On-board footage shows just how close pit lane disaster was at Azerbaijan GP

Terrifying on-board footage has shown just how close Esteban Ocon was to wiping out a gaggle of photographers at the end of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Alpine driver left his mandated stop right until the end of the race, which was won by Sergio Perez with Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen second. Thinking the pit lane was closed, team personnel from Red Bull and photographers began massing, with barriers being put out near where the finishers leave their cars.

With the race still active, Ocon was entitled to make his stop but when he steamed into the pits he was almost in collision with photographers, with several scurrying out of the way to avoid serious injury or worse.

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The near-disaster was witnessed by the millions of fans watching around the world and represents a major embarrassment for F1 and governing body, the FIA. The FIA official in charge of media was summoned to the stewards’ office as an investigation was launched.

Since the incident, in-car footage from Ocon’s car has been released, which underlines how close the sport was to catastrophe. The Frenchman hurtles into the pits at usual speed and after rounding the chicane, there to slow the cars down, he is confronted by the shocking sight of people in his path.

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Thankfully, the photographers in the road see him too, jumping out of harm’s way while Ocon also takes evasive action.

Fans were left shocked by the footage, with one saying: “I thought it looked bad on TV but the onboard camera makes it look 100% worse!! Speechless this has been allowed to happen!! I’m sure changes will be made after today following this incident!!”

Another advised: “They either stop press being allowed into the pit lane or make a rule closing the pit lane before so all cars must pit before.”

A third said: “Could hear the terror in Ted’s [Kravitz of Sky Sports] voice during the TV coverage. Something needs to change, because that could’ve ended horrendously for all parties involved.”


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