The F1 world has received a lot of publicity this week; some good and some bad, depending on your own view. But needless to say, just about everyone has an opinion on the penalty Lewis Hamilton received after his on-track skirmish with Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix. Many Formula One insiders have offered their view on the decision by the stewards to add 25s to Hamilton’s time, and the view from the paddock is just as mixed as the views from the fans.
Fernando Alonso, Hamilton’s team mate last year at McLaren, feels the penalty is fair. The Spaniard came into the pits at Spa last weekend to change to wet weather tyres and had a storming final lap. Alonso believes he could have won the race had it been one lap longer, although seeing as Nick Heidfeld was ahead and also on wet weather tyres, I feel Alonso would have only managed second. That said, Hamilton’s penalty didn’t effect the outcome of Fernando’s race, so one can presume that the double world champion is speaking without looking for advantage.
Lewis had an advantage by doing that [cutting the chicane]. If he did the chicane properly, he would never have crossed the line one metre behind Kimi. You lose five or ten metres and then you cannot overtake in Turn 1.
There were two or three laps to the end, many more corners to overtake at with the condition of the circuit. It was clear for me that it was not the right moment to overtake. The stewards take their decisions and they have been very strict this year. They are very hard but consistent. Fernando Alonso.
Alonso is in the minority of current drivers, as most feel that while Hamilton did gain an advantage, the penalty was harsh.
I think it is very clear, the rules are clear. Maybe the penalty is very hard but he has made the same mistake twice, he did in Magny-Cours and he did it in Spa. I don’t really understand why there is such a mess around it, there is a rule book and everyone has to obey the same thing. The penalty is rough but it is up to you to give the position back. Sebastien Bourdais.
What happened is that he took an advantage by cutting the chicane. You can ask drivers how many overtaking moves you see there. None between the last corner and the first corner, because there is such a small straight there. That is my opinion and it doesn’t change. Felipe Massa.
I actually don’t get Massa’s comment at all. The Brazilian states that because other drivers haven’t passed between the final turn and the first, that Hamilton shouldn’t have attempted it. Which, in my humble opinion, reads: racing needs to be dumbed down, the drivers need to agree on corners which they can pass beforehand, and to take one step further, permission needs to sought before making any move. I’m sorry Felipe, but just because other drivers may not have been able to pass at La Source, it doesn’t mean all can’t. Of course, the general opinion among drivers is that Hamilton was only able to pass because of the advantage he gained, but despite that, Massa’s comments are quite shocking to me.
I agree the penalty was quite big but I am not a steward. But it is also clear he got an advantage. The rules are very clear, if you cut the chicane you get the advantage you have to drop it and lose advantage, in Lewis’ case he should not attack in the first corner that is it. Jarno Trulli.
I just seen pictures so difficult for me to say if it is right or not what happened. For sure maybe he took a small advantage that is why he had the possibility to overtake him again in braking for Turn One, but obviously 25 seconds penalty was quite a strong penalty. Giancarlo Fisichella.
He did have an advantage because he would not be so close if he had not cut the chicane but the penalty was a bit harsh as it did not have a big result in the end result. But it won’t stop us from trying to attack definitely. Nico Rosberg.
So the general consensus among drivers – those people who fully understand exactly what it is like to drive a Formula One car in the conditions we saw in Belgium – is that Hamilton gained an advantage by doing what he did, but the penalty was quite harsh.
A slightly different view came from Renault’s Pat Symonds. Symonds took the opportunity while recording the team’s podcast to speak about the effect this will have on the sport as a whole.
As it happened in real time, we were talking on the intercom and said: ‘Wow that was definitely a situation where he has to give the place back’. I guess we weren’t that surprised when the stewards were found to be investigating it. Having looked at it again, I feel very, very sorry for Lewis. I think he has been very hard done
It raises lots of interesting questions, and I am not talking about ‘Are the FIA on the side of Ferrari?’ We have to believe that they are impartial, the sport would not exist if we didn’t believe that. But I think it does call into question [the sport’s] philosophy, because everyone is saying we need more overtaking in Formula One, we need more excitement, and we need more personalities. And yet it seems to me that everything that actually happens seems to be against that.
Here we had a great race with people really challenging each other and for why? If it’s taken away, then why take that risk?
To me the facts are quite clear in retrospect. I have had a look at the videos, I’ve had a look at the published data which shows that Lewis was nearly 7 km/h slower than Raikkonen across the line, you can quite clearly see on the in-car camera that he lets him get completely in front, and in my view Raikkonen just braked very early.
Lewis went inside him, and if you look at the in-car camera stuff, Lewis drove around the hairpin very easily. He didn’t have a big slide, he didn’t have to correct it, he hadn’t gone in too deep and come out wide, it was a perfectly legitimate manouevre, and it wasn’t that much later that Raikkonen went past him.
This is racing, this is what we want. Pat Symonds.
While attempting to diffuse the situation regarding the FIA and Ferrari, Symonds basically says that we all want to see great racing, and in the final few laps at Spa Francorchamps, that is exactly what we saw. However, the superb race has now been tarnished by the stewards who, according to Symonds, have potentially stifled racing. Renault’s Director of Engineering also went on to say that he feels the decisions made by the stewards need to happen faster. This is something I too feel strongly about, and if the previous posts about this on BlogF1 are read properly, you will see that the crux centres around this very fact. The result of a race should not be changed two hours after the supposed winner has sprayed the champagne on the podium.
I think motor racing should be like football, not like cricket. Let’s have action, let’s know what is going on in real time, not wait for two days to find out the result. Pat Symonds.
I understand that when something happens at the very end of the race, little can be done to penalise the driver or team before the chequered flag is taken. However, the stewards need to find a way to speed up decisions. It shouldn’t take two hours to come to a conclusion, it should take a matter of minutes. And it is my belief that if this delays the podium celebration, then so be it. I would want to see the winner on the podium, hear the winner’s national anthem and see the team collect the winning constructors trophy. I do not want, as Lou from F1Break put it, go to make a cup of tea only to find after returning the result has since changed.