F1 thank­ful for near-miss in Brazil

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPORTS -

FOR­MULA ONE served up plenty of ex­cite­ment in Sun­day’s Brazil­ian Grand Prix but some were count­ing their lucky stars that no­body was hurt.

On a rain­soaked af­ter­noon that saw the race twice stopped and re-started with the safety car de­ployed five times, there were also those who felt the sport had erred too far on the side of cau­tion.

But if there were some mock­ing com­ments on so­cial me­dia about the world’s top driv­ers be­ing un­able to cope with rain, oth­ers breathed a sigh of re­lief.

The crash that halted the race for the first time, Kimi Raikko­nen’s Fer­rari spin­ning on the pit straight on lap 20 to face cars ham­mer­ing along in a wall of spray, was an in­ci­dent of par­tic­u­lar fo­cus.

“Este­ban (Ocon) so very, very nearly had a head-on with Kimi and if that had hap­pened we’d all be talk­ing a dif­fer­ent story,” said Manor rac­ing direc­tor Dave Ryan of his French rookie driver.

Manor were pre­vi­ously Marus­sia, the team that suf­fered the sport’s most re­cent tragedy when Ocon’s com­pa­triot Jules Bianchi suf­fered ul­ti­mately fa­tal head in­juries in a crash in the rain at Suzuka in 2014.

Spa­niard Car­los Sainz, an­other ris­ing ta­lent who has had some big crashes al­ready in his fledg­ling ca­reer with Toro Rosso, also felt he had been for­tu­nate.

“It’s very easy from home to say ‘Oh, th­ese guys – why aren’t they rac­ing? This isn’t F1 any­more’,” he told re­porters.

“From the in­side, it’s un­be­liev­able how dif­fi­cult it was, how dan­ger­ous it was.

“Kimi spun com­pletely in front of me, and I was just 10m from hit­ting him at 300kph. From 300 to zero, you can imag­ine the mag­ni­tude of the crash.”

The sec­ond stop­page con­fused even some driv­ers, who had been call­ing for the safety car to come in be­cause they felt the con­di­tions had im­proved enough to race.

Race win­ner Lewis Hamil­ton, who led from start to fin­ish for Mercedes, was one.

Of­fi­cials in­di­cated later, how­ever, that they thought it bet­ter to stop and wait for a win­dow of good weather that al­lowed a real chance of rac­ing.

“You can un­der­stand them be­ing pru­dent, think­ing about the safety of the driver at all times,” said Red Bull team prin­ci­pal Chris­tian Horner.

“The great thing is they did get it un­der­way in the end and we saw a fan­tas­tic mo­tor race.” – Reuters

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