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Monza crash sets a precedent, says Hamilton

NEWS STORY
13/09/2021

In the wake of the Monza stewards ruling, which saw Max Verstappen handed a 3-place grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton hopes the incident will set a precedent.

Handing the Dutchman the grid penalty, the stewards deemed that despite Verstappen claiming that the cause of the incident was Hamilton opening his steering after Turn 1 and “squeezing" him to the apex of turn 2, the world champion was driving an avoiding line, though his position caused the Red Bull to go onto the kerb.

However, the stewards observed that Verstappen was not at all alongside the Mercedes until significantly into the entry into Turn 1 and therefore the manoeuvre was attempted too late for the Dutchman to have “the right to racing room".

While Hamilton could have steered further from the kerb to avoid the incident, the stewards determined that his position was reasonable and therefore deemed that Verstappen was predominantly to blame.

Having had time to think about the crash and the stewards ruling, Hamilton is hopeful that it will set a precedent going forwards.

I'm ultimately proud of the stewards," said Hamilton, according to F1i.com. "I think I need some time to really reflect on it, but I think it definitely sets a precedent.

"I think it's an important precedent moving forwards for the safety of the drivers that there are strict rules set in place," he added.

The world champion is hopeful that the ruling will help avoid repeats.

"This will continue until we have to learn from our scenarios on track, and I don't have a history of these incidents," he said. "Ultimately, when you get away with things like that, then it's easy just to continue to do it.

"All of us drivers, we are on the edge," he added. "When we have the inside line, every single driver, past or present, will try to hold on to his position. Of course when you're wheel-to-wheel going into a corner, and the car is still alongside you wheel-to-wheel on the outside, then you have to concede and give extra space when the car is ahead of you.

"There is a known rule that the driver who is ahead, it's his corner, and eventually a driver has to concede. I definitely think we need to be looking into this and making sure that the right decisions are being made. No one wants to see anyone get injured, and if we can put some better protocols in, maybe we can avoid this sort of stuff in the future.

"Honestly, I feel very fortunate today," he admitted. “Thank God for the Halo, that ultimately, I think, saved me, and saved my neck... I don't think I've ever been hit on the head by a car before and it's quite a shock for me, because I don't know if you've seen the image but my head really is quite far forward. And I've been racing a long, long time, so I'm so, so grateful that I'm still here.

"I think Angela is going to be travelling me with me these next days," he added, referring to his personal physiotherapist, Angela Cullen, "but I probably will need to see a specialist, just to make sure it's good for the next race, because it's getting tighter and tighter. It definitely feels like it's getting a little bit worse, as the adrenaline is wearing off, but I'll work with Ang to fix it. I'll live!"

Check out our Sunday gallery from Monza, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 17/09/2021 1:55

"A Superbird70...many thanks for your response. If there is another new document then I would've expected that all teams would've been in possession! If not then that is an entirely different discussion. The absence of any definitive categorisation in the body of the Sporting regs indicates that there are no specific rules that are applied and that the decisions taken by the stewards could possibly be 'ad hoc' but particular to all individual events. Seeing that this issue is becoming more and more prevalent, as witnessed at Silverstone and now Monza, surely it's encumbent upon the FIA to issue guidelines that are more specific...if at all possible. "

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2. Posted by Superbird70, 16/09/2021 13:47

"@kenji, agreed. I brought it up because that is most likely the document to which @GWS is referring. This was supposedly produced for Mercedes by the FIA for Mercedes internal use. Anything current from the FIA if it existed would most likely be an internal memo or guidance document that the stewards would use in addition to their own experience, telemetry, video feeds, and driver statements."

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3. Posted by kenji, 16/09/2021 12:03

"@Superbird...There are quite few precedents for Rosberg/Hamilton crashes...Spain/Austria and Spa by memory ? If as you say a 'document' was initiated then it would've been specific to those instances within the Mercedes team and specific to the crash that occurred. To assume that this document is integral to the FIA established Sporting Regs. is entirely wrong and is not a 'fact', it is an assumption. Facts are binary and it's of ultimate importance not to entangle them with either assumption or opinion. That document, if it actually exists, would be approximately 4/5 years old and quite possibly irrelevant insofar as changes that have occurred over the ensuing years. Then again I may be entirely wrong about the entire issue. Who knows?"

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4. Posted by Superbird70, 16/09/2021 3:20

"Some internet sleuthing turnedup that apparently the document in question arose out of the Rosberg / Hamilton collision. Mercedes wanted some guidance from the FIA to show their drivers so that responsibilty for the incident could be apportioned. It was never an official FIA published document, just something to be used by Mercedes internally. Something might exist as a track specific memo or similar now, but that would be pure speculation."

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5. Posted by kenji, 16/09/2021 3:01

"@GWS...Thanks for the response but I am still not convinced of your analysis. Surely ,to quote, ' This is a wholly invented criteria' seals the debate. You are in effect saying that this 'creation' is not included within the Sporting Regs and therefore it becomes an 'Ad Hoc' discussion paper? Yes, Verstappen is a forceful driver and I have criticised him many times in the past but Hamilton is also. If you have followed his driving exploits since he came into F1 then you would know that he also has form. His crude passing attempts on Albon, twice, should be enough to establish a base for that. I could add others but it would serve no purpose. My opinion is that it was an accident embracing contributory negligence on behalf of both drivers, apportioned 51/49 in favour of Hamilton."

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6. Posted by Great_white_shark, 15/09/2021 22:03

"@kenji teams often consult with the FIA to know where they stand and what to expect in certain situations. A while back, Mercedes asked for clarifications on what was permissible when overtaking another car and the FIA replied with a simple yet detailed diagram which the stewards are supposed to stick to when in doubt.

Had they followed their own guidance, they would have realised that Lewis was overtaking on the inside, that he had achieved a significant overlap, and that he was able to make the corner cleanly (i.e. under control and on the road). The guidance in such circumstances is that the “corner is yours” i.e. you do not have to give way.

Prior to them handing down their decision, Mercedes pointed them towards their own guidance document. They did not dispute any of the key points – instead they chose to focus on the fact that it was a very fast corner, and not one that you should attempt such a move!

This is a wholly invented criteria. There is nothing to say that Copse is a forbidden overtaking spot, and indeed, Lewis went on to overtake Norris and Leclerc on the same corner. There was an accident with Max because Max was not willing to cede a line that Lewis had wrestled from him.

Anyone who has watched Max drive will know that he is never willing to cede the line- irrespective of the overtaking guidance document. This accident has been coming for a long time, and it is hard to hear Christian Horner’s complaints as other than hollow whining. Lewis is one of the cleanest drivers who has ever got behind a wheel – he just was not willing to yield having established control of the corner.
"

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7. Posted by stoney, 15/09/2021 16:03

"@Motorsport-fan: from a safety perspective, definitely that sausage kerb should be looked at... Anything that can cause a car to jump on top of another should be investigated.

(That's setting up a load of one-liners...)"

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8. Posted by kenji, 15/09/2021 13:52

"@ Lapps...I think that what you are referring to is called the ' HT' [the Hamilton Tap ] soon to be enshrined in the new for '22 Sporting regs."

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9. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 15/09/2021 13:45

"The culprit here is the rediculous chicane."

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10. Posted by Lapps, 15/09/2021 13:22

"No Max, you aren’t supposed to get right alongside. That was your big mistake. You are just supposed to get your front wheel next to his back wheel, give him a tap and while he is having his accident, you just drive through and away. Don’t you remember? It is almost sanctioned by the Stewards."

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11. Posted by kenji, 15/09/2021 4:12

"@ GWS...Judging from your response to Pavlo the analysis you have provided is not transcribed in the official F1 Sporting regs. Instagram/Twitter? If this was not made up then who actually did the drawings and why are they not 'official'? Without F1 endorsement the implied analysis would therefore be null and void, for the essence of what we are currently debating. Anything else by somebody other than F1 would simply be speculation."

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12. Posted by NS Biker, 15/09/2021 4:10

"I think the precedent was set in the race at Silverstone. Max even commented on that at the time.
Either driver could have avoided the incident.
Clearly one is more to blame than the other, it just depends on whose side you are coming from.
Expect more fire-works in the upcoming races."

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13. Posted by Superbird70, 14/09/2021 23:50

"More than likely the FIA, like most bureaucracies, will have a series of internal guidance documents/memos for the asessing various scenarios. The stewards would have access to these, as well as all the telemetry,camera angles and some racing experience. Much more information than is available to us."

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14. Posted by Great_white_shark, 14/09/2021 20:13

"@Pavlo I would be happy to forward it to you but I don't think the admin would be pleased if we exchanged Instagram or Twitter usernames. I have the diagram in one of my emails and judging by the pictures, if your nose is past the middle of the other car, you can overtake on the inside as you have a significant overlap. Again, according to the same diagram you need to be fully alongside to overtake on the outside. I didn't make this up, they made this drawing for them. If you cant trust the information they provide when you ask for clarifications, we have a serious problem. "

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15. Posted by Superbird70, 14/09/2021 16:42

"The 2021 Formula 1 Sporting Regulations - 2019-10-31 are easy to get, harder to interpret. Overtaking is only mentioned in the context of Safety car or formation lap etc. Penalties are clear. Max received a grid penalty because they couldn't assess at time penalty. Both cars not running.
Nothing on passing or using turn signals, common sense etc.
From the regulations;
4.11 Incidents During the Race
4.11.1 The race director may report any on-track incident or suspected breach of the Sporting Regulations or the International Sporting Code (an “Incident”) to the stewards. After review it shall be at the discretion of the stewards to decide whether or not to proceed with an investigation.
The stewards may also investigate an Incident noted by themselves.
4.11.2 It shall be at the discretion of the stewards to decide if any driver involved in an Incident should be penalised. Unless it is clear to the stewards that a driver or drivers were wholly or predominantly to blame for an Incident no penalty will be imposed.
If an Incident is under investigation by the stewards a message informing all teams which driver or drivers are involved will be sent via the official messaging system.
Provided that such a message is displayed no later than 60 minutes after the race has finished the driver or drivers concerned may not leave the circuit without the consent of the stewards."

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