131 thoughts on “Interesting analyses…

  1. What that comparison doesn’t show is that, in the Schumacher pass, Lewis had his brakes locked, and may not have even made the corner if he didn’t bump off Schumacher’s car.

    It was a very lucky move, and Schumacher did well to avoid more contact.

  2. Hmm very interesting. Is it my imagination, or in the second comparison, on lap 74, is Hamilton further to the left, diminishing the ability of Maldonado to turn into the corner without hitting Hamilton’s wheel?

  3. IMO Hamilton is within a cm or two on exactly the same pice of track each time.

    The only difference between the two is the brain capacity of the driver on the right.

  4. Which just goes to show how utterly appalling the commentary from Brundle & Coulthard is.

    Brundle was fine as an analyst before he was ‘taught’ how to do it ‘properly’ – and lost everything that made him good at it in the first place. How hes terrible.

    Coulthard on the other hand never had any skills on a microphone to begin with so hes always going to struggle.

    Between them the BBC coverage is bordering on unwatchable, thank god for the radio commentary with folks that actually know what they are talking about – even if they havent been successful enough driving the cars to get on TV.

  5. Bernard sounds like a Hamilton apologist to me. The Schumacher move was a good one and credit to him for that, but he was too far back (i.e. not alongside or in front) of Maldonado and therefore the overtake wasn’t really on. Who is to say that Pastor wasn’t taking his normal line into that corner? That accident was definitely avoidable, but it was Lewis’ choice not to hit the brakes and give it up. Normally I’m a fan of Lewis but he ruined a great performance by a rookie driver, and his comments post-race were ill-advised at best.

  6. Well Lewis looks to be in exactly the same place in both scenarios, however Schumacher is still going straight ahead whereas Car 12 has started toward the apex, but probably a whole second too soon. It does indeed seem like a kneejerk reaction from Malvolio, he would have needed to back off to make the corner from that position.
    An early turn in runs out of track on the exit, it is a fundamental rule of racing, it needs a lift, tuckin, and/or tail slide to correct, whilst a late turn in risks a tank slap into the wall.

    Brilliant images from whoever sent them, I must guess it was not the FIA stewards!
    Yet the stewards have access to the in car footage so why………….????

    Has there ever been a case of the Stewards saying sorry we were wrong?

  7. It’s interesting, but it doesn’t make me change my mind that the penalty was entirely justified. Maldonado may have been further to the right than Schumacher was, but as long as he did not change his line (and, indeed, it may have been his normal line into Ste. Devote anyway) then he was perfectly entitled to be there. And I guess this is nowhere near as detailed as the information available to the Stewards.

    1. David Myers,

      Overtaking is in part about all the things you mention. It is in part also about positioning and nerve. So while it is true to say that Lewis was slightly behind, he was on the inside and in a position to “test” the man ahead. Schumacher recognised that he could either cede or crash. He chose to give way. In this respect he was beaten (psychologically) by Lewis and the overtaking manoeuvre occurred. In the case of Maldonado, he was either not smart enough to understand the situation he was in (or it happened too quickly for him) but he definitely turned into Lewis, which was risk that Hamilton had taken.

  8. I have wondered, over the past few races, whether the BBC commentary has influenced the steward’s decisions.
    If you study Martin Brundle’s voice, it tends to become very excited if he thinks Lewis Hamilton may have done something wrong, even if there is no clear evidence. And for the past several races he’s proactively raised the need for an inquiry into Hamilton’s driving.
    I thought that DC, being a Red Bull employee, might have been the one trying to hobble Hamilton. But why is Martin Brundle? I’ve been completely baffled by it, and also very frustrated to listen to such biased commentary.
    Joe, are you aware of any reason why Martin Brundle might want to target one driver in particular? I know he has business interests in the sport, like DC. Do you think that’s interfering with his ability to give an unbiased view of what’s happening on the track, and do you think his commentary is inflammatory, and encourages investigations into Hamilton?

    1. Anne,

      Too many conspiracy for me. Commentators make mistakes just as Journalists do, stewards, cooks and bottlewashers. The only people who seem never to be mistaken are commenters on blogs.

  9. very interesting, perhaps the stewards should try this method in future or perhaps Bernard is free for Montreal?

    Certainly Maldonado turns in earlier than Schumacher and Hamilton has no option but to go bouncing over the kerbs. I suppose the stock reply would be that Hamilton should have noticed this and slammed on the anchors. Racing incident or rookie under pressure error?

  10. You’re right, it is interesting. One thing to bear in mind, though, is that the stewards never hand out a penalty for causing an avoidable collision when there hasn’t been a collision. That is, it’s possible that if Michael had turned in in the same way the Pastor did, Lewis would have been penalised for that move as well. To me, that invalidates the argument that one side of the picture is the “right” way and other is the “wrong” way: it’s simply that Schumacher gave room where Maldonado didn’t. Either both of Lewis’ moves are wrong or they’re both right since as these pictures seem to show, they were pretty much identical.

    It seems to me that the difference is that the move on Michael was earlier in the race with a more willing participant given that Schumacher has been around the block enough times to know that turning in just there would have ended in tears, whereas Maldonado is a relative newcomer and was doggedly (and in my opinion quite justifiably) defending a well-deserved points finish late on in the race.

  11. I have to say, tantum aside, Lewis has a point on the Maldonado pass and these pictures illustrate it perfectly. Pastor had a good race but could have and should have left room…the pass on Massa looked a bit more Banzai though.

  12. Interesting… Backs up my initial thought whilst watching the race that Lewis’ pass on Maldonado was legit and that Maldo simply turned in on him. Looking at those images – and if I’d been one of the Stewards – I would’ve been inclined to give Lewis the benefit of the doubt and haul Maldo in for a chat. Mind you, Lewis would’ve been immediately back on my carpet with that stupid AliG-type comment…

    Surprising too that Schummie didn’t *cough* not notice that Lewis was trying to overtake. Definitely mellowing in his old age…

  13. There’s not much you can analyse from four screenshots with some lines drawn over them, Joe.

    You seem to be of the mistaken belief that a driver attempting to make a passing manoeuvre has right of way. This is incorrect in all forms of motorsport; a driver attempting an overtake has the responsibility to ensure that it’s carried out in a safe and fair manner, which Lewis failed to do. Only in NASCAR might Lewis have got away with that over-aggressive, ill-thought out move.

    It’s a shame his suspension didn’t break, really.

  14. Maldonado definitely turned in early. The line Maldonado took would have put him way across the kerbs if Hamilton had not been there. Hamilton was badly treated by the stewards. Brilliant clips by Bernard.

  15. I think thats brilliant, if anything it would appear that Lewis was closer to Maldonado than Schumacher when he made the moves, great driving from Schumacher or poor driving from Maldonado?

    Another question which springs to mind is what would have happened if Hamilton hadn’t cut the corner? and Maldonado had gone into the side of him? Would Pastor have created the incident then or has Lewis still caused the problem?

  16. What a great comparison. There’s hardly any difference between the moves, save that Schumacher gave room.

    I’d love to see a comparison of Massa’s line through the hairpin as well. The reason he clouted the Red Bull of Webber is that he took a much earlier line in – so there’s some weight in Hamilton’s argument that Massa turned in.

    With current regs that is Massa’s right as he ‘has the corner’. Maybe they should look at changing the rules…

    Article 1.lets.have.better.racing: if the following cars’ front wheel is level with, or ahead of, the leading cars’ rear wheel then a collision will be deemed a racing incident.

    Only been following your blog a few weeks Joe – but some interesting perspectives and excellent journalism – very glad I found it!

  17. Sorry Joe, but I’m of the qualified opinion that drivers should always be penalised for trying to pull off a pass, especially if it involves an element of risk.

    1. Steve Turnbull,

      I’d love to hear about the qualifications of anyone who can think that drivers should always be punished for trying to overtake.

  18. They are certainly interesting as stills and add something to the discussion there is much more to differences.

    In particular Schumacher was really struggling with his tyres at this point, making his early on the brakes and unable to defend hard. Mandonado was on new tyres like everyone else at this point.

    Yes Maldonado could have left space for Hamilton and let him through so to avoid the accident like Schumacher did, but I the the corner was his.

    For me the analysis shows more that Schumacher made it too easy for Hamilton than that Hamilton was hard done by the stewards.

  19. Thanks Joe, I think it sums up that there are ways of interpreting the rules on behalf of both sides of coin. In such situations common sense screams ‘racing incident’.

  20. In most instances, car-to-car contact is due to the actions of both drivers to a certain extent.

    For both of Hamilton’s penalties, there were striking similarities with the instances of the (non-contact) passing moves between him and Schumacher (Lap 1 at Fairmont Hairpin & Lap 10 at Ste Devote) in terms of the positioning of cars prior to turn-in.

    In both of the Hamilton vs Schumacher instances they gave each other room by not turning it at the normal point, whereas Massa turned-in VERY early (to make sure he made contact?) and Maldonado either turned-in slightly early or just followed his standard line to the apex (ie. giving NO room to the car on the inside).

    Given these comparisons, I can understand why Hamilton felt somewhat aggrieved about the penalties, but he obviously let himself down with the comments made to the BBC.

    What the stewards appear to be saying is that if the driver (previously) in-front turns into the other car, a penalty will always be given to the car (previously) behind. This cannot be true, because otherwise we will end up with no overtaking at all (again!).

    As a footnote, how did Kobayashi escape a penalty for his nudge on Sutil into Mirabeau? He was nowhere near as much alongside as Hamilton was in both of his incidents. My only guess is it’s because Sutil didn’t crash out as a result on the contact.

  21. seems hamilton got it right , molly deliberately turned in early

    would love to see the comparison schu v hamilton and hamilton v massa at the haipin !

  22. Crikey. I originaly went with racing incident with Maldonado as much to blame as Hamilton. Then thought it was all Maldonado for turning in. Then saw other footage that made me swap to thinking it was Hamilton’s fault.

    Now this interesting analysis has me about to swap again.

    I must say that drawing lines on a picture draws the eye to seeing them as the same and makes the eye miss subtle differences (its a common trick when doing graphs in dodgy research, you stick a big red line in and the eye see it as correct, remove the red line and you’d be hard pushed to see why it was ever there). But it does look convincing…!

    At the very least I think these pics help show that whatever the rights and wrongs of the decision Hamilton was not as much at fault as a lot of the negative comments would suggest.

  23. Why the stewards don’t put their own stuff like this out to demonstrate why they have made a decision is beyond me. If the sport is so interested in its image that it will punish people for bringing it into disrepute you would expect they’d be equally as motivated to improve its image.

    In this instance I think they may have been hard pressed to produce anything and so a different outcome may have been the result.

  24. Very interesting pictures. It looks almost identical in Lewis’ car placement, the only difference in the two overtakes is that Shumacher was wise enough to give him room, whereas Pastor just turned in regardless.

    So which driver caused the “avoidable accident” again…..??

  25. Looks from the second comparison that Maldonado did turn in early.

    Is that perhaps why Sam Michael said it was a racing incident Wonder why the stewards saw it differently !!

  26. looking at the marks on the circuit and the positions of the cars it seems to me that Maldonado has turned in very early leaving Hamilton with little option, this i would say is in response to Hamilton already having his front wheels in front of Maldonado’s rear wheels, if this is the case i would say that Maldonado presuming he used his mirrors and considering the speed they arrive at that corner put both at risk.

    A few years ago there was armco on the apex of the first corner, if that had been still the case Hamilton would have been in the fence

  27. Sam Micheal is saying else where that it was a racing incident. Which is as good as saying the stewards were wrong. I suspect in a back room somewhere they are thinking how to make things easier on the stewards with these type of call.

    Easy really award time penalties AFTER the race when the driver can present his arguments and pictures like these can be reviewed. That way the outcome of the race can be left alone and not altered. If new data shows the stewards got the after race penalty decision wrong it can still be corrected. Not so a drive through!

  28. I’m glad to hear some sense. Sunday not so much. Great respect for Brundle and Coultard, but I did not agree with their analysis.

  29. Initially I thought Hamilton was just trying to bully his way past and the penalty was just.
    However looking at that Hamilton has the racing line. He used the DRS to get the racing line on the ‘straight’ in both cases and caught the other driver napping.
    Its just surprising that Schumacher gave him just enough room.

  30. Lewis was only half way alongside Maldonado, and so Pastor was within his rights to defend his position.

  31. Turning in early isn’t an offence, it’s a defensive practice.. Having right to the corner is the key.
    The photos don’t show who is braking and who isn’t.
    Could be that Maldo, is in the middle of his braking sequence, and LH seems to be beside him because he’s starting to brake very late.
    As the result showed the move wasn’t on since Hamilton didn’t make the corner, and had to use the curbs.

    Guilty as charged.

  32. Fancy Lewis trying to overtake at Monaco! It’s a disgrace, he should respect the history of the place rather than try to win a race or better himself.

    Does he not know that Senna couldn’t be passed by Nigel on fresher tyres back in the day?

    I hope that he doesn’t pull the same dirty tricks in Canada, as Fernando has said F1 has never been about overtaking!!!!!!

  33. Shocking decision making by the stewards really – you’d expect robust racing at a tight street circuit like Monaco. But the way the stewards are going is that they are starting to say that no attacking at all is allowed and that the driver in front has no responsibility for their actions should a collision occur.

    To me, this illustrates what I thought in the race, that Maldonado unfairly closed the door on a car that was substantially alongside. Poor racecraft and awareness.

    Talking of moves to hinder overtaking, what about the Schumacher chop against Rubens last year? Schumacher received a penalty for forcing Rubens off the track while tying to pass. Why not Maldonado?

    Grr, bring back proper racing, not only push-to-pass in a straight line with DRS please. Penalties should only be given if a driver is forced to retire as a result of that particular manouever.

  34. I’m sure Maldonado wouldn’t have deliberately risked his highest finish to date. It looks to me like he arrives at the corner on a slightly tighter line in the first place, rather than turns in earlier from a wider one. But this is just from the stills presented – it’s possible another angle might suggest that his turn would have put him across the kerbs on the inside and so could not be considered a normal line.

    The difference in line between him and Schumacher is pretty small and could reflect driving style as much as defensive posture. Doesn’t MS generally hang it out there and then whip the nose in anyway?

    Fair enough, it looks like Lewis’s line is identical with reference to the track limits in both cases, but he has to make some allowance for where the opponent has placed his car. Imagine Maldanado started 6 inches to his right, or 12 or 18? At some point Lewis has to not go down there or else he’s ramming Maldanado up the backend because he’s on the line that Lewis wants to be on.

    It’s certainly a tight call and it would have been interesting to see if he’d have been called up had he not already had the dodgy moment at the hairpin where he shunted Massa; that looked far worse.

  35. LOPEK
    Good point about tyres that explains why Schumacher gave Hamilton the pass and Maldonado didnt.
    Looking at it again (and again) did Hamilton have the pass on Maldonado? I’m not qualified enough to call that one and niether are most of us on here, apart from the real F1 people.

  36. For what it’s worth, I already considered Hamilton’s move on Schumacher as rather late and very optimistic. But then that’s pretty much the only way to pass at Monaco so maybe that’s okay, at least when you’re racing someone like Schumacher.

    It’s typical to value passes not on their inherent merit but on how they turned out. Taking Schumacher again, how would his Jerez 1997 move have been judged if Villeneuve had given him the room to pull it off? I suspect the pundits would have called it the great re-pass worthy of being a championship decider. When in fact it would not have changed anything about Schumacher’s part in it, it was hopelessly late and optimistic, to say the least.

    I don’t think we can get rid of this inconsistency in judging passes (and thus apportioning blame, or praise). At best we can make ourselves doubt our initial judgments by doing what your reader Bernard has done, try and establish objective facts.
    I can see some differences between both passes, for example Hamilton is a bit further back in the second pass, which can be essential if you rely on the other driver seeing you and realizing that you’re right there beside him.
    But it really shows how similar the two passes were and for that well done Bernard.

  37. What was questionable on Hamiltons part was his overtaking Massa at the Loews hairpin, he seemed to want to drive Massa into the barriers by taking a very wide line through the corner.

  38. And talking of inconsistent penalties – how come Lewis got penalised in Malaysia for weaving slightly down the straight in front of Alonso. Yet Maldonado immediately before this incident moved significantly both left and right if you watch the onboard from Lewis, and he received no investigation or penalty?

  39. It certainly looks like Maldonado turned in on him, perhaps/perhaps not intentional.

    I think with the Sutil-Kobayashi incident, Kobayashi wasn’t actually trying to overtake. It looked that like Sutil surprised Kobayashi,and he simply misjudged the braking to him. Kobayashi was crossed up with brakes locked, it was pretty much luck that he caught Sutil’s wheel,and pushed him out. Maybe neither driver made a big deal of it when they went up before the stewards,as both cars was able continue afterwards they gave the driver a slap on the wrists and told to be more careful next time.

    I agree that I don’t think Brundle and Coultard had a particularly good race this time.

  40. The analysis images are fascinating, and totally vindicate Hamilton’s comments about this incident.

    Off-topic – but it has been referred to in comments above – it is important to point out that Lewis made the Ali G joke in an effort to deflect a daft question (“Why do you think you’re so magnetic to the stewards? Why do you think you’re being targeted?”) with a touch of humour. Although this surely saved the interviewer embarrassment, Lewis was then crucified for it by her colleagues. He could take a lesson from an old pro:


    No blushes spared, timing perfect!

  41. Good comparisons, but one man’s “turned in too early” (whatever that means when you still hit the apex) is another man’s “shut the door”.

    I wouldn’t give it a penalty myself, but it looks exactly like Webber on Hamilton in Singapore last year to me.

  42. It was a racing accident of course.
    However, the comparison shows something that i didn’t see anyone note here, being the difference in Lewis’ closing speeds.
    In the two shots, on the left of the second comparison, MS can see Lewis gain almost two car lengths on him. I’d say that would be easy to notice even in them mirror-like winglets on each side of the cockpit and he’d have had time to realise Lewis being so much faster and act accordingly.
    On Maldonado, Lewis only makes up a tiny bit of ground when looking at the two pictures. This may mean two things; Lewis didn’t really get into position and should’ve abandoned it or Maldonado didn’t think that he would and closed the door early to make sure.

  43. Tom. Spot on with this

    You seem to be of the mistaken belief that a driver attempting to make a passing manoeuvre has right of way. This is incorrect in all forms of motorsport; a driver attempting an overtake has the responsibility to ensure that it’s carried out in a safe and fair manner, which Lewis failed to do. Only in NASCAR might Lewis have got away with that over-aggressive, ill-thought out move.

  44. there is only one slight problem running stills analysis, and that is that without photogrammetry and knowing the distortion coefficients of the lens (the first requiring the moving footage, the second knowing the taking lens data settings) you can extrapolate quite big errors from such small (less than 1080p) pictures.

    For use examples of photogrammetry, see Leica Geosystems, (trivia: it is they who own the Leica name) and for lens distortion see DXO Optics.

    Sorry for being a geek, but this is F1, and we’re interested in very small differences eh?

    – j

  45. On a tangent to all this, if Sam Michael believes it was a racing incident, then why was Maldonado not instructed to let Hamilton past? Surely, they knew Hamilton already had the red mists from the way he was driving and previous incidents. Nothing wrong with that per se. At the time, Williams were running 6th and 10th. They could have had points for 7th and 10th which in Williams’ parlous state these days would I am sure have been very much appreciated. As it is, they got 9th only and that was because Rubens moved up one because his team mate was out. How long before Lotus overtake them?

    I know this goes against the grain, after all, racing is the operative word which follows motor. However, we can only speculate. Fair dos to Maldonado though – he is moving away from the ‘pay driver’ tag. Perhaps we need a new category – pay driver who can do it, a la Maldonado, Petrov as opposed to those who just pay.

  46. Fascinating pictures but it’s hard to get a true judgment from stills on movement perception. A frame by frame replay from all available camera angles is available to the stewards (though you wouldn’t know it sometimes!)

    On the Brundle conspiracy theories – the man has openly stated he supports the British drivers most and obviously this is very often Hamilton. I think you may be mistaking the fact that he sounds excited by incidents involving Hamilton to the fact that the BBC naturally gravitates towards interest in British drivers. The BBC is supposed to offer relatively impartial coverage but have you ever watched an England match or the Olympics? Sports presenters are as excited by anything note worthy by their countrymen as anyone else.

    On Maldonado – maybe he thought he was back in the junior formula again and had a brain fade that F1 runs a little differently.

    On overtakes – it was only a shame there wasn’t two more genuine laps, Alonso looked about ready to go kamikaze past (or into) vettel. Lewis would then have been fourth and no one would even have remembered his massa/Maldonado incidents.

  47. Joe, thanks for this one, just spluttered over my keyboard:

    “The only people who seem never to be mistaken are commenters on blogs.”

    Made my day, cos i got to laugh at myself too.

    . .

    Here’s the usual problem:


    and a lesser studied phoenomenon supposedly corollary:


    . .

    It’s not knowing what you know, it’s knowing how you know.

    Both scientific method and (self, inquiring) honesty.

    The problem is, when you get millions of wannabe journalists, many of them living off the hog in famous outfits, and silly times that silly observers, somehow the background BS radiation levels make us all think we are comparative genuises! Radiation. Diffusion. Publishing. Same thing – handle with care and skepticism. .

    Least it gets called straight here 🙂


    very fallibly,

    – john

  48. Hello Joe,
    so the stewards made a mistake since mollynario clearly and illegally moved twice?

    Fact is monaco is not a race track yet races take place with racers of the highest pedegree. So they and we are to lay down our arms and accept this soso gp as a high speed bill board procession then?

    Is lewis hamilton too agressive in your view joe? That would interest me.

  49. Patrick.

    With regards to Lewis going wide on purpose at the hairpin. There is a steering lock limit on F1 cars, which is what made it look so extreme.

    Massa went wide on entry trying to cut in on Webber more on the exit, Hamilton saw the gap inside Massa and took it putting Massa in a bad position, expecting Massa to cede giving him the width he needed the on the exit. Hamiltons car was on full lock but the turning circle was still too wide.

    I honestly don’t think Massa had any idea on Hamiltons position, he was concentrating on lining up Webber, Hamilton saw this and saw an opportunity as often happens when the guy in front goes for a pass, it didn’t come off, but really it should have simply been a racing incident.

    What did surprise me was Massa’s attitude towards the tunnel section. He knew his car was badly damaged but still tried to take it full throttle ending up on the outside line from the start of the corner, thats just plain madness, i’m guessing the red mist had descended.

  50. The FIA needs to decide whether it wants passing at Monaco or not. As things stand, the FIA stewards are clearly too penalty happy to permit passing at the principality.

    The hard truth is that it is Impossible to pass a vigorously defended position at Monaco without making moves like those made by Hamiltion.


    To those who contend that Hamilton was properly penalized, you are clearly stating that passing at Monaco should not be legal ( if the leading driver does not make way or make a mistake.)

    If that is truly your position, fair enough, but I can guarantee that only a tiny minority of F1 fans truly agree. Given that Hamilton is a somewhat polarizing individual, I suspect many of the pro-penalty comments here have more to do with the driver than the act.

    In point of fact, every survey that has ever been done by F1 or its partners proves that F1 fans want to see MORE passing, not less. Not just at the fast, wide tracks, F1 fans want to see passing everywhere, including Monaco.

    I don’t blame the drivers for this, the situation is entirely of the FIA’s making. IndyCar and other series have mostly solved this issue by setting down specific guidance prior to each and every race. IndyCar has even been known to allow drivers to vote on whether a certain maneuver at a certain corner should be permitted.

    The FIA does not set down clear rules. They rarely set down specific rulings about passing prior to a given race. Worse, the rules the FIA does have are rarely enforced in a consistent manor. The FIA has dropped the ball.

    If getting this right means the FIA setting down specific guidance for each corner at each race, so be it. Yes, it would be work, but a very small effort when compared to the massive undertaking of an F1 season.

    My personal opinion is that some FIA stewards don’t think they’ve done their job unless they’ve handed down some penalties. Thus we’ve arrived at a situation wherein nearly ever collision receives a penalty. Punishing risk makes for fewer passes.

    Were penalties only awarded for the most reckless and fool hearty maneuvers, perhaps we wouldn’t need DRS and KERS to see more passing.

  51. Isn’t the judge and jury in this the maturity of the drivers? It was a racing incident at worst, MSC had his eye on the ‘long game’ and gave HAM room, whereas MAL either took a different view or didn’t know he was there.

    ALO got very close to VET at St devote on a number if of occasions and always gave himself enough room to brake – he’d rather take the points?

    MSC’s move on ROS at the hairpin another example of both drivers wanting to finish. Forceful approach from behind and car ahead giving room.

    Stewards sticking their oar in a little too much overall I think. I agree with the comment that they should give the reasons for their decisions, but am also keen that drivers should not be dissuaded from front to overtake.

  52. The bottom right pic of the head on shots is taken from a different distance/zoom than the schum picture on the bottom left. The comparison is compromised because of this.

  53. Perhaps the way I worded my question is what drew the sarcastic reply. However, the photos do contain details of the BBC commentary, and therefore I assume it’s valid to discuss it.

    The BBC chose to employ, as their two principal commentators, two men who have separate and joint financial interests in the sport. I would respect any journalist who at least shows awareness of that, and monitors them for any bias. To say that they may make mistakes is a valid comment. And perhaps, because you’re at the track, you and many of the F1 journalists aren’t listening to the BBC commentary anyway? But these two men have immense influence over the F1 audience worldwide, and can create a huge backlash against any driver they choose to make ill-judged or biased comments about. I think the BBC made a mistake in choosing not to have at least one financially neutral commentator in the box, and I believe we need to view their comments with a degree of scepticism. Certainly, Brundle had another very bad weekend with regard to Hamilton. I see no problem in questioning why.

  54. well you call it “smart” I call it experience, Schumacher 7 time world champion, in his 275th or thereabouts F1 race. Maldonado, er that was his 6th GP.

    hes a rookie, he makes rookie mistakes and 65odd laps into a monaco race is enough to fry anyones brain, Hamilton ought to be “smart” enough as a world champion himself to have worked out that Maldonado was always going to be riskier to overtake than a slighty chastened Schumacher (remember how much criticism he was getting for driving into people when they overtook).

    I thought that was part of the skill knowing your oppositions strenth and weakenesses

    though I dont think the moves were identical, Hamiltons 2nd move was from further back and if your saying F1 drivers now have to leave the door open for the “Schumacher” lunge up the inside to promote overtaking, then we really are getting into super mario kart racing.

  55. I’d be interested to know how many commentators have competed in motorsports. I don’t claim to be anything other than someone who has done a little bit here and there. I am by no means destined to be a motorsports star, or anything other than occasional club competitor.

    I have learned one thing: when all things are equal (as they tend to be in formula racing) the driver makes the difference, and passing comes down to bravery and luck.
    Bravery comes from putting your car alongside a rival, luck comes in if the other driver knows what you are going to do and knows that his option are:
    1. turn into you and crash
    2. leave a gap and live to fight another corner.

    I think the Malonado could have seen Hamilton, and could have fought another corner.

    I honestly believe that skill just gets you alongside someone, actually passing requires you to put your car where your rival wants to put his.
    That doesn’t mean that I don’t think Hamilton was desperately trying to make up for a frustrating weekend. I think he was.

    I think that the Loewes (whatever its now called) hairpin Hamilton Massa incident was less clever than the Maldanado incident.

    Of course the other way to pass someone is to have a car advantage… but at Monaco with the current cars, that’s not enough

  56. I am a fan of Lewis and his aggressive style but I have to say I agree with much of the criticism of his tactics in this weekends incidents. Two points are prominent in my view: He was simply coming from too far back in the Maldonado incident to put the blame on anyone else. In my opinion (and I think the stewards at most races would agree) unless you are even (or very close to being even) with the other car then it is the overtaking drivers responsibility to safely overtake. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, Lewis should have factored into the equation that he was passing a rookie, not an experienced veteran like Schumacher. I think Lewis was very frustrated by his bad luck in Q3 and was simply overdriving with a bit more red-mist than he typically has. Here’s hoping he has a better weekend in Montreal.

  57. Having watched the replays, I don’t think stills are representative. Really. Look where Lewis is relative to the apex on both occasions.

  58. Well from the video of the approach it looks very much as though Maldonado caused that one. As a karting Clerk of Course I would be talking to Maldonado, not Hamilton.

    I can fully appreciate Hamiltons point of view regarding the stewards although I wouldn’t be allowed to approve his’joke’.

  59. New way to improve overtaking in F1: if anybody pokes his nose inside your cornering line, veer away immediately and let him through. This, to my mind, appears to be Lewis’ mindset for both the Maldonado and Massa incidents. There are limits to how well lead drivers can even see what would-be overtakers are doing, and I think the benefit of the doubt should go to the lead man taking the corner. In both cases, it would have been easier for Lewis to avoid contact than the lead cars, so if the shit hits the fan, Lewis should take the heat.

  60. This is hilarious…

    Only in F1 would we ignore the video footage and instead go to still photos for “proof”. If you have to remove 90% of the data in order to make your argument stick perhaps there’s nothing to it.

    And why are the Shumi photos in there? I’m not sure what the comparison is supposed to show except that perhaps Schumacher didn’t want to get involved with a car on a different strategy when he was pitting 2 laps later and was going to loose the position anyway.

    The onboard footage and some great photos from Sutton show Hamilton 4 wheels over the curb, running over the bollard but these were removed from the comparison. Why?

    It was an exciting move but even if Hamilton made it stick he would have had to give the place right back because of how badly he cut the corner.

  61. An overtaking driver bears the brunt of the responsibility for ensuring an attempt to take position does not end in a collision, but he does not bear it all.
    The Question of when is it ok for the defending driver to turn in, and when should he cede the position, is as old as racing.In my view the answer lies in the point of contact between the two cars. A collision involving contact between the right front wheel and left rear (in a right hand corner) implies that the “overtaker” was too far back and the move was over optimistic. If the two cars bang wheels face on then clearly the “overtaker” was alongside and the “overtaken” should have ceded the position.
    Applying blame inbetween these two extremes is more difficult but in this case it is clear that Hamilton’s left front hit Maldonados car in the area just behind his right front wheel. This suggested to me that while Lewis wasn’t all the way alongside, he was far enough forwards to put the blame on Pastor. The idea that Maldonado didn’t know Lewis was there doesn’t hold, due to the excessive weaving from the Williams on the previous straight, something I was under the impression isn’t allowed.
    Do we want to watch races where all the drivers just follow each other around with no attempt to pass made? The new rules banning refueling, the new softer tyre compounds and the introduction of the DRS rear wings have been brought in by the FIA to encourage overtaking, and yet in Monaco the FIA seemed very reluctant to let pass attempts go un-punished. This seems a bit counter productive to me.
    Its called racing, and Lewis is one of the masters of the art, why does the FIA want to drill that instinct out of him? Lewis makes errors of course, his clumsy pass on Massa at the Italian GP last year for example, ( front wheel to rear wheel contact) he doesn’t always get it right, but is man enough to admit when he gets it wrong, as he did at Monza.
    Taking the Schumacher route of defending every corner no matter what, won’t keep Maldonado in F1, does anyone think Frank and Patrick congratulated him after the race? If Pastor had done the right thing as ironically Schumacher did, then the Williams would almost certainly have scored very valuable points. This would have been the best solution for all involved (except eventual 10th place man Buemi obviously).

  62. I wouldn’t be so hasty to criticise the BBC commentary – these moves happen in half a second and it’s very hard to judge. They have to give instant reaction.

    Looking at the Massa move again its clear to see him turn in early as a reaction to LH’s move.

  63. Such a difficult topic to be objective about as we fans build up our biases with every race we watch, interview we hear and headline we read and however hard we try not to we carry those with us which making a judgement.

    I admit I am probably predisposed to think harshly of Hamilton, I just cannot take to the chap. Certainly I went right along with the commentators when I watched the race, but must say I am being swayed by the post-race analysis. It seems indeed that the difference between a brilliant overtake and a dumb lunge this past Sunday is all down to how the other fellow chose to react.

    We’ve read and heard before that those (like Massa and Schumacher) who would rather crash than be overtaken make people think twice about trying in the first place. Unsporting? Wrong? Unfair? No I don’t think so; It’s strategic and it gives them an undeniable edge further down the road. LOL I am sure many will disagree with me.

    The commentary pairing of Brundle and Coulthard is still in its early days so needs to be given a chance. Both guys are in new roles and their settling in period is in front of tens of millions of people during a season of so much change in terms of on track action it would have surely stretched the most seasoned pro’s.

    That said (and I am back to my personal biases again) it’s just not very good today and I would prefer to listen to Crofty and Davidson or James Allen and Brundle. JOE do you know why Allen didn’t get a shot this year?

    I do sincerely hope Jake Humphry continues in his role year after year after year, he’s already a legend and he brings so much to the role and the coverage.

    1. Shake n Bake,

      I guess because the BBC thought that others would do a better job. But I have no idea.

  64. Do the Stewards have access to the telemetry when making these decisions? It’s all very well looking at still pictures and vidoes of incidents, but it’s really hard to make a comparison of what a driver usually does and what they did.

    Going on the assumption that they do have telemetry (if they don’t why don’t they?) then if they see that a driver has gone into a corner with more pace than normal to make the corner, doesn’t that mean that they are left with little or no option to penalise the driver, if he makes contact?

    Ok we do want overtaking, but I don’t want people punted off the track either…

    1. Trozz,

      They have access to a huge amount of data and pictures. After that it is down to how they choose to analyse the incident. I do not really understand why they decided as they did in this case, but I guess that their philosophy is based on the old school “after you Claude” kind of racing, which just does not exist nowadays. However, in their defence, they are working under pressure and may look back and think that they made a mistake. They may not admit that, but it is possible.

  65. I think Williams’ Michael stating rather flatly that Hamilton’s incident with Pastor was a “racing incident” means they know quite clearly that they were the benefit of a bad call. The wrong guy likely got booked as Pastor defended to late by turning-in too early. So, they’re not going to make too much fuss about it (and it seems they’ve advised Pastor more or less on that very point).

    Ant Davidson says essentially the same about the shunt with Massa — the Ferrari driver changed his line leaving Hamilton no room and few options.

    I think KERS, DRS and self-destructing tires have led many to expect passing (clean passing) even at tracks where you can’t historically do it even on a good day with a 100-knot tailwind. The FiA certainly seemed to have come to this conclusion, and penalizing a guy trying to claw-back his track position more or less confirms it for me.

  66. Allegedly Lewis has said that he would rather give up F1 than his attacking racing style.

    Can’t say I blame him, those in charge are heading towards drawing lots for position and then running round in formation.

    I and a lot of others will drift away if the stewards continue to act irrationally.

  67. A post from another site with an interesting analysis also.

    “I hope the Hamilton apology is only about the comments and not about the events on the track because he was right about the events on the track.

    Here is the prove clear and bright. The stewards are nothing but… well i can’t write the word.

    1)Maldonado event.

    Look where Barrichelo(the car turning) takes the corner. Look where his back wheels are. Hamilton is already by the side of Maldonado btw.

    Then the time for HRT to take the turn. It takes it slightly tighter than Rubens.
    Last two pics you can see Maldonado looking at the direction of Lewis, he knows his there and he knows his about to lose the position and he has to conceit.

    But what does he do? He just turns in to Hamilton. Look at his line of turning compare to the two cars that turn before in above pics? He turned a full car length quicker exactly like Hamilton said and he did it exactly to stop Hamilton because well that’s not the line you usually take. Why did he take that line?
    Look at the last two pics how Hamilton completely goes at the outside of the kerp to avoid him but that guy keeps turning in on him.

    EVEN a BLIND MAN sees it’s Maldonado fault. It’s completely crazy and revolting how the stewards acted and how Hamilton has to apologize to that little devil while he can play the innocent little angel.

    Massa incident.
    Pics speak by themselves.
    Massa turns in on him. Hamilton completely rides the kerb trying to avoid him but Massa behaves like his alone on the track. What a joke!

    Same place Schumi overtakes Hamilton. Hamilton completely respects the other car and doesn’t turn into him.

    Take notice how the place at the track where the second pic is, is even more in-frond from the place that Massa already has turned on Hamilton. You can compare the part of the track by counting the red lines of the kerb.

    Absolutely revolting! Stewards making a mockery of racing and fans letting their personal hate and their lack of knowledge prevail accusing the guy about his comments but no one bothering that the facts on the track are a joke.
    Having a problem with the comments but not having a problem with the even worse abuse happening on the track is unbelievable. Are we watching F1 for the racing or for the soap-opera?

    If Hamilton apologized for the comments then those two bad jokes for drivers should apologize back about their driving and acknowledge their faults.

    Hamlton’s anger while commenting hurt him severely because it took the focus out of the fact that the events on the track are absolutely unfair against him and that he was 100% right.
    But if i got penalized after those, well i will be going crazy and making theories in my mind too because it’s just absolutely frustrating and unfair.”

  68. Very good pictures.

    A very closed call because LH never finished the overtake move and PM turned earlier.

    Difficult call, I have to admit. I am a bit more inclined towards race incident.

  69. Slightly off the topic here, but looking at the pictures posted of Lewis passing Felipe confirms my initial feeling from the TV that he really didn’t leave Massa anywhere else to go. He was already tucked up right behind Webber so couldn’t take the corner any faster, Lewis ducking down the inside could only force him wide and to be honest at Loews there isn’t much room to play with as they struggle to get around there anyway it is so tight. He could so easily have pushed Massa so wide he would block the whole track as he couldn’t then get enough lock on to make the corner.

    While I can see the racing instinct here I do wonder whether this wasn’t just too optimistic. At another track where the cars have more space it would have been a cracking move, at Monaco it was just a tad silly…

  70. Before we all blame Maldonado for turning in early we need to know what his normal line was for Ste Devote. These pictures compare apples to oranges ie. Williams to Mercedes. The Williams has less downforce then the McLaren (and the Mercedes) so can carry far less speed into the corner and maybe Lewis should have taken that into account. Just as Webber was surprised where Heikki braked in Valencia to make the corner, Lewis said it was ‘ridiculous’ PM turned in whole car length early (early for the McLaren sure, maybe not for the Williams). Also the 2 move rule is very difficult to police, or even notice, when the ‘straight’ is an irregular curve.

  71. I’ve played this a number of times where are the two moves? PM moves to centre of the track before the start-line and then adjusts his line to keep out of the pitlane exit thus taking him away from Hamilton’s car. BTW: If a car was exiting the pits at the time LH would have totalled it.

  72. Martin Brundle made a keen observation in his blog after the race. He said that after watching the entire replay from the Ham/Mal-incident he regognized that Hamilton was all over the back of Maldonado earlier on the straight. We’re talking left, right, center, Hamilton was inches away from Maldonado so he must have known that Hamilton was gonna try a pass in the braking area. I sincerely hope that this doesnt affect Hamiltons relentless effort to pass when there is a gap. That is the very essence of why so many adore and admire his skill.

  73. Seems all a bit weird to me. F1 is so desperate for overtaking that it introduces flappy rear wings and gumball tyres… then penalises guys for making said overtaking moves.

    Watching Hammo and Schumacher have at it the other day was brilliant entertainment, and MS was smart enough to know when his goose was cooked and ceded the possie.

    To paraphrase Senna, are you really a racing driver if you don’t go for a gap?

  74. The camera angles are different, I’m afraid, so this is very inconclusive. The in car angles are much better, and from those you can clearly see that Hamilton is a lot further back in the Maldonado case than in the Schumacher one.

  75. Hi Joe,

    thanks for this interesting info.

    My main problem is the lack of transparency here. The stewards decision and the way they reached it should be made public, as is the case with regular courts!!!

    It makes no sense to keep it this way, the only thing one might think of is their fear of their mistakes becoming apparent, I just cannot escape this idea!!!

    If a court of appeal judge can take this risk at hugely significant cases, there is simply no reason for motorsport working in any other ways!!!!


    1. balint,

      How can that be done? The TV viewers are not going to flock in to watch a televised discussion of four men in a room, looking at TV pictures, while the cut and thrust of racing is taking place off-camera. People want to watch racing. The stewards do what they think is right and, just like referees, they make mistakes. The sport has to live with that. Stewards are much better than they were a few years ago and the processes involved are much more professional. There is a constant move towards improving the tools that they have at their disposal. We should point out where we think mistakes have been made, in a polite way, and hope that the opinions are registered with the people who pick the stewards.

  76. Too much over-analysing, in my opinion. If Lewis had made some kamikaze, late braking move from way back then fine, penalise him. But he didn’t. In the old days this would have been considered a racing accident, now we have to consider whether it was an avoidable accident.

    If we’re going to go down this idiotic route, then new measures need to be put in place to help clarify what an avoidable accident is and ensure a consistent application of the rule. Perhaps a white line should be painted on the side pods of each car. If the nose of the overtaking car is ahead of this white line say 50m from the corner and the overtaking car has the inside line, then it’s the overtaking driver that has the corner. And/or perhaps cars should be fitted with those annoying bleeper systems that are used for parking. So if a car is on the inside right, say, then the defending driver will get an annoying bleep in his right ear to let him know a car is there. Even better, perhaps the racing driver wishing to overtake has to fill out a Risk Assessment form before making his move. Maybe the National Accident Helpline could become the official sponsors of Formula 1. “Where there’s a blame, there’s a claim.”

    I’m interested to know (well I’m not actually) how many of those who think that Lewis deserved the penalty for this accident have been bleating on about how F1 is too processional, there’s not many overtaking opportunities? (blah, blah, blah). Or perhaps these people want the type of overtaking in Istanbul where we saw plenty of incidences of cars breezing past each other. Not my idea of entertainment.

    I’ve had mixed feelings about this season with regards to DRS and the degradation of the tyres. But these variables, love them or loathe them, have succeeded in creating more overtaking. Therefore, to have a spurious rule that undermines overtaking and potentially put doubts in drivers’ minds before making an overtaking move, doesn’t make sense. By hey, that’s F1 for you.

    Great blog, Joe. Keep up the good work.

  77. Well it looks like Massa was more at fault at the hairpin with his very late defence. Racing incident for me. Karma bit him back very quickly though. There is an awful lot of inconsistency with the decisions being made by the stewards, no wonder Hamilton is miffed. He and Kobayashi are all that are going to make this season watchable seeing as the championship is done already. Ferrari should swap Massa for Kobayashi, give us some real fun

  78. Joe!

    Regular folks are not interested to get such an insight, they would be fine without looking further. For non regular folks there should be (as I expect there indeed is) a minutes of the stewards’ debate made (this should be retained unpublic). From that piece of paper, they should prepare an analysis of the facts with the opinion taken and how they reached that opinion (some judge may need to address a minority opinion in certain cases)

    On the FIA homepage days after the incident (decision). they should disclose this analysis (with minority opinions attached) maybe together with any footage they considered important during their process.

    This is largely how a Court system works in the civilised world.


  79. Luke, yes, he’s backtracked. But that article won’t reach the millions of people who heard him say ” “it can’t always be the other guy’s fault” and other disparaging comments, even before the stewards reported back.
    If he makes a full on-air apology for his comments, that might help repair the damage. Perhaps he’ll do that in Montreal. But he created a huge backlash against Hamilton, going by the abusive reaction that I witnessed on forums and on twitter. Brundle needs to behave in either a more professional way (if we go for the honest mistake excuse), or a less biased way (if we go for the theory that he has competing interests in the sport).

  80. John (other John) – thanks very much for those interesting links.
    I like to think of myself as an diffident, under-estimator, but there are occasions when I fear the worst..

    My thoughts on the topic mirror Jon Wilson’s, although I think Lewis’ response might be considered as Mr.Petrov might say ‘not elegant’.

  81. Joe,

    they could publish a short report on their decision along with supporting evidence, at least then we would have an insight into what their decision making process was.

    the way it’s done now, we (the paying public) have no idea what they were thinking.

  82. With regards to people dismissing it on the basis of camera angles – Look at the markings on the road surface for reference.

  83. This makes Lewis look less guilty, fair enough.

    But, collisions don’t happen at turn in, or braking, they happen on the apex.

    Lewis got all the way down Schumacher and got the apex.

    He wasn’t in as good a postion with Pastor, despite how it looked when they were both on the brakes. When Pastor got to the apex, Lewis was only just at his back wheel.

    Pastor is not innocent, but it’s not quite as simple as it looks

    When he passed Schumacher, Michael couldn’t take Pastor’s line because there was a shiny McLaren along side. You actually see Michael have to square the car up relative to the McLaren to give Lewis space.

    The rights and wrongs of what Pastor might have done need to be considered, but Alonso could have got that close to Vettel…and he backed out.

    Lewis could have given the unruly rookie trying to get his best result a wide berth, but he chose to stick nis nose halfway in anyway. Is it any suprise it all ended in tears?

  84. I think this was a crazy decision. The role of the DRS wing should also be looked at here. The FIA told the drivers that they could use their DRS on the pit straight, clearly the idea being that the drivers should use the device to have a go into St, Devote. The FIA effectively told Lewis to try that move! Lewis dutifully tries the FIA sanctioned move, uses the DRS to get alongside Pastor into the braking area, Pastor turns in on him, and the FIA punish Lewis! Crazy crazy decision.

  85. Well I never. There must be a lot of die-hard Hamilton fans here. The penalty may have been unnecessary but the collision was clearly caused by Hamiltons desperation to overtake, not Maldonado turning in on him. Pastors is entitled to take the line. Lewis was going for a gap that was fast disappearing (look at the nature of the corner) and to avoid collision he should have pulled out as he was never repeat NEVER further forward than the Williams side pods. When they made contact Lewis was hardly on the track.

    Had Lewis been level alongside Pastor then i would say Pastor should and would have given him more room. Lets not forget that Pastor and Williams were gagging for points. There is no way Pastor would have setup a 50-50 situation intentionally. Just because he’s a rookie he shouldn’t be criticized for defending position.

    Lets us reverse the situation and pretend it was Pastor who hit Lewis… Oh I wonder what opinions would be then… 😉

    1. Jake,

      The opinion would be reversed. It has got nothing to do with Hamilton. It is to do with racing and how overtaking is done. You can legislate as much as you like and say that X’s nose fin must be 37 centimetres ahead of Y’s gaffer-dazzler, but that is impossible to police. Overtaking in the modern F1 world is about putting a car where someone else wants to be, and forcing that person to change his intention. F1 drivers are brilliant at doing this. Lewis is one of the best. Lewis got himself into that situation with both Schumacher and Maldonado. He gave them each a choice. Michael saw the situation and read it wisely. He might have crashed and might have argued that he was right, but after the cows had come home, he would still have no World Championship points. Maldonado drives for a team that is desperate for points (desperate) and he chose to turn into Hamilton’s path, when it was perhaps smarter to accept that getting points of any kind was better than being one position further up the order. Lewis was committed to the move and there was no way out. So the inevitable happened. I think it was a racing incident. Yes, Hamilton was aggressive, but so too was Maldonado. Beyond that I think you are missing the point.

      In the run down to the corner he had moved more than once, although there will always be people who argue that

      Pastor is entitled to retire and get no points. He took that route.

  86. So I take it that at Jerez 97 Jacques would have been penalised if these stewards were in charge? Some wonderful analysis from Bernard and everybody else.

    I still believe that Luigi’s penalty for Spa 2008 was more unjust than this, but that’s ancient history now.

  87. You say schuey saw the situation and read it wisely. I totally agree. I would now suggest that with Pastor, Lewis saw a situation and read it poorly.

    You say “Overtaking in the modern F1 world is about putting a car where someone else wants to be, and forcing that person to change his intention.”

    Well that’s all very well and good but it boils down to timing and judgment. And while he nailed it perfectly against Schuey, Lewis’s move against Pastor was ill timed and poorly judged. Senna tried similar moves that ended in the gravel. Why should Hamilton suppose he can do the same and pull it off? These half hearted stabs up the inside o so very rarely pull off without one or both cars retiring. Why on earth should Hamilton expect it to work in Monaco against a rookie running in the points?

    While being a brilliant overtaker Hamilton is now getting a reputation as a dangerous and desperate racer when things don’t go his way. Not to mention a somewhat naive and spoilt character following the recent bout of cockpit gestures and post race comments. Shame.

  88. Hi Joe,

    Can I just say that apart from your great writing of course, my absolute favourite thing about this blog is the armchair fans telling you how F1 works.

    “I don’t care if he’s one of the most experienced and respected journalists in the sport, I watch the F1 forum sometimes, so I think I know a little bit more…”

    Never gets old

  89. Interesting the Martin Brundle has revised his opinion following greater analysis.

    Good on Martin for doing that – I read some comments yesterday about the BBC’s ‘ridiculously biased commentary’ and I don’t agree with that at all.

    Here is what Martin has said in his blog today:

    “Having seen further footage not available to me in commentary, I do think that Lewis was treated harshly in the incident involving Pastor Maldonado, although that penalty didn’t affect his sixth place. He was all over the back of Maldonado’s weaving Williams down the pit straight and he should not have been surprised to have Hamilton moving alongside him into the corner. He should have left more space or covered the inside better. I would not have penalised Lewis in this incident.”


  90. I’m a massive Williams fan and I’m absolutely gutted we lost a 6th place. But, I don’t blame either driver for this. I love Hamilton in F1 because he sticks his car into seemingly impossible gaps and often gets through them. I have new respect for our “pay driver” now too, for not just giving in and accepting 7th. I would love for Williams to have 6 more points (net 5 actually, as Rubens would’ve been demoted a place if Pastor had finished) but I actually feel better knowing we have a proper fighter of a driver in an improving car rather than a grab points whenever we can mentality.

    As for Hamilton getting penalised for this? I think it’s wrong. Unless there’s a breakage, every accident’s avoidable. Hamilton could avoid them by never trying to overtake. Massa and Maldonado could’ve avoided them by conceding the corners. Neither is F1 though, is it?


  91. Lewis has always said his hero is Senna. Well, it’s becoming rather obvious that Lewis is getting more and more like Senna with each passing season. Brilliant speed, aggressive passing attempts, ruthless competitor, total disregard for the safety of the driver he is overtaking, and total lack of sportsmanship and ethical behaviour. And I am beginning to develop the same feelings for Lewis that I had for Senna….Huge Respect for their talent but no admiration for their character. Shame, really.

  92. Jake

    Becken Lima kindly posted the on board footage of the entire incident for us to look at. Try pausing it at around the 6/7 second mark if you want to see how far up the inside of Pastor, Lewis was. I think that is far enough ahead for Pastor to perhaps think that turning in was a poor idea, don’t you?
    The way I see it Pastor had 3 options;

    1, Realise that Lewis was in a faster car and was likely to finish in front of him by the end of the race, and cede the corner. This would have been a smart move and would have netted him a good haul of very valuable points, which would be an impressive achievement for any rookie at Monaco.

    2, Give Lewis racing room on the inside and try and muscle it out on the outside, going two wide up the hill towards Beau Rivage. This might have kept him the place and might not have done, its also more risky than ceding the corner at the entry. Even if it didn’t work and Pastor ended up overtaken, he would have earned a bit of kudos, as Alex Wurz did against Michael Schumacher on the exit of the hairpin and through Portier back in I think 97(?)

    3, Ignore the fact that Lewis is blatantly there, and turn in anyway, maybe hoping that the MaClaren would somehow vanish by the time he got to the apex. This path as we know was always going to end up in an accident, and was never going to keep him the position. Lewis was committed to the inside line and was allready braking when Pastor decided to turn in, contact was inevitable, and the loss of a good points finish very likely.

  93. I wonder if the fact that a 20 second penalty not having any real effect on Hamilton’s finishing position played a part in the stewards’ decision? They made a statement, and Lewis wasn’t really penalised- win-win?

  94. The Hamilton apologists need to bear in mind that Schumi was really struggling for pace and really couldn’t outbrake Hamilton if he wanted to. Pastor on the other hand was perfectly capable of it, and made the apex of the corner until he was hit in the sidepod by Hamilton. I don’t think any real F1 fan expects drivers to allow passes when they have the ability to defend.

    From my perspective, Pastor had every right to defend and Hamilton had every right to try. Its called a racing incident caused by Hamilton pushing into Pastor at the apex, which is exactly how Pastor and Williams called it.

    The only cause of this rucus is Hamilton’s behaviour and comments after the race. At the end of the day, Hamilton may had an attitude issue.

  95. JJ

    The focal length of the zoom makes no difference, if you take a line across on the right from where the Armco and the advertising banner meet you can see that Maldonado has turned in very early.


  96. The only conclusion that I can draw from all this is that the stewards are trying to judge incidents which cannot be judged.

    Any serious overtaking in F1 worth the name is inherently risky (as Alonso, for example, acknowledged in his post race comments). Accidents, however undesirable, are going to happen from time to time. When they do, there are crashes where the defending or attacking drivers are clearly to blame, but there is a big grey area in the middle where it is simply not possible fairly to apportion blame.

    It seems to me that there is an undesirable trend for the authorities to attempt to micromanage racing, perfectly illustrated by steve turnbull’s comment: “drivers should always be penalised for trying to pull off a pass, especially if it involves an element of risk.”
    Such an attitude is incompatible with the continued existence of motor racing.

    I don’t defend Hamilton’s post race comments, but I entirely agree with him that if he cannot go for the 50:50 gaps, then he might as well hang up his helmet.
    And I have no desire to watch an emasculated sport where the concept of ‘racing incident’ has been abolished by the officials.

  97. Hum….. re the “pass” on Maldonado, I’m of the opinion that Maldonado made at least 2 moves on Hamilton going down the “straight” and on that basis MUST have known that Hamilton was very close behind and therefore would have tried to pass on the next corner,. By turning in, he (Maldonado) caused the accident.

    Mclaren is a much faster car than the Williams.

    I want to see passing in F1 and if its “risky” all the better. The stewards need to be sensible with their “punishment” and its a shame that the BBC duo of Brundle and Couthard,and stewards didn’t see the weaving because I was under the impression that wasn’t allowed!

  98. I know this is a done thread now but, had to post in response to PhilCee’s comment about Jerez 97. The difference in this incident was that Villeneuve was already ahead of Schumacher when the latter made an additional move to turn into the side of Villeneuve.

    The fact that (a) Schumacher made a new movement on the steering wheel and (b) his front wheel hit the middle of Villeneuve’s sidepod, puts the incidents in totally different leagues.

  99. No surprise that you’ve given in to your pro-McLaren bias yet again. Those pictures are taken at different ponits from each other to render any comparison between them moot.

    Just face it, Hamilton got lucky to only receive a pair of drive-through penalties for deliberately crashing into two otehr drivers. The FIA should have banned him for at least a race for that.

    Furthermore, his comments regarding the stewards bring the sport into disrepute. As you mention in a previous post, Flavio (and Pat Symonds) were banned for years for the same offence. The same should happen to Hamilton.

    1. Rohan,

      I di not have a pro-McLaren bias. I am simply reading the situation as I read it. If you knew much about anything you would know that I have also kicked McLaren in the past. Clearly you do not.

  100. To the clowns saying the BBC coverage is terrible (one even saying it’s borderline unwatchable), you should see some of the other countries’ coverages before complaining. It honestly is about the best in the world.

    Hamilton was rightly penalized, that move was never gonna stick, he should have aborted it and tried again somewhere else. It’s not news that in racing the one leading into a turn is the one that has priority and the other one must yield.
    Praising dangerous driving for the sake of it being entertaining is just bollocks.

    Maldonado was driving for a very respectable finish and thanks to him he couldn’t finish. Hamilton’s fault 100%

  101. WOW. I’m gonna have to go with Pastor as the one who could have probably made a better choice (it was a mclaren vs a williams, let us not forget the difference in performance here).

    But I’d also like to mention that with 100+ comments, they are are very well articulated and both sides are represented intelligently. It speaks volumes of your blog and writing to have this kind of quality commentariat, Joe. As always, your input and thoughts on this matter prove to be enlightening and mostly fair.

    Full disclosure: Hamilton fanboy. I can’t explain it, as I can’t explain the (censored) stupid comments he made afterward. I literally dropped my breakfast on the floor when I heard his interview. I’m sure his PR people were facepalming for a good long while after that interview – which was, in fairness, poorly setup. Bad questions from interviewers are horrible, and I’ve noticed a lot of the ‘candid’ questions being asked by BBC folk aren’t exactly balanced and unbiased. It’s like they’ve been knifing the drivers every chance they get. Of course, being a news organization at heart, BBC doesn’t really suffer from a little dustup in the pitlane/paddock, does it?

  102. Is there a rule to “impeding overtaking”? I thought it is up to the overtaking car to avoid the collision. It is like this in any racing sport, on land, air, or sea. I don’t think that “turned-in on me” has ever been used as a credible argument/excuse.

    Besides, this was Lewis’ second incident of the day, on some other racing formulae he would have been black-flagged. After putting Massa on the marbles in the tunnel it became clear that he had become frustrated, desparate and unsafe.

    I think Brundle and Coulthard have been able to provide the best argumentation to this argument on live TV and most other commentators have failed to get to 10% of that quality after days of analyzing pictures and videos.

    Though I don’t agree with Coulthard’s assertion that its great to hear Lewis speaking his mind, just for honesty’s sake. Lewis doesn’t know how to filter the track from brain to mouth and has managed to allienate himself in F1. They don’t dislike him because he is black or a better driver. They dislike him because he is arrogant, spoilt and aggressive. Massa was right, he must be taught a lesson.

  103. I just wish there was as much of an uproar when Schumacher was penalised last year for not breaking any rules at all.

  104. Don’t see how the Maldonado incident wasn’t a racing incident – no blame to either driver, didn’t at the first replay and those pictures, particularly the in-car ones, just reinforce that view.

    What’s the point of tech like KERS and DRS to help overtaking if the stewards come down on the overtaker at every tiny problem. There’s an inherent risk in making borderline passes and as a title challenger that risk is always greater anyway. Adding more risk by handing out penalties all over the place is just harming the sport.

    Unless theres clear blame it should be a racing incident.

    When I first saw the hairpin bump with Massa I thought it was Hamilton’s fault and that he deserved the penalty. Looking again at the line Massa took makes you wonder a little, he was clearly turning in early because of Webber. In reality though I don’t think Hamilton would have made the pass stick even if Massa hadn’t turned in so easily. Still it definitely wasn’t as clear cut as initially assumed to be.

  105. Jake

    “While being a brilliant overtaker Hamilton is now getting a reputation as a dangerous and desperate racer when things don’t go his way. Not to mention a somewhat naive and spoilt character following the recent bout of cockpit gestures and post race comments. Shame.”

    Why is it a shame? Worked fine for Senna, Schumacher and Alonso. Vettel is also good for a paddy and a bad move when things don’t go his way. Turkey, Silverstone, Spa. Its a part of what makes these guys the best.

    No harm in having a reputation for being desperate and dangerous in the eyes of other drivers either. Senna used that to great effect in his career.

  106. The one thing that will ring through the the paddock from this point forward is that a driver will really need to think about whether to try and close the door on Hamilton in an iffy situation. Hamilton may have struck a pretty good blow to the minds of his competition, that moment of their self doubt was all he needed with Massa or Maldonaldo to have a clean pass.

  107. I am the worlds biggest Hamilton fan and during the race and during the slo-mo’s I thought he was too far back and it was more an avoidable accident than a racing incident. These pics have changed my mind though. Maldonado turned in too early. It was a racing incident (50/50)

    However, going for the Massa overtake….. there was no gap, no room for anything other than an accident… sorry Lewis but that was a gap too far. (Schumacher passed Lewis at the same corner when Lewis was asleep and decided to go around the corner on the outside of the corner instead of towards the Apex).

    Still want to see the on board showing how Lewis got alongside Massa in the tunnel!!

    As for the BBC coverage, it has been overall excellent. However, these guys are paid to know the rules and regulations. It was embarrassing when Brundle announced the end of the race and that Vettel had won (when it wasn’t and he hadn’t), embarrassing when they both did not know tyres could be changed under the red flag (it took Ted Kravitz to tell us that) and embarrassing when no-one knew the rules about DRS for the re-start – they both thought DRS was active immediately whereas the rules state 2 laps after the SC went in.

  108. Quoting Suzi Perry from her latest on the forthcoming Catalunya MotoGP
    this after some argy bargy on and off the track.


    I’m not especially keen to see MotoGP degenerate into a festival of politeness (“No, no, after you, I insist!”), but also find it hard to subscribe to the notion that riders need to start leaving each other room.

    Same here, FIA stewards please note.

  109. Tom, rc, j:

    First: You all seem to think that since it is the responsibility of the overtaking driver to pull off a clean pass, that suddenly the defending driver has total immunity. As someone else mentioned, how would that have left Jacques in 97 at Jerez?

    Second: Do you understand what a driver does when they enter the corner? You know how they trail-brake into corners, easing off the brakes while simultaneously applying steering so that the tire is always at the limit, gradually shifting from full braking to full turning to full acceleration in one smooth transition? Now, if you turn in earlier, and your arc into the corner is wider, you can brake harder to the apex (this helps the overtaking driver), but then you have to turn more at the apex, and therefore have a slower mid-corner speed.

    Under pure braking, before turn-in, both Pastor and Lewis are braking at 100%. There is no driver that is usually braking at 90% and then only braking at 100% when they want to pass someone. Given that Lewis is braking at 100%, how can he back out? From the moment he applies his brakes, he is FULLY COMMITTED. He has no option but to overtake at this point. He can’t magically brake at 125% to avoid Pastor’s early turn-in.

    At turn-in, Lewis’ front wing is beside Pastor’s front wheel and clearly visible to Pastor. After Pastor begins to turn in, Lewis knows that he is going to be cut off. When turning-in, Pastor is turning more than Lewis, so he can’t brake as hard as Lewis. Lewis stays on the brakes harder because (1) he has to make the corner and (2) he is trying not to hit Pastor. This is why Hamilton’s front tire was only just in front of Pastor’s rear tire; Lewis was trying to avoid contact and trying to make the corner without forcing himself or Pastor into the wall.

    Fact is that Pastor knew Lewis was alongside, but turned in anyway. At this point, Lewis has positioned himself sufficiently to make a legitimate pass, but Pastor chose to attempt to out-brake him and claim the apex, which was definitely over-ambitious. 100% Pastor’s fault, and he paid for it.

    Regarding Lewis’ pass on Massa, that was actually a rather ambitious pass, as there was no point where his nose was visible to Massa, but at the same time, after the first contact, Massa should have given more space (as Lewis gave to Schumacher). Still a racing incident, but if I had to assess blame, 75% would go to Lewis, 25% to Massa, but I wouldn’t penalize either.

    Note: I am not a fan-boy. I don’t care who wins, as long as they deserve it. I like Red Bull, but I still think they are cheating with a flexi-wing. I don’t like Hamilton much, but I think he is innocent. I like Kobayashi, but some of his passes are a little too ambitious (his bump and run on an STR at Suzuka, and a similar move on a Force India in Monaco). Personally, I think they should take it easy with the penalties, unless it is a truly bone-head or malicious move.

  110. Joe,
    Do you have the full house? I mean have you been accused of being biased in favour of every team and driver on the grid yet? Maybe you should keep track and try to make a game of it!

  111. We can analize all we want but in the end it was Hamilton’s fault. It should be labeled nothing more than a racing incident and should not have been penalized. Let the drivers race come what may. They are only the ones to lose whatever outcome comes out of it. Do we need a referre for every pass now? He’ll no.

  112. you cant rely on the other driver to just let you thru

    thats what Schumacher did for Lewis’s first pass on that corner. in neither pass was Lewis ahead. in both passes he was relying on the outside car relenting & giving up the coner

    Maldonado might have turned in a fraction early – but it wasnt like Lewis had ownership of the racing line

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