Daily Archives: October 30, 2011

Massa vs Hamilton round 5 – who’s at fault now?

Today’s Indian Grand Prix saw the latest spat between Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa – both on and off track.

The pair collided while racing for 6th position, leaving Felipe with a drive-through penalty and Lewis with a broken front wing. Hamilton has borne the brunt of blame for most of their collisions this year, most notably in Monaco.

However, this time the McLaren driver is not 100% at fault, as both drivers made poor judgement:

Felipe Massa

Replays showed the Ferrari driver checking his mirrors several times, so there is no doubt that he was aware that Hamilton was closing in. The fact that Felipe continued to turn in was more than likely an estimation that the McLaren wouldn’t attempt a pass – a poor decision considering who he was racing against.

Massa was dealt the drive-through for the incident, but protested his innocence afterwards:

"I simply stayed on the ideal line, braking on the limit and staying on the part of 
the track that was rubbered in. What else could I do?

It’s the umpteenth time that Hamilton runs into me this year and it seems it’s some 
sort of fatal attraction. In the past, I tried to talk to him but he did not seem to 
be interested in doing so."

The Ferrari team have also suggested that the collision contributed towards Felipe’s suspension failure, which is of course absolute rubbish.

Lewis Hamilton

Never the one to stay out of trouble, Lewis is back in the headlines for the wrong reasons once again.

After being docked three places on the grid for ignoring yellow flags on Friday, Hamilton’s weekend was already compromised. The collision with Massa came after a very poor first stint, where the McLaren driver failed to make any progress from 7th.

It was a slightly ambitious move that presumed that Massa would give him space – which of course he didn’t. Lewis will of course argue that he had every right to move up the inside and attempt a pass, which is true. However, he failed to place his car in between Massa and the kerb, backing off slightly as the two cars entered the corner. This resulted in the Ferrari cutting across Lewis and causing the crash.

The most interesting thing I found about the crash was Hamilton’s reaction immediately afterwards. After he gestured towards the Ferrari, he continued to slow for several seconds before he got back on the throttle. To me, it seemed as if he didn’t even care about the race for a while, being incredibly frustrated after this many accidents.

In my opinion…

While Lewis could have judged his move better, I feel that Felipe gave him absolutely no opportunity to make a move. Hamilton has been lambasted for his off-form driving this year – and rightly so – but this incident should not be blamed on the Brit.

The more I look into these past collisions,the more childish Massa appears to me. While it is understandable that a driver would be furious after a collision, it is immature to say that they “don’t care” about what the other driver feels about the incident (referring to minor tap by Hamilton in Suzuka).

However, the most important thing out of this is that it doesn’t turn into a juvenile clash-fest every single race. These drivers should realise that F1 is supposed to be the collection of the finest racing drivers in the world, and should at least attempt to resolve their conflict. Not that many see that happening, of course.

Who do you hold at fault for today’s collision? Here is a replay:

Vettel untouchable as he takes win number 11 in India

Vettel heads the field, while Alonso is a bit off line

Vettel heads the field, while Alonso is a bit off line

Sebastian Vettel took another commanding victory today at the Indian Grand Prix. The German held a constant lead to Jenson Button in second, while Fernando Alonso was 3rd after battling past Mark Webber. Lewis Hamilton collided for the fifth time this year with Felipe Massa, the Ferrari suffering an absolutely torrid race. Here is what happened:

At the start, Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli were damaged in seperate incidents, while Jenson Button got past Mark Webber on the main straight. Lewis Hamilton dropped to 6th, while Sergio Perez pitted after the first lap for a surprisingly sudden tyre change.

Rubens Barrichello punts the back of his teammate

Rubens Barrichello punts the back of his teammate

Despite multiple accidents, only Kamui Kobayashi retired. After a few laps, all of the drivers who started on primes had already switched to the soft compound.

Webber attempted to pass Button, but not even DRS on the main straight could get the Red Bull through – and Jenson’s good defensive driving wasn’t helping either. While the pair squabbled over 2nd, Vettel extended his lead to over 4 seconds.

Jaime Alguersuari moved past Bruno Senna to take 10th place. A KERS failure was revealed to be the issue with the Renault’s car, as Bruno was instructed to enter “recovery mode”.

Button soon shook off Webber’s assault, and began to chip into Vettel’s lead. Pastor Maldonado became the latest car to drop out with a drive issue, as Alguersuari passed Adrian Sutil for 9th.

Webber, Alonso and Hamilton all pitted on Lap 17, all taking on the soft tyres. Soon afterwards, Michael Schumacher passed Alonso after the Ferrari exited the pits. After Sebastian responded to Jenson’s increased pace, the McLaren pitted, with Vettel following him in a lap later.

Massa clashes with Hamilton yet again

Massa clashes with Hamilton yet again

After a very poor first stint, Lewis Hamilton finally got on the pace, and began to challenge Felipe Massa for 5th place. After getting close to the Ferrari on the main straight, the McLaren got up the inside, but clashed with Massa, in a severe case of deja vu. Hamilton pitted while Massa stayed out in 5th, but seemed to struggle with the handling of his car.

The stewards decided that Felipe had turned into Lewis, and so the Ferrari was dealt a drive-through penalty, emerging in 7th position. Massa pitted a lap later, replacing the front wing and putting on hard tyres, presumably to test the compound out for teammate Alonso. Replays the next lap showed that Felipe’s previous front wing – the controversial one – was shown shaking and crashing into the ground on the straight, prompting the stop.

Onboard with Massa as he gets too friendly with a vicious kerb

Onboard with Massa as he gets too friendly with a vicious kerb

Just when his race couldn’t get any worse, it did. Massa ran over a kerb in similar fashion to his incident in qualifying, again smashing the suspension and taking the Ferrari out of the race.

After being caught by Fernando Alonso, heavy rear tyre wear prompted Webber to stop for the harder tyre with 22 laps to go. Decent pace for the Red Bull made the decision for Ferrari, as Fernando pitted and emerged ahead of Mark.

Vettel takes another dominative victory

Vettel takes another dominative victory

Button pitted on Lap 47, with Sebastian pitting a lap later, the gap between the two staying constant at 3 seconds. Further back, Michael Schumacher was being caught by Nico Rosberg in the battle for 5th and 6th. Bruno Senna pitted on Lap 58 for his mandatory set of primes, dropping out of the points to 12th.

Unfortunately, the Mercedes battle failed to materialise. At the same time, Sebastian Vettel crossed the finish line in the lead for the 11th time this year, taking the fastest lap along the way. Button’s challenge never came to fruition, and finished a lonely 2nd, with Fernando Alonso holding off Mark Webber for 3rd. Lewis Hamilton was 7th, Jaime Alguersuari an impressive 8th, with Sutil and Perex finishing off the top 10.

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