McLaren: Red light and red faces UPDATE For Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen, the Canadian GP came to an abrupt end. Räikkönen and subsequent winner Robert Kubica stopped for the red light at the exit of the pit lane, but the Briton failed to notice and piled into the back of the Ferrari. Hans Joachim Stuck’s ironic take on the accident: “Surprising really because, coming from England, he should have realized you’re supposed to veer to the right to avoid a collision.”
Talking to motorsport-magazin.com, Christian Danner was even less inclined to spare Hamilton’s blushes. “That was stupid. Hamilton was party to a doubly stupidity,” he raged. “Firstly because he didn’t look up and see whether the light is on red, and secondly because his team didn’t radio him that the light is on red.” Danner is unable to understand why the teams continue to make the same mistake year after year. “It’s a mystery to me.” Hans Joachim Stuck does not share this opinion: “When you’re leaving the pit, you’ve got a lot of things on your mind: you’ve got controls to operate and you really need to concentrate. Sure it was stupid but... He may have come away empty-handed this time but there’s no way he’ll make the same mistake again. The team radio wouldn’t have saved him. From the control box, you can’t see the pit lane exit lights anyway.”
06/08/08 Felipe Massa failed to spot the red light at the end of the pitlane at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last year, but this year Lewis Hamilton failed to see the very same light and two stationary Formula One cars as he made contact with the back of Kimi Raikkonen in the pit lane following a safety car period in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Hamilton led from pole position until the safety car intervened but lost out in his pit stop to both Raikkonen and eventual race winner Robert Kubica before the incident took place. Hamilton and Raikkonen both retired on the spot and the team leave Montreal with no points as Heikki Kovalainen took the checkered flag in ninth position.
Hamilton will reportedly take a ten position grid penalty to the next race in Magny Cours as he drops to joint second in the championship tied with Massa and Robert Kubica.
"Before my pit stop, everything looked on course for the perfect result: we were so quick, we were breezing it in fact. But it wasn’t a great pit stop - and, as I exited the box, I saw two cars jostling for position ahead of me in the pit lane. Obviously, I didn’t want to get involved in their tussle, and was trying not to do so, and then all of a sudden they stopped. And by the time they’d come to a halt, it was too late for me to avoid them. It’s just unfortunate when stuff like this happens, but I have no argument with the stewards. We’d looked so strong for the whole weekend though, so at least we can leave Montreal confident that we have a package that will enable us to fight for the World Championship from here on in."
"Today wasn’t a great day for me. At the start of the race I felt we had the potential to record a very good result - but then I started to experience quite a lot of graining on my first set of tires.
Changing tires didn’t seem to help matters, and I was never therefore able to push hard to the finish. It’s always difficult when you come home empty-handed, but this weekend has shown that we have a package that can compete for a win - and I’ll keep pushing for exactly that in Magny-Cours."
"Obviously, for a team that exists to win, today was a very disappointing day. But the fact is that we had the pace and therefore the capability to win, which is of course encouraging. The collision that eliminated Lewis was just one of those things. No racing driver would deliberately put himself out of a Grand Prix, and the plain fact is that Lewis didn’t realize that the cars in front of him were coming to a halt until too late. It’s difficult for a driver to decide whether to focus on the lights or on the cars ahead in situations like that. Having said that, we accept the stewards’ decision. Heikki had a difficult weekend, too. But, together as a team, we’ll build on the disappointment of Canada 2008."
"A race to quickly forget. Lewis held a comfortable lead and controlled the field until the 20th lap and had the best chance of winning, when his accident at the pit lane exit destroyed them. We now concentrate on the next race, Lewis is just four points behind the leader in the World Championship. Congratulations to BMW on their 1-2 victory - well done!" McLaren PR