The European Grand Prix produced the most entertaining race yet seen on the relatively new circuit as Sebastian Vettel drove practically unchallenged to his second victory of the season.
On a track where we have come to expect a procession, Sunday’s race provided plenty of dramatic moments. None more so than when Mark Webber’s Red Bull was launched into the air after ploughing into the back of Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus.
It is testament to the safety of modern Formula One that Webber (and Kovalainen) were able to walk away unhurt from such a massive shunt but after the incident many seemed to hold Heikki responsible; they felt he should have moved over to let Mark through.
Webber later wrote on his website:
I understand as well as anyone that F1 isn’t a charity event; you have to fight for every position but not when you’re five seconds off the pace and you have one of the quickest cars in the pack behind you. I mean, how long was Heikki going to stay ahead of me? Another 15 seconds? He must be asking himself whether it was worth it.
Webber’s boss, Christian Horner, also held Mark completely blameless, as did David Coulthard. However, I agree with Eddie Jordan and Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne. The only time a car should move over and allow another car to pass is when they are being lapped. It doesn’t matter if a car is 5 or 10 seconds slower, it is up to the attacking driver to pass safely.
Kovalainen was not being lapped, and while there are rules about how you can defend your position there are no rules saying you should pull over whenever a faster car is behind you. It seems like Webber was just caught by surprise at how early the Lotus had to brake for the corner.
As Gascoyne said:
Should a Force India be letting a McLaren past simple because its faster? Where do you draw the line? It is a motor race, isn’t it?