Shot to Nothing

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lewis Hamilton's Wins First Grand Prix. Overshadowed by Bad Officiating - Blame Canada.

Rookie Lewis Hamilton won his first Grand Prix this weekend in Canada. In his first six races as a Formula-1 driver Hamilton has never finished lower than third place; I guess it's time start believing the hype.

Hamilton now leads the World Championship race by eight points over infuriated team-mate Fernando Alonso. If he wins the World Championship in his rookie year it would be an unbelievabel achievement. Not only could he be the savior of the sport but he could go on to be the greatest driver ever as well.

Unfortunately the whole Grand Prix was decimated by a number of officiating errors fringing on the ridiculous. Too give a fair picture of just how bad a job the FIA officials did and of the snowball of errors they created I have put the various errors into a chronological list:

1. Early on in the race a Spyker hit a wall relatively softly. There was no debris whatsoever and both car and river drifted to a relatively safe area of grass several feet from the race track. Instead of deciding to either put the safety car out immediately or let the race continue, the officials spent several minutes contemplating.

2. Despite most of the cars passing by the area unaffected, the lapse of time since the 'crash', the lack of debris and the apparent safety of the Spyker's resting place, the Safety Car was deployed. This dubious decision was completely unnannounced and unexpected. Milli-seconds after the safety car is deployed both Alonso and Rossa enter the pit-lane. Both cars were out of fuel but as you aren't allowed to pit on the first lap of the Safety Car, both drivers receive 10 second stop and go penalties effectively ending their chances of a podium place.

3. Shortly after, the red light in the pit lane is put on in error. Kubica hits the breaks and stops inside the pits whilst Massa and Fischicella head back out onto the track. The light is switched to green and realising he's been shafted, Robert Kubica re-joins the race.

4. Probably thinking that he's lost a few places because of official error, Kubica is pushing hard on his out-lap. Something goes wrong off camera and Kubica is hurled through the air in a horrendous crash that sees him hit walls on both sides of the track and barrel role several times. Appart from a broken leg Kubica would thankfully turn out to be ok.

5. The Safety car is deployed again. This time it's the right procedure but none of this would be necessary if the previous errors had not been made.

6. Quite incredibly, Massa and Fishicella are Black Flagged (Dis-qualified) for leaving the pitlane under a red light, despite the fact that the light was on in error and that the man who lost out to them is no longer in the race. This is possibly one of the most ludicrous decisions I have ever seen in Formula-1. But it doesn't end there...

7. In the middle of a heated race for position between Raikonen and Alonso, Raikonen is blue flagged (told to allow the car behind to pass). The blue flag is only used for cars that are about to be lapped.

8. The Safety Car is called out for the third time following another crash. Despite the fact that the rules clearly state that you cannot overtake whilst the S.C. is out, Alonso is allowed to overtake Raikonen in the pit lane.

9. Towards the end of the race the S.C. is yet again called out. Over half the race has now been run behind the much slower safety car. The lack of speed allows many cars tyres to cool down rapidly and results in them losing grip on the track and crashing out. Because of this only 12 0f the 22 cars that started the race finnished it.

This isn't the first time the Canadiam Grand Prix has seen officiating controversy. In my opinion this was the last straw and Formula-1 should turn it's back on Canada.

[BBC Sport]

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