Crash confusion cost Chilton
Marussia sporting director Graeme Lowdon has revealed the confusion and mayhem that followed Kimi Raikkonen's accident on the opening lap of Sunday's British Grand Prix helped wreck Max Chilton's race.
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Chilton admitted he was "very lucky" as a stray tyre from the 150mph, 47g impact of Raikkonen's Ferrari into a metal guardrail flew over his head after hitting the front-left wing of his car.
Believing his race to be over as he was unsure of the damage, Chilton returned to the pits when he instead should have lined up on the grid as the race had been red flagged.
Once the race resumed behind the safety car after an hour's delay to carry out repairs to the barrier, Chilton was immediately a lap down.
The 23-year-old had to wait at the end of the pit lane whilst the field toured behind the safety car for a lap, only being released once they had filed past.
As further punishment for entering the pit lane under a red flag, Chilton was handed a stop-go penalty, eventually finishing the race in 16th and two laps down on race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Explaining Chilton's difficulties, Lowdon told Press Association Sport: "Max unfortunately got caught up in that accident where Kimi went off.
"The car sustained some damage, and although it was only to the front nose, it was unclear at the time, so he called to pit, but then obviously the race was suspended.
"When the red flags come out you cannot then enter the pits, but by that stage it was too late as he'd already committed to coming in, so he was then stuck between a rock and a hard place.
"It was a bit a double whammy as he had to start at the end of the pit lane, and on the resumption of the race behind a safety car which does a lap, you are a lap down.
"You only start when the last car goes past the end of the pit lane and the pit lane exit lights go green.
"Then, of course, he received a penalty because it's very clear in the sporting regulations you can't pit when a race is suspended.
"It was unfortunate the way the timing all worked."
Lowdon concedes the volume of radio traffic further clouded matters, adding: "There were a lot of things going back and forth.
"First of all there was the shock of the accident, and secondly he was trying to feel the extent of the damage to the car, and then the red was thrown in the middle of that.
"Potentially it could have been a really nasty accident for Max because there were some bits flying around, and he just appeared at the wrong time and the wrong place. It was one of those things."