German GP: Lewis Hamilton feared for F1 marshals' safety
|By Jonathan Noble||Sunday, July 20th 2014, 18:09 GMT|
Lewis Hamilton feared for the safety of the Formula 1 marshals at the German Grand Prix when a safety car was not brought out for Adrian Sutil's spun Sauber.
Sutil had left his car in the middle of the circuit after the final corner following a spin on lap 48 of his home race.
With the FIA deciding that a safety car was not needed, marshals had to run across the track and push the Sauber to safety while cars raced past at full speed.
Hamilton said he was extremely worried about the situation - and recalled the Tom Pryce tragedy from the 1977 South African Grand Prix when the Welshman and marshal Frikkie Jansen van Vuuren were killed in a collision.
"I was really concerned for the marshals, really concerned," said Hamilton. "You come around that corner at serious speed, and then there are marshals standing not far from where you are driving past. For me that is the closest it has been for a long, long time."
Hamilton said that as he was going past the scene, his mind was cast back to video footage he had seen of Pryce's horrific accident, when the Shadow driver struck van Vuuren as the marshal carried a fire extinguisher across the track to attend to Renzo Zorzi's parked car.
"I used to work at a driving school in Bedford and one day I came in and they had this video playing all the time. It was a video from a race years and years ago of a car stopped on the track, the marshal ran across the track and got hit by a car coming past. That was the first thing I thought about.
"Obviously we are not going as fast as that straight but I was worried about the marshals. Fortunately no one got hurt."
Hamilton was not the only driver questioning why the safety car had not been brought out.
Fernando Alonso said that although a safety car at that moment would have been bad for his chances, he thought it would have been the best thing to do from a safety perspective.
"We were hoping not because we were in a situation that if the safety car went out there, it was 17 laps to the end and if we put the super-softs on, 17 laps was tough.
"But being objective and honest, probably we were expecting a safety car in a normal situation. Sometimes they put the safety car out for a piece of front wing on the track and now it was a car there and it was not a safety car.
"It was a surprise. But if they didn't put it out it was because they felt it was not a risk and they removed the car in a safe manner - I hope, I didn't see it - and that was it."