British Grand Prix: Max Chilton has lucky escape in Raikkonen crash

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
A tyre from Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari narrowly misses Max Chilton's Marussia at Silverstone
"I was saved by a matter of inches," said Chilton "I'm lucky to be here, to be honest, it was quite frightening"

A remarkable picture has emerged showing how close Marussia driver Max Chilton came to serious injury during a crash in Sunday's British Grand Prix.

The still was taken from smartphone footage filmed by a fan and posted on YouTube and shows a tyre from Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari flying past the Marussia driver's head in the course of the Finn's crash on the first lap.

Chilton said: "I was saved by a matter of inches. I'm lucky to be here, to be honest, it was quite frightening."

The mandatory tethers that retain the wheels all worked, but two of Raikkonen's tyres came off as the wheels broke.

Chilton questioned the angle of the barrier that Raikkonen hit. It angles in towards the track because it goes around a bridge.

Raikkonen lost control when the car hit the bump between grass and track as the 2007 world champion rejoined after running wide at Turn Five.

Watch Kimi Raikkonen's opening-lap crash at the British Grand Prix

Chilton said after the race: "It all started with Raikkonen's incident. He kind of rejoined, had a moment, like a tank-slapper, it looked like he'd regained control and then it shot off again.

"It was unfortunate the Armco [barrier] is at 45 degrees so it was like an explosion and everything shot across to the left-hand side of the track and I saw this alloy fly across and I ducked and luckily it hit the front nose and went to the left and broke my front wheel duct."

Meanwhile, a controversy has broken out in F1 over governing body the FIA's intention to ban high-tech suspension systems used by most of the teams.

The so-called front-and-rear interconnected suspensions use hydraulic systems to control pitch and roll, helping create a stable aerodynamic platform and better performance.

Whiting wrote to the teams on Tuesday to say he was "firmly of the view that the legality of such systems could be called into question".

But he added that as the systems had been in use for several years "we are inclined to permit their continued use for the remainder of the current season" as long as all the teams agreed to this.

If the teams do not agree unanimously, Whiting said the FIA would have to "consider making a report to the stewards about the non-compliance of any car fitted with a system which appears to allow the response of the suspension at either or both of the rear corners to drive the response of the suspension at either or both of the front corners [or vice versa]."

Why was the British Grand Prix red flagged for an hour?

The teams are currently discussing how to respond to the letter ahead of next weekend's German Grand Prix.

All the top teams are believed to have such systems, but championship leaders Mercedes are thought to have the most effective version.

If a ban was imposed, Lotus would be particularly badly affected, as they have been running the system for the longest, having started developing it eight years ago, and running it consistently since mid-2009.

Insiders say any ban is unlikely to make a significant difference to the competitive order in F1.

Top Stories