an unusual occurrence. Usually the teams only experience a safety car light or a red light.
    It is most unusual to have a safety car light change even to a red light.
    A pit stop is a very tense situation for teams especially an unscheduled stop. So once you get the initial safety car message you begin to work on other tasks in preparation for any stop. The driver also goes into a routine in anticipation of the stop. They no longer need to really look at any signs but their panoramic vision can easily spot a red light.

    The fact Hamilton was about taking our already taking the corner when the sign changed meant it was already out of his focus. Other drivers further behind had plenty of time to see the signal from a view point that was almost directly ahead.

    The solution to this kind of problem is to have the signals on both sides of the track.

  21. “The basic situation was the same for everyone. The Safety Car was deployed on lap 20 of the race because Kevin Magnussen’s retired Haas needed to be pushed into the pit lane entrance” – but why not use the break in the barrier alongside which Kevin parked? Because the marshalls had erected a picnic table? Why was that allowed?

  22. These are the articles that make me support this site. F1 level reporting! @keithcollantine

  23. I bet if it had been a plane crash you will find a thousand and one reasons why the pilot was not to blame and immediately blame the signal light manufacturer.
    The fact a driver very far behind could see it bears no relevance to a driver who had the lights beside him with very minimal exposure time.
    This is very similar to those delta time investigations, some drivers exceed it but are not penalized because they happened to be at the very wrong position on track when the system is initiated hence they break the rule but go unpunished.
    If this were a serious safety issue the onus is on the FIA to ensure the drivers can get adequate warnings on time, safety is not a game of penalties it can cost lives.

    1. Imagine if any of us saw a red traffic light with that much lead time, & still never stopped at the intersection …

      If we didn’t see the light when it was so obviously visible, perhaps we shouldn’t be on the roads …

      How is a multiple world drivers champion treated differently?

  24. The majority of the drivers didn’t need to be told because they saw the sign with their won eyes and knew what it meant.

    How does Lewis drive on the public roads without someone in his ear to tell him what to do every second of the trip?

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