Jul 20, 2018
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Jolyon Palmer column: Hamilton v Raikkonen and F1

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Jolyon Palmer column: Hamilton v Raikkonen and F1

Former F1 driver Jolyon Palmer, who left Renault throughout the 2017 season, has joined the BBC staff to supply perception and evaluation from the perspective of the opponents.

The conflict between Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton at Sunday’s British Grand Prix brought on an excessive amount of controversy – however the Mercedes driver successfully misplaced the race at first, not three corners later.

Hamilton ought to have gained. He had the tempo in clear air, he had the degradation of the tyres beneath management – extra so than anyone else – and, crucially, he had taken pole place with a superb lap on Saturday.

However a woeful getaway, with an excessive amount of wheel spin off the road, dropped Hamilton to 3rd instantly, behind the Ferrari of eventual winner Sebastian Vettel and the opposite Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

In a one-stop race, with Ferrari and Mercedes so evenly matched, it might have been powerful for Hamilton to get better to beat Vettel, even earlier than the Raikkonen incident. That’s very true with no obvious staff orders to permit him to move Bottas as nicely.

The one proviso is that we are going to by no means know what would have occurred beneath the protection automotive in that scenario.

Lewis Hamilton drove beautifully to get better from final place after a first-lap collision with Kimi Raikkonen, to complete second

‘A bit extra warning from Hamilton may need been higher’

In my opinion, Hamilton might have been a bit safer with Raikkonen when the Ferrari driver attacked him into Flip Three on the opening lap, the place his race utterly turned.

They have been aspect by aspect into the nook, Raikkonen on the within. Hamilton gave him area however took a little bit of a danger as a result of he did not enable Raikkonen any margin for error. As Raikkonen locked up, it was clear he was making an attempt to keep away from an accident, however he ended up operating into Hamilton’s Mercedes.

If Hamilton had gone barely wider across the nook he would then nonetheless have had the within for Flip 4 and absolutely stored the place. They may have nonetheless clashed however the danger would have been a lot diminished, as Raikkonen would have had more room to lock up into on his exterior.

There isn’t any doubt that Hamilton is to not blame for the incident, and the stewards laid it firmly on Raikkonen. However fascinated by the championship – and even the race itself – a bit extra warning from Hamilton may need been a greater possibility. In spite of everything, he had the tempo to get better.

Having stated that, hindsight is at all times an exquisite factor and the actual fact it was Hamilton’s residence race and he acquired off to a foul begin was most likely taking part in on his thoughts as nicely. It is solely a difficulty as a result of Raikkonen went in deep making an attempt to achieve the place and hit him.

Raikkonen was penalised for it, and in addition took accountability for it after the race, which I assumed was very respectable of him, because it’s uncommon to see a driver be so mature within the warmth of the second.

Each males had good drives after the incident. Raikkonen confirmed a uncommon second of ardour over the radio, clearly pissed off about being caught behind the slower Purple Bulls. He then had incredible tempo to get better to a podium after a superb wheel-to-wheel cube with Max Verstappen.

Vettel’s victory was his fourth of the season, yet one more than Hamilton, and he’s now eight factors clear within the Championship race

Hamilton, then again, had way more to do. Dropping to the again, he placed on certainly one of his greatest drives for a very long time to get better to second, ending solely simply behind Vettel.

After the race, Hamilton and Mercedes have been each immensely pissed off. A part of that was right down to it being the second time in three races that certainly one of their drivers had been put to the again after an over-zealous Ferrari overtaking try on the primary lap.

They dropped unsubtle hints Ferrari may need finished it intentionally. After all, that is unfounded. And as soon as the mud had settled on Sunday, Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff appreciated that – as did Hamilton.

Raikkonen just isn’t a unclean driver in any respect, and he definitely does not owe Ferrari and Vettel any assist for the rest of the 12 months as he is nearly sure to get replaced by Sauber’s Charles Leclerc for 2019.

On high of this, an accident on the first nook would often hobble each events, because it did in France two weeks in the past, when each Vettel and Bottas ended up on the again and have been sentenced to restoration drives.

Was Raikkonen’s penalty proper?

It’s honest sufficient to deem Raikkonen at fault for the incident. However I simply cannot get my head across the penalty given to him – 10 seconds, when in my opinion Vettel’s conflict with Bottas in France was barely worse. Vettel got here from additional again in a quicker nook, and he solely acquired a five-second penalty for that.

There isn’t any consistency and that is probably the most irritating factor as a driver. It’s very similar to in soccer, the place penalty selections aren’t black and white.

Tunisia rugby-tackling Harry Kane to the bottom throughout England’s World Cup opener was allowed, however when Panama tried to do the identical factor, it was instantly a penalty. How can gamers know the place they stand when it is like that?

I had the identical frustration final 12 months. I used to be compelled off the observe by Fernando Alonso in Spa. He acquired no penalty. High-quality. However what irked me was that within the earlier race, Kevin Magnussen acquired a five-second penalty for doing precisely the identical to Nico Hulkenberg.

‘I had the identical frustration final 12 months. I used to be compelled off the observe by Fernando Alonso in Spa. He acquired no penalty.’

It is the consistency that’s so irritating. The penalty system ought to be extra black and white. In my view – and that of many drivers – the judgements made in particular incidents are too variable.

If Magnussen had pushed me off in Spa that point and Alonso had pushed Hulkenberg off in Budapest, I guess Magnussen would nonetheless be punished and Alonso would nonetheless get away with it. Every case ought to be judged on its particular person deserves quite than who’s concerned or the results.

Does F1 want penalties?

The broader query is whether or not F1 wants penalties in any respect for incidents comparable to these.

Individuals love shut, arduous racing. It is what everyone watches the game for. They love security automobiles, too. And this 12 months has actually highlighted {that a} security automotive can flip a boring race right into a thriller, with a method roll of the cube and the tightening up of the sphere.

Sure, a collision just like the one on Sunday is unfair on Hamilton, and the French conflict was unfair on Bottas. However typically that is racing.

There wasn’t any malice within the errors made by both Raikkonen or Vettel. They have been racing arduous for place and acquired it barely incorrect.

It was the identical when Romain Grosjean crashed with Carlos Sainz at Copse on Sunday. It was a a lot quicker nook, and a a lot greater accident. However the determination to evaluate it a racing incident was the precise verdict, regardless that it was technically Grosjean’s second of oversteer that meant he drifted right into a weak Sainz.

Essentially, what’s the distinction between that and the Raikkonen and Vettel clashes? The motive force on the within was technically left sufficient room to make it across the nook however a small error, or extra pace, meant they ran wider and hit the automotive on the skin.

How does a brilliant costly F1 steering wheel work?

The collision produced an exhilarating race at Silverstone and a few extra leisure in France as nicely. Ought to folks be complaining about it?

Perhaps, in the identical approach as a footballer is not despatched off any extra for a “real try and play the ball”, a driver should not be penalised for a real try and overtake or defend that results in a mistake and call.

I nonetheless absolutely endorse a penalty for any transfer that was harmful or cynical. The equal of a purple card in soccer. Certainly, maybe these penalties may very well be tougher.

For instance, if a driver was to drive one other driver off the highway, notably in a straight line, they may very well be handled extra strictly as that is an apparent and deliberate try at unfair driving. It may very well be the identical for clearly transferring twice in defence, as Verstappen has been responsible of plenty of instances, and which is clearly outlawed within the guidelines.

And naturally, penalties ought to be used for incidents comparable to pit-lane rushing or not getting out of the way in which of blue flags. In these cases, issues are black and white.

In days of outdated, penalties weren’t handed out in any respect for collisions throughout respectable racing conditions. There was excessive drama, and it was all good for the game.

It is a tough name as a result of Mercedes, Hamilton and their followers will really feel aggrieved, notably with the significance of this race for the Briton. But when the shoe is on the opposite foot, they may fortunately take it on the subsequent race.

BBC Sport – Formula 1

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