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Monday, June 25, 2012

Pastor Maldonado & Lewis Hamilton meet again in Valencia - Who's to blame?

I'm in the Maldonado corner on this one.  Having watched this particular incident over and over I think the penalty on Maldonado was very harsh; and Hamilton's driving was very aggressive.  I apologise for the quality of the following slideshow but they are screengrabs simply provided in order to illustrate my point of view.

Maldonado said afterwards:

"He tried to put me off the track. He didn't leave any room for me to stay on and do the corner side by side, I jumped over the kerb and I couldn't avoid the accident"

Hamilton's view, of course, was slightly different:

"You never let people past, you've got to race for every position you can get. I don't know what happened if I'm honest, I went into the corner and I didn't come out"

The way the TV and replays show it, Maldonado was pushed wide and off the track and Hamilton did not give him any space to rejoin and make the next corner.  As we all know, if you gain an advantage by not taking the corner you must immediately relinquish it.

So the question is: what was Pastor to do? Either he made no attempt to make the corner and would have to give the place back to Hamilton or he attempted to rejoin the track and take the corner and could keep fighting for the position.

There is no doubt but that Hamilton squeezed Maldonado off the track and did not provide the opportunity for him to rejoin.  The slideshow above shows that he pushes Pastor wide through the exist of the first corner and then hugs the outside kerb before kinking away from the kerbing to give himself a line into the following left hander.  When he kinks out Maldonado attempts to rejoin but Hamilton then squeezes in towards the apex and, when Maldonado hits the kerbing there is a little jump, he hits the side of Lewis's McLaren, loses his front wing, and then Hamilton's rear tyre makes contact with Pastor's front and the McLaren is doomed.  The minute he lost his wing in mid corner Pastor was a passenger and could not take avoiding action.

I'm not particularly blaming Hamilton, in that I firmly believe it was a racing incident and neither party should be penalised however, in the current F1 framework where penalties are applied to everything, this particular incident should have been laid at Hamilton's door for not providing sufficient space to allow Maldonado rejoin the track.

What do you think? I'm putting up a poll and would be obliged for your opinion.