Sprint race start, Miami International Autodrome, 2024

Did Hamilton deserve penalty for “kamikaze” first-lap crash which angered Alonso?

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Several drivers believed Lewis Hamilton was to blame for the first-corner collision which occured during yesterday’s sprint race in Miami – and not just those whose races were ruined.

An unimpressed Fernando Alonso even claimed the stewards would have issued a penalty had a Spanish driver done the same thing.

The stewards ruled no single driver was responsible for the collision involving Hamilton, the two Aston Martin drivers and Lando Norris. Were they right?

How it happened

As the field arrived at turn one, the two Aston Martin drivers tangled as Hamilton reached the apex kerb. As Hamilton ran wide from the apex, with a puff of smoke from one of his tyres, the Aston Martin drivers took a tighter line and the cars converged.

Alonso and Hamilton’s onboards show the initial contact between Alonso and Lance Stroll.

Following that collision, Hamilton hit Alonso, pushing him further into his team mate and on into Lando Norris. Hamilton’s onboard shows how wide he was of the apex when that contact was made:

What they said

In the cars

Immediately after the collision Hamilton reported: “I had a touch with the guys.” A lap later, while under Safety Car conditions, he added: “There was a gap on the inside, so I went for it.”

Alonso said “Hamilton arrived like a bull” after he was hit by the Mercedes driver.

Another driver who was not involved in the collision, Nico Hulkenberg, offered a view on it during the Safety Car period: “Jesus, I don’t know what Hamilton was thinking there. That was proper kamikaze.”

After the crash

Hamilton said much the same after the race as he had during it. “Of course, it wasn’t intentional to be touching with anyone,” he said, “but everyone’s pushing as much as possible, and I went for a gap, but then I think those guys went wide and then came back across. So that’s kind of where we connected.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Miami International Autodrome, 2024
Norris blamed Hamilton for his retirement
However Norris, whose race ended immediately as a result of the collision, laid the blame at Hamilton’s feet: “Lewis dived up the inside and caused the incident,” he said. “Nothing I could do about that.”

The stewards announced during the race no action would be taken over the incident. Alonso said afterwards he thought the Mercedes driver would not be penalised.

“We’ll see what they decide,” he said. “I guess they’re not going to give anything because he’s not Spanish.

“But I think he ruined the races of a few people, Norris especially, which had a very fast car and he was [taken] out in that incident.”

The official verdict

The stewards ruled no driver was chiefly to blame for the collision. They also pointed out that incidents which occur at the very start of the race are generally treated more leniently:

Start, sprint race, Miami, 2024
The stewards ruled no one was to blame

From the video evidence, it appeared that there were at least three collisions that occurred – the first between cars 14 [Alonso] and 18 [Stroll] and then between car 44 [Hamilton] and car 14 and finally between car 18 and car four [Norris].

While it appeared to us that the incidents began with cars 14 and 18, the sudden and fast arrival of Car 44 contributed to the various collisions. However, we were not able to identify one or more drivers wholly or predominantly to blame for the various collisions or any one of them.

Also keeping in mind that this was in turn one of lap one where greater latitude is given to
drivers for incidents, we took no further action.

Your verdict

Should the stewards have penalised Hamilton? Was anyone else to blame, or was it a first-corner racing incident?

Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Do you agree Hamilton should have been penalised for the first corner collision in the sprint race?

  • No opinion (0%)
  • Strongly disagree (13%)
  • Slightly disagree (19%)
  • Neither agree nor disagree (6%)
  • Slightly agree (12%)
  • Strongly agree (50%)

Total Voters: 78

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Author information

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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45 comments on “Did Hamilton deserve penalty for “kamikaze” first-lap crash which angered Alonso?”

  1. Yes he did.

    Also, where’s the “I say…”, Keith

    1. notagrumpyfan
      5th May 2024, 18:50

      I believe the ‘I say …’ part is only included in polls.
      This is a penalty revision article (fairly new) which never had such a part.

    2. “kamikaze”

      Most unnecessary quotation marks ever

  2. Absolutely! Yet another “uncharacteristic mistake” by Hamilton, where he takes out rivals, but suffers very little in terms of his own car damage or punishment.

  3. Saumya Agarwal
    5th May 2024, 18:04

    This site goes to all extremes to defend hamilton

    same if done by stroll/grosjean/ maldonado will have a very different headline something like

    “Stroll divebombs to end 3 races and continues without penalty”

    Then after 1 days new articles
    “Do you think penalties are lenient on current F1″

    Dear Racefans ” Learn to look at incident on its merit not past and future context”
    Simple thing is Hamilton misjudged breaking and crashed into others…should have been punished

    1. Saumya Agarwal
      5th May 2024, 18:05

      3 drivers races

  4. Alonso thinks everything is Lewis fault.
    Lewis should never have humiliated Alonso so badly as a rookie..lol.

    1. Tied on points and with 10,000+ km in pre-season testing for LH vs less than 2,000 km for FA due to contractual restrictions with Renault. Quite a humiliation…

      1. A lot of people blindly assume the following seasons hamilton was better than alonso because of the 2007 season! Hamilton had a great rookie season, but I dare say in the following years, considering the cars they had, alonso was the better driver.

        1. Haha excuses excusee….a rookie destroyed your idol. Imagine looking at km when one was a 2 time champ in F1 and the other a rookie.

          Love to know both your ages, I watched the season and Lewis thoroughly humiliated Alonso.

          1. I am certainly older than you. Your vitriolic pronouncements are an indication you’re likely a teenager.

  5. No because he didn’t get a penalty… is this a trick question? Who cares what “armchair experts” think. He did nothing wrong and therefore no penalty was issued. Let’s race!

    1. Lando doesn’t agree with you but what does he know.

    2. This is always a very bad argument, as everything is subjective. Why bother having a comment section? none of us ever raced in F1, so why are we entitled of an opinion? The stewards are also not F1 drivers, and even current F1 drivers never agree on certain incidents. Just as an example, Lando, Hulkenberg and Alonso disagree with the stewards decision in this case.

      He did nothing wrong in his view. But if the roles were reversed, he’d be the first to complain. Had drivers with surnames like “Grosjean”, “Maldonado”, “Mazepin”, “Stroll” done that, they’d have received a penalty, I’m 100% sure of it.

      1. Why bother having a comment section?

        That’s my whole point. The decision has been made and the result is now fact. Opinion on these things from untrained drivers who probably struggle to drive in the right lane on a motorway isn’t adding anything to the world is it?

        1. Why do you comment then?

          Stewards decisions are not a chemical reaction in which a+b equals c. It’s subjective. So we can all discuss if it’s right or wrong. You don’t need to be able to do it to judge on it, you can use the arguments of the people in the know. And three of Hamilton’s colleagues (one of which wasn’t even affected by the incident) feel he was to blame.

        2. untrained driver.. who ..struggle to drive in the right lane on a motorway

          Its good to know you belong to that category but it does not add anything to the discussion.

      2. While I haven’t raced in F1. I raced for more than a decade and have been a steward. The reasons opinions are more valid re: a penalty versus nearly everything else we discuss is because, aside from things like being in the wrong grid box or crossing the white lines, stewards’ decisions are always based on opinion. There is no strict letter of the law when it comes to penalties. Anyone who argues otherwise is either intentionally lying simply for the sake of their opinion or haven’t witnessed more than about two races.

        What merits a penalty is always changing in F1. Not just from steward to steward, but race-to-race. We’ve seen before when contact starts getting out of hand, stewards enforcing stricter interpretations of the rules to get drivers back in line. And we‘ve seen the exact opposite and even been told the RD and stewards have been told to “let them race” and we get much more hands off enforcement against wheel-to-wheel racing.

    3. notagrumpyfan
      5th May 2024, 18:53

      Who cares what “armchair experts” think.

      Followed by your assessment of the incident ;)

      1. What assessment? The official stewards ruled no penalty. I’m just repeating their report. Nothing I’ve said is my own opinion it’s fact.

    4. Yet I’ve seen you disagree with penalties before. So, a pretty hilarious rationalization.

      1. Maybe there’s more than one person called Ben on this site?

        1. So, there’s no penalty in F1 history you’ve ever disagreed with or race director decision? lol. Please. Who do you think you’re fooling?

        2. Also this take that the stewards can never be wrong is really weird, why do innocents end up in prison and then released? If judges in the real world can make mistakes, why can’t stewards?

    5. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
      6th May 2024, 11:19

      Stewards give out incorrect penalties every so often. Occasionally they even get overturned officially, despite fairly strict rules governing how that can happen. There is disagreement between fans about which other ones warrant a penalty, hence scope for articles like this one.

  6. No, Alonso left the space there, he himself didn’t make the apex because he wanted to brake later. You either brake earlier and take the normal like through the apex or you carry more speed and run wider. Here Alonso run wider but then turned in once he regained grip. This freedom to change the line can’t be allowed in a first corner when everyone is very close together. Ham looks to have carried too much speed but he probably anticipated that Aston Martins would run wider to the line and not turn in like they did.

  7. It’s a weird case because Alonso drove into Stroll on his own accord and didn’t need to do so to leave Hamilton space. It’s hard to say if Hamilton hits Alonso without that happening first, but he did. I think Hamilton was over eager but it’s a case of where you throw a squib on a burning house are you liable.

    1. Did you even watch the incident? Seems like you didn’t. The stewards blamed Hamilton, but didn’t penalize him. So, were the stewards wrong? I’ve seen about 70% blame Hamilton and about 30% blame a combo of Stroll and Hamilton. Only Team LH tries to claim this was Alonso’s fault.

  8. If Hamilton was to be penalized, then the very same penalty would have applied to Alonso.

  9. I have no problem with Hamilton trying a wild move. Just the fact that I know Alonso would get a penalty for that and Lewis didn’t.

  10. Alonso and Hamilton would have been able to work this out. Alonso and Stroll would have been able to work this out. Stroll and Norris would have been fine together as well. But all four? These guys just can’t see what’s going on. This happens so often that three wides end up in a collision because the guy on the outside can’t see that there’s a third person involved in the scrap. And the guy in the middle has to either back out – which at the start is a risk in and of itself – or just kinda hope everything works out.

    Stroll probably has to take the majority of the blame here for a very aggressive turn-in that led to contact with his teammate even before Hamilton arrived at the scene. While Hamilton’s move was risky, it’s not like he overshot the corner. He didn’t even cross the middle of the track. So nobody did anything wrong per se, it just didn’t fit.

    And Alonso’s baseless claims about the stewards are just sad at this point. The guy has apparently found a new hobby horse, but it’s not impressing anyone.

  11. If you attempt to make that move, you have to make the corner. If you can’t make the corner and as a result plow into another driver and cause a crash, you should get a penalty. First lap or second lap or last lap should not be. a factor. The top drivers in the world should be able to judge an overtaking move properly, if they can’t, penalize them when they cause a wreck.

    I just don’t see how Hamilton can be let go under the defense of “well he left a space.” If there was a space, how did their come a crash then? There’d be an argument if Alonso suddenly closed the gap and crossed the track, but he didn’t, he just took the corner, the alleged gap never disappeared. It was Hamilton that steered into Alonso, not vice versa. He knew there were other cars there. He knew that if he took the gap, he had to make a 90 degree turn into that corner (that he never could’ve taken), so yeah, he is wholly to blame for the crash and should get penalized for it.

  12. notagrumpyfan
    5th May 2024, 19:23

    While it appeared to us that the incidents began with cars 14 and 18,

    I wonder what people think about this incident (assuming there was no Hamilton involved later on)?
    Was it Alonso understeering into Stroll? Was it Stroll turning in too aggressively? Was it both equally at fault?
    Hardly a penalty worthy incident though.

    PS Hamilton entering the corner with too much speed and crashing into other cars should have been penalised as was the very similar incident when Bottas caused a pile-up by braking too late into turn 1 in Hungary 2021.

    1. The interesting part here is that stewards always pretend they do not weight the result of the action but the action itself.
      Perez action was a disaster in itself and only luck and fast reactions saved the situation. So perez should have been penalized like hamilton but both escaped the verdict.

  13. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    5th May 2024, 19:24

    Had cars not started colliding before Hamilton arrived then yes a penalty was deserved. Given it was already all kicking off it’s hard to justify penalising Hamilton and only Hamilton, no matter how much you may want that to happen.

    1. I’m one who voted strongly agree, but that doesn’t mean stroll didn’t also deserve a penalty, they could’ve penalised both as they were both to blame, considering stroll his alonso earlier.

    2. hit alonso*

  14. Not only is Hamilton far from the apex(I’m a Hamilton fan), he is not even pointed in the same direction as the other cars at point of impact.

  15. After they got away with the Hockenheim crane they can get away with absolutely everything. Just give them the next thousand titles and be done with it

  16. This seems to have pulled up the personal bias from many commenters, with people ignoring what the stewards noted – i.e. that Hamilton was effectively the guy that clipped the edge of a three car pile-up, that started before he arrived, and ends up needing a new paint job.

    As on a road pile up, should the fourth car involved have been driving as close or as fast?
    Well, it was all fine until someone else started a pile-up, but they are responsible for their own problems there, and only their own problems.

  17. So 53% absolutely disagree with the stewards here (me included), 63% disagree with the stewards, that’s a really high amount for people who can never be wrong.

  18. I’ve not really got an opinion on this one. 4 into 1 doesn’t go. I think Lando is optimistic around the outside, I think Stroll sees him and turns in to leave Lando space, Alonso has nowhere to go as Stroll has cut across him and Hamilton is coming in too hot. Had Hamilton not been there Alonso may have turned in avoiding contact but that is certainly a racing incident we see at Turn 1 regularly. Hamilton is out of control for me and it’s poor but given it’s turn 1 I’d probably let it go.

    That said, I think the reaction if Stroll had been in Hamilton’s position would have been much fiercer.

  19. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    6th May 2024, 10:18

    Perez decided that lunge was a winner and went for it yesterday as well, only he turned it up to 11.

  20. Alianora La Canta (@alianora-la-canta)
    6th May 2024, 11:23

    I feel that two people were predominantly to blame here (Hamilton and Stroll), but multiple people can’t sensibly be deemed predominantly to blame for a collision unless they’re co-ordinating in some way (which Lewis and Lance patently were not). So Hamilton was partly to blame, the incident was bad enough that there was reason for the stewards to look into it despite being a Turn 1 affair, but the stewards were correct in not issuing a penalty to either driver under the current understanding of the regulations.

    (Perez just plain missed his braking point at the same corner and would have been at significant risk of a penalty had he collided with anyone either on the way into or out of the run-off area. After all, he was the only significant contributor to any accident that might have occurred there).

Comments are closed.