Another opinion on the incident

Several times on this blog I have recommended The Inside Line podcast with Maurice Hamilton and Ian Phillips. As always, it came up with the goods following the Belgian Grand Prix. Ian Phillips gave his opinion on the incident where Lewis Hamilton cut the chicane.

For those that don’t know, Ian Phillips is Director of Business Affairs at Force India. That team uses Ferrari engines, so Ian Phillips has no particular reason to express an anti-Ferrari viewpoint. Ian Phillips has been in the motor racing business for a long time and has probably seen more motor racing than I can ever hope to watch in my entire lifetime. So his opinion is always worth listening to.

I have transcribed what he said in the podcast below simply because, as it is in podcast form, it is not currently searchable and easy to find on the web. I would highly recommend that you subscribe to the podcast — here is an iTunes link, and here is a non-iTunes one.

The relevant part begins at 6:30. The podcast was recorded before they knew what the outcome of the stewards’ investigation was. According to Maurice Hamilton’s preamble at the beginning, they didn’t even know what the investigation was about, but they did know that there was an investigation. Here is what Ian Phillips had to say:

Lewis — again, this is what we have to state — was mature, because I think it was coming into, was it the last chicane? And he got squeezed by Räikkönen. He was right alongside him — actually… almost in front. Räikkönen squeezed him and made him take the short cut. And you’re not allowed to take that short cut. Well, you can, but you mustn’t gain position.

And of course he came out alongside Räikkönen. But he had the presence of mind straight away — because I don’t think anybody could have told him — he let Räikkönen come alongside. Then he actually let him go in front and pull in front of him. So they went nose to tail. But by the time they got to La Source, he was having another go at him! And it was extraordinary stuff.

But that moment was real maturity and professionalism when he was forced by Räikkönen to cut that chicane and I thought that was great presence of mind. Because he could have thought, “I’ve got this in the bag.” Now that would have been a stewards’ inquiry and that would have been a problem for him.

To my mind he behaved perfectly correctly and did the right thing. I think by then he knew he’d got the upper-hand. I think he’d been frightening Räikkönen. “I’m coming, I’m coming, I’m coming.” And the guy [Kimi Räikkönen] is saying, “Where’s he coming from?!”…

I think the view of the entire paddock is that Lewis is entirely innocent of anything that’s happened in that motor race. He was an absolute hero. Räikkönen was the man making mistakes and ultimately went and threw it in the wall anyway.

But, this is Formula 1. In seven days’ time we’ll be talking from Monza, the home of Ferrari, the reigning world champions. So I won’t predict the outcome of the stewards’ inquiry.

12 comments

  1. Even the guys who work in the sport seem to have invented this “squeezing” incident. I’d love to see some footage which shows that Kimi actually turned to his left to push Hamilton off the road, but unfortunately there isn’t any because it didn’t happen.

  2. Brits On Pole — Yes, I have read the statement. Now McLaren have put in writing what they claimed in words on Sunday — that the Race Director Charlie Whiting said Lewis Hamilton’s move was okay. If that is the case — and I highly doubt that McLaren would lie about this, especially given what happened last year and the fact that these communications will surely be easily traceable — then it is nothing short of a scandal that the result was changed.

  3. >> Lewis — again, this is what we have to state — was mature, because I think it was coming into, was it the last chicane? And he got squeezed by Räikkönen. He was right alongside him — actually… almost in front <> Räikkönen squeezed him and made him take the short cut <> And you’re not allowed to take that short cut. Well, you can, but you mustn’t gain position <> And of course he came out alongside Räikkönen. But he had the presence of mind straight away — because I don’t think anybody could have told him <> he let Räikkönen come alongside. Then he actually let him go in front and pull in front of him. So they went nose to tail. But by the time they got to La Source, he was having another go at him! And it was extraordinary stuff <> But that moment was real maturity and professionalism when he was forced by Räikkönen to cut that chicane <> To my mind he behaved perfectly correctly and did the right thing. I think by then he knew he’d got the upper-hand <> I think the view of the entire paddock is that Lewis is entirely innocent of anything that’s happened in that motor race <<

    Really? The entire paddock?

    “In my opinion Hamilton got an advantage by cutting the chicane,” Trulli told Gazzetta dello Sport. “Had he stayed on the road, he wouldn’t have had the speed to overtake the Ferrari. “In the same way at Monza someone could cut the first chicane, catch a rival’s draft, and overtake him under braking at Roggia. When you attack on the outside, you do it at your own risk, because who’s on the inside has the right to do the corner. If there isn’t enough room, then you lift.
    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/70435

    I can only repeat that from the moment I saw the duel at the end of Lap 42, I felt a pang of uneasiness about Lewis’s driving. I remember watching him go into the chicane and as he came out several journos sitting near me in the press room were saying “give it back Lewis…give it back”. Then as he did so there was a collective in-take of breath. Had he done enough? Then sometime later came the notice on screen that an incident between the two cars was being investigated and I, for one, had a sinking feeling that Lewis was going to get done.

    http://timesonline.typepad.com/formula_one/2008/09/a-very-tricky-i.html

    Apparently not.

  4. I usually listen with interest to MH…yikes. maybe the uk press has Ham slices over their eyes? I kid…kinda

    Add Flavio Briatore to those who agree Hamilton got an advantage. He said so right after the race on SkySports

  5. I watched it again last night, and am even more convinced the only reason Hamilton cut the chicane is because Raikkonen squeezed him.

    Ferrari apologists can say what they like, I know what I saw.

    And I think it’s worthwhile pointing out the two examples of Paddock personalities agreeing with the penalty (FIArrari aside) happen to be Italian. Draw your own conclusions from that.

  6. I know Kimi squeezed Lewis because I saw it and Kimi admitted after the race that this race was all or nothing. He had to win or at least get the most points possible and he was not about to yield to Lewis with 1 lap to go. Look at how he attacked in lap 2 and drove the whole race. That is a man going for victory nomatter what. So did he squeeze Lewis? YES. Of course.

    BTW, here’s something funny I found on Facebook. Too good to let it get away without sharing.

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  7. Pink Peril — I just find it amusing that apparently the jumper salesman who has been known to admit himself that he knows little about racing apparently knows more than a three times WDC.