It was one of the incidents that marred the Japanese grand Prix last weekend when rookie Vettel, in the middle of a stunning drive for Toro Rosso, was running in third place just behind veteran Mark Webber. In the middle of a rain-sodden track and under safety car conditions, the young rookie lost his concentration and crashed into the back of Webber s car, forcing both drivers out of the race. Mark Webber s first instinct was to crush the youngster, blaming him for ruining his race. Vettel himself held his hands up and apologised for his mistake.
However, there is a twist in the tail. Webber has now stated that the accident was not wholly Vettel s fault and that Hamilton had a big part to play. Both Webber and Vettel have said that the lead car lurched to the right, an unusual move, which unsettled Vettel and made him lose his concentration.
“It definitely contributed to Sebastien hitting me up the back because Hamilton wasn t doing what he was supposed to be doing, clearly,â€ Webber explained. “He spoke in the drivers meeting about how good a job he was going to do and he did the opposite. Still, we know for next time.â€
Vettel once again apologised to Webber over the incident. “As a human being, you react to movement,â€ he said. “I saw Lewis move far to the right and thought he was coming to a stop – I obviously did not plan to ruin both of our races.â€
Meanwhile, a video of the incident has been circulated on YouTube, and it clearly shows Hamilton s move away from the racing line onto the right hand side of the track. Having seen the video, Frranz Tost has admitted he approached the race stewards in Japan to complain about Lewis Hamilton s driving during the incident. “You could see quite clearly that Hamilton slows down unexpectedly,â€ Tost explained.
“Look at the video – Sebastien would have had to have gone between the cars and there was no chance. It was totally unexpected – it looked like Hamilton was stopping. That is why I went to the stewards. If anything, I want to see Vettel s grid penalty taken away because it is totally unfair.â€ Initially, the stewards believed Vettel was to blame for the incident and he has been given a ten place grid slot penalty at next weekend s Chinese Grand Prix.
As yet, there is no news on what the stewards have decided, although they have revealed that Hamilton is under investigation as it is believed he may have contributed to the collision between Vettel and Webber. They have not revealed what new evidence they have found, however it is believed to be the aforementioned youTube video.
It is possible that Hamilton is being investigated under one of two Formula One regulations:
– Article 40.10 of the F1 Sporting Regulations states that, “The safety car shall be used at least until the leader is behind it and all remaining cars are lined up behind him. Once behind the safety car, the race leader must keep within 5 car lengths of it.â€
– Article 40.7 states that, “Any car being driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or which is deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers at any time whilst the safety car is deployed will be reported to the stewards. This will apply whether any such car is being driven on the track, the pit entry or the pit lane.â€
It is understood that Hamilton will be meeting with the race stewards on Friday to discuss the incident.