Mike Stevens | Jun 28, 2010

Mark Webber walked away unhurt after a frightening backflip crash in Sunday's European Grand Prix. In scenes that were reminiscent of Webber's spectacular flying Le Mans crashes when driving for Mercedes, Webber's car was launched skyward after striking the rear of Heikki Kovalainen's dawdling Lotus.

Webber's crash mirrored one that occurred during the earlier GP2 race, in which Josef Kral was hospitalised.

Some figures, including David Coulthard, slammed Kovalainen's decision to race Webber's much faster car, but Lotus technical boss Mike Gascoyne said on Twitter that the Finn was "pissed off with Webber".

"For all those saying we should not have defended from Webber, when it is for position on track we race," Gascoyne insisted. "Always."

Meanwhile, pole sitter Sebastian Vettel declared on the radio he is "back on track" after taking the chequered flag and snatching third place in the world championship - behind both McLarens.

"Germany one, England nil," grinned third-placed Jenson Button, before leaving the FIA press conference to watch Germany score the first goal for real as the countries battle for World Cup survival in South Africa.

Besides Webber's crash, the race was controversial for other reasons. Hamilton finished second after a drive-through penalty for overtaking the safety car, while Fernando Alonso did not make the illegal pass and finished just ninth.

"It is really unfair, it is like no penalty," Alonso's race engineer Andrea Stella told the angry Spaniard by radio during the race.

And nine drivers - Button, both Williams, both Renaults, both Force Indias, Sebastien Buemi and Pedro de la Rosa - are under investigation by the stewards for driving too fast on their pitstop in-lap while the safety car was out.

If penalised, Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi - finishing behind four of the investigated drivers - could be the big winner, after finishing seventh with an unique race strategy that saw him make a very late single pitstop.

By performing impressive late-race passes on Fernando Alonso and Buemi, the Japanese driver rekindled memories of his stirring late debut for Toyota last year.

(GMM)

 

Webber Unhurt

While being checked by doctors in Valencia's medical centre on Sunday, Mark Webber and Heikki Kovalainen shook hands.

Webber's Red Bull backflipped spectacularly at full speed after hitting the back of Kovalainen's slower Lotus, before ploughing headfirst into a tyre barrier.

Pundits immediately said Finn Kovalainen should have let Webber pass, due to the big speed difference between their cars.

"In the end the thing that surprised me was how early he braked, that's the thing which caught me out," Webber told the BBC.

He was slightly critical of Kovalainen's "aggressive" driving, but said the real reason for the crash was the difference between the cars.

"It turns out it's about 80 metres before I braked for the previous lap so I mean it's a different category," said Webber.

Also to the BBC, Kovalainen said he thought Webber was "surprised how early I had to brake", but in a press release said he must have "missed his braking point and he ran into me".

(GMM)

 

Hamilton Tells Furious Ferrari To 'Accept' Rules

Ferrari has added an equally stinging appraisal of Sunday's European Grand Prix, after driver Fernando Alonso accused the FIA stewards of manipulating the result.

Alonso was critical of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton receiving a drive-through penalty but still managing to finish second, after illegally overtaking the safety car.

Spaniard Alonso's F10 had been immediately behind Hamilton at the time, but finished the race just ninth.

In a report posted on its official website, Ferrari said the outcome in Valencia is "a scandal".

"The way the race and the incidents during it were managed raise doubts that could see formula one lose some credibility again, as it was seen around the world," Ferrari said.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Hamilton initially said he couldn't remember passing the safety car, but then said he thought he had passed it when he spotted it in the pit entry, "so I continued".

Later, in an official statement, the Briton said: "I took my penalty - it's quite a long time to spend at 60kmh in the pitlane - and I came out second.

"I don't see how that's unfair -- it's racing, and those are the rules, and we all have to accept them."

(GMM)

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