Five years, over 35 incidents: Has Hamilton been treated fairly?


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Lewis Hamilton has been no stranger to controversy in his first five years in Formula 1.

This has led to claims and counter-claims over whether the FIA stewards treat the McLaren driver too harshly.

With that in mind I’ve compiled data on Hamilton’s many visits to the stewards on a range of minor and major charges, whether he was the innocent or aggrieved party. Do they reveal anything about Hamilton’s form before the stewards?


Race Incident Outcome Notes
Hungary Alonso blocks Hamilton in the pits during qualifying Five-place grid penalty for Alonso, team lose constructors’ points for race Hamilton, who inherited pole position, had ignored a team instruction to let Alonso start his lap first.
Japan Kubica collides with Hamilton Kubica given a drive-through penalty
Japan Collision between Vettel and Webber behind Hamilton during safety car period No action taken on Hamilton. Vettel initially given ten-place penalty, later reduced to a reprimand. Only investigated after evidence emerged in video shot by fan
Brazil Hamilton, Button and Sato use an extra set of wet tyres in practice All teams have to return extra set and pay €15,000 fines Occurred in practice for championship-deciding race

Hamilton’s first season saw some contentious decisions which gave a foretaste of what was to come.

There were no consequences for Hamilton at the Nurburgring when marshals used a crane to place his car back on the track – Hamilton still inside – after he spun off in a rain storm. The rules were later changed to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Hamilton was judged blameless when Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel collided behind him during a safety car period in Japan. But, after a second investigation when a new video of the incident emerged, the penalty Vettel initially received was reduced.

At the season finale Ferrari alleged Hamilton had caused Kimi Raikkonen to lose time in qualifying, but they did not appeal and the stewards did not investigate the incident.

Hamilton lost the championship to Raikkonen in the race. Afterwards the cars of Williams and BMW faced a protest over using fuel of an incorrect temperature. Had they been thrown out and points redistributed, Hamilton might have won the championship, but no such action was taken.

Hamilton was not directly implicated in the ‘spygate’ affair which saw McLaren thrown out of the constructors’ championship and fined $100m.


Race Incident Outcome Notes
Malaysia Hamilton and Kovalainen impede Heidfeld and Alonso in qualifying Five-place grid drop for Hamilton and Kovalainen
Europe Hamilton arrives late for FIA press conference €5,000 fine
Canada Hamilton crashes into Raikkonen in the pit lane Ten-place grid drop for next race Rosberg received same penalty for same infringement
France Hamilton cuts a chicane while overtaking Vettel Drive-through penalty for Hamilton
Belgium Hamilton overtakes Raikkonen at the corner after he had gone off the track and allowed Raikkonen past Post-race time penalty, which cost him his victory McLaren’s appeal rejected as “inadmissible”
Japan Raikkonen goes off the track as Hamilton runs wide in turn one Drive-through penalty for Hamilton
Japan Hamilton hit by Massa Drive-through penalty for Massa

Many of the penalties Hamilton received in his second season were straightforward and uncontroversial: impeding in Malaysia, taking out Raikkonen in Canada, cutting a corner in France.

However the stewards’ decision to strip him of his victory in Belgium was an absolute travesty.

Hamilton was forced off the track by Raikkonen while battling the Ferrari driver for the lead. Hamilton returned to the track, gave the lead back to Raikkonen, then overtook him at the next corner.

In judging this an illegal move and handing Hamilton a 25-second penalty, the stewards contradicted recent precedent. They handed the win not to the driver Hamilton had allegedly transgressed against, but his team mate, who was never in the hunt for victory.

Hamilton had another penalty for a strange incident with Raikkonen in Japan, where the McLaren driver braked too late for the first corner and ran wide, along with several other cars.

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Race Incident Outcome Notes
Australia Hamilton and McLaren give “deliberately misleading” evidence over circumstance in which Trulli passed him during safety car period Exclusion from the race results McLaren later fired sporting director Dave Ryan over the incident
Malaysia Hamilton exceeds the pit lane speed limit in practice €1,200 fine
Belgium Hamilton and Alguersuari collide on the first lap No action taken Both drivers retired
Hungary Raikkonen makes contact with Hamilton and Vettel on the first lap No action taken Neither Hamilton nor Vettel were impeded by the contact
Italy Hamilton exceeds the pit lane speed limit in practice €2,400 fine
Italy Buemi runs down an escape road to avoid Hamilton during Q1 No action taken Buemi was eliminated in Q1 but Hamilton probably made no difference to this

Few edicts from the stewards’ office had much consequence for Hamilton in 2009 – with one significant exception.

During a safety car period in the first race of the season Hamilton moved ahead of Jarno Trulli when the Toyota driver went off the track. Under instruction from his team, Hamilton then allowed Trulli to re-pass him, still behind the safety car.

But McLaren gave a different version of events to the stewards, who initially punished Trulli. When the truth emerged Trulli was reinstated and Hamilton disqualified.


Race Incident Outcome Notes
Malaysia Hamilton changes line more than once defending from Petrov Hamilton shown the black-and-white flag for unsportsmanlike driving A seldom-seen form of reprimand
China Hamilton and Vettel found to have “driven in a dangerous manner” when exiting the pits alongside each other Hamilton and Vettel given reprimands
Canada Team tell Hamilton to stop on track after setting his fastest time at the end of Q3 $10,000 fine and reprimand
Europe Hamilton overtakes the safety car as it leaves the pits Hamilton given a drive-through penalty
Singapore Hamilton and Webber collide No action taken Hamilton retired due to damage
Abu Dhabi Hamilton crosses the white line at the pit lane entry during practice Hamilton given a reprimand

Hamilton was perhaps fortunate to avoid a more severe penalty for overtaking the safety car in Valencia. He had been disqualified for doing the same thing in a GP2 race at Imola in 2006.

He collected a series of reprimands during the year for both driving and other infringements.

One of which was the team’s instruction for him to stop the car after qualifying in Canada as he was low on fuel. He kept his pole position, and it’s doubtful his low fuel level was what secured it for him.

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Race Incident Outcome Notes
Malaysia Hamilton changes line more than once defending from Alonso Hamilton given post-race time penalty Similar to what he had been warned about the year before.
Malaysia Alonso hits Hamilton while racing for position Alonso given post-race time penalty
Spain Hamilton sets personal best time in sector two during the race while yellow flags are displayed Hamilton given reprimand
Monaco Hamilton cuts chicane in qualifying Hamilton loses best time from qualifying
Monaco Hamilton and Massa collide Hamilton given drive-through penalty
Monaco Hamilton and Maldonado collide Hamilton given post-race time penalty
Canada Hamilton and Button collide No action taken – stewards determine it a racing incident
Canada Hamilton’s decision to stop his car on the track is investigated No action taken – team mistakenly believed Hamilton had suspension damage
Hungary Hamilton spins his car around in front of di Resta, who goes off the circuit avoiding him Hamilton given drive-through penalty for forcing another car off the track
Belgium Hamilton and Maldonado make contact twice, before and after the end of Q2 Maldonado diven five-place grid drop, Hamilton given reprimand
Singapore Hamilton and Massa collide Hamilton given drive-through penalty
Japan Hamilton and Massa collide No action taken
India Hamilton and Perez ignore double waved yellow flags in practice Hamilton and Perez given three-place grid drops
India Hamilton and Massa collide Massa given drive-though penalty

The previous year, Hamilton had been warned by the stewards for changing his line more than once while defending his position at Sepang. Unsurprisingly, they escalated his penalty to a drive-through when he repeated the move on Alonso 12 months later.

Hamilton’s penalty for spinning his car in front of Paul di Resta during the Hungarian Grand Prix attracted much comment. Adrian Sutil received a reprimand and $20,000 fine for spinning into the side of Nick Heidfeld in Singapore two years earlier in similar circumstances – a penalty that looks too lenient on Sutil in retrospect.

His collision with Pastor Maldonado in the Monaco Grand Prix might have been avoided had Maldonado shown the kind of awareness Michael Schumacher had when Hamilton made an identical move on the Mercedes driver earlier in the race.

Had Maldonado survived the incident I suspect Hamilton would not have been penalised, as it often seems the stewards place too much weight on the consequences of an incident, rather than whether a drivers’ move was acceptable or not in the first place.

But on the whole Hamilton’s penalties this year have been entirely typical of what would be expected.


You can make a lot of criticisms about the FIA stewards: They are not always consistent. They too rarely give explanations for their more contentious decision.

They use penalties which can vary enormously in effect with the circumstances and produce outcomes that are excessively severe (Spa 2008) or unduly lenient (Valencia 2010).

This goes for all drivers including Lewis Hamilton. Consistent application of the rules is a bugbear for fans of many sports and F1 is no exception.

But the evidence above does not support claims that the stewards pursue a line for or against Hamilton.

And, though he may imply otherwise in the heat of the moment, nor do I think Hamilton believes he gets unfair treatment from them.

In 2007, Hamilton voiced his displeasure at the handling of the Fuji safety car incident, saying: “I just think it’s a real shame for the sport.

“Formula 1’s supposed to be about hard, fair competition. That’s what I’ve tried to do this year, just be fair. There’s been some real strange situations this year where I’m made to look the bad person and, by the looks of it, this weekend be given a penalty. If this is the way it’s going to keep going it’s not somewhere I really want to be.”

Four years and some 30-odd incidents later, if Hamilton seriously thought the stewards had it in for him surely he’d be long gone already.

Do you think the stewards have treated Hamilton fairly or unfairly? Which decisions do you agree or disagree with? Have your say in the comments.

If you believe I have overlooked any significant incidents involving Hamilton please supply details in the comments, including a reference to the relevant stewards’ report if possible.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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278 comments on “Five years, over 35 incidents: Has Hamilton been treated fairly?”

  1. Very controversial article here, Keith! But from what I can remember, most incidents seemed covered and fairly discussed from your point of view.

    Brave article, really enjoyed it. Very unique.

    1. It’d be more controversial if the articles argued a case for or against the penalties and decisions made against Hamilton. Not that I think he should though. I think most of the discussions we’ll see are nothing we’ve had before – some people will defend Hamilton to the death, some people will put him down at every given oppurtunity.

      1. Oh then it’d really be opening the can of worms!

        I didn’t mean it as a negative, by the way. I mean it’s a controversial subject, and a minority of fanatics may not react to it in a mature manner, to say the least :)

        1. Remember Senna and the FIA. I am not sure how often Senna was penalized, but we all know the FIA was after him, or at least the president (which I forget his name). I wouldn’t doubt that someone up there doesn’t like Hamilton.

          1. Jean-Marie Balestre.

          2. Got to be careful, as it wasn’t necessarily all Jean-Marie Balestre’s doing in the late 80s, Senna put himself in a position where he could be taken advantage of by people that were tough politically, and if you think about it Alain Prost has a lot to answer for, in this regard. I think Jean-Marie Balestre was as much a pawn in the Senna vs Prost battles as Senna was… Unfortunately JMB should have had the sense to hold Prost at bay.

      2. I think the better question would be why can’t he match Button who has about twice as many points as Hami does.

    2. Great article, as it seems to be F1F’s most popular topic of conversation I can see this article getting about 100000000000000000000000000000000000 comments

    3. In every sport some decisions by ‘referees’ will go ‘the wrong way’ but I think in F1 the standard and consistency of decisions is generally far better than in many sports – football for instance has far more cases of botched decisions.

      Over the course of a season or a career you would expect these to even out. So I think Hamilton has little to complain about. The vast majority of the decisions against him have been fair and he deserved what he’s got.

      If he keeps picking up penalities for incidents while other drivers don’t – and it ends up with HIS results being harmed – then really the onus is on him to examine what he is doing and what he can do to avoid the incidents.

      Or he can decide to ignore it and carry on, in which case he should expect that he will continue to pick up penalties and those penalties are likely to escalate. And consequently he can probably look forward to never being world champion again (how many drivers win the world championship while picking up significant numbers of penalties ?).


      1. I’m not sure that the situation is the same as other sports such as football. For example in football it would be quite common for two or three decisions to go against you but the result will be entirely unchanged since the award of a free kick wrongly seldom changes the outcome and even a penalty will make little difference in most games where you are the dominant team since scoring more than the other team is still very achievable. Also the points difference (3 to 1 points or 1 to 0 points) if a decision does turn a game is fairly small and there are far more games in a season for decisions to even out.

        In formula one a drive through penalty for a driver at the front can easily make a difference of multiple positions at the end of a race (and depending on timing/safety cars etc could make the difference between a race win and nil-points particularly when the penalty is often given after vehicle damage or positions lost in the incident itself). Because of the relatively small number of events the impact of a single decision given wrongly is less likely to be evened out over a single season (though in a career it ought to work out fairer if there truly is no bias).

        I think the big difference in F1 though is that being involved in a collision is not something that any driver wants because it could ruin your own race as much as a rival (the exception would be season finale type events such as Prost/Senna and Shumi/Villenueve). For that reason I think that many of the penalties given nowadays ought to be put down as racing incidents otherwise we risk discouraging the brave overtaking moves which when we re-watch classic F1 races is what makes some of those races so special. Obviously for truly dangerous maneuvers a penalty does need to be applied (in the past it was often a multiple race ban).

        Vettel is often criticised on this forum because he can only win from pole and doesn’t do a lot of overtaking (I personally don’t agree that Vettel is anything less than an absolutely top drawer driver), but the stewarding decisions being made surely encourage that in F1 now as one of the top overtakers in the sport has been frequently penalised.

        On the specifics of the article I agree with the point Keith made about Spa ’08 which is the only really true injustice in that long list of incidents. However I think that Maldonado’s antics in qualy at Spa this year merited a multi-race ban for him (albeit that it really made no difference to results and therefore I wouldn’t count it as a significant injustice).

        I wonder what Kobayashi’s (the other great overtaker) incident count is over the seasons he has been in F1?

    4. seems keith doesnt really no much after all. every driver was asked at the italian race after spa in 2008 about the race in spa and more or less every driver said it was the correct decision. if this guy is going to keep being biased over that i am not going to read his page no more. its that simple. what happened that day was the same as susuka 2005 with alonso and klien. get over it.

      1. what happened that day was the same as Suzuka 2005 with Alonso and Klien

        It certainly was similar, which is why I referred to that incident in the article.

        But you seem to have forgotten that race control ultimately decided Alonso should not have been told to let Klien pass, as described here.

        The Alonso-Klien incident at Suzuka shows Hamilton was hard done by at Spa in 2008. Check your facts next time you try to accuse someone of “bias”.

        1. from wikipedia big man who i trust more than u.

          1. You do realise there’s nothing to stop anyone from editing Wikipedia to say anything they like and then linking to it?

            Rewatch the UK broadcast of the race if you don’t believe me.

          2. I smell a Troll.

          3. hahaha legend :’) classic stuff. actually laughed out loud. thanks :)

        2. After the safety car, Alonso went around the outside of Christian Klien and cut the chicane. He gave the position back and then the FIA came on to the radio telling the Renault team to let Klien back past, so Alonso did. Then the FIA came to Renault again and said that he had to let Klien through again, so Alonso had to pass Klien for a third time. By this time he was four and a half seconds behind Michael Schumacher and Räikkönen had passed Klien.

      2. Hamilton’s penalty was harsh that day but I was the one robbed that day. One of the most exciting finishes to a race in a long-time snatched away by a decision made by a few suits. I wanted to be talking about how Hamilton and Raikkonen both fought to stay on a damp track as they battled with each other, instead we were discussing another stewards decision that seemed to become all to frequent in 2008. (The highlight being Bourdias’ penalty for Massa’s incompetence at Fuji).

        The rules give very little leeway when applying penalties but a grid penalty at the next race would’ve been far fairer then the post-race time penalty he got.

        1. I was at the race, at the chicane. It’s the only race I’ve ever seen. Travesty of a decision that was rumoured on the coach home and completely ruined what had up until then been a great weekend. Left a sour enough taste in my mouth that I considered abandoning F1 if Hamilton lost the title by those 6 points the FIA took from him.

          Generally though I agree with Keith that the FIA have been fair to Hamilton- although the Maldonado Monaco crash was also questionable to me too. I just assume that the had much better angles than we did to be able to put Hamilton at fault then, as it looked to me that Maldonado turned in when any sensible driver (Schumacher) wouldn’t.

          1. *only race I’ve ever been to I mean

        2. Ragerod, I agree with you that the stewards investigating this and handing a penalty really ruined a race that had been superb viewing up to then.

    5. I second that!

      Good job Keith. A new fan :)

      1. Thanks!

        1. impressed in the article, fair play. thanks.

          i must admit i have been wondering if you had been getting a touch biased of late. example, michael schumacher in recent articles, nothing too controversial, just your angle.

          Ive started to back hamilton a bit more this year, as hes struggled a tad so i feel the need try to explain to the unaware that he is still one of the greatest talents within f1, hes just stuck in a bit of a rut.

          Though i am no hamilton fanboy, i can appreciate talent and rate hamilton highly, and in my opinion theres been no bias in this article.

          thanks again, interesting read.

    6. Fantastic and balanced article Keith thanks. Of course I am a Hammy fanboy (as they say) but on reflection of the objective facts as you show them above it all seems to balance out in the end.

      One thing’s for sure – F1 would lose big time if Lewis Hamilton decided to go elsewhere…

    7. I agree it’s controversial.. but only 35 incidents in 5 years, that’s probably below average isn’t it? why try to make it sound bad? Sure there’s interest in Hamilton bashing, folks love to bang the blame, but this is stretching things.. why not talk about the elephant in the room, Lewis is the only part African Caribbean/Black or part-black person in t he whole of formula 1 since forever and the real question is, is that what all the bashing really about?

  2. Much like any other driver, generally, the decisions have been fair. With one or two major blunders from each party. There’s been unfair decisions, such as Spa 2008, and there’s times where he’s been a pillock. The difference being Lewis has has more of these than other drivers in 5 years.

    1. Agreed, it’s been a mix of a lot of things. Sometimes Lewis deserves the penalty, which creates his bad reputation which sometimes leads to over zealous stewarding at other times when he perhaps doesn’t deserve a penalty.

    2. Are people seriously still saying that Spa 2008 was unfair???

      It was 100% clear that Hamilton deserved his penalty. The precedent was set. The EXACT same thing happened at Japan in 2005 where Alonso let past and overtook Klein in the same straight. He was ordered to give the position back. It bemuses me how anyone could have argued with the decision then, or now.

      1. I don’t recall that, but if so, perhaps precedent was wrong, the rule is weird, and I don’t think it should be interpreted that way.

        On the other hand, did Alonso give the pos. back then? Kimi crashed, making it impossible for HAM to give the position back; now I see the argument for giving time penalties when someone is out of the race, but in this case, only Kimi was harmed, he took himself out, so I think it is silly to give a time penalty for something that wasn’t then a big deal.

      2. The precedent was set. The EXACT same thing happened at Japan in 2005 where Alonso let past and overtook Klein in the same straight. He was ordered to give the position back.

        …and then race control admitted that was a mistake and he shouldn’t have been told to give the position back. As mentioned in the article, in this comment and as described here, also linked from the article.

        1. race control admitted that was a mistake

          And exactly how did that help Alonso? His race was already destroyed by then.

          Let’s suppose next year in Australia, after the customary scrap with Massa, Hamilton gets a 5-race ban. When he shows up back again at Montreal, he is told: sorry, it was a mistake, you should have been racing. By then Button, Vettel and Alonso are already about 100 points ahead. I do not know about you, but I would call that poetic justice. Spa 2008 was simple, ordinary justice, at its best.

          1. @Copersucar Of course that sucked for Alonso, do you see me pretending otherwise? But that’s not our interest here.

            What we want to know is what was the precedent for judging Hamilton’s driving at Spa in 2008. And the only reasonable conclusion you can draw from it is that Hamilton had every reason to believe he had followed the (unwritten) rules correctly.

            And this is without getting into the fact McLaren were in communication with race control trying to double-check Hamilton had done the right thing.

          2. Come on, you can’t seriously say that letting some one past for 2 seconds before you pass them again is fair. Alonso deserved his penalty in Japan ’05 also. Sorry to say it but the ‘opinion’ articles on this website are a real weakness – would be better sticking to press releases.

          3. Just because the opinion expressed doesn’t match yours it doesn’t necessarily make it ‘weak.’ I can’t remember if there was a poll at the time but I’m fairly sure you are in the minority thinking that was deserved.

          4. @laird18 I’m sorry, but there are hundreds of F1 websites you can go to if you want nothing but dull-as-dishwater press-releases from F1 teams, drivers, sponsors, suppliers and the governing body. Hell, you could always just pretend to be a journalist and have them send said press releases directly to your inbox. You wouldn’t have to waste time typing all those letters into the box at the top of the screen then.

            It is opinion pieces like this one that set the blog apart from other sources of F1 information and fannery. THis is the kind of article that drew me into the site in the first place (the ‘Changing Tracks’ series) and it is what has kept me here ever since. If anything I gloss over the articles stating “Team A signs driver B for 2012”, because I don’t care… there’s going to be nothing any more insightful in that article than the same article at Autosport or the F1 website.

            It’s the opinions pieces and quirky, different articles that provide the bulk of what makes this blog so good. And it is that, a blog. it’s written mostly by one person who often shares his point of view, but only ever at the end of a balanced and neutral article.

          5. Sorry to say it but the ‘opinion’ articles on this website are a real weakness

            If you can’t win the argument, dispute the other person’s right to have their say…

      3. the stewards should have made the decision during the race, as soon as possible after the incident. perhaps give him a drivethrough. or tell the team to tell hamilton to let Kimi past again like what happened with Alonso. that way the result of the race stands and hamilton at least has a chance to fight back through the field.

        My problem with the penalty is that it was handed after the race and to a race winner at that. THAT was a farce, no the actual decision of guilty or not guilty.

  3. I am going to out Keith here and now as being a Masochist. Lol.

  4. I don’t think any of those show that the stewards have it in for Lewis. Like you say, there are a couple that have appeared too harsh and a couple that have been too lenient. You could compile similar lists for pretty much any other driver and I suspect you would conclude the same.

    35 incidents does seem a lot, but Hamilton’s a racer. He gets stuck in and likes to seize the initiative. That style has won him many races and I’m sure will win him many more, but when you’re battling with other cars more often, statistically you’re going to get in more scrapes.

    Yes, 2011 has been a dreadful season for Lewis for all sorts of reasons – but everyone has bad seasons every now and then. The real test is what he learns from it and how he bounces back in the future.

    1. 35 incidents does seem a lot, but Hamilton’s a racer

      Kimi Raikkonen – racer, World Champion, 2-times runner-up, 18 wins yet I don’t remember him once being given a penalty other than for engine changes. So you can be a succesful driver without getting into all sorts of mess almost every race.

      1. So true. Racer is not the same as crash- driver. People sometimes forget. :)

        1. I didn’t word it particularly well, by ‘racer’ I meant a driver who takes every opportunity and half opportunity that presents itself. Kimi was fantastic for the refuelling era, knew how to manage his pace well over a stint to extract to the maximum from the car, but I wouldn’t have put overtaking as one of his main strengths.

          1. but I wouldn’t have put overtaking as one of his main strengths

            Are you kidding, didn’t you watch Suzuka 2005, Bahrain 2006 etc when he got on the podium from the back of the grid?

          2. Ezio Auditore
            6th November 2011, 16:26

            dude are you serious? — Raikkonen is the daddy of all other drivers when it comes to overtaking

    2. Stewards are not perfect and we all have our own opinions and “inner steward”. Plus, our support to specific drivers or teams tend to affect our judgement. Therefore, like in football, basketball, tennis or any other sport with refs controversy will always be there.

  5. Ohhhh this is gonna be a big one!

  6. Hi Keith,

    Excellent article, but you missed the Hungary incident with di Resta in your table, which would make it 36 incidents ;)

    Also, was colliding with Webber in Canada not also investigated?

    1. Ah yes! That was certainly some shoddy driving on Lewis’ part.

    2. Thanks Andy, have added the di Resta one.

      I couldn’t find a stewards report on the incident with Webber in Canada.

      1. Of course you couldn’t – I simply cannot understand how hard is to create a doc file, export it to PDF and then upload it.
        Even this little sign can show the level of negligence that FIA has about decisions.
        And that’s where the true problem lies – we will continue to have arguments whether this or that incident was treated fair or not, until their rules are refined or stewarding becomes a sustainable process.

        As for HAM in particular, most of the times his penalties have been fair, but some could have been less severe.
        Again, this is my view, as I “don’t have the telemetry data, the video footage and the photos that stewards have”. As such, my opinion is subjective.

        1. To be fair, and sorry to bring in a sport like football: there the rules are clear, and they are discussed, and then there’s a meeting to determine the final penalty if it is a red card. But that doesn’t stop people discussing.

          (PS: Here in NL, we had a player for PSV who got a red this weekend for something most people, including other referees, thought a yellow would have been harsh – the guy still got a 2 game exclusion at the appeal, bc. they stuck with the referee who doesn’t change opinion, against what camera’s show – bc. otherwise everyone will start appealing everything.)

      2. How about Massa and Hamilton collision at Monza 2010? No action taken, Hamilton retired with damage.

      3. Fantastic article indeed.

        Whilst I do feel that Hamilton gets to many penalties for simply trying to race, I believe that in 2007 the stewards/conditions were in his favour (being helped back on track at the European GP was a joke).

        In general I feel that stewards nowadays punish one for everything – if blame cannot (almost) entirely be appointed to one driver no punishment should be handed out. Most incidents this year were simply racing incidents that in my opinion did not merit a penalty.

        Regarding other incidents you seem to have forgotten Hamilton’s and Kubica’s clash in Fuji in 2007 – Kubica got a drive through for their collision. Here’s a video –

        1. @victor Thanks for the reminder on Fuji ’07 – have added that in.

  7. One question I had reading this, and I wonder @keithcollantine if your research for this article helps answer that: is my impression that stewards have been more eager to give penalties last year and this year too, correct?

    I don’t mean just Hamilton, but in general. I recall DC saying that the drivers asked the FIA/stewards to be stricter, so I wonder if there is anything to suggest they are, or just that we now have more media and internet to debate them all :)

    1. There doesn’t seem to be as many perceived ‘Racing incidents’ anymore. Which is a shame. I’d rather than air with caution than hand out a definitive penalty for almost every collision. It seems to have happened across alot of motorsport. Bit of a shame.

    2. @bosyber

      I would say there’s been a general increase in activity from the stewards over the last ten years or so. Which in itself might be worth a look in a future article with some hard data.

      1. Thanks @keithcollantine and @ecwdanselby, that matches my impression too.

        If it really is true, I think it can be partly attributed to a greater attention to safety in motorsports, with the sense that any contact can potentially still lead to big accidents. It is a bit sad when drivers can’t just race, but it is even worse if a bad accident happens after all.

        And they should be able to race without needing to touch just as Webber+Hamilton showed in Korea, for example.

      2. Keith , with the increased activity from the stewards, do you think there has been a corresponding decrease in the racing activity or raciness from the drivers?

        What does everyone else think? Has the racing been lessened by the stewards actions?

        1. decrease in the racing activity or raciness from the drivers?

          Not at all, I’m fairly certain it was the drivers themselves who were pushing for tougher penalties.

      3. It was noted during the BBC practice coverage at Valencia when they had Monisha Kaltenborn from Sauber in the box with them that the drivers had asked the stewards to investigate every incident in 2011 regardless of how small it was.

        I seem to recall Sam Michael also mentioning this when he was there guest.

        1. In that respect it was interesting that Webber, in his BBC F1 column, mentions that but adds that maybe the current level of penalties isn’t what’s needed. I hope the drivers can discuss being still allowed to race, then bring that to the stewards.

      4. @keithcollantine and @bosyber – yep a review of the changing approach to the whole business of stewarding would be a very interesting read.

        I’m sure most people on here will have watched some of the classic races though F1 history, and it really is worth asking the question if the rules the way they are being interpreted are giving us the same show.

        I wonder how many penalties some of the legends of the sport would have received using todays standards?

        1. Correct me if I am wrong, but if penalties for causing an avoidable collision had been applied to MSC when he turned into Damon Hill, one could allege deliberately. Hill could be a double WDC and MSC reduced to 6x WDC.

          1. The rules and standards, like the technical regulations change year on year.

            Comparing 94 to now in that sense is criticizing constructors taken with the aid of TC or Active suspension. Or attacking drivers of the 50’s etc who took their team mates cars.

            Not that I agree with it, but standards change.

  8. You win some you lose some. The fact of the matter is, if you don’t put yourself in those positions in the first place. Then you can’t be unfairly punished.

    I’ve not got anything against Hamilton, but to many times (especially this year). He’s just failed to follow basic rules and keeps on racking up these trivial penalties. Like in India for example, what do you honestly achieve by setting the fastest lap time in FP1?

    He just needs to think about the bigger picture sometimes, letting some of the smaller things that seem to annoy him mid race go and being more calculated in his decision making. It might be better just to follow Massa around for another half a lap, then take an all or nothing dive into a tight corner.

    Really good article though, good work :D

  9. I don’t think the stewards are generally biased against Hamilton. The problem is, he has been up so many times before them, that a couple of borderline decisions (and in my opinion perfectly consistent stewarding is impossible, so there will always be questionable calls) are going to fall out against his favour.

    I hope for next year, Lewis can iron out all those unncessary visits to the stewards. Sure, his opportunistic driving style might see him entangled with other drivers from time to time (in the way that Button typically isn’t), but that’s why people love him, and I don’t think that is what we should wish away. However, things like speeding under yellows, getting embroiled with other drivers during qualifying, and, most especially, making contact with other cars when no serious overtaking is on (previously: first corner of Canada 2011 with Webber, second corner Massa Italy 2010 (how could you forget that, one, Keith!), Kobayashi Spa 2011, Massa Singapore & Japan 2011) should be reduced to zero.

  10. I think an article like this comparing inconsistent decisions of the last 5 years would be excellent. For example Hamilton gets penalty for double defend, Schumacher doesn’t (Malaysia 2011/Italy 2011). Maldonado crashing into Hamilton at Spa and the GT1 incident between Westbrook and Mucke.

    Terrific consolidation of penalties though. I don’t usually have an issue with the decisions made againts Hamilton, it’s when other drivers seem to get away with it. Maldonado’s lenient 5 place grid drop in Spa was a joke in my opinion.

    1. That is really a situation where I’d like to hear the reasoning, especially with the reprimand for HAM too, which suggests he did indeed respond in what wasn’t the best way (Or maybe the fact they touched already shows that?).

    2. Hamilton wasn’t penalised for a double defend, He was penalised because he was weaving back & forth across the track.

      Schumacher’s defending at Monza was marginal but I thought it was just good, hard racing that didn’t really deserve a penalty.

      1. I’m talking about Malaysia 2011. Hamilton’s ‘weaving’ as you put it was minimal. Nothing like in 2010 on Petrov. To be honest, I bet most people missed it while watching. DC and brundle did until the replay was shown.

        1. I posted a video of the 2011 weaving here:

          I think the crucial point is that he was given a warning for doing a similar thing in 2010 & I seem to recall many other drivers critisising him for it in 2010.
          Since he’d been warned the year before & still did something similar I think the penalty he got was fair.

          I think Schumi at Monza was something different, It wasn’t really weaving, He was moving to defend & then drifting back towards the racing line. It was close to but I don’t think over the limit of what is allowed.
          I actually thought it was some good racing & really enjoyed that little racing battle, Is something I woudn’t mind seeing a bit more of if im honest.

  11. Most Intresting driver in F1

    1. I would agree with this. I can remember the film about Ayrton Senna, during the painful interview with Jackie Stewart, when the issue of accidents gets in the middle.
      But then again it would be interesting to put this list of accidents in a broader perspective. To be honest, I don’t feel that there is a particular thing against Hamilton. But I would say that, for example, Alonso or Webber or Button have been involved in less episodes like those in the last five years.

      Oh, and Keith: very, very good article. Thanks.

  12. I think every driver might have a lot of infringements against his name – may be not 35 in 5 years – but say around 20-25.

    He will be treated fairly or unfairly in a few. Similarly, Hamilton has been treated fairly and unfairly. In short, Stewards haven’t singled out Hamilton. He has more penalties than others because he has more incidents than others. The ratio of penalty:incidents is same for all drivers.

    Two things need changing:

    as it often seems the stewards place too much weight on the consequences of an incident, rather than whether a drivers’ move was acceptable or not in the first place.

    This! Stewards penalties shouldn’t be dependent on consequences.
    2. Hamilton needs to reduce his number of incidents.

    1. Sumedh, I think in most justice systems, the punishment is also more lenient if the action didn’t lead to serious consequences (in fact, in many cases there will only be a trial if the results were bad, otherwise there is nothing to investigate …), so I can sort of understand it from that view. Of course, one doesn’t get convicted of murdering someone if one is clearly in self-defence and had no choice, so actions and circumstance matter there too.

      But since the stewards seem to also want to use penalties as a sort of good/bad example, there is a conflict, as in such a situation, intent and the drivers actions are most important. The consequences in that instant are just the reason they look at an incident, the important other thing is the potential consequences it could have had: but that’s not always in the drivers’ hands.

    2. Disagree totally.

      Of course the punishment should be dependent on the consequences.

      If an incident causes consequences for other drivers, marshalls, spectators then it is much more serious than something which doesn’t.

      Take a hypothetical going off the track and rejoining during qualifying. In one case it delays another driver on their hot lap, in another case it wipes out another driver and puts them out of qualifying.

      The onus is on the driver going to rejoin in a safe way, so clearly they were more reckless in the second case than the first.

      The punishment in the second case should be much more severe to teach a lesson – drivers of course have to take risks but they also have to show respect and care to their fellow professionals just as they would expect those drivers to for them.

      1. So by the same logic, a drunk driver that kills someone is worse than a drunk driver that makes it home by luck?

        Just playing devils advocate but you know… :)

        1. to play devil’s advocate to your devil’s advocate :), a drunk driver pulled over by a policeman is given a different set of consequences than a drunk driver that kills someone.

        2. The outcome doesn’t alter how bad the act is… but it does influence the consequences for them. A drunk driver who kills someone should quite rightly get a stronger punishment than a drunk driver who crashes his car with nobody else involved.

      2. That’s nonsense.

        Taking the hypothetical rejoining the track situation. Two drivers go and rejoin in identical circumstances. In the first instance the following car spots the danger and swerves out the way and continues without an accident, in the second the following driver doesn’t react in time and crashes into the back of the rejoining car.

        Why should the first driver get treated more leniently than the second driver when both of their actions were equally dangerous and only the superb reactions of a following car prevented a serious accident?

        1. Because one of them- although both had dangerous actions- actually destroyed somebodies race.

          If two individuals (non-F1) have two separate car crashes, both of which are due to bad driving and involve no other cars, and one simply results in a totalled car but the other happens to kill a pedestrian who is unfortunate to be on that bit of path at that time, how do the punishments work out? They definitely won’t be equal.

    3. whether a drivers’ move was acceptable or not in the first place.

      Problem with that is that it’s really difficult to know what someones intentions are.

  13. To be honest, as you say Keith, some of the penalties really look out of place, as there’s always a completely different antecedent.

    But that’s no strange in sport. I bet football fans will agree… how many times we’ve seen a match where a team is practically “given” a penalty, and others where the referee is just oblivious of the whole thing.

    Whatever the penalty, anyway, Hamilton’s been involved in too many strange incidents. It can’t be always the other one, or the stewards, or whatever. 36 incidents it’s a lot, and Hamilton must know that… he must know he’s always there, right in the edge, with not much room for error.

    He loves to be agressive and when it works, it’s awesome. Because you see a great driver doing stuff the others don’t. But, as everything in life, risking too much too many times, sometimes brings you a headache. And that’s what Hamilton’s getting.

    After all, you can’t expect to hit the jackpot every single time…

  14. Hamilton seems to have unwittingly become the Princess Di of F1 (at least in the UK).

    This is a quote from an article about PD “The press hounded Princess Diana eager for any story or picture that would expose the crack in her life. She was subject to much scrutiny and the media tried to uncover her affairs. She was harassed, bullied and hunted in an unprecedented way in this modern high tech world”.

    Is this the case with LH too? He’s not being chased by papparazzi (as far as I know), but there is relentless media focus. Journalists know that they’ll get noticed if they write about him. Publicity-mad pundits know they’ll get their name mentioned if they come up with some controversial comment. TV commentators always have to talk about how he looks, how he must be feeling, etc. He’s clearly a cash cow, but I’m curious how that happened? Was it driven by the interest of the fans, or have the media created it themselves?

    I’m getting bored with it all. I’m also concerned about how it could be affecting someone who is, after all, just a normal human being. Do the media really not care?

    I can see why you wrote this, Keith. If it was about any other driver it would be OK. But I think anyone who writes about Hamilton these days is in danger of looking like a parasite, feeding off a man who’s looking increasingly vulnerable under the pressure. If someone wants to write an interesting article about him, how about investigating how the media are constantly stirring up controversy about him? Or better still, how about giving it a rest and not writing about him at all?

    1. I’m not going to ignore one driver just because some people don’t like the way he is covered in other sections of the media.

      1. Ok. But it’s not a case of ignoring one driver, is it? You’re deliberately picking out one driver.

        Or are you planning on doing this analysis for the other drivers too? Because if not, it just looks like you’re simply trying to get as many hits as possible for the least effort, by picking out the media’s cash-cow.

        A similar analysis of every driver would also provide us with a much better way of judging whether the drivers are treated equally, as well as fairly.

        It would have been nice if you’d waited until you’d done them all before publishing, rather than deliberately stirring up more controversy about the one driver who’s currently judged (by the media, admittedly) to be showing signs of stress.

        1. You’re deliberately picking out one driver

          does the fact he’s the most discussed driver tell you something?

          Analysis or not, what LH does on track and off the track is discussed everywhere, and it’s the people that brings the subject.

          Would you rather talk about Sutil? this is the best thing to do to discuss stuff… first put all the evidence together, and analyse it, then wait for the comments.

          For every single F1 fan, controversy and discussion is very valuable!

        2. FC, I would say that Keiths article is a great reaction to the fact that we have been discussing the rights and wrongs of incidents Hamilton was in, and the fact he keeps having them endlessly in the past years and this year even more so.

          By doing a great analyses, Keith now proved that, yes its a great lot of incidents he was in, but no there is no favourism or anti-hamilton in the total of those Stewards rulings involving Hamilton.
          Thereby putting facts back into that discussion and enabling us to move on.

          Thanks @keithcollantine for a great deal of work and the wonderfull analyses that makes this the top grade site it is.

        3. I wouldn’t rule out extending the analysis further as it’s clearly proved an interesting starting point for a generally constructive discussion – with the exception of the odd person quibbling with its wholly legitimate premise.

          1. Keith, how about starting with an analysis of total number of investigations/penalties per season. I suspect, as one or two on here have mentioned, that the stewards are getting much more involved lately and probably influencing more race outcomes as a result.

    2. If a respectable member of the new media doesn’t tackle the issue then all that will be left are the opinions of the hits-hungry sensationalisers.

      1. Well said @Ichthyes, I think this article by @keithcollantine is a nice way to put things in perspective. Yes, there were some inconsistent decisions, but not so much just against Hamilton, it’s more a general issue that it is hard to get every decision to be consistent, and then there were some politics involved in the middle too.

        I think we had discussions about Schumacher too – he had plenty of penalties, and his teams has had quite a few odd decisions for and against them – were FIA for or against him?

        In 1994/5, partly against him, bc. he and team were clearly skirting close to the limits of the rules; with Ferrari, they used their clout to argue against trouble, but they also just did a better job than the competition, and tried a lot of flex bits – some they got away with for a time.

        And that WDC points change was clearly to combat them and him – we wouldn’t want a similar change now to stop Vettel/RBR, I hope.

    3. I hope the irony of using Lady Diana (note she was no longer “Princess” after her and Charles divorced) in a comparison with motor car racing is not lost on you ;-)

  15. The as you rightly say rarely used ‘reprimand’ has been used quite often with lewis. So in some cases he has got off quite lightly. He has done this yellow flag thing too many times, especially in todays age of the flashing lights as well as flags.

    Though in over cases he has been harshly delt with.

  16. I largely agree with this. If you asked me who was at fault in these incidents, I’d go with the stewards 95% of the time. The problem is the fault = penalty mentality F1 seems to have and an inconsistent application of it and the scale of punishment.

  17. Yeah, very brave article. Congrats, Keith.

    From my view, I wouldn’t’ say that the stewards had a personal rant against Lewis, or that he has been treated unfairly. But they are more lenient with others drivers. It is clear.

    In the process, the stewards are leaving a track of inconsistences. Ok, the sport is very complex, but what a see is only incompetence from them.

    1. I don’t understand your point with the video.

      But they are more lenient with others drivers. It is clear.

      I would like to see an explanation, perhaps with examples? of how this is true.

  18. Stewards are way too harsh with all drivers now. I find ten-place grid penalties for having a crash in a previous race a ridiculous idea. Any slight touch or contact resulting in minor damage is jumped on by the stewards with drive through penalties. Handing out penalties willy-nilly takes away from the racing. Sooner or later drivers will be so frightened to stick their noses up the inside that we’ll revert to DRS and pit stop overtakingonly.

    1. Then again, with 5 place drops for a broken gearbox at the wrong moment, and a 10 place drop for a new engine (poor Maldonado – a bad car, poor reliablility and pace, and now he is almost guaranteed to start Abu Dhabi at the back of the grid unless someone else gets some good penalties during the weekend!), it makes sense that they also escalate other penalties that are to send a message about safety on track, which is much more vital.

      So maybe they should just ease those penalties now, since only unlucky teams that are in the dumps seem to need them. Well, and Hamilton :-p

      1. Gearbox and engine penalties are absolutely stupid and should be scrapped immediately. They serve no purpose in racing.

        1. I happen to agree, especially when they already have the RDD (or what’s it called) to help cap costs.

  19. Theres no point just pointing out Hamiltons innodents and asking wether they seem fair or not, you have to look at it in relation to what they give other drivers for similiar offenses.

    Aus 2010 for example, Hamilton and Alonso battling for position about 3 car lengths infront of Webber, Webber has a brain-fart moment and dosnt seem to realise that 2 cars side by side infront of him will be going a bit slower than normal, and as a result runs into the back of Hamilton, spinning him out. A complely avoidable accident, and as far as i remember, nothing happend to Webber.

    1. you have to look at it in relation to what they give other drivers for similar offences.

      Which I have done for some relevant examples.

      1. Maybe we could compare with a similar full list for another driver, perhaps Button or someone.

        It’s all relative.

        This list clearly shows that by the regulations, Hamilton has deserved most if not all these penalties – which is good. But have other drivers got off a little more lightly for similar infringements? I guess that is the question that needs more analysis perhaps.

  20. RE Canada 2011

    No action taken – team mistakenly believed Hamilton had suspension damage

    I thought his suspension was damaged. It looked very much broken to me. That’s a major fail from McLaren if he only had a puncture…

    1. @damonsmedley

      That’s a major fail from McLaren if he only had a puncture…

      According to the stewards that was the case:

      Having heard from the driver and the team representative, the stewards have concluded that the driver was convinced he only had a flat tyre. This was subsequently confirmed by the team representative to be correct.

      The driver therefore believed he could safely return to the pits and proceeded to attempt to do so.

      However at the time, his team believed the car had sustained suspension damage and radioed him to stop immediately.

      See: McLaren: Button makes amends for collision with stunning win

      1. @keithcollantine

        I vaguely remember reading that now, thanks.

        That’s a massive shame, but you can understand why the team would have told him to stop after what happened with Vettel in Melbourne 2009.

        Ifs and buts, but given the pace of McLaren that day and the amount of trouble Jenson ran into after that incident, it’s not out of the question that Lewis could have beaten him.

      2. One of the many not so smart decisions by McLaren that was the computer telling them something and they not engaging a brain to check it but rather deciding to fully trust it and act accordingly. I hope Sam Michael will pick up on that and at least use his brain there, sorting them out for next year, which would go a long way to keeping them more competitive with Red Bull.

  21. Only showing the incidents that LH was involved in means you cannot judge if the stewards acted fairly or not where Lewis is concerned. You would need to look at every other similar incident that every other driver has been involved in over the last 5 years and see what their punishment/penalty was for same or similar incidents, only then would you be able to judge the stewards fairness, or whether they were biased in favour or against Lewis. I can think of one incident off the top of my head where Michael Schumacher moved off line more than once or more than one occassion and pushed Lewis off track at Monza 2011 and not only was he not penalised during the race or after it he wasn’t even reprimanded.

    1. Michael Schumacher moved off line more than once or more than one occassion and pushed Lewis off track at Monza 2011

      No he didn’t. If you watch the video you’ll see he moves off-line, then he moves back towards the racing line, but he doesn’t make a second move off-line.

      See: Mercedes: Schumacher fifth after Hamilton battle

      And as I said in an earlier comment, I have drawn some comparisons with other drivers’ penalties where relevant.

      1. Even MSC’s his own team thought he was doing the wrong thing and told him on more than one occassion over the radio. But even putting this incident aside, you would need to look at how lenient or harsh the stewards have been on other drivers for same or similar incidents to get the bigger picture of whether the stewards have been fair or not where LH is concerned.

        1. Even MSC’s his own team thought he was doing the wrong thing

          Yes, but that was not making two moves. That was not giving Hamilton enough room when he returned to the racing line, something the stewards have clarified since then.

      2. Is moving back to the racing line legal, that is the second move and as laid down by the rules is illegal. It, as shown by the Hamilton 2008 Spa incident, just because it has been done before does not make it a precedent.

        1. I agree. Moving back onto the racing line should be counted as another move.

  22. I don’t think that Hamilton has been treated unfairly. For sure, race stewards are only human beings, they make mistakes and have made some mistakes when making decisions about the incidents where Hamilton has been involved. But I don’t believe that they have made them on purpose.

    What I see here, is a problem with the general approach that race stewards have. ‘Clean driving’ is being promoted these days, Hamilton’s daring and adventurous moves are often considered to be ‘dirty driving’, which should be punished. Hamilton’s driving style is simply not what those who are responsible for applying the rules want to see.

    I disagree with such an approach and would be sad if Hamilton lost his self-confidence and started to feel that F1 is not the right place for him because of the many penalties.

    We probably don’t know a lot about how drivers like Alberto Ascari or Juan Manuel Fangio behaved on the track when they were racing because there weren’t 1000 TV cameras that could spot their each and every move then. Probably they were even more aggressive than Hamilton and today would spend all their spare time in the stewards’ rooms to explain their actions. Yet we consider them to be great drivers. Why treat Hamilton differently, why just not let him drive the way he does? F1 didn’t destroy itself when there were no penalties for “causing a collision” and it wouldn’t nowadays.

    Just let Hamilton and everyone else drive, that’s my opinion.

  23. I agree with everything you’ve said Keith.

    The stewards are very inconsistent and I personally think the rule-book needs a major overhaul. Nothing is clear and too often we see different rulings for similar (if not identical) incidents.

    The reference you make to Sutil in Singapore 2009 is a very good point. I actually defended Hamilton in Hungary, but I’d have been able to make a much better case if I’d used that as an example.

    I’ve disagreed with a lot of the decisions this year, and I’ve agreed with a lot, too. I was pleased Hamilton received a drive-through for running into Hamilton in Singapore, but since then, I’ve started to wonder if the penalty system is too harsh. It seems that nearly every bit of contact we’ve seen between two drivers this year has resulted in an investigation and – more often than not – punishment.

    The rulings I disagree with are:

    Belgium 2008 – It was unprecedented and very harsh.

    Malaysia 2011 – His weaving didn’t affect Alonso in any way at all.

    Hungary 2011 – Initially, I defended him using the excuse that it all happened too quickly and it was an honest mistake made in a panic, but I think the Sutil point is a much more valid argument.

    India (Qualifying) – I think both drivers should have been let off considering it was a very unusual occurrence. It’s not impossible that Lewis saw the green light and kept going, not even checking for double-waved yellows (I mean, who would double check to see if they’ve made a mistake when there’s a flashing green light?).

    India (Race) – It was a racing incident, but there was more Hamilton could have done to avoid it. Neither of them deserved a penalty.

    1. @damonsmedley – had to laugh when I saw your 3rd para!

      Hamilton received a drive-through for running into Hamilton in Singapore

      This year it feels like if he could have hit himself, he would have…

      I’m not a massive Hamilton fan, but I hope he’s back to his best next year, it’s been a shame to watch him suffer on track.

      1. @dirgegirl

        Oh God! Oops! :P

        I agree with you though, I’m no fan either, but I enjoy watching him at his best.

  24. I would be interested to read a debrief on all of the on track race incidents, I understand what Keith is trying to do here but a lot of these incidents were not on track during the race (in practice/qual, not turning up to press conf, stopping on track) take those out and the list shrinks plus a few of the on track ones were in unique situations ( red light in pit lane, overtaking safety car, incident behind the safety car).

    I don’t think the stewards have it in for him because they are different each race, which goes to the consistency argument many have, for me the worst example of inconsistency is the pen for changing lines on one lap against Alo in Malaysia watch a YouTube clip of it and compare it to what Schey did at Monza for several laps. I can’t see how that works.

    Plus the general theme of looking to blame someone and give them a penalty is far more prevalent these days I would have a lot of the above as racing incidents with no pens required.

    1. @douglst

      I would be interested to read a debrief on all of the on track race incidents

      If you follow the links in the tables there’s a lot more information there.

      1. Keith, I am talking more about a detailed analysis of each incident, comparing with other similar incidents and in your opinion whether you think blame can be apportioned, if a pen was warranted or if it was a racing incident. A bit more like what you did for the Mas v Ham India accident where you gave your views and the reasons for them.

        I clicked on the link of the web v ham in Singapore and did not have much there, other than a couple of quotes.

  25. “some people will defend Hamilton to the death, some people will put him down at every given oppurtunity.”

    In my experience you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you pick up on a Hamilton issue you get tarred as a Hamilton hater and then of course you must surely be a Button fan. People just love to pounce regardless, I guess objective criticism doesn’t sate some people.

    This is the problem with text based forums unfortunately, its impossible to glean true sentiment from cold text.

  26. I actually believe the stewards don’t know how to deal with Lewis because he is a very agressive driver and takes every little chance that opens up to him no matter how small and surely that’s what a racing driver is supposed to do? They are not all out there going for a stroll in the park, they are racing drivers in very fast cars going out to win and sometimes that means there will be contact, that’s the nature of the sport and maybe LH has more than others because he tries more than others & that’s what makes him exciting. What do we want to watch a procession of cars going round in a line where they only over take if there’s like a 10 mile gap between them or do we want to see wheel to wheel racing. What ever else you think of LH in my opinion, along with Alonso, & maybe Go-By-Bashi he is the most exciting driver out there. A case in point for me was the Indian GP, with Lewis’s confidence & mood seemingly down at the moment he ended up in 7th on track by himself and didn’t appear to really be pushing & how boring was that race because he wasn’t up there fighting with other drivers, apart from the 1 incident with Massa.

  27. Are there any kind of stats on number of investigations per driver? It struck me as interesting that you mentioned not just penalties but all investigations. I’m curious to know how every driver stacks up in that realm to see who’s getting the most attention. Not because I think there’s a conspiracy (I think your assessment is fair that there’s no special vendetta against Hamilton), but because I think there could be some light shed on all the drivers behavior patterns.

  28. I think Hamilton has been treated fairly. What really rubs me the wrong way is when people suggest Hamilton should be treated differently to everyone else simply because he is at the front end of the grid. If the penalties seem harsh, there is a reason for that – Hamilton clearly hasn’t learned from previous incidents.

  29. Well it always seems to me odd that when someone overtakes Hamilton, he quite rarely has contact, yet when he does overtaking the moves are either brilliant or they crash. It may be down to fact that he does more overtaking than is being overtaken but nevertheless…
    I am getting more and more feeling that modern F1 is going into direction DRS pass=good; all other passes=maybe; pass attempt with contact = bad and someone must pay for it.

  30. If Lewis does think that the stewards are against him most of the time, then probably the seeds were sown in 2008 with those two travesties of justice.

    And a few other idea’s for discussion,
    How do you break the tow of a slower (lap time) car which might be faster in a straight line, without weaving. Most of this year the McLarens and RBRs are way down on speed through the measuring points.
    Should a driver get penalised, or repremand for following team orders.
    Also should Lewis not feel agrieved that Schumacher wasn’t investigated a Monza this year.

    I must point out that Lewis is not my favourite driver, but do think that more decisions have gone against him, than for him.

    Monaco was one of the races where you could look at the two incidents and have different views entirely. Did Massa slam the door closed and therefore cause the crash and why didn’t Maldonado drive like Schumacher, and give way but survive and gain valuble points.

    Talking of Maldonado do we know why Lewis got a repremand at Spa?

    1. I believe Lewis got the reprimand at Spa for the contact in the final corner where he ran into the side of Maldonardo & I think Williams also said that Lewis’ actions had cost Pastor his last lap.

      1. Not true. The steward’s report gave the same time for both Maldonado’s penalty and Hamilton’s reprimand, implying they were both cited for the same incident.

  31. The penalty at Spa in 2008 was fair and deserved. He had enough space to turn into corner, yet he still didn’t do that. And there’s a rule saying that in the situations like that, the driver must wait for at least one corner before he can try to regain the position. And Hamilton broke that rule by passing Räikkönen in 1st corner of the track.

    1. But others had done exactly the same in previous races and not even a mention of an investigation.
      One of those cases was Alonso in Canada, If my failing memory is correct.

    2. Oh no, please not this again!

    3. there’s a rule saying that in the situations like that, the driver must wait for at least one corner before he can try to regain the position

      Which was only announced after Hamilton was given the penalty in Spa:

      Hamilton penalty: FIA closes the stable door after the horse has bolted (Video)

      If you think he should have taken that into consideration, you clearly overestimate his powers of time-travel.

      1. I didn’t know the rule was set up after the race. That puts things into new perspective….

        1. I think something to look at regarding the Spa ’08 penalty was that applying a penalty for what Lewis did was consistent.

          At Suzuka in 2005 Alonso did the same sort of thing, He passed Klien by cutting the chicane, Let Klien back past but immediately re-passed into turn 1. A few laps later Alonso was told he had to re-allow Klien past.

          They mentioned this while discussing the penalty on the ITV broadcast at the next race.

          1. A few laps later Alonso was told he had to re-allow Klien past.

            As Keith points out in a comment on the first page (including a link to bigger analyses) the stewards later admitted that their instruction had been wrong.

  32. I think the thing is with Hamilton is that in 2007 he kicked up a storm by beating his world-champion team mate… this came to a head in Hungary and the ensuing spy-gate affair – Hamilton was but the latest pawn in the enormous vendetta between Max Mosley and Ron Dennis.

    So this CREATED Hamilton’s “bad boy” image… in 2008 a few minor incidents and the enormous furore over the Belgium GP result cemented that image in both the minds of the viewing public – and crucially, within Lewis Hamilton himself.

    If I can clash a few metaphors, it seems to me that Hamilton has been painted as a villain in the eyes of FIA, and that Hamilton has now painted himself into a corner in that role. His view of being the FIA’s whipping boy (or his paranoia, call it what you will) has this year affected his performance.

    Does that make any sense whatsoever to fellow armchair psychologists out there?

  33. Interesting views from Mark Webber over on Autosport on stewards giving too many penalties.

    1. You can read the full quotes in the original article here:

  34. How often do other drivers turn up late to press conferences? How often do they brake the pit lane speed limit?

    Is Hamilton more guilty than others with these incidents?

    1. And if I remember every singlr one of them have been charge with a penalty.

      Vettel have two in his first two outing as BMW test driver. He also got one in last year a think, and another drivergot one too (In Korea).

      I guess with the press conference they will be circunstance that they will overlook the penalty…

  35. NO. Lewis is not fairly treated. They have to penalize Lewis to stop him winning.

    1. I don’t remember him winning in Korea.

  36. Jackie Stewart in his interview with Peter Windsor a few weeks back on The Flying Lap had some interesting things to say about Lewis. Basically, hes a man with an incredible talent who would do better with a full-time driver coach, as all sports have coaches. Here, we have Lewis who had fairly normal years (incident-wise) until he separated from his father’s management. Now who does he have to say “Lewis, when this happens, you dont turn in…or if Massa is on the track, you better give him a clean pass on the straight!”

    Another interesting discussion I heard recently discussed that because of his raw speed and talent, he is more CAPABLE of putting the car into overtaking positions that a) other drivers may not expect (turn 5 in India is NOT a place to overtake for normal drivers) and b) he is confident that he can make it work because of this ability.

    A couple of things to consider. I have the photograph of Mr. Atkinson in the McLaren garage as my background on my computer, as this image has been my entire expression for 2011, as a McLaren fan.

  37. This awful, agitating article just goes to show how much of trouble maker Hamilton is. Yes, he provides excitement but in the same way the bully does in primary school. Except for Hamilton, this bully actually performs once in a while.

    I’d love to know how many incidents Vettel has been in?

    1. I’d love to know how many incidents Vettel has been in?

      Less than Lewis.

      1. Well we know that Vettel hadn´t got a penalty this year.

        In 2007 he got one in China. 10 spots for impeding Heiki.
        In 2009 he got in Australia for his crash with Kubica.
        And last year at Hungary.

        Beside that I think he has the two fines back in 2007 for speeding in the pit line in Turkey and Monaco (his first two outing as test driver).

        I can´t remember any other.

        1. And a penalty Spa 2010, but indeed, Vettel (and everyone else except Massa) doesn’t get themselves into as much trouble as Ham.

          1. So I guess 6?

            I can´t find any reference involving the penalties that Massa had has. But I think that he gets more in trouble when Hamilton is around.

          2. The Stewards didn’t get involved in the 2010 Turkish collision between Vettel & Webber because they only get involved in inter-team issues (unofficially)

          3. @Matt Clare – only inter-team issues – I recall them getting involved when Alonso blocked Hamilton and later that year, inspecting both Mclarens to ensure they were the ‘same’…

  38. When Hamilton arrived in the sport he was far too aggressive. The first two seasons had too many overtaking moves which left the other driver either to concede or to crash; that said, he also demonstrated some fantastic overtaking manoeuvres, e.g. against Raikkonen at Monza 2008 and the battle between the two at Spa the same year. I think the first two seasons cemented Hamilton’s reputation as overly aggressive, which is a shame because his third season was almost perfect – he still went for every chance he got, but he left the other driver room. The fourth season was very good too, proving that he’d matured as a driver.

    The stewarding during his first four seasons varied. In 2007 I think the authorities were very lenient towards him, allowing a lot of leeway for the fact that he was a rookie in the best car on the grid. But in 2008 Mosley installed a crony in the stewards office and to my mind tried to rig the championship to ensure that Ron Dennis didn’t win, which resulted in several very harsh decisions towards Hamilton, while Massa was treated with undue leniency (e.g. unsafe release at Valencia and penalising Bourdais for being crashed into at Hungary). I think it’s 2008 which aroused suspicions about the stewarding with regards to Hamilton. In 2009 and 2010 neither McLaren nor Hamilton were really in contention, so the controversy died down.

    The stewarding this year has been pretty fair, but far too pernickety. Add to that that Hamilton is driving poorly and I think that explains all the penalties. I do wonder whether the harsh stewarding has contributed to Hamilton’s deterioration as it seems to have knocked his confidence. There has been some variation in the application of the rules, but that’s largely down to changing the officials at every event, e.g. Hamilton’s move at Malaysia didn’t deserve a penalty, whereas Schumacher’s repeated blocks at Monza were treated too leniently.

    3rd November 2011, 13:41

    I guess its all in the stars when it comes to yellow flags!

    Lewis gets a three grid penalty for not slowing down during a race control green flagged sectord during P1, with the green light flashing on the circuit and on his instrumentation. There was two yellow flags being waved around by someone behind a building (only the flags were able to be seen) We still don’t why why the yellow flags were still out, there were no incidents were reportedly connected to that particular yellow flags which came after the track was green lighted by race control.

    Do we know why the yellow flag was being waived?

    On the other hand during the same session, Jenson, while Maldonaldo’s car was being lifted off the track, during a clearly designated yellow flag period, violates the F! rule which state “A single yellow indicates danger ahead, such as debris from a crash. Drivers must slow down as they pass; no overtaking is permitted, unless it is unavoidable such as a driver retiring in the section, or a driver is lapped” by passing Karthikyan’s HRT which had just passed the crane lifting Maldonaldo’s car. Jenson is not penalized.

    And during Q3, Jenson sees the dust from Massa’s crash, and does not lift even after the yellow flag and passes the stricken car and records his fastest lap under yellow. He does not get penalized.

    I guess Jenson is just lucky!

    1. Jenson sees the dust from Massa’s crash, and does not lift even after the yellow flag

      Button said he did and his sector time was only tenth-quickest. What’s your proof he didn’t lift?

        3rd November 2011, 14:54

        Did I criticize Jenson? I am happy for his good fortune.

        Button kept his fifth place on the grid (actually benefited from Lewis’s yellow flag penalty by moving up one place), keeping his gap from Massa at P6. The difference of the gaps between Massa and Jenson between the Q2 and Q3 is only .051 seconds and we know that Massa is no slouch in the Qs. The fact is he didn’t lift enough to give more than a .051 second gap to Massa. And that could be due to other factors. So you can’t prove that he lifted either. And Jenson got the benefit of the doubt as he should and I congratulate his good fortune.

        However, I would love to hear your version of why Jenson got away with passing the HRT in violation of the F1 yellow flag rules, right under Williams which was being lifted by the crane. Jenson was not lapping the HRT as it was only P1 and the HRT was moving at a decent clip and definitely was not retiring. If Jenson didn’t pass the HRT under yellow, please tell us.

        And as for the Lewis incident, do we know why the yellow flags were being waved after race control had green lighted the session? Was there an actual emergency? Or was the steward mistaken? Is it not true that the flags were being waved behind a structure well set off the track behind the barriers and the steward was not visible.

        Looking forward to hearing your explanation.

    2. Do we know why the yellow flag was being waived?

      Autosport said:

      According to a statement from the FIA, Hamilton was penalised for ‘ignoring double waved yellow flags at Turn 16 whilst marshals were in close proximity to the track’. The waved yellows were for Pastor Maldonado’s stationary Williams, which had stopped with an apparent engine problem and was being attended to by track officials at the time that Hamilton and Perez set their best session times.

        3rd November 2011, 14:56

        I know that. But the track had been cleared and green lighted when Lewis was on his fast lap. Am I wrong?
        Jenson on the other hand passed the HRT right under the Williams which was being lifted by the crane. Am I wrong?

        1. I know that. But the track had been cleared and green lighted when Lewis was on his fast lap. Am I wrong?

          You asked why the yellow flags were being waved, so I told you what the FIA said at the time.

          Regardless of whether the track had been cleared and was “green lighted”, it would appear there were still yellows being waved when Lewis did his fastest lap. Drivers are required to slow down for yellow flags even if they don’t show on their cockpit display.

          Jenson on the other hand passed the HRT right under the Williams which was being lifted by the crane. Am I wrong?

          I wasn’t aware of the incident until you mentioned it just now, to be honest.

            3rd November 2011, 15:39

            Tim, there is a video of Jenson passing the HRT while right under the Williams which was being lifted of the track (cannot find it now) , a clear yellow flag violation as I understand it unless someone (perhaps Keith) can tell us why that move should not have been penalized.

            And I am not questioning Lewis’s penalty, just want to know why the yellow flags were waved after the track had been green lighted by race control. I don’t recall any other incidents.

            And I read somewhere that Perez was penalized for driving 2 min before the end of P1, where as Lewis was penalized 1 min after. So I presume, Perez like Jenson did his violation under the race controlled sanctioned yellow flag.

        2. I know what your on about, However having watched the video a few times Button didn’t pass the HRT in the yellow flag zone.

          The green flag was out at the marshall post just before the final turn, Button slowed down & pulled alongside but waited untill he was past the green flag before he actually passed the HRT.

            3rd November 2011, 17:20

            You may be right, but why would the green flag go one when the crane is on the track area lifting the car?

            Are you sure race control had changes the status to green? I remember reading it was yellow. Perhaps you could give us a link?

            Here is one link…

          2. I think your misunderstanding the yellow flag rules.

            The yellow zone started at the marshall post before where the Williams had stopped at the exit of turn 14 & the green flag was displayed just before turn 15 at the next marshall post after where the Williams had stopped.

            It was only a local yellow on the straght between turns 14 & 15, not a full cource yellow all the way round the track.

            3rd November 2011, 18:26

            Dizzy, you are right about the local yellow flag. However Jenson overtook the HRT on the straight before the green flag on turn 15. There is a photo somewhere. That is why there was controversy and everyone was waiting for the steward’s decision which came late in the day. If Jenson had not passed between turn 14 and 15, there would not have been any controversy and any stewards’ investigation.

            3rd November 2011, 18:37

            Here is the video of Jenson’s yellow flag pass…..

            Look at 31second mark. Jenson, Narain and the crane and trackworkers are in parallel and quite and tens of meters from 4 seconds away from turn 14. (35th second)

            Jenson himself says that he was in the yellow flag zone.

            Am I right?


          5. Depends on where the green flag was in relation to when JB actually overtook the HRT.

            The green flag was shown at the marshall point before the final corner (It wasn’t at the final corner it was a bit before it) so if he overtook after going past that point he did nothing wrong.

            However if the stewards looked at it & didn’t give him a penalty I guess he passed the HRT after passing the marshall post where the green was been displayed.

            3rd November 2011, 19:42

            >>However if the stewards looked at it & didn’t give him a penalty I guess he passed the HRT after passing the marshall post where the green was been displayed>>

            You can clearly see Jenson was passing Narain, the Maclaren, the HRT and the track workers are parallel. I don’t think the green flag would be before the trackworkers and the crane , do you? And Jenson himself admits that Narain was in the yellow zone when he passed him.

            We have a decent view of the track… Can you see the green flag anywhere?

            3rd November 2011, 19:48

            Even the commentators say (37 second) that Button over took under yellow though they justify it by claiming that Narain was going slow. They didnt see the green flag.

            Can you tell us where it was? You said that “The green flag was out at the Marshall post just before the final turn”. Do you have a video link?

            3rd November 2011, 20:05

            As for “However if the stewards looked at it & didn’t give him a penalty I guess he passed the HRT after passing the marshall post where the green was been displayed.”

            Obviously Jenson didn’t pass the HRT after passing the green flag, unless this mysterous green flag was waved before both Jenson and Narain passed the crane in parallel.

            Therefore Johnny H gave Jenson the benifit of the doubt even though he passed the HRT with orange overalled trackworker about half a road width away under Yellow conditions.

            On the other hand look at 1.42 of the video

            the green light is flashing, Maldonado’s car has been removed from the track, two small yellow flags being waved behind a fence BEHIND the barrier (the person waving the flag is invisible) and there is another flag hanging from the fence in front of the yellow flags (some sort of an advertising flag from the look of it, and the stewards hold him guilty.

            Lucky Jenson, unlucky Lewis.

          9. Its true Button drives alongside the HRT in the yellow flag zone, However there isn’t anything in the regulations which don’t permit this. You only get penalised if you actually pass the car.

            Watching the clip you see Button pull alongside & then slow down, This is legal.

            Its hard to tell from a head on shot exactly when Button actually passed the HRT, It looked close to where the marshall post with the green flag was.

            The race stewards would likely have more video angles as well as GPS data & other timing data avaliable so would have known exactly where Button & the HRT were in relation to the green flag, They looked at it & determined he had not passed the HRT untill past the green zone.

            The thing to remember about Hamilton is that he not only went through the yellow zone without lifting but he also had his DRS open & set the fastest lap of the session.
            In my view the was much more clear cut than with Button & the HRT.

          10. JACKBRABHAMFAN
            4th November 2011, 14:39

            I am asking you again, where exactly is the green flag? If it is so clear cut to you, then you should be able to show us the green flag!

            If you are going by what the stewards did instead of showing us where the green flag was, you are not contributing anything new to the discussion.

            And my point that Jenson got the benefit of the doubt and Lewis didn’t stands!

  40. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    3rd November 2011, 13:56

    In the future there would probably be a way to show a special screen to the stewards where the car’s livery is not shown, I’ve seen something similar in football, it’s called “Virtual Replay” but it’s not real-time play. In that way decission could be really fair for all and spectators would know those decision weren’t affected by obscure political issues (as 2008 decisions “against” Hamilton in Belgium looked as directed by a guy called Luca), I’m just saying…

  41. Real conclusions can only be drawn from comparing similar incidents over the last five years and perhaps categorize the incidents to compare the penalties.

    A problem with that type of comparison would be the influence of the outcome of the infraction. One of Keith’s few direct criticisms of the stewards was allowing the outcome of the infraction to influence the penalty too much.

    Not that I would expect Keith to do that as part of this brave article, but I don’t think the issue is resolved.

  42. Why is it that the 2 pit lane speeding fines in 2009 are for different amounts of cash, is it because he “sped faster” in Italy?

    1. I think it was for a second offence in a season.

      1. I think is like $400.00 for every km that you pass the limit

  43. I believe questioning if Hamilton has been treated unfairly over the FIVE years is a bit inaccurate due to the system of investigating incidents & the Steward Panel being changed from 2010 onwards,although the reason for that was because the previous system/panel was too inconsistent.

    I think Some Penalties such as Spa & maybe France both in 08 were too harsh & rightfully questioned but other than that,Between 2007 – 2010 i think Lewis was treated no harsher than the rest.

    On the other Hand,This season is one we should really make a serious enquire about; If im right after Spain,the FIA issued a System that if a Driver received 3 Reprimands over a season,the next resulted in a Grid Drop & all Reprimands received before the rule was instated was refreshed,im referring to India,I think ignoring double waved yellows is worth just a reprimand not ‘3 Place Grid Penalty’ I dont even know anyone in the history of Formula 1 who was issued a ‘3 Place Grid Penalty’ I might be wrong,Correct if i am,In addition Hamilton received a Reprimand for more or less an Identical incident in Spain

    The only fair & correct decisions in my opinion this season were Malaysia(for the same manoveure Hamilton got a warning for a year ago),Spain(Reprimand),India(Race) & Canada.

    I also believe that since Lewis’ driving style & Attitude is Senna-esq & that F1 has become more strict & aware of incidents over the 2-3 decades,They seem to view him in a more aggressive & meaningful manner.

  44. One of the main reasons watching Lewis is so exciting is because he will attempt passes in places on the track where everyone else agrees you cannot over-take. I think this year, for a number of reasons, this has more often than not backfired rather than produced results.

    One of those reasons, I would argue, has been highlighted this weekend by Massa’s “I just take the racing line (regardless of whoever or whatever else is there)” comments.

    What is interesting to watch is that this year Button seems to have incorporated some Hamilton’s style into his own measured, Prost like driving. Button seems to be attempting the same kinds of moves at unconventional places, but he is making them work.

  45. Europe: Hamilton overtakes the safety car as it leaves the pits

    If I recall, Lewis and Alonso were fighting for P1, Lewis overtook the SC and Alonso did not, I think Hamilton went on to win this race as the drive through brought him out in P1.

    It was definitely a pushy move that gained him an unfair advantage.

    1. Vettel was leading and went on to win the race, Hamilton and Alonso were running second and third respectively.

      The Safety Car exited the pits just ahead of Hamilton and Alonso. Hamilton passed the Safety Car just after the SC line, which eventually earnt him a penalty. Alonso stayed behind the Safety Car and lost enough time to Hamilton that Lewis was able to serve his penalty without losing second place.

  46. Nice work, Keith in compiling the record here. But to be honest, I’m not sure where to go from here. It’s almost too comprehensive, but it’s a feast worth taking on.

    I’m going to skip the salad course though. Breaking down the data so see whether his calls are fair, you have to throw out the ones where he was purely the victim or it was a team foul, for clarity. And I’m only counting on-track fouls not pit lane limiter things and white-line fouls and other misdemeanors. Here, out of the 35 incidents, I’m left with:

    2007 – 1; 2008 -5; 2009- 3; 2010 – 4; 2011 – 12

    Thats 25 over the 5 years. Of these, Hamilton got 16 penalties and 3 reprimands.

    How many were actually controversial or showed a lack of precedent or basis? I count only 2: Belgium 2008; Monaco 2011 (Massa); (Reasonable people wil disagree about the Monaco ones, but it was exaclty like Massa’s foul in India. So there.)

    So in the end, I don’t think there is evidence that Hamilton has been treated unfairly. Although, in one case his penalty resulted in a brand new rule, applied ex-poste against him. However, I am not looking at whether him being investigated in the first place was fair. As we know lots of stuff goes uninvestigated or unnoticed by the stewards. That’s a vast project to take that on and probably not worth it in the end anyway,

    It is also interesting to note that, among these 35 incidents, another driver was penalized 10 times in the same incident. That goes to whether it actually took “two to tango” in the case, or how far off the mark was his judgment relative to his peers. Hard to make much of that without looking at other driver’s records, but it’s curious.

    Also, what do we learn about this Massa-problem here, which is held out as Exhibit A against Hamilton, and the basis of incredible hysterics. Looking at the “umpteen[]” times Massa and Hamilton collided, they share five entries all collisions. The results from those incidents are 2 penalties for Massa, 1 no-action, and 2 penalties to Hamilton. These incidents however also resulted in much irate jaw-boning, school-yard aggression in the paddock, and banging of shoes on the steward’s table by Massa. The stewards may not have it in for Hamilton, but Massa surely has something against him.

  47. There were incidents where Hamilton was penalised but shouldn’t be, and there were incidents where he shouldn’t be penalised but was.

    But the fact is he’s been involved in way too many incidents and it’s hurting him badly. Lewis is easily one of the most talented drivers on the grid, but if he ever wants to win a championship again, he’s going to have to be a lot more careful and avoid incidents.

  48. Where is hamilton and kobayashi’s collison?

  49. Whilst not wholly indicative of the results (penalty or not), I would argue Lewis is probably involved in more incidents, simply because he’s more ‘involved’ – ie. he tends to be the one making the most overtakes etc.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a few other drivers with a similar number of overtakes that haven’t been in as many incidents, so I’m not making excuses.

    One previous post mentioned his first season and that the ‘bad boy’ image was nurtured there and then and to some degree, I think that’s true. Regardless of what you might say about the stewards’ impartiality, I don’t think the constant media circus that surrounds Lewis helps. It’s a bit like the old adage, “if you keep telling a child they’re naughty, they’ll be naughty”. Keep telling the world Lewis is in a bad place, that he keeps making rash decisions etc., and soon everyone will think that.

    This isn’t a dig at Keith for putting the article up (in fact I’m amazed by the number of sensible posts!), but the last thing I’d say is this… maybe it’s time we let him get on with his life and stop scrutineering every aspect (

    I know he’s supposed to be one of the top 24 drivers in the world and the other 23 don’t seem to have the same problems… well, good for them, it must be great being so awesome. They are however, Lewis included, human…

    Here’s hoping for a smooth 2012 for him, because he sure as hell is one of the most entertaining drivers around.

    1. Agreed, he tends to be involved in overtaking because he’s rarely at the front of the pack. HAM believes he should be in P1 at every lap and goes nuts to get there. Not that I mind, it’s great to see top drivers weaving their way through the field – remember Webbers P18 to P3 in China.

  50. I remember Hamilton driving into the back of Alonso twice at the 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix, when Alonso was still driving for Renault . Hamilton damaged his nose and Alonso was out. Hamilton had a lame story about Alonso moving the same time that Hamilton did but it didn’t look that way on the video.
    Oh, they also said Alonso ‘Brake checked him’ but that was mud that didn’t stick.

  51. @kieth-collantine What do you make of Hamilton weaving in spa 08, on the run to les combes?
    I still think that Hamilton’s penalty was harsh in spa 08 but he should have lifted and not cut the bus stop to my mind. Anyway that is water under the bridge. As for the article as a whole I think it is very fair and informative. Hamilton is a controversial character and most of his penalties are deserved but his accidents this year seem to come from him being out of position or impatience. He never recover from the last five races of 2010 where he watxhed the championship needlessly slip away. As a result his mind-set is all wrong this year. but those last five mistakes must have killed the guys confidence.

  52. The first time I remember Hamilton getting a penalty for an incident is Melbourne 2009, and probably I assisted to the penalties he was given in 2008 but I found he had simply made a mistake, unlike in Melbourne the following year. I remember everyone in Italy was angry for the way the stewards handled the situation in Valencia in 2010, especially after the horrible (for Ferrari) Silverstone race, and perhaps from that point I saw Hamilton as someone who is always on the limit, of his car and also of the rules.
    2011 has been a bad year for him, but the only time I was really angry with him was after Singapore. It wasn’t the only time he was at fault, but the stewards have been good at remaining objective and penalising him when he needed to, or penalising the other driver (India) when he was faultless.

    1. If 2011 was bad for Hamilton what do we make of 2009 and 2010? He’s been off form since his WDC.

  53. I’m sure other drivers have had as many incidents as Lewis in the same time span, we just cant recall them so well. How many penalties have Sutil and Kovalainen had? They stated in the same season as Hamilton. Strictly speaking, 2007 was Vettel’s rookie season too. It’ll be interesting to compile that data.

  54. Oh dear, how about an article about how lenient other drivers have been treated? You know, just so someone can finally accuse you of impartial journalism.

  55. I think that makes about a dozen collisions, half this year, which, between 2007 and 2010 is not excessive.
    Recently the stewards have been harsh in penalising infractions generally, to the point of unfairness but these penalties may be a way of offsetting the predictability arising from metronomic pitstops and routine reliability of the front runners.
    Hamilton takes chances, this makes watching him compelling; today’s error of judgement is tomorrow’s masterful pass.
    Rosberg is a fast qualifier but seems to avoid incident with the corollary being, he rarely outperforms his expected position.
    In 2007 Hamilton could race Alonso with little pressure and best him on countback and qualifying (though head to head it was 10-7 to Alonso in the races), whilst the pressure of expectation, now that Hamilton is one of the fastest of all time means that the quiet Button, who has experienced defeat and failure, is possibly rattling him, through racecraft if not outright speed. I don’t think that Button is any better than Alonso, it just seems that 2011 is to Hamilton what 2007 is to Alonso. Alonso took out his frustration out of the car, Hamilton’s frustration has been manifest in the cockpit.
    I think Hamilton will win one race yet and be WDC in 2012 if the McLaren is competitive.

      3rd November 2011, 20:27

      You are right about the last line!

      Sam Micheal will be starting off as racing director in Abu Dhabi. I think this is Uncle Ron’s way of bringing back the discipline to Maclaren and pulling in Whitmarsh.

  56. This article exhibits the problem with most critical coverage of Hamilton in that it looks at him in isolation. It would be more fair if it looked at Hamilton’s treatment – by the F1 media and F1 authorities – in comparison to the treatment given to other drivers i.e. Alonso’s behaviour over the last five years or Schumacher’s driving this season. In specific incidents, such as the ridiculous “weaving” furore in Malaysia 2010, an easy comparison could had been made with all close racing down the home straight using race footage from a single camera.

    Apart from that the anti-Hamilton bandwagon is so large that hardly anyone in the F1 circus has the guts say anything that contradicts it. When two well experienced former F1 drivers can claim a driver has the right to turn into another, knowingly as well as unknowningly, because he’s following the “racing line” – I thought the only lines that have an official standing are the twowhite lines down each side of the track – then you know F1’s gone doolaly.

    1. @judo-chop I’ve already replied to similar comments and I’m not going to repeat myself.

      But to take the ‘weaving’ example from Malaysia, I don’t think there’s any room for doubt here. Hamilton clearly changed lines twice while defending from Petrov in 2010, he was given a clear warning not to do it, he did it again with Alonso in 2011, and he got a penalty.

      1. I can’t stand that whole weaving thing.

        We are suppose to be an intelligent species, watching a very technologically advanced sport, why cant we distinguish between blocking the progress of another car, and moving to break a tow?

        Clearly Hamilton was not blocking Petrovs progress by moving side to side, It just looked more dramatic because Petrov was trying to stay in Hamiltons wake.

        It’s fair enough that Hamilton got punished the following year because it had been highlighted/clarified already, but i have a problem with the rule itself.

        What constitutes weaving/blocking? how many cars length’s has there to be between 2 cars before a car can move side to side without being punished (ie. to get heat into the tires, or somthing) Where is the line drawn? Do they draw the line depending on whose involved?

        A little bit of common sense and this would never have been an issue in Malaysia

        1. I don’t think there’s ever been any ambiguity about this. Hamilton said in 2010 he was weaving to deprive Petrov of the tow, it was clear from the stewards’ response that wasn’t considered satisfactory, and so it proved when he did the same thing again in 2011.

      2. I have to disagree with your claim that there’s no room for doubt. The anti-weaving ruling was/is ill thought. Before the Hamilton/Petrov incident the ruling – I suppose you know the exact ruling – regarding a move across a car attemping an overtake was clear – one move across allowed. Changing lines to move away from a following car is in no way the same, proof of which is that the race stewards didn’t penalized him straight away under the then existing rules. The absurd thing is that most drivers in that situation, since they have the speed to catch the car in front, would usually love a car in front to move out of the way. But because it’s Hamilton – instead of being praised as clever defensive driving – it’s condemned despite being in no way dangerous, whinged about by pundits – who never previously said a peep about “breaking the tow” – as though cars in front are obliged to provide slipstreams for rivals and banned by reactionary stewards. With the effect now that the FIA expects drivers to sit tight while cars blow pass – DRS wide open as well. To add to which the anti-weave ruling is in no way clear regarding drivers changing line to gain better entry to a corner nor how close must be to be deemed impeding a competitor. All this is apart from the stewards inconsistent application of their new rule.

  57. As far as I can see, way less than half of these incidents have been caused by Hamilton and affected another driver’s race. I also think there is a strong relationship between overtakes and incidents. If we compared overtakes with incidents for drivers, Hamilton would be at the top. Hamilton’s exciting driving introduced me to F1 and made me love it, and if more exciting driving induces a few more incidents, so be it. We don’t want boring drivers.

  58. Hamilton is cool. End of story

  59. I dont know how many stewards there are in F1 and if there are different ones each weekend, but if they do change its a little silly to suggest all of them have something against Lewis….

    Also, in 2008 for example people were calling for having an ex-driver steward to make things fairer, but in the case of Hamilton the application of penalties has been the same in terms of consistency.

    There is no doubt Hamilton gets involved in more incidents than any other driver, regardless of weather he gets a penalty or not, so more incidents equals more penalties. There have been a few dodgy ones but havent most drivers got the odd unfair penalty? Also for example in Valencia 2010 he was VERY lucky to get away with it (in terms of the final result).

  60. I get the impression, especially after this year, that Hamilton brings it on himself sometimes.

    But he pretty much tries to be the story every weekend. He could lighten up some and get on with it.

  61. My views ( i know noone will agree) are,

    Ham-massa monaco, massa tuned in early and to fast (hit the back of webber) on purpose to hit ham and then kept turning into him.

    Ham-mald maonaco my opinyon was that ham went for the move, mald new he was there but still just turned in. Cars there dont turn in.

    Ham-massa singapore hams fault misjudged his front wing

    Ham-massa japan was really massa putting his car on the outside he should have known were lewis would be looking but i would not say a penalty would have been due for either driver.

    Ham-massa india massa left the door open on the inside and closed the door at the apex knowing ham was there, very dangerous, harsher penalty than a drive through for massa.

    Missed one
    Ham-kobiyashi spa i was astonished at everyones view it was hams fault especially how most on this site will say ham was not far enough alongside massa in india when kobiyashi was half a wheel beside ham!!!

    Ham-button canada jenson just didnt see him full stop.

    Ham-di resta hungary Was somthing of nothing, hams car would have forced di rester further off the track if he didnt move

    Ham-maldon belgium was just silly by both but maldonado was alot worse

      3rd November 2011, 20:21


    2. Ham-massa monaco, massa tuned in early and to fast (hit the back of webber) on purpose to hit ham and then kept turning into him.

      No, Massa turned in early doing the same thing Ham was doing- trying to pass the car ahead (Webber). Silly driving by both Massa and Ham at that hairpin, with Massa making a further mistake in the tunnel.

      1. Total ** Massa spent the last 5 laps before that cruising behind Weber, he had no intention other that Destroy Hamiltons Race

        1. The only ** here is the paranoia about everyone trying to destroy Ham’s race.

          1. Guess you didnt hear the team radio…

          2. I guess you didn’t realise that we’re taking about Monaco…

          3. Which makes it even more relevant, both Alonso and Ham was fighting for the championship back then and we already know that Massa will stop at nothing to ensure Alonso max points.

            Massa was in no way what so ever trying to get pass Webber or he would have done it several laps before instead of merrily cruising in his slipstream.

          4. So what if he was stuck behind Webber for a few laps? This is Monaco, a track where getting stuck behind the leading driver is very common. Like the other Ferrari stuck behind the other Red Bull.

            Look at how wide Webber was at that hairpin, and how tight Massa took the turn. Not every action on the road is about stopping Lewis Hamilton.

          5. Go watch it again, Massa was tailing Webber on the high/wide in that hairpin for at least 5 laps prior.

            When have Massa ever showed the aggressiveness it would require to pull such a move on Webber anyway?

          6. This has nothing to do with Massa’s past record with aggression or overtakes, it’s about the situation at the hairpin on that lap. Massa’s car was a bit up the inside of Webber with Hamilton’s a bit further up the inside of Massa.

            And if you want to make it about “aggressiveness”, then you should ask yourself whether LH is being overaggressive, leading to all these needless collisions.

      2. Why did massa not straight away turn out of the collision? he just kept turning into hamilton

        1. He kept turning to get through the Gand Hotel hairpin. He contact was pretty brief, and certainly not intentional on FM’s part.

  62. @Keith, i dont know if anyone mentioned this in above comments or not, but HAM-WEB incident in Australia 2010 is not in article…neither of them were given penalties but it surely affected Hamilton-Alonso battle

  63. The very nature of this question, show’s that Lewis isn’t being treated fairly? Who else would a receive such a question?

    1. @lewymp4

      The very nature of this question, show’s that Lewis isn’t being treated fairly


      1. When was the last time that you questioned the incidents, of any other driver’s history, of their last 5 years.

    2. @lewymp4

      Who else would a receive such a question?

      Who else? That is easy, ill give you 3 examples :
      1) Anyone who implies that they are being treated unfairly as a result of their race or colour.
      2) Anyone who frequently gets penalized.
      3) Anyone who makes lot of mistakes and subsequently results in racing incidences.

      I believe anyone who covers any of the above will get this question. ;)

      1. In the last 2 years Vitaly Petrov has crashed 6 times into instant retirement.

        In the last 5 years Lewis Hamilton has crashed 4 times into instant retirement.

        When do you think Vitaly’s record will be questioned?

        1. When do you think Vitaly’s record will be questioned?

          When Vitaly or his fans start complaining that he is being treated unfairly.

          Besides this is not a question about how many times someone has crashed out, it is a question about penalties and incidences.

          1. I realize that Vitaly was a rookie in 2010, and understand the incidents which he had could be expected, and they were….alot.

  64. To me, if you look at the bigger picture, the stewarts are fair. The reason why LH gets so many penalties is that he does so many stupid little things (like that donught in Hungary, or not lifting under yellows and such…).

    Back to SPA 2008. I didn’t follow that GP at the time, and i’ve just seen the pictures right now, so with a fresh pair of eyes.
    To me, Ham could have braked hrder and let Rai through the chicane. He didn’t, cut it and kind of gave the position back. But the way he did it, just letting Rai in front while maintaining the closest of gaps was wrong. I mean that he managed to be right in his gearbox for most of the startline straight, which wouldn’t have been the case if he had tried to stay on the track and lined up behind Rai at the chicane.

    I seriously think he should have let Rai through in such a way that he doesn’t gain an advantage for the upcoming corner.

    I understand the need to penalise him.

    1. So you are one of the dudes that think that a McLaren anno 2008 could literally run in circles around a Ferrari anno 2008.

      I didn’t think they existed but there you are :)

      And yeah Hamilton did go behind Kimi on one side and reappeared on the other of the poor find who was to busy defending instead of racing.

      1. He’s right, plus “defending” is part of racing.

      2. @gwenouille is right, plus “defending” is part of racing.

      3. What are you talking about ? Can you make your point clear ?

        1. HAM Went all the way around the backside of kimi’s car at that incident, reappearing on the other side then out braked him in the next corner = running in circles. If that isn’t giving the place back, then its just ridiculous.

          But then, it were :(

    2. gwenouille, I imagine that Lewis has been the only driver in the entire F1 field that has not lifted under yellow flags or has done donuts during a race.

      Regarding Spa 2008….you said, ” that maintaining the closest of gaps is wrong. ” What was Lewis supposed to do………count to ten before he got back on the gas.

      Mclaren felt that Lewis gave back any advantage that he had received by cutting the chicane. Mclaren’s trace data showed that Hamilton gave back the lead, because he was 6km/h slower than Raikkonen, and when they crossed the start/finish line Kimi was doing 212km/h and compared to 206km/h for Hamilton.

      According to Ron Dennis, race Director Charlie Whiting gave assurances twice…..twice to the Mclaren pitwall that Lewis had driven within the rules……twice……yet he was penalized.

  65. Hamilton’s(Mclarens) decision to stop his car on the track is investigated No action taken – team mistakenly believed Hamilton had suspension damage lol yeah right just another get jenson past lewis to me.

    1. lol, Jenson was ahead of Lew before the incident, and with a damaged car wouldn’t have got ahead in any case.

  66. ` Afterwards the cars of Williams and BMW faced a protest over using fuel of an incorrect temperature. Had they been thrown out and points redistributed, Hamilton might have won the championship`, I think it was the shape of things to come.

  67. KOV drives RAI wide an HAM gets the penalty, way to go poeindexter.

  68. Do ya know what, I’m not going to even comment on this article, because whatever you say, someone is going to defend or attack Hamilton too enthusiastically!

    1. Isnt that known as Schrodingers Car ;-)

  69. Hey Keith, how many penalties have the other top 5 drivers accrued over the same period? No, I’m not having a go at you about balance (this is a blog afterall, not the BBC), just curious.

  70. Things started to fall apart for Lewis since his incident in Canada 2008.

    1. Not exactly, he had a nice race in Germany, he won. And Korea, I guess the problem is when he falls so far behind. Hamilton behaivoir right know remindsme of Vettel of the mittle fo last year… He is desperate and frustrated…

  71. And remember in India 2011 the flag was yellow and the light was green. A bit confusing I’d say, that is, if the yellow flag(s) was(were) actually seen. This represents a failure by the FIA but Lewis paid the price twice(penalty and as a consequence a tangle with Massa).

  72. sid_prasher (@)
    4th November 2011, 4:33

    Excellent article, it is pretty clear that the number of penalties being handed out in general have increased over the past couple of years and hence Lewis also has got more. As for correct or wrong it generally balances itself out for everyone.

  73. If the decisions at Monaco, where Lewis made his feelings clear, had been the other way.

    How do you think it would have affected this season?

  74. Very fair from the FIA but alot of reprimands are there when it should have been a small penalty.

  75. kenneth Ntulume
    4th November 2011, 8:29

    I must congratulate you on this article.
    Having read through thoroughly, I, find Carl Lewis Hamilton, a man more sinned against than sinning, over his so far short period in F1, he has been penalized more often than other drivers not penalized for similar incidents.
    On the basis of that fact.
    I have no choice but to conclude that Hamilton has in-fact NOT BEEN TREATED FAIRY!

    1. kenneth Ntulume
      4th November 2011, 8:31

      Sorry meant NOT TREATED FAIRLY

    2. has been penalized more often than other drivers not penalized for similar incidents.

      I don’t think the article comes anywhere close to supporting that view, as I said in the conclusion.

      Also his first name isn’t Carl.

      1. Carl Lewis Hamilton would have been good back in the day where drivers had to run back to their spare car

      2. Full name – Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton

  76. Good article, Keith.

  77. Great article, is there any plans for similar ones for other drivers?

    1. I think similars, as like this much detail will be complicated. But it will be great to see a comparative table….

      1. @badger @celeste I think the very nature of the article doesn’t lend itself well to comparisons with other drivers. Lack of consistency is about the only consistency.

  78. One other incident that you missed, but maybe wasn’t investigated, was Monza 2008.

    That day, Hamilton was quite dangerous, sending Glock onto the grass at Curva Grande and moving into Webber in the braking area into the first chicane.

    He claimed that his mirrors were fogged, but that seems like a very poor excuse to me, as it was the same for everyone, and no-one else was pulling off dirty moves like that.

    Overall, I don’t think Hamilton has been unfairly penalised in his career. In fact, you could say he’s been quite lucky in many respects, such as Malaysia and Europe in 2010, and Belgium and Japan this year.

    1. Yes I remember some articles about some drivers being really mad at Hamilton…but since no penalty or steward investigation was made I guess it doesn´t count for this statics…

      Here, is from a blog, here is aother one , and another one and another one

    2. Lewis’s mirrors may or may not have been fogged at Monza during the 2008 race, but their was surely one hell of a spray being thrown up, which probably made it impossible to see Glock behind him.
      Schumacher surely couldn’t make that claim in the bright sunshine at Hungary in 2010, pushing Barrichello to the pitwall.

  79. jn my view the main problem is lack of clear rules for the stewards to work to

    to much opinion rather than applying regulations

    but I used to watch F1 back in the days when the drivers were allowed to race

  80. It would be interesting to see other drivers statistics with regards to on-track infringements, collisions and resulting penalties over a season.
    Taking a couple of drivers as an example would put this whole question into context with Lewis’s data, and highlight the stewards questionable consistency.
    As Rubens Barrichello stated recently there is just as much incidents that occur toward the back of the field that doesn’t even get noticed or appear not to get noticed.
    My question is what are all the stewards doing throughout the races, surely they should be covering the whole track and not just focussing on what happens up front.

  81. I still think Massa intentionally turned down into Lewis in Monaco. What’s more, I believe that Massa uses Lewis’ reputation with the stewards against him. He knew he and Hamilton would make contact in India last week, but assumed he would be given the benefit of the doubt, and Hamilton penalized. I cheered loudly when the reverse happened.

    And no, I’m not a big Lewis Hamilton fan.

  82. Hamilton is a winning or nothing driver, it’s like a lot less talented senna.

  83. A great article, Keith!

    I might have missed it in the many comments so far, but I thought the stewards did look (although not sure) into the Massa-Hamilton incident in the last corner of the British GP this year, but took no action.

  84. Brave article! A necessary one, however.

    I’m also glad you put this article up inbetween races, hopefully some intelligent conversation has arisen.

    I’ve joined a little late, so I won’t join in. I also don’t think there is a great deal to discuss. Some more justification from the stewards is all I ask. I don’t think there us any bias for or against Hamilton anywhere, at any time.

  85. “But the evidence above does not support claims that the stewards pursue a line for or against Hamilton.”

    Ehm, yes it does. At least at the end of 2008 when Donnelly was obviously intent on keeping Massa in the race. Not just that penalty in Belgium, but also that penalty in Fuji was simply insane. A drive through for outbraking yourself when half the field did the same? Come on. Kovalainen actually went off track AND collided with Raikkonen, yet he got no penalty whatsoever.

    The Canada penalty seemed harsh too. As I remember, Rosberg was given only a 5 place grid drop because Donnelly claimed that Hamilton was responsible for Rosberg running into him too (!?!)

    It’s also quite rare that they hand a penalty when a driver has already failed to finish the race due to the incident.

    This season it really has gotten insane though. He gets penalties for everything.

    The weaving? He moved at worst a meter. At the start of the straight! It’s not like there is a racing line there to follow. You see drivers move all over the track on the straights, but no one ever gets a penalty for that (including a reprimands). Just because they once gave Hamilton a flag for something “similar” now they feel he must be penalised. The move wasn’t even close to the same thing though. He wasn’t flagged for blocking or unfair defending, but for unsportshmanship like driving because it ridiculed Petrov. He never blocked Petrov with it though. Neither was Alonso blocked.

    At least half of the incidents he got a penalty for the penalty was nonsense. Especially if you compare it to the non-penalties that are given to other people driving into him (eg Webber in Singapore and Button twice in Canada)

    The only time I remember Webber getting a penalty was when he tried to ram Barrichello off the road just after the start. Webber recovered well by winning that race though. I don’t recall Button ever getting a penalty for any of the crashes he caused.

    I have to say it’s good to see some sense coming into the stewards though. It was a fair of them to penalise Massa for blatantly abusing the oversensitive situation that (the stewards) had put Hamilton in.

    It’s probably just a combination of things though. Hamilton does a lot of overtaking and the rules are insanely on the side of the defending party.

    Look at the Monaco incidents. Hamilton gets penalised for 2 incidents when the race showed that if the defender doesn’t just close the door on (ie ram into) his opponent there was no need for an accident.

    If the defender simply decides to turn in, he actually is guaranteed that the penalty goes to the overtaker. Apart from when they make it too obvious like Massa did in the last race.

    The gentleman rule used to be that if the following driver had a front wheel past the rear wheel of his opponent he “had” the corner. When people stopped dying in crashes (and the attitude change that Senna and Schumachers ruthless driving brought on), this went into disuse.

    Nowadays they just ram into each other. Often simply citing that they “didn’t see” the opponent is enough to appease the stewards. Well maybe you shouldn’t be racing then or put actually working mirrors on the car so you don’t have to lean out to actually see something!

    BTW that incident in Hungary with Raikkonen was Vettel’s own fault. Vettel tried to go as the third one through a corner and he did end up paying the price. He had to drop out with a suspension failure caused in that incident.

    1. The Canada penalty seemed harsh too. As I remember, Rosberg was given only a 5 place grid drop because Donnelly claimed that Hamilton was responsible for Rosberg running into him too (!?!)

      No, Rosberg got 10 places as well.

    2. At the 2008 Belgian GP, Alan Donnelly’s role may have played a major part in the stewards decision,and Charlie Whiting’s actions was highly questionable. The stewards at the time were being led by Donnelly, who then was Max Mosley’s race representative.
      Why did Whiting in real time tell, and assured the Mclaren pitwall twice, that Lewis had driven within the rules, only then later…later advising the stewards to study Lewis’s driving.

  86. I think we all comprehend Keith point of view, I do belive that Hamilton was harmed by the stewards many times mostly in 2007 and 2008 but in my opinion theres always much more to tell about penaltys, and in the end we dont discuss some theories because they lack tangible facts, I think Hamilton was being harmed by Mclarens mistakes in 07 and 08 it was nothing personal like it in 2010 and in this season. About 2007 and 2008 the way both champs ended in Brazil was very eventfull and I dont blame people for thinking that those champs may have been a little fixed by FIA. Many theorys may submerge. One theory that I have is that FIA didnt disclose enough information about radio feeds rule infrigement and other minor details and neither about the big infrigements and suspicious “spygates” “crash fixes” Glocks help” in order not to stain the sport and show all FIA rules weaknesses. One weakness in my opinion was the pit under safety car rules that I believe lead to many victories in 08, whether those situations were real or staged we might never know, finally I must stand against Mclaren not Hamilton.

  87. I remember all these incidents, but unlike you say, they are not as clear cut in deserving penalties.

    Hamilton almost forced Kimi off track, but Heikki actually forced Kimi off.

    I remember Coulthard pulling a move so impossible, it was bothering on the suicidal and almost came close to decapitating Wurz, no penalty.

    Impeding penalty, Hamilton stayed behind Heikki so they don’t both block the track.

    How can someone hitting Hamilton qualify as a Hamilton problem? If Kubica or anyone else hit Hamilton, that is a Kubica or anyone else’s problem and don’t belong here.

    Most of these incidents don’t even qualify to be on here.

    Most of the penalties he received were not even in the rules book. Already ahead of a driver beflre cutting the chicane is different from cutting the chicane to get ahead.

    Until Spa, who ever said you had to wait 2 corners before attempting to overtake after giving a position back?

    The multiple move rule came about because of sudden movements in the braking zone and safety. Suddenly it became an issue at the start of the straight. Breaking of a tow, and lead vs lag factor. When did the rules book say a driver can not attempt to break a tow? Or when did it say you can’t move aside to give the other driver enough room to pass?

    Spygate: Who could Hamilton have known in F1 circles that he could have sourced information from?

    Hamilton cuts chicane in qualifying????? Seriously does that even warrant a visit to the stewards? Isn’t that just a clearcut mistake similar to driving wide?

    Ariving late for a press conference!!!!!
    This one is so unforgivable. They should revoke his super licence and be banned from any form of racing. How dangerous. He and his Mclaren minders, who of course plan his schedule, should be denied entry to the pits for life

    Now if Mclaren tell Hamilton to stop the car, something Ferrari and other teams have told their drivers at some point, why should that be Hamilton’s problem or fault.
    Mclaren have had a hand in many of his stewards visits.
    A team giving a driver the wrong tyres isn’t the driver’s issue but a team issue.
    Some of those fines are for the team’s actions and not for the driver.

    When was late braking and locking of brakes ever punished? He didn’t even hit Kimi at Fuji, ok you may argue that Kimi avoided turning into the corner, but do we apply penalties for preventing drivers from turning in when they want to?
    This issue was debated in here in the past, he only got the penalty retroactively because Massa had ploughed into him so, Mosley and his cronies decided to make it 50 – 50.
    The fact remains, Hamilton has got punished for the most fickle of reasons.

    Your conclusion…. The evidence……ah but if something has been done, we can always look for was to justify it being the right decision.
    You can’t draw a conclusion from words, you have to go through the evidence. And I remember what your articles about some of these earlier incidents were, but it seems with time we accept more the outcome as facts, even when we had once questioned the rationale.

    1. Absolutely brilliant Oliver, and…..Well Said!

    2. kenneth Ntulume
      4th December 2011, 10:44

      Oliver, no one with pen and paper, oooops keyboard would have put it better…….
      Denying the obvious fact that Hamilton has been treated like other drivers is like, Blatter saying….Ra…. is not a problem in football

  88. I appreciate your piece of work, thankyou for all the informative blog posts.

  89. Interesting analysis, perhaps it is a 50/50? although a Hamilton fan [mainly thanks to my wife’s enthusiasm over the past 4 year, i had stopped viewing after Murray Walker retired] I can see that Hamilton is one of the more exciting drivers, takes more risks,can sometimes risk himself and others. What do you make of this wekend’s pantomime? Viewed from a partisan angle I might say that Hamilton has been making a beeline for the championship this year, consistently finishing in the top three, in 3rd place in the ratings (bearing in mind that the first place has not been falling weekly into Vettel’s lap as last year]. Anyone with an “interest” or “enthusiasm” for Vettel and “negative ” feelings towards Hamilton, might be inclined to penalise him to the max for circumstances beyond Hamiltons control such as the Saturday incident. However Hamilton consistent as ever can push himself from 25th [or 95th if you like] and end up in the top 10. I have the feeling that the stewards [and others] may feel the only way to stop him is to put a stake in his heart. As for the “is it because I is black”? Surely an elite of white English, Hispanic, and Latin american millionaires would have no feelings of racism? Heaven forbid.

  90. Can you guys out there read this reference of Lewis Hamiltons racing incidents and decide for yourselves who has had the most decisions against them !! ?? maybe the other drivers should stay in the paddock in the interest of safety

  91. This is an interesting list, that I will go over more in depth, as I encountered in a search for the total number of incidents that he’s had in his career, but have been in the process of researching this to put out an article that he has been given extreme favoritism, the likes that has never been seen before.

    And, while you claim this list doesn’t show one way or the other, it actually does clearly show that Hamilton has been given preferential treatment, especially in that it took a Hamilton fan not putting full explanations up along with the incidents, and leaving off several other key incidents.

    For instance, where is the Silverstone incident in 2011, when in the last curve he drove into Massa, knocking Massa off line, and then cutting inside him after the pace Massa lost in the process?

    Similarly, I expected to see an incident where he nearly took out Schumacher at Monaco, but, instead of adding it to your list of incidents, you listed it as this;

    “His collision with Pastor Maldonado in the Monaco Grand Prix might have been avoided had Maldonado shown the kind of awareness Michael Schumacher had when Hamilton made an identical move on the Mercedes driver earlier in the race.”

    It’s not Maldonado’s responsibility to drive his car out of the way just because Hamilton wants to attempt a risky overtake where there isn’t space for it, including cutting a chicane with a cone on it… nor should it have been Schumacher’s. In fact, Schumacher probably should’ve been awarded the position back.

    You also didn’t mention in that account of the Monaco incidents, that his “post-race time penalty” was 20 seconds, and didn’t cost him any positions in order. So basically, it was a non-penalty, just to assess one to make it seem like he wasn’t getting favoritism, but this essentially was “no action”.

    Furthermore, there’s no commenting on him twice having incidents at Canada in 2011 prior to the contact with Button. He took out Webber in Canada, and then spun out impeding traffic, before the contact with Button. On top of that, he was told by his team to park the car, because the suspension was broken, and instead tried to drive it back, laying debris all over the track and impeding other drivers on the course as he did this. That clearly should’ve been a penalty for unsafe driving.

    Then, your account of Hamilton vs. Massa shows that the stewards kind of evenly applied penalties, when clearly it was Hamilton coming after Massa every time it happened. This continued in succession, and he probably should’ve been receiving accumulating penalties as a result.

    It wasn’t just 2011 that your incidents lack a proper account of things. In China in 2010, Vettel was released ahead of Hamilton, but Hamilton tried to keep up racing inside of him insisting there was plenty of room for both cars. The entire thing should’ve been on Hamilton for not falling behind Vettel, and for driving where the pit crews actually were. Vettel and Hamilton getting each a reprimand negates that it was Hamilton who initiated the problem, and who did a far worse action worthy of more punishment.

    This is similar with his incident with Maldonado in 2011 at Spa. He forced an issue on Maldonado at the end of the qualifying session, nearly running into him, so Maldonado caught up with him and may have clipped him slightly. BUT, the reaction of Hamilton was to then go after him, and he drove up and contacted him, and then after that a second time jerked his car right into him. Yet, for some reason, Maldonado was given a 5 place grid penalty and Hamilton was allowed to keep him pole position. Shouldn’t they both have been penalized?

    Curiously enough, Ecclestone went out of his way to make sure the video of that incident disappeared, but I can assure you, it’s out there still, and worse than the Vettel contact that was a simple tire to tire bump. Hamilton’s incident with Maldonado was car to car, and as the wings were damages it caused debris to fly up into the stands and one of them was seriously injured. Yet, he wanted to argue that Vettel should’ve been black flagged, despite him getting to keep his pole.

    There’s still also the incident in 2007, where Alonso “block”s Hamilton in the pit lane. There’s no “blocking” for that. It’s a team’s decision who is in pit at the time, and who is not. There’s no FIA regulation broken there. Hamilton ignored team orders as to who the first car out would be, and took pole ahead of Alonso, so the team made sure that Alonso would be the one who got the 2nd shot at a pole lap ahead of Hamilton (and that Hamilton would likely not be able to complete one). Why on earth did the FIA get involved, and what legitimate reason was Alonso dropped from his pole that season (which ended up being the difference in Alonso losing the World Championship).

    Also, there was an earlier issue that season where Hamilton put in a complaint to the FIA saying that the team had put in orders which favored Alonso. Why on earth would Hamilton (a rookie), feel that he should’ve been given the same treatment as Alonso (a 2 time World Champion) by the team? That’s absolutely absurd arrogance on his part. But, that’s the treatment he’s gotten from the FIA the whole time.

    Why is it that when Hamilton is doing things wrong, there are equal no-penalties given out, but when someone does something slightly wrong after an incident involving Hamilton where he too played a part there is a big penalty given to them, but Hamilton goes without any real consequences.

    Time and time again this happens, and it has continued to this day, beyond the 2011 incidents.

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