Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2016

Hamilton avoids grid penalty after unsafe release

2016 German Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has avoided a reprimand – and therefore a ten-place grid drop – after being investigated for an unsafe release from the pits during final practice.

The Mercedes driver was investigated after delaying Romain Grosjean in the pits at the start of the final practice session.

Mercedes has been fined €10,000 for the error. “The team admitted that they released car 44 from the garage when it was unsafe to do so,” the stewards noted.

Meanwhile Grosjean will take a five-place grid drop due to a gearbox change.

2016 German Grand Prix

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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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Posted on Categories 2016 F1 season, 2016 German Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton

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  • 41 comments on “Hamilton avoids grid penalty after unsafe release”

    1. The precedent has been set. Hamilton will never get a reprimand for an unsafe release.
      Probably the rule book has been rewritten again to favour Hamilton.
      What a joke.

      1. Really? How many drivers have ever gotten reprimand for an unsafe release?
        Dont let the facts get in the way of your dislike.

      2. Nico was allowed to ignore the double-yellow flag rule so he could get pole and take it away from Lewis. Those pesky stewards can’t even make up their mind who they’re favouring.

        1. he did not ignore the yellow flags. that was proven, the thing about that was whether he lifted enough – which has never been told to driver b how much to lift.

          1. The drivers were told to lose half a second when passing double waved yellow. So they know that’w not the same as braking a few meters earlier for a corner therefore pretending to slow down by 20km/h when in fact that was only for a few meters.

      3. This is a sad comment from someone who just doesn’t like Hamilton and obviously knows very little about F1, if you reads Keith’s article you will see that in 2011 alone there were 38 unsafe release investigations, only one of which has resulted in a driver reprimand … yep, the stewards certainly rewrote the rule book to favour Lewis, your comment is the joke here, not the stewards and not Lewis.

        1. Well but since then the FIA tightened the rules regarding unsafe releases and Safety issues in the pit Lane in general After Red Bull almost assasinated a cameraman in 2013 so i don’t Think 2011 Is a Good reference in this case

          1. @mrboerns, if we restrict the timeframe to the past few years, the normal course of action by the stewards for unsafe releases where there has been no collisions or other damage caused by the unsafe release has been to fine the teams.

            In 2015, Bottas and Palmer were both investigated for unsafe releases (in Singapore and Brazil respectively), and in both instances the team was fined for their mistake. Similarly, in the Chinese GP earlier this year, Perez was released into the path of another car during the race and the stewards decided to impose a fine on the team as well. By comparison with those instances of an unsafe release being investigated, the decision by the stewards to fine Mercedes is consistent with previous practise.

            As Keith has noted, harsher penalties are usually only imposed when there has been an actual collision or some other major incident caused by the unsafe release. For example, in the 2015 Abu Dhai GP, Bottas was given a 5s time penalty because he accidentally clipped the back of Button’s car when he was released, whilst in the 2016 British GP the penalty imposed on Palmer (a 10s stop and go penalty) was because the rear wheel fell off and rolled down the pit lane.

            1. Thank you, your comment clarifies the whole thing. I want Lewis to get the championship, but I want him to get it fair and square. I was upset when I read the article thinking the stewards were messing up with the rules, but now I understand they weren’t.

              I would prefer that they were more strict with the rules, specially those related to safety, but since they aren’t, it’s good that at least they are consistent.

        2. At his debut race Harryanto got a grid penalty for an unsafe release.
          He hindered Grosjean big time.
          When Grosjean had not used his brake pedal he would have collided with Hamilton, like Grosjean did with Harryanto.
          Furthermore his team made a sign to him to stop because Grosjean was approaching, he just ignored the sign and went out…
          So the unsafe release was Hamilton’s fault only, that’s why I call it a joke, double standards.
          Finally I don’t dislike Hamilton, simply put, a race director should not be biased to his fellow country man.
          I think Hamilton has outclassed the field the last couple of years, so I admire him for his racing skills.
          His private life, is not of my liking, but then again that is not important when he’s doing his tricks on the race track.
          If Rosberg, had done the same thing, the English press would be all over him. Now they downplay the incident.
          Nothing more, nothing less.

          1. @auria, I think that you are getting a bit confused about what Haryanto was penalised for in Australia, as technically Haryanto committed a difference offence.

            The decision was taken that Haryanto “did not pay attention to the approaching car which was in the fast lane” and chose to continue pulling out until he drove into the side of Grosjean’s car. Haryanto was therefore penalised for “causing a collision” in the pit lane, not for an unsafe release.

            1. As I stated before, the only difference is, this time Grosjean hit the brake pedal and there was no collision.
              Therefore for me, pretty obvious double standards.

            2. @auria, Haryanto was being penalised for the actual collision with Grosjean, rather than an unsafe release, which is why the penalty was relatively harsh in that instance. You are focussing on that one incident, but there have been a lot of previous instances of unsafe releases where the stewards only gave out financial penalties to the team, not driver penalties.

              Earlier this year, when Force India were found guilty of an unsafe release during the Chinese GP, the penalty was a €5,000 fine for the team – similarly, when Palmer and Bottas were judged to have been released in an unsafe manner during the 2015 season, their teams were given financial penalties and no action was taken against the driver.

              Going back to 2013, there were a number of unsafe releases where the only action was a fine. Grosjean was released into Button’s path during the qualifying session in the 2013 Belgian GP, causing Button to have to hit the brakes to avoid a crash, and the stewards imposed a €5,000 fine on the team in that situation. Even when a wheel fell off Webber’s car and injured a cameraman back in 2013, the FIA penalised Red Bull (not Webber) and, once again, the only action was a fine (€30,000 in that instance).

              As I said before, the more usual response in recent years for an unsafe release, unless you are also going to claim that Grosjean, Webber, Bottas, Palmer and Perez were also given favourable treatment, has been a fine for the team.

      4. @auria I’m presuming this is sarcasm, in which case +1, I was going to say the same. This is the sort of response we would see if Rosberg were involved, so it’s fair that it is said the other way

    2. Rosberg presumably already dialling up Whiting for a ‘clarification’…

      1. Karthik Mohan
        30th July 2016, 12:22

        I appreciate the humour, but technically, Hamilton cannot be blamed for this, as he relies on the team to let him out safely, whereas Rosberg was fully responsible for slowing down or not for yellow flags, so isn’t the lack of penalty justified?

        1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
          30th July 2016, 12:28

          Should an unsafe release in practice ruin a driver’s race? I hope that most people would think that wrong.

          1. Well as opposed to say, track extending the unsafe release regulations are a Safety issue also valid in Free Practice i would say It actually SHOULD hurt. And we all know fees don’t hurt. St least merc.

            1. In that case, a team mistake should hurt both drivers for the team equally.

          2. if it’s a driver you don’t like, yes, or at least that’s what i’m getting from reading the comments here.

            1. As a matter of fact i don’t like Hamilton These Days. Still think my Point holds up to scrutiny.

      2. Question for @keithcollantine, if I may…

        Do you consider the two situations the same, or is this just some misplaced humor?

        1. @stubbornswiss Humour, though not misplaced :-)

      3. @keithcollatine Just auto COTD! Anyway, I dislike Hamilton but i dont think he should be punished by the teams mistake.

      4. Mark in Florida
        31st July 2016, 0:18

        Now that’s funny Keith, but Rosberg has more class than that. He is not quite the diva that his teammate is. Still funny though.

      5. Martin Powell
        31st July 2016, 1:32

        I wonder why you ‘forgot’ to add something along the lines of:

        ‘The fact of the matter is that although a rule was in place in 2014 which guaranteed drivers would receive a 10-place penalty if released ‘in an unsafe manner’, that particular piece of legislation was removed amid a general belated acceptance penalising drivers rather than teams for such infringements was unfair’

        I find it hard to believe, that you didn’t know this!

    3. How can there be an unsafe release by any team? Don’t the pit crew ever drive on the roads? Amateur hour.

      1. Martin Powell
        31st July 2016, 1:24

        Oh dear, you don’t seem to be familiar with this sport.

    4. What is the penalty for an unsafe release on Quali and on Race???

      1. Martin Powell
        31st July 2016, 1:26

        The fact of the matter is that although a rule was in place in 2014 which guaranteed drivers would receive a 10-place penalty if released ‘in an unsafe manner’, that particular piece of legislation was removed amid a general belated acceptance penalising drivers rather than teams for such infringements was unfair’

    5. Pleasantly surprised that the stewards for once let Hamilton off the hook.
      Nico won’t be pleased!

    6. I don’t get it. The team admitted an unsafe release, so it should be automatically a reprimand right? or have the rules changed?

      1. ah i see. it’s actually not automatic. if a driver takes appropriate action and no wheels are flying off, usually nothing happens.

    7. The question should be who was the amature Mercedes technician who let Lewis out of the garage and put the world champion into a position where he could have received penalties/damage to his and another drivers car or worse! I hope Mercedes reprimand who was responsible as this from a public point of view looks very very fishy and once again demonstrates underhand and deceitful ways to undermine Lewis.

      1. @Paul Smith it is an easy answer to “who was the amature Mercedes technician”: Since Nico’s engineers swapped with Lewis’s, it is a conspiracy, Nico ex team trying to sabotage Lewis as much as they can get away with … j/k

    8. rules are rules… Hamilton was lucky here… just after qualifying paddy lowe was interviewed and blaimed the tightness of the pit for the incident – so denying blame…. but then when Hamilton and the team were summoned, the team “admitted” they had let Hamilton out unsafely… that admission only cost them 10,000 as penalty – ie about 5 cents for any normal working person, and even less for a corporation like Mercedes…. so the team admitted fault and got far less then any slap on the wrist.. the stewards could have used precedents (ie at Spa a driver got a reprimand for this same incident) to help reinforce this rule… – the ruling in the FIA states the driver can get a penalty. but now a new precedent is set, that this kind of pit lane incident is not important anymore, and safety is not important anymore in the pitlane as a result. the FIA and its rules, and the stewards, they are all over the place.. there are rules set in place, and then no penalty given from braking them. I was disgusted watching Verstappen’s qualifying laps today, totally off the road at turn one and the especially the last turn – all to get more speed, and no penalty. why have any rules if they can be broken at will.

      1. Martin Powell
        31st July 2016, 1:39

        Hamilton was not lucky, as you say ‘rules are rules’
        ‘The fact of the matter is that although a rule was in place in 2014 which guaranteed drivers would receive a 10-place penalty if released ‘in an unsafe manner’, that particular piece of legislation was removed amid a general belated acceptance penalising drivers rather than teams for such infringements was unfair’

    9. MG421982 (@)
      31st July 2016, 8:10

      Of course…

      1. MG421982 (@)
        31st July 2016, 8:25

        Funny how these reprimands “work” so well when a slower car impeds somehow a faster car… and especially a winning car… but not the other way around!!!

    10. Points should be knocked off of constructors’ , not drivers’.

    Comments are closed.