The Maldonado mystery

Pastor Maldonado scored his first World Championship point at the weekend for Williams, but I reckoned he was pretty lucky to be there at all. His move on Lewis Hamilton at the end of the Q2 session on Saturday was an unpleasant piece of automotive thuggery that should have resulted in a rather more severe penalty than the Venezuelan received. Given that the punishment was the same as changing a gearbox, the stewards definitely sent out the wrong message. I have looked at all the video several times now and I still cannot figure out why Lewis Hamilton was reprimanded. All he did was drive a forceful corner to get his lap time and then back off after the start-finish line and move out of the way of Maldonado when he spotted him in the mirrors. Maldonado then ran into him presumably with the intent to damage the car sufficiently to spoil Hamilton’s Q3 session. If I was a steward (and thank God I am not) I would have thrown him out of the meeting. The only conclusion that I could reach was that Hamilton’s past experiences with stewards have been such that he is now very wary of all officialdom and that does not come across well when they have their meetings. Perhaps Lewis sent out the wrong message or got his stories mixed up while trying not to get into a pickle… It was just odd.

In the race his incident with Kobayashi was a racing one and that was called correctly by the stewards.

72 thoughts on “The Maldonado mystery

  1. I agree on both counts. Very weird. Hamilton was seriously blocked by the william(s) in the end of Q2 regardless of what Pastor did later on, and they didn’t receive anything for that, either.

    Still, F1 is dead next year for me anyway due to the sky stuff, so I’m now just watching this seasn unfold and then giving up.
    It’s fun to watch, but my heart has left.

  2. Joe, I initially thought the same as you about the slow-down lap incident, but a lone voice on Twitter convinced me to look again.

    Maldonado’s aggression was clear, and Hamilton clearly knew something was up, as he sent not one but two “back off” flicks at the Williams. However, when the contact occurred, Hamilton was at least one whole car’s width away from the track edge. It’s my belief that had Hamilton been running along the white line, then the blame would then have been with Maldonado only.

    The race incident with Kobayashi was the sort of thing you expect to see in a FFord race.

    I think Lewis needs to calm down, something’s clearly rattling him, and if he’s not careful McLaren will gravitate away from him.

  3. There’s no question – if you look where Maldanado ended up, not just in front of Lewis, but on the grass – that was a dangerous and deliberate move. I just wondered if the stewards had any camera angles we didn’t see. Hamilton did twitch slightly – what did you make of that, Joe?

  4. Lewis Twittered after the race that he accepted 100% blame for the accident with Kaumi. Bizarre, even the harshest of Hamilton critics would not allocate so much.

    There is something odd happening and the continued lack of transparency from the stewards is not helping.

  5. Or more simpler conclusion is that Hamilton is guilty by association he seems to be always in the eye of the stewards for one reason or another, And lets be frank have seen some real rubbish from other drivers in the 80s and 90s both Jap GPs Prost and Senna spring to mind.

  6. Joe,

    To add to this, I suggest you have a look at the BBC interview with Maldonado after the race (it may have been on the Red Button Forum). What I took from it was Pastor insinuating that Hamilton’s move on Kobayashi was similar to Hamilton’s move on Maldonado the day before. Unbelievable! I know Grand Prix drivers have a reputation for being arrogant but this takes it to a whole new level.

    Maldonado made a deliberate, aggrivated lunge on Hamilton in qualifying – the equivalent of a dangerous fould in football parlance – and he should have been penalized appropiately with a red card and sent home. His defence of it as a ‘racing incident’ is in fact wrong. I dont know how anyone could argue an incident after the chequered flag has fallen as a racing incident. A one race ban would not have been out of the question for Maldonado in this instance, and Hamilton as the innocent victim should not have been reprimanded.

    As for Hamilton’s clash with Kobayashi on Sunday, that was 100% Hamilton’s fault although it was a racing incident. But if we want to talk about stewarding consistency, Hamilton should have been reprimanded for causing this collision just as Alonso was penalised in Malaysia for a similar, relatively minor, collision. This is a seperate debate however.

    It’s refresing that after the race Hamilton did publicly accept reponsability, and equally refreshing that this was done directly through twitter and not through a PA press release.

  7. Your bias toward Hamilton is getting jarring Joe.
    I’m a big Hamilton fan but i could see he was partly at fault. If you can’t i’m not sure I trust your judgement anymore.

    “All he did was drive a forceful corner to get his lap time and then back off after the start-finish line and move out of the way of Maldonado when he spotted him in the mirrors. ”

    That’s not all he did Joe. Come on man tell the full story.

    1. Jake,

      I told the story. I am not biased towards Hamilton. I have looked at the incident over and over and that is what I think. I have only done 400 Grands Prix so I probably don’t know as much as some people.

  8. I’m still not convinced of intent to hit (annoy or impede or attempt to scare, yes) Hamilton by Maldonado but he definitely should have had a bigger penalty as it was not clever, even if there was no intent at all.

    I,if a steward, might have reprimanded Lewis for his race incident but not for qualifying.

  9. Joe,

    Maldonando/Hamilton
    **************************

    I’m very very very angry with you. You’re doing everything to spoil my Aid (equivalent of Christmas in Islam for those who don’t know).

    I’ve seen on-board camera of Hamilton car of the incident and Maldonando was the culprit, I 100% agree, but when Maldonado bullied Hamilton the video showed that Hamilton moved back towards him to kind of say don’t try to bully me. The simultaneous move of both of them towards each other caused the incident.
    90% of the blame goes to Maldonando but 10% goes to Hamilton. You got to remember that the FIA can have access steering data,…

    Kobayashi/Hamilton : racing incident !!!!!
    ************************

    Hamilton overtakes and takes back the racing line where Kobayashi car was. Is the Japanese supposed to disappear or to brake to allow his majesty Lewis CrashKid Hamilton to take the royal line. Of course not.

    Despite being an aggressive overtaker, Kobayashi is a very fair and clean driver. Hamilton by running into Kobayashi front wing destroyed his own race and did no damage to Kobayashi so I TOTALLY AGREE THAT NO PENALTY was required.

    But to say it was a racing incident is absolutely wrong. What if Kobayashi went off because a stupid driver couldn’t judge the distances ? Would it still be a racing incident. No ? It was a mistake by Hamilton.

    HAMILTON : The bigger picture
    **************

    This year Hamilton was involved in 50% of the incidents which happened in F1 (Yep I’m exaggerating but not that much). I still remember your reaction on Vettel/Webber accident in Turkey last year. This year you didn’t blame Hamilton not even once. In your point of view, it’s either the other driver’s fault or a racing incident.
    What’s even more surprising is that in the Kobayashi episode Hamilton recognized it was 100% his mistake and yet you say 2 days later it’s a racing incident.

    Nobody is objective, but your subjectivity when it comes to Hamilton has reached heights unheard of in Motorsport. It’s no longer journalism, it’s PROPAGANDA (Yep I know I’m using a very strong word).

    If Vettel was called by Whitmarsh the CrashKid because of the accidents with Webber and Button last year, Hamilton might be called the TERMINATOR and that would be unfair to the Terminator who grew kinder through the Saga.

    The bottom line is, when the same driver has incidents every other race at least, he has to bear a big share of the blame and the FIA has to act harsher on him. Being a racer doesn’t justify crashing into people. Have we been racing in the 80s, Hamilton would’ve died twice at least this year.

    P.S : I only say the TRUTH

  10. I can see this point of view Joe, but I can also see the other perspective.

    Pretend for a second your Maldonardo. There you are on your hot qually lap, there is traffic at the final corner, so you sacrifice an ideal line into that last corner and go for a better run out of it, hoping not to drop too much time…. Whack…. into the side of your car comes a McLaren… It’s that Hamilton guy again. You’ve just lost half a second.

    You both complete your hot lap and feeling rather aggrieved decide to swap hand signals with Mr Hamilton. As you proceed to pass him, he swerves towards you.. you brake. Then drive straight past him, he waves his hand, and you attempt to make him brake in a similar manner. He doesn’t, as you both head for each other… you make contact with him.

    What I actually suspect happened was a mixture of the two series of events. The steering wheel input traces will be the thing that tells the whole story, and we’re not privvy to those, but I expect that’s why Lewis got a reprimand and Pastor only got a 5 place drop.

  11. Joe, Lewis swerved at Maldonado before Pastor tried to destroy him, so presumably the stewards reprimanded him for inciting it.

    I suppose it was payback for Monaco for Maldonado.

    But I agree with you, he should’ve been thrown out. Crashes in races are okay, and can be penalised accordingly.

    Contact AFTER the session cannot be tolerated in the slightest.

    1. Josh,

      Lewis did not swerve at Pastor – at least not in my book. He was moving across the road, saw Pastor coming and moved out of his way.

  12. That Twitter mea culpa from Lewis was very odd — almost a “fine, I’m taking my ball and going home” feel to it.

    And Maldonado’s penalty certainly seemed disproportionately lenient. I do hope that there was no suggestion that if Maldonado was excluded, the PDVSA millions would stop flowing to Williams…

  13. I wonder what the ruling would have been if the roles had been reversed in the incident. Unfortunately I think Hamilton would have been booted out of the race at the very least

  14. On the face of it pretty clear cut, Maldonado caused the collision, but Hamilton did make a jink towards him just before and had slowed right down – more than usual? – to allow the Williams alongside.

    His demeanor and comments after he had got out of the car weren’t what you might expect of a driver so wronged, I though he seemed slightly defensive. Has he been so brow beaten by events this year or did he think, actually I wasn’t whiter than white myself . .

    Also Joe, would be interested to hear your thoughts on Red Bull tyres. I found it astonishing that Newey can admit to never have been so scared about driver safety then in the next sentence claim driver safety is number one priority, did that raging competitive urge just get the better of them all?

    1. Mike Cooper,

      Designers and drivers always say things about safety when they are looking to justify a reason that will give them an advantage. It is normal. Red Bull wanted more tyres because they had used them up. Pirelli said no. Good for Pirelli.

  15. I have to agree with you, Joe. After La Source, both drivers are on the left side of the track, Maldonado is coming to overtake Hamilton, who sees him, makes a very small move to the left, immediately then Maldonado tries to pass him but his angle is too steep, and Hamilton is getting alittle too close to the very small grass area and thus the barrier, so he adjust the wheel again, slightly.
    Maldonado deserved a race ban for that one

  16. I think a lot of people are overcomplicating the situation.
    Pastor had intention to crash into Lewis AFTER the racing was over and he acted on it.
    In ball sports, we have the “White line fever” mentality. On the field you can compete hard, crash bodies and even intentionally hurt (but not injure) people. Once that siren goes though, it’s over and you’re subject to the same rules as people on the street.
    I think this is the same situation. Once the flag drops and you pass it, you’re no longer racing and expected to behave like it.
    What Pastor did was pernicious idiocy of the highest order, and the stewards decision to give him the absolute minimal penalty makes them an absolute laughing stock
    In Nascar, Robby Gordon deliberately rammed into Marcos Ambrose under a safety car. He was excluded from the race and suspended from the following race too. This in a series where crashes are much more common and less dangerous that F1.
    To me, this means the stewards are not protecting their drivers enough. If this is allowed to happen it just takes one hothead to kill someone and we’ll all be looking back on this as the time where it could have been avoided by stamping down harder on idiot drivers.

  17. OK – here’s my take on it. A very simple one.

    This was not “during a race” – this was not “during qualifying”.

    The chequered flag was down and Q2 was “over”.

    At this time there’s no need for one driver to drive close to another car – so why was Maldonado so close to Lewis in the first place?

    Simple – he wanted to “have a go at Lewis”. At that point – he is already in the wrong . . . anything else compounds the crime.

    Lewis read Maldonado#s proximirty correctly and gave a “back off” wiggle, and then Maldonado went into full on dangerous aggression that put him on the grass. That could have been much worse for him and Lewis too.

  18. Jo Torrent
    Your claim to speak only the truth is ridiculous when you did not have and have not got the data to make any absolute conclusions.

    Vettel WAS the crash kid if you care to remember and Hamilton is now in the position where if anyone so much as sneezes near him he will get a penalty regardless.

    If the FIA would only publish the relevant data ie steering, throttle and brake inputs from cars involved, together with the on-board footage then we could be in a much better position to form an opinion, but even then we would not be so conceited to claim it is the only truth.

  19. @JoTorrent those are some pretty strong words, and I think some of what you say RE: Lewis is true. There is a lot of propergander without question. Taking the Hungary doughnut on the racing line, had Riccardo done that I’m quite sure universal critism would have followed…a different driver though, and what happens? The same was true of Schumacher in some instances, he did get away with some stuff in his day.

    Back to Lewis though I certainly think he is far far to casual about the safety in F1. Whilst he’s in F1 he remains, IMO, the most likely to be killed racing, by a significant margin as well. My fear is that his wrecklessness will result in injury or worse to an innocent party, be they a driver, marshall or spectator. As we saw with the death of Aryton, a seemingly survivable accident can be fatal with one small twist of fate, and another F1 death is the last thing I want and the FIA should really be stamping down on his persistent contact with other drivers.

  20. A crucial piece from the Hamilton-Maldonado puzzle is missing and that is the onboard footage from Maldonado. Adam Cooper mentioned in his blog that FOM can only record 9 onboards at the same time, hinting that Maldonado’s was simply not available at that time as it wasn’t being recorded. This baffles me. Such a high tech sport and they can’t get some decent recording software? Can you confirm this, Joe?
    Does that also mean the stewards did not see Maldonado’s onboard? Of course they have the telemetry data so they already have all the info they need. Even so, I find it increasingly frustrating that the stewards office never give out any explanation for their decisions. Surely a detailed report of why they decided a penalty was warranted would both be much more inclusive for the fans’ experience and would also help driver ‘education’.

  21. Folks,

    I’m afraid I’ll have to defer to the journalist Joe (i.e proper reporter not blogger) over people claiming Hamilton is the Terminator.

    Thinking about Hamilton…

    So, can anyone tell me why Hamilton is at fault of Spa (when he is in front moving to the racing line) and Button not at fault for Montreal (when he is in front, moving to the racing line)? I mean one of the justifications for Button and Hamilton’s crash is that Button could not see him (because of rain and the mirrors) and moreover Button was surprised or id not expect Hamilton to be there, to be so disproportionately faster. Seems to me Hamilton could have argued much of the same at Spa at Button did in Montreal. I don’t mean he could claim it was raining (!!), but he did hint on TV he didn’t expect someone to be there, and I’m sure the McLaren’s mirrors have blind spots (didn’t Alsono once comment that when he needed from a championship winning Renault was mirrors that worked?!).

    I would say that Hamilton was mostly to blame for Canada (he could have braked and waited to pounce elsewhere) in a 60/40 racing incident, but why can’t we hold Kobayashi to the same standard in Belgium?

    So the interesting thing is why, when most people seem to be 50/50 on the matter, does Hamilton take 100% of the blame if we, at best, accept the Spa incident as a racing incident.

    The only reason I can think is the more interesting Hamilton comment in Joe’s post. I think Hamilton clearly feels (whether justified or not) that there is nothing he can say that is right to the stewards beyond “it was me who caused the crash…and started the recent riots in London etc etc”. I’m not saying that this means Hamilton IS somehow victimised but if he feels that he’ll be disproportionately criticised by stewards or commentators then he is bound to be defensive or uncertain.

    I’m not saying he is right to feel this (though I do, personally, feel he has a point), I’m saying that if Hamilton has a pressure at the moment it’s the feeling that any mistake will be excessively criticised by the stewards and he has admitted “100%” fault for the Spa incident just so everyone would let it rest.

    Also, lastly, has anyone remembered the fascinating post Joe made comparing the clean overtake Hamilton made of Schumacher at Monaco, and the Maldonado incident at Monaco? The point being that it always takes two to tango…whether cleanly or as a mess!

  22. @ Johnny R

    The difference between Spa and Montreal is as follows.

    In Canada the racing line cuts across the straight, the line Button took, and every other driver takes on a normal racing lap. In Spa the normal racing line is straight up the left hand side of the track, to give you ideal corner entry for the right hander, the line which KK took.

    The line Lewis took in Canada was naive at best, as he’d have known that JB probably couldn’t see him and also that JB was likely to be cutting across the track as per the racing line.

    The line Lewis took in Spa was that of a car returning to the racing line, having moved off it to overtake KK, he unlike Alonso, Vettel and numerous others didn’t stay slightly central to take account of a car coming back at him. Or in the words of KK “If you see the replay later, I was following the white line always, I don’t change at all my line. So I don’t know what I need to do – maybe I have to go to the gravel for him? That’s stupid, you know. He had to stay in the middle, not come back [towards me]”.

    KK is correct, he does indeed follow the while lines, and contrary to what the BBC commentry team were saying (Suggesting he turned in was a disgrace, obviously it can look like that when one car touches another due to the centrafugal force, Maldonardo move shows this where he ends up on the grass) it was pretty clear that Lewis cut back across not expecting him to be there. A simple racing incident, caused somewhat by Lewis running more downforce (slower top end), and KK running very skinny wings and using KERS.

    In an instance such as this I would generally apportion blame ~ 80/20, as KK perhaps could have avoided contact if he’d hit the brakes, but really the cause of the accident was Hamiltons lack of awareness.

  23. I skipped this earlier, or skimmed over it, but just how did MAL think he was getting around the sequence on the angle he was taking? If he continued, he would have been late to enter, first trapped into and then shoved off by camber up the hill, probably carrying too much speed to do anything but lock up or off. .

    Acid test of a sane maneuver surely must be that driver has expectation of gaining track advantage. Say it again, only who is behind can brake.

    If anyone can explain to me how MAL was not going to loose a few tenths up the hill, assuming he stayed on the black stuff, i’ll go back to my drawing board.

    Take away the incident, which was avoidable, and you have plain bad driving. At this level that surely is culpable.

    I believe in the redemptive nature of life, so i hope he learned a lot. Not the first time a rookie didn’t guess how harsh F1 reality is. Irv the swerve comes to mind, and he improved respectably once sufficiently chastised.

    Lewis seems to have taken his escapades to heart a little bit much lately. Some would say he’s reacting a bit late, but he is reacting, and conscientiously by all appearances. The thoughtful humility he expresses is good for the man, but i think too much for the racer, unless he is in a phase of really digging deep. One concerned reading is he’s bottling up for an explosion. I don’t reckon that, for one thing tone of voice belies deeper thought. If this reflection – now at risk of shouldering blame not his – works for him, i’m totally looking forward to his races. Said before, i’m off the fence with Hamilton.

    Joe Torrent, good disambiguation, but surely you see the religious metaphor. Can that go some way to repairing your Aid? (or Eid). I find tolerance, within limits, preferable to uncertain truth, and faith in what a man does next more useful. Even atheists make use of the occasional day of assessment. Fact is so often subjugate, and therefore most valuable, hardest to find. We don’t have everything. But i think Hamilton has openly invited a public lashing he does not deserve, and so we might respect his choice to risk that for something better. It’s good example, and counterweight to the lousy commercial pragma which is alienating people.

    – j

  24. Many times we have seen drivers being punished for blocking other collagues in qualify. They did not do it on purpose, but they have been demoted 5 places because they did IT anyway. Maldonado pushed Hamilton on purpose, damaged his car and risked an even worse accident. From my point of view he should have been put at the end of the grid, or even excluded from the race. It was an unpleasant move from him (as you wrote, Joe) but it was also an unpleasant action from the stewards.

  25. Joe, you are surely very learned etc. and have been to a tonne of races. I’m also pretty sure that most of the posters to this thread will have been watching the F1 on TV for the last 20 years.

    Lewis baulked at Pastor… just a little. He knows he did because in the post qualifying interview he said he drove perfectly straight when he was hit.

    You disagree with Lewis when you say he was moving to get out of the way. He says he was motoring straight and level. I am sure this would have been a bone of contention in the hearing.

  26. Im sorry but I entirely fail to see how Hamilton jinking right towards Maldonado on the exit of turn one can be interpreted as a genuine attempt to “get out of the way”.

    Hamilton is no fool, and he was clearly very aggravated, having just gestured his displeasure towards Maldonado down the start-finish straight. For me it was clear- he slowed down deliberately, allowing Maldonado to catch him, so he could jink towards Maldonado to demonstrate his annoyance. For Maldonado, that was the final straw.

    For Maldonado to have been;

    a) punted into the barrier in Monaco by Hamilton,
    b) insulted for being in the way at Monaco by Hamilton ,
    c) compromised on his flying lap in Belgium by Hamilton,
    d) gestured at rudely for being in the way by Hamilton,
    e) deliberately attacked by Hamilton’s car for being in the way at Belgium

    Would having some quite words have been a proportional response?

    No

    Well done to him. What goes around comes around, and I was delighted to see Hamilton in the wall the following day for attempting to deny Kobayashi the right to race.

  27. According to someone on F1fanatic who was in the crowd on the run down to Eau Rouge, someone was struck with a little piece of bodywork on the head and required some stitches.

    I am in disbelief that he wasnt DQ’d for his utter appauling antics.

  28. Joe, I have to disagree with you. I’m with @gilesguthrie on this one.

    Watching it live I thought Maldonado was 100% wrong but after watching it again several times it’s clear to me that Lewis could have avoided the whole thing by simply staying full left after backing off.

    Do you not see Lewis jinking right not once but twice, AFTER HE BACKED OFF?

    His accident with Kobayashi in the race is another example of Lewis ignoring cars that are in close proximity. He seems incapable of accepting the fact that he has to SHARE the track surface with his competitors.

    Look at the brilliant passes Alonso, Webber, Button and Michael did all day without any contact despite the fact that each pass was earned the hard way.

  29. It makes me wonder what you actually have to do to trigger a disqualification from the event/suspension, if deliberately crashing into somebody after a session has finished doesn’t do it.

    Does the other guy have to leave in an ambulance?

    Reminded me of that bit in “Days of Thunder” when Cole deliberately gets revenge by causing a crash after the race has finished.

    5 place grid drops are devalued as penalties anyway, given that you can actually overtake this year – and the fact that the weather is normally mixed in Spa.

  30. Pastor should should have been thrown out of the race before it began. The last time I heard anything remotely similar was … Imola 1992: Jean Alesi deliberately made wheel contact with Martin Brundle, and sent Brundle Benetton a few inches into the air! Since then, the attitude toward racing collisions has changed. Pastor’s reputation IMHO will forever be tainted by his move in Spa. Williams can’t fire him, because he brings a lot of sponsorship …. that could explain Parr’s silence on the matter 🙂

    I also feel F1 is less of a sport because of DRS …. it makes overtaking insanely easy. Button seems to do well thanks to DRS!

  31. I’ve had a ‘proper gander’ at the incident and it does seem like Lewis moves right and then jinks back. However, it is equally clear that he doesn’t deviate much after that. Conversely, the Williams moves quickly closer to the left barrier.

    If I were being kind I would ask if, like Hamilton with Kobayashi, Maldonando thought he had cleared the Mclaren before taking back the line?

    The only reason I can think of for Hamilton to be reprimanded is that he may have speeded up as Maldo passed him and thus contributed to him thinking he was fully in front?

    However, Maldonado’s body language and the words he used in the BBC interview screamed ‘I am telling lies’!

    At the time I predicted a multi race ban. I still can’t understand why he didn’t get one?

  32. Frankly Maldonado is a fairly shabby pay driver.

    I didn’t have much respect for him before this event, and certainly none now (particularly in light of his crass comments after the race). He should have been thrown out of the race, and given a suspended sentence for the rest of the season.

    The pity is that since Williams have taken on a pay driver, and accepted oil cash from Hugo Chavez, my respect for them is dwindling.

  33. Hypothesis: it really is a mistake to bung drivers into F1 at the age of 20 or 22. They may have the skill and the quickness and the conditioning and all that, but they mostly don’t have the mental toughness to cope when things go wrong, and then they have to develop as men and as sportsmen in a pressure cooker.

    Consider Jenson, for example, who came in at the age of 20, very highly regarded, and promptly started making disastrous decisions regarding contracts, yacht slips, and whether to give his full attention to an interview by the dean of the motor-racing press corps. He has managed to mature since then — probably helped by the fact that a lot of people wrote him off for a long time — and has continued to mature since his championship year. His speed and performance on track have increased as well.

    By contrast, Lewis has been the jewel in McLaren’s crown since his early teens. He never had to face real adversity of any kind as he stepped up in the sport, and spent his teens and early twenties with everyone telling him how wonderful he was — but he since 2010 it’s been one damned thing after another — the reigning world champion waltzing into his team, problems with the stewards, problems with his father, car that didn’t cut the mustard, more problems with the stewards, people criticising his driving, etc. etc.

    One of the reasons for all this, surely, is that a driver who is in his early twenties and who has been nurtured like a rare and delicate flower since he was sixteen just doesn’t have the mental resources to deal with working through problems on a world stage, with hundred of millions of people watching, and with hundreds of people’s direct livelihood depending on the way he performs.

    With another few years under his belt, or if the route to his championship hadn’t been quite so platinum-plated, Lewis would be better mentally equipped to deal with everything that has befallen him in the last 18 months. As it is though, we’re watching him work it all out on live TV every fortnight…

  34. With regards to the supposed Hamilton “Jink” you lot have heard of wheelspin right? Thats exactly what it looked like to me, car twitching under acceleration in the wet.

    I don’t think Hamilton was 100% innocent, It looked like he slowed down to get Maldonado alongside for the usual WTF, fist shaking that goes on when one driver impedes another. What happened after that though was inexscusable, and apparently some within the Williams team weren’t happy at all with his behaviour.

    The race incident. Hamiltons fault as he himself has said but what I still can’t figure out is what KK was doing out there? where was he trying to go? Surely had Hamilton kept the line he was on Kobayashi would have been destined for a trip over the grass. Don’t get me wrong I think Kobayashi is a great racer who will always go for the gap, I just can’t quite work out the thought process on that one.

  35. Strictly speaking, Joe, Maldonado did not shove Hamilton into a wall because Lewis was left with a car-width of track which he deigned not to use.

    In addition, it was Lewis who was the driver setting the poor standards by petulantly steering at Maldonado just as he was pulling out from behind Lewis. To single Maldonado out as the thug is in my mind, unfair, because Maldonado was simply responding to Lewis’ identical behaviour.

    I am not condoning either driver’s behaviour, but it frustrates me to see one driver singled out. It is like charging someone with assault after they were attacked initially.

  36. Jo Torrent,

    lapsed, long ago, Roman Catholic here. But i often see religion can be positive, in a look up, not down, kind of way and prefer that mood. Really hope i did not presume or offend. When i grew up i read scriptures as stories and analogies, and i got a bit flowery with my interpretation. I like to think neither skeptics disbelievers agnostics nor atheists need to be belittle themselves from ambition, and i think it’s good to observe reflective traditions. Hope we’re cool – john

  37. A lot of people seem to be mentioning Hamilton turning right aggressively towards Maldonado TWICE, but having watched it again and again and again I can only see one move/jink coming out of La Source and like you Joe I don’t see this as a ‘hostile’ move. He moves far to the left immediately afterwards.

    I cannot see this ‘second’ move? There is a slight and gradual move to the right but this is natural given the track moves bends to the right and there is still more than plenty of room for Maldonado to drive past. Even if you believe that Hamilton was making moves to incite Pastor, this does not excuse Maldonado’s deliberate move to take out Lewis. This was unsporting and very dangerous behaviour which I feel has not been punished anywhere near sufficiently.

  38. I have to Say Joe you do seem to be bias towards Lewis at the moment regardless of what you say, both your article & your forum replies suggest so. You seem to be blind to the fact that lewis did Jink the car towards Maldonado. Saying he was just moving across just doesn’t make sense.If he was on a slowing down lap why did he need to suddenly move across the track into the path of another driver, and that was a very sudden jerk of moment for a driver taking the racing line at low speed. As a former racing driver myself I’m pretty sure that was a warning manoeuvre towards another driver, I’ve seen it done enough times to many other drivers and even to myself a couple of times. Drivers can easily do silly things in the heat of the moment when all that testosterone and adrenalin is flowing through them. You may disagree but I think on this occasion you may be off the mark.

  39. @thevillainf1: I believe the limitation on multiple-recordings of onboard cameras is down to the amount of radio bandwidth required. When you think about how wide a video signal is, there simply isn’t enough airspace available to have all 24 cars transmitting their video simultaneously. As I understand it, the individual transmitters are turned on and off by the FOM director’s truck by a remote radio signal, so that the director can choose which cars to follow; the rest go unrecorded.

    Disclaimer: my information may be a little out of date now, but that was certainly the case until quite recently, if not still to this day. However, one would have thought that these days the cars could be recording video to internal flash memory cards so that the video could be examined later, even if not on-air immediately. (I believe that there have been some trials to his effect, I don’t know if it’s routinely done yet, though.)

  40. John (Other John)

    I’m absolutely not offended. I just wanted to make sure that you understand that it was the celebration I was pointing at. Don’t worry, I don’t get offended easily & I accept critics.

  41. Ash,

    i’m so divided myself on what you say. I think nothing will moderate the hard knocks of life until you experience a few of them. If mentors are any good, they ought i think to be disconnected also. I’m just confused because I cannot clearly assess how much value i must attribute to my own mentors, for not giving a whit as to monetary gain or quick wins. I often flew off the handle along the lines of “show me the shortcuts, you must know, hand them over”. Nearly in tears remembering these things, the pauses as i waited for an answer, and never got the kind i wanted, sure kiddo, you idiot, John. I’m within a year or a hand of Jenson and onetime condescendingly thought what an immature fool, couldn’t then respect him. Then i actually grew up, or started to. People grow up not in lock step but bits seem to fall over themselves, and other aspects get temporarily get trampled. Who watched my back growing up were very hands off types. I had to ask them. Is it possible instead we just let the system mollycoddle too much, and prevent the 20 somethings from becoming the men they choose to be? I say not age, but upbringing. I also say it’s plain obvious that guys like Button managed pretty damned well on their own, though that independence may have been a private battle. Hamilton also is showing he is not the product of nannying nurture. I like Rosberg because he just seems immune to it all, a little ethereal, but not above it. I’m quite positive we could do better with the young drivers, but i do not think you can legislate these things, nor is such a idea desirable. This arrogant prick learned to really enjoy and respect guys like Button, though i would not think the exact path his management took is textbook. Nota, i do not say what path Button took, but the path of more responsible people around him who led him.

    My silliness aside, this ought to be open debate. Starting out is incredibly young now. F1 must avert overtones of grade school prom queens in gaudy makeup and frilly pink dresses, foisted by pushy insecure parents, on their 6yr olds. Not just a US phenomenon, i just sat up all last night with a pal who is aghast how his daughter is being attuned to this desecration of innocence.

    good to raise the point, Ash, thanks,

    – john

  42. “Do you not see Lewis jinking right not once but twice, AFTER HE BACKED OFF?”

    No, not twice, he has 1 little move right, then back. After that he follows the curvature of the corner, you can tell from his onboard (youtube is your friend) hes following the grid slots. It’s just when you watch from the normal TV shot, it looks like hes moving right.

    And people saying Hamilton could have avoided this by being further left on the track…

    I cannot believe what you are saying, seriously, its insane. Think about what you’re saying for a moment…

    Maldonado was behind Hamilton and also on an in-lap. He had no buisness being anywhere near Hamilton, he had more than half the width of the track to his right. We never see cars coming together on slow down laps like that. It’s not uncommon to see 2 drivers slow down to one anothers pace and give the usual hand gestures, venting their anger, but what Maldonado did was an utter disgrace.

    This is not even akin to a bad tackle in football, its akin to swiping your opponents legs as they are walking into the tunnel for half time. Play had finished, session was over.

    My blood is boiling at the thought of Maldonado saying in the BBC interview that Hamiltons crash with Kobayashi was similiar to the qualifying inncodent. No, neanderthal, it was nothing like it. They were racing, you where not. That makes it ENTIRELY different. It makes it worse that neither David or Eddie called him out on it. Eddie being the former team boss who would have ravaged his driver for potentially putting one of his cars in the wall on an in-lap and potentially causing physical harm, and David, being a driver whose had his fare share of scary moments. I’m glad atleast Brundle said it was ‘nonsense’ (that the inncodents were similar), though Maldonado wasnt there to hear it.

  43. I think Lewis Hamilton’s reputation counts against him every time he his summoned by the stewards, in that he is judged for past incidents and therefore gets a harsher penalty than another driver would. The penalties handed out over the Maldonado / Hamilton incident was the latest in a string of extremely poor decisions from the stewards this year. This has been the worst year of stewarding I can ever remember, and the whole process needs a complete overhaul in my opinion. Having a driver sitting in with the stewards doesn’t seem to working at all, as some of the decisions made by the stewards don’t seem have any common sense about them.

    Another problem is there seems to be one penalty for everything. If you change a gearbox, you get a five place grid penalty, if you deliberately hit another driver, you get the same. Its the same in the races with a drive through penalty handed out for any kind of incident. There needs to be more tiered penalties based on the type / severity of the misdemeanor.

    1. Steve W,

      Lewis Hamilton’s reputation? Based on what? What the tabloids beat up on any given day? Lewis Hamilton is an exciting driver. He is fast. He is incisive and sometimes things go wrong for him. People revered Gilles Villeneuve for this style of racing and yet condemn Hamilton for being a hothead. And if you think this is a bad year for stewarding you have not been a fan for long. This is one of the best years I can remember. Things can still improve – and the Maldonado decision was a bad one – but in general my feeling is that much progress has been made.

  44. Who cares if Lewis jinked towards Pastor. Maldonaldo’s reaction was way out of proportion with a “jink”.
    It’s like throwing someone the finger and having that person say they’re justified to shoot you.
    If Hamilton had careened into the wall, this would be a criminal matter and Maldonaldo would be in a prison somewhere.

  45. To quote Jo Torrent
    ‘The bottom line is, when the same driver has incidents every other race at least, he has to bear a big share of the blame and the FIA has to act harsher on him. Being a racer doesn’t justify crashing into people. Have we been racing in the 80s, Hamilton would’ve died twice at least this year.’
    And GP
    His accident with Kobayashi in the race is another example of Lewis ignoring cars that are in close proximity. He seems incapable of accepting the fact that he has to SHARE the track surface with his competitors.
    Look at the brilliant passes Alonso, Webber, Button and Michael did all day without any contact despite the fact that each pass was earned the hard way.
    And you Joe
    Lewis Hamilton is an exciting driver. He is fast. He is incisive and sometimes things go wrong for him. People revered Gilles Villeneuve for this style of racing and yet condemn Hamilton for being a hothead.

    Now my bit………….

    Lewis is indeed a fantastic driver – and one of the few it seems who can make a difference to the car if it is sub par.
    However he does seem awfully ‘entitled’when it comes to overtaking into corners and both the Maldonado and the Kobayashi incidents would have (and did on Sunday) resulted in crashes had the other driver not given way.

    If there were two or more Lewis’s in similar cars then unless they learned very quickly to give and take (Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso through Eau Rouge being a fantastic case in point) there would be a lot more crashes and possibly deaths. I entirely take your point about Lewis being like Gilles Villeneuve (and for that matter Ayrton Senna also springs to mind) but sadly both also died racing (and I don’t mean any disrespect to either of them in saying this).

    All that said Maldonado not being thrown out of the race for his ‘road rage’ seems a very bad example to set by the stewards.

  46. the key is transparency…why on earth cannot we get a transcript on the FIA website subsequent each GP events about how the stewarding decisions were made! Similarly to the quite common civil court systems (judgment is public and it includes the analysis and arguments from both sides and finally the argumentation taklen by the judges themsleves, quite civilised I think…it is a shame that F1 is not at this level yet!

  47. I know this comment might not be considered P.C, but….

    I think it’s great that someone (it’s fallen to maldonando) shows some goolies and gets back to some real rough and tumble.

    F1 drivers today are such empty shells of people, no charisma, all little boys always towing the PR line (necessitated by the modern ‘I have to find a story somewhere’ media i believe)

    They have become unbelievable wet blankets these days, always whingeing when something doesn’t go their way or complaining about being ‘unfairly treated’.

    Now I think, and I guess from the comments that this is not a popular line to take, that F1 racing drivers need to become more forceful and stand up for themselves.

    Lewis Hamilton displays an on track arrogance, that much is undeniable. It’s clear that he believes that he is the righful winner of any GP he enters, and as such drives in a way that shows NO courtesy or respect to other drivers.(some might say a good trait in an f1 driver) Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the hair on his chest to back any of that up, instead is the 1st to come away crying about this, that or the next thing.

    Maldonado comes from a different breed of people. A breed that says ‘if you want to play with the big boys, play like a big boy’ Hamilton tried to bullly his way round Maldonando (again) and bl**dy good on him, Maldonando says to himself ‘this wee lad needs a slap’ (or words similar!)

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with a little aggression to show Hamilton he WONT bully his way around the track. That was a firm but fair smack into Hamiltons car to make a damn good point to the wee boy.

    Keep a sense of perspective, its not as if anyone is gonna be seriously injured by that smack, it is just some good old fashioned rough justice.

    And what was the outcome? Hamilton says (I paraphrase) ‘everything’s cool, I have such respect for Maldonando’. I bet he does! Looks like he ‘bottled it’ to use the vernacular.

    Its a shame that Hamilton didn’t have the track awareness to spot Kobayashi coming back at him, another example of how he thinks he owns the track. I guess he didn’t think someone as lowly as Kobayashi would dare to come back after being overtaken by the ‘entitled one’.

    Its unfortunate that somone who can drive a car like Hamilton still hasn’t mastered the ability to race well. Just far too many mistakes.

  48. I agree with Joe. The stewarding has improved massively in the last few years. The one thing I’d ask for is a little more explanation, so we fans can better understand the reasoning behind their decisions.

  49. I’m sorry. I don`t agree with you. Both of them were racing after the session ended. It`s their fault, its needed two people to fight.

    Maldonado did wrong. So did Hamilton. ¿Why was he racing Maldonado? I think the real problem is that everyone had assumed as a fact that Maldonado wanted to damage Hamilton’s car. I think that it is the way you would react in that situation, that ain’t mean other people will react the same way.

    Fact: there was an avoidable contact.

    Assumption: “Maldonado then ran into him presumably with the intent to damage the car sufficiently to spoil Hamilton’s Q3 session”

    1. Shaw,

      They were not racing after the session ended. If Hamilton was racing then Maldonado would not have overtaken him. The Williams cannot keep up with the McLaren. Your theory thus falls apart.

  50. My mistake. I didn`t explain it clearly enough.

    I meant they were acting as if they were “racing”.

    They knew the session was over. Neither Maldonado nor Hamilton had to push.

    Yes, Maldonado tried an overtaking move. My question is ¿Why Hamilton tried to prevent that move? ¿Do you really think Hamilton had to fight back after Q2 ended? Both of them were pushing each other. If Hamilton thought it was not the time to speed up, ¿why doing it? He blamed Maldonado, but he did the same thing. He is guilty too.

    You can`t blame only one if both of them were doing the same thing.

    I think the one that lost his temper was Hamilton. Of course Maldonado was upset, but Hamilton is not an angel and he could avoid that accident…. if he was Schumacher, for example.

  51. paul, if you had described the situation of Kobayashi and Hamilton up until the crash to most people in the F1 paddock, they’re likely not to believe you. The situation I’m talking about is a McLaren with the DRS on being followed by a Sauber with the DRS off and the Sauber able to catch up and be alongside. Hamilton has clearly assumed this couldn’t happen – it’s not an entitlement, it’s an expectation. Not an expectation of right or daring or whatever, but that he had superior speed when he overtook and there was an expectation that this speed advantage would remain. What Lewis forgot was something every single driver, whether they’re on a race track or on the road, should practice – that when changing lanes, check your mirrors and check your blindspots (I’ll let Lewis slide on not indicating).

    Regarding Maldonado, showing your “opinion” on track by crashing into someone is just not on. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or who you are. In any sport, that type of action is wrong. If Maldonado had a problem with Hamilton’s driving, he is quite within his rights to talk to Lewis directly, to express his concern to McLaren and/or take the matter to the Stewards, who would then look into the matter and make a decision.

  52. It appears Hamilton may have given Maldonado a slight brake check as he came out of La Source. Just enough to indicate he thought Maldonado’s actions were OTT. (There is no reason to slow down that much on a cool down lap as the team needs every second to get the car ready for Q3.) Maldonado, after jinking right toavoid Hamilton, clearly took offense and made a “move” toward Hamilton, to which Hamilton responded with a “move” toward Maldonado. At this point it’s boys being boys. Then Maldonado took it to another level. The punishment for Maldonado was way too lenient. Hamilton’s slap on the wrist was appropriate, in my opinion.

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