Hamilton took “massive advantage” by cutting turn one – Hulkenberg

2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg has added his voice to the complaints over Lewis Hamilton’s tactics at the start of the Mexican Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who started from pole position, locked a wheel at the first corner and went straight on, bypassing turn two entirely as he rejoined the track.

2016 Mexican Grand Prix in pictures
The Force India driver claimed his rival had obtained a huge advantage and was surprised the move wasn’t even investigated.

“I’m actually very surprised about that because [it was a] massive advantage,” Hulkenberg told reporters in Mexico.

“I think he was going well off the track. He was far, far from making turn one and two.”

“That that was not even looked at, very surprising to me, because on every other track it might be a shunt or losing positions. Can’t understand why it hasn’t been looked at.”

Hamilton went on to win the race and denied he gained an advantage by cutting the corner on the first lap.

“I had a completely flat-spotted tyre so that definitely wasn’t an advantage,” he said. “I think I was still in the lead going in so I was in the lead coming out, so I don’t believe so.”

Red Bull drivers Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo also questioned why Hamilton was allowed to cut the corner without receiving a penalty.

2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    69 comments on “Hamilton took “massive advantage” by cutting turn one – Hulkenberg”

    1. yes he did but championship gets closer

      1. Which should bear zero relevance in the decision to investigate it

        1. yes he did but championship gets closer

        2. He’s saying they didn’t investigate it because they want Hamilton to win the title (note Bernie’s comments about ROS being champ.

          1. shortly after the incident the yellow flags came out so really what advantage did he have since whatever advantage he may have had was wiped away .

            1. Well, the obvious counter argument is that if he made a mistake, he should lose from it. If it was gravel or a wall his race might well be over. Secondly, the gap he had on the first lap protected him during the most vulnerable part of his race.

              Personally, I don’t think you could penalize him. What would you do, give a place up? Why, he wasn’t fighting. Nico wasn’t competing for the place. Lose 5 seconds? And risk ruining the entire race over a start incident? Drive through? Pfft. Too harsh.

              And it’s not like he did it repeatedly. Do we want drivers penalized for mistakes?

              But having said that, Why is a short cut then ok for him, but not ok for someone else?

              … My post is long because I don’t know the answer. Personally, I think it’s a result of track design, the first corner makes it hard/impossible to safely rejoin before the second corner, so they cut. Perhaps they need to have a bollard the drivers are forced to go around or something? (But then, it’s grass, so good luck with that).

            2. The advantage was not the lead he gained by flooring it across the grass. The advantage was what would have happened if he would have tried to return to the track for turn 2 as he should have. At the very least rosberg and verstappen would have been right on him with ROS and HAM having dirty tires. And because the rules state(at least what I remember from the Kimi at silverstone incident) that a car leaving the track has to come back safely (right of way for the cars on track) he probably would have lost even more places. So no, the advantage was not negated by the yellow flags: the advantage was there for the whole duration of the race.

              What would have been ruled, if HAM would have come back for turn 2 and Rosberg would have cut the corner and gained positions because of verstappen bumping him off, is a whole different matter..

            3. You could say at the start of the race when so many drivers are approaching that first corner blind and at speed, that it’s dangerous to stall there and risk another driver ploughing into you.

              In that situation safety comes before any perceived advantage. If Hamilton had tried to return at turn two it would have placed him and the other drivers at risk.

              Later on in the race when the drivers are more strung out, there isn’t that same risk of a blind collision at that corner.

              The point I found interesting is that once again Hamilton appear to have traction / brake control issues at the start of the race.

          2. @saint-jay Indeed, where are all the conspiracy theories about that? This is way more obvious.

          3. again a fixed rigged system, is it because he is black he gets to slide, this is unacceptable,
            boycott hamilton!!!!

    2. Turn 1 looks to be a big issue. Now it’s known, they need to implement something similar to other tracks, where if the driver doesn’t rejoin the track within proximity of where they went off, they are forced to lose time going the long way around to rejoin. In future hopefully the tech is there to cut engine power for a couple of seconds or something, so gravel traps or other safety issues aren’t a concern.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        31st October 2016, 1:57

        It’s like Les Combes at Spa, and it has sleeping policemen in its runoff area. Or they could implement something similar to turn 2 in Sochi and the final chicane in Canada to force drivers to go slow.

      2. bring back the gravel !
        actually, something like at Canada where they have to negotiate a post (or chicane)
        would make these short-cuts a PENALTY rather than an advantage
        gravel only really ends up with a safety car

    3. Turn 1, first lap, no one alongside… questionable, but I’d say that’s OK.

    4. 1st, I am a Hamilton fan.

      When I saw him go off, my first thought was the penalty was going to hurt given how tight the field was at that moment. When there was no investigation I figured there was something in the rules I didn’t understand.

      1. I think he would have been invesigated but he touched lucky with the safety car for which as know put Rosberg back on his bumper cutting any advantage he gained.

        1. He backed off before the virtual safety car. Thus he didnt get a lasting advantage.

          1. Somebody else noticed that Hamilton backed off as soon as he re-gained the track and before the VSC therefore he gained no advantage as he was not being challenged by either Nico or Max.

            1. Of course he gained an advantage. He made a mistake and lost nothing. That’s gaining an advantage in my book.

            2. if there were no similar incidents into the corner, it would have been advantage…

              Ver as usual, outbraked himself, forcing nico off circuit, and later bumping into him, there was no way he was gonna make that corner if nico turned in… ham knew Ver was gonna dive bomb the corner as has been seen before…

              ham slowed down as well well before vsc, so to give back the time, and there was already an incident with the cars behind him… if they penalized him, they had to penalize other two as well…

              also i think before charlie said they tolerate first corners because brakes/tyres are cold etc, and unless someone really punish driver off the race, they dont interfere…

    5. No, he didn’t.

    6. It doesn’t matter if he was ahead going in – if he didn’t cut the turn, he would have lost a position, maybe two. It’s not about the time he gained (which was nullified by the SC) – he managed to avoid losing position.

      1. and totally ruining his tyre

        1. +2. I fully expected a 5″ penalty.

        2. It’s his own mistake if he ruins his tyre. You can’t blame anyone else for that.

        3. Totally ruined his tyre? What sort of… oh ok.

      2. @Pieletjie – You are absolutely right!!!

    7. Rule 27.4. Should a car leave the track the driver may re-join, however, this may only be done when it is
      safe to do so and without gaining any lasting advantage. At the absolute discretion of the race
      director a driver may be given the opportunity to give back the whole of any advantage he
      gained by leaving the track.

      Hamilton did not gain a lasting advantage. Thus he was not penalised. Its quite simple.
      What makes it harder to quantify is that he was imediately much faster than Rosburg. But Rosburg was back on his tail within a few corners. No lasting advantage no penalty.

      1. By cutting the corner he kept the lead, how is that *not* a “lasting advantage”?

        1. it lasted till the end ;)

    8. Hamilton said he had a glazed front brake – front right if I recall correctly. Apparently there is telemetry to show that the brake temp on that brake was much lower than the others and that’s what led to the lockup and the subsequent off. So let’s say for argument’s sake that it was not purely a driver error, and the car had something to do with it. Also, he was well ahead of Nico at that point and hence not really under threat. Nico went off the track himself, which makes it difficult to gauge exactly the advantage he got. Race control is generally lenient towards first lap incidents. Add all this up and the stewards would need far more compelling reasons to give Lewis a penalty.

      1. Did you see the race?!? ROS was pushed off-track by VES. Had ROS decided to stay on-track by all means, a collision would have been unavoidable. Then, I guess we know since day 1 of racing, no matter the cars, that the tyres and brakes are not at optimal temp in the 1st lap. Weird how HAM did not know that after 20-25 years of racing!!! So, going that hard on the 1st corner of the 1st lap on a track without grip, then totally cutting the chicane… it’s plain stupid or he did it on purpose = cheater. I go with the latter.

        1. Does that also make Rosberg a cheater when he cut the chicane in Canada 2014 and kept his advantage and did not slow down to negate his advantage? Remember when Rosberg locked up massively in Russia 2014 and flat spotted his tyres? Was he stupid for not knowing that brakes and tyres temps are sub optimal at the start of the race? Really annoying the rubbish comments from the armchair experts of F1. Fact is you don’t drive a F1 car or any race car competitively so please refrain from calling people cheaters when you do not know what their intention was when they made the move or mistake.

        2. Cheater …. what a stupid comment.

      2. you must be a hamilton fan to write what you did. The fact is that he made a mistake and was carrying more speed at that moment than what he should have. An he made a mistake by himself, nobody was next to him or forced him off the track like verstappen did to Rosberg. The reality is that he made a mistake and with what he did he gained the advantage of not losing any positions. lets put it this way, the car that made the corner and got to the exact place where Hamilton rejoined did that in let’s say 5 seconds. by Hamilton having done what he did and using that shortcut, he only needed 2 seconds to get from the point he got off to the point he rejoined. so not only he made time on Rosberg but he also did not lose a position when he should have by doing what he did. If that corner had any sleeping police man, I can assured you that he wouldn’t have rejoined where he did and that he would have lost positions. Also if there was any sleeping police man he would have had to go really slow and evade them in order to rejoin and he would have lost god knows how many positions. so yes, he needed to be investigated and he needed to give the position back.

    9. I thought for sure he would be penalised for this but then there is a history of drivers getting away with similar. Rosberg in Canada 2014 for instance.

      It’s not a move I’d completely defend, he clearly managed to keep position by not braking earlier and was a big chunk ahead after doing it. The safety car wiped out his advantage though and it’s an opening lap incident. I don’t think I can bring myself to vote Hamilton because of it though despite the solid weekend.

      1. @philipgb Hamilton backed off before the VSC. He did not floored it like Rosberg did in 2014.

    10. Of course it was not investigated as it was Hamilton and the championship has to go down to the wire.

      Conspiracy theories aside, it was weird, but also a difficult situation as the car behind (Rosberg) cut the corner as well having been punted off the track. It definitely should have been investigated, not sure about a penalty.

    11. It was not investigated because if you look through history such incidents are never investigated especially at the start. Had he done it a second time, then he would have got a penalty.
      Secondly, the 2 cars clashing immediately behind actually were not in a position to put him under pressure.
      Finally, enough with all these investigations.
      This os racing, not government.

    12. Had the safety car not been deployed, and had Verstappen not shoved Rosberg off the track, then there would certainly be much more of a case here.

      1. I seriously don’t understand the safety car card everyone pulls, it should’t matter, he gained a huge advantage, what got nothing to do what happend after. There must always be a penalty there, because else you can always cut the track in the first corner, because if he did slowed down or tried to make the corner he would of been in 6th position or something and after that the safety car came.

    13. Yeah, but the safety car nullified any potential advantage he (Hamilton) could have gained by leaving the track.

    14. He gained a huge advantage, which he seemed to have no intention of giving back until the safety car came out and he couldn’t not lose ground. The way its meant to work, is you’re supposed to give back the time you gained right after you rejoin the track, he was down at 5 and 6 before he even slowed a bit. It’s stupid.
      Additionally, if he’d actually tried to still make the corner despite locking up, he’d have likely lost a couple of places by going wide, he may have saved himself 2 or 3 positions by cutting the corner.
      It doesn’t matter that the safety car came out, he cut the corner and gained a clear advantage. It also doesn’t matter that it was the first lap, he was far enough ahead of Rosberg and Verstappen, and no one else, even right at the back where they were 3-4 abreast, cut the corner. It was 100% driver error, which gave him an advantage which he should’ve paid the price for.
      The fact this wasn’t at least investigated is ridiculous in my mind.

      1. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
        31st October 2016, 12:49


        1. He gained a huge advantage, which he seemed to have no intention of giving back

          That’s wrong: he backed off before the VSC was deployed. @hugh11 @omarr-pepper

    15. Should have HAM done what PER did in turn 1 for sure he would have lost more than a position. There is no doubt, Hamilton gained a ‘lasting advantage’ from the incident by keeping P1. He should have done what PER did. In such case HAM would have gone to the middle of the melee and ROS could have been the winner in this race. Charlie and Mr. E have their clear preference. Lewis is more convenient for F1, so they just forgave his driving failure in turn 1. That’s a shame and very hard to understand by many people.

      Mr. E, we do not need 40cm walls, you just have to apply the rules the same way for everyone. The virtual walls are there in the regulations, but not for HAM.

      1. You don’t like Hamilton but please don’t bring in conspiracy theories!

    16. In my opinion HAM pulled similar stunt as VES and should have been penalized equally ….
      There was no major difference in their errors and escapades through the grass benefiting from cutting the corner. Although I’m a huge HAM fan, I need to be neutral in these kind of situations and really wondering my it seems the race authorities considering these situations differently.

    17. Speaking to somebody from FOM it seems that Charlie did take a look at it & noted that Lewis did lift off substantially immediately after he rejoined the track so seeing that in the telemetry as well as data from some of the 200m sector loops he felt that no advantage had been gained.

      Data from the timing loops & GPS apparently show that Verstappen was very slow through turns 1/2 due to him locking up & running wide & been offline through turns 2/3 which makes it seem like Lewis gained more than he did & also makes the lift that Lewis did do less apparent.

      Was also told that the in-car stuff from Lewis should end up on the f1 website/app in the next few days & that it will show the lift.

      1. Just got a bit more details on that.

        Using the timing & GPS data it normally takes 6 seconds to go from the apex of turn 1 to the exit of turn 3. On the 1st lap it took Verstappen 7.5 seconds & that 1.5 seconds extra caused by his error is what makes it loo as if Lewis gained a larger advantage than he did & also hides how much he backed off to give the time he gained back.

        The data also shows that had Lewis not made the error & gone through turns 1-3 normally he would have ended up about 1 second further ahead of the cars behind than he ended up been by going off & then backing off.

        I really do think the FIA/FOM should make all this data available to fans in some way as been able to look at the timing/GPS data & comparing it as the officials do when making some of these decisions would go a long way in helping fans understand how decisions are made & why the officials make some of the decisions they do.

        They have 3D computer renders this year that they have been sending to broadcasters which use the GPS & telemetry data for analysis purposes. They should use them in situations like this, Put them on the website with a detailed explanation or something….. Would save me having to go round asking people & then trying to explain in here (Not that I mind).

        1. you miss the point: he would probably have been passed by ROS in the first corner and that would have been it

          1. he would probably have been passed by ROS in the first corner and that would have been it

            Er you are going to have to explain that one

            1. With normal brake and turn in, odds were that ROS, with the draft, would’ve had a shot at passing. Instead HAM stays on the gas, brakes really really late, (only reason no one was beside him), makes a half assed attempt at a turn in before straightening, knowing its a right left and he can run straight through, coming out the other side still in 1st with a huge lead that he thinks twice about and slows, but still in first. In F1 leaders with decent cars rarely get passed unless the pit screws up. Cheat ? completely in my humble never raced F1 view (Anybody here raced F1? silly comment – its only us reading this). F1 Stewards turn a blind eye to keep the race tight, penalizing similar behaviour by lesser lights. Wrestling anyone? ROS move was not similar has he got pushed there, avoiding an accident. HAM managed to do it all by himself.

        2. @gt-racer Always great to hear/read your input. Just curious as to what your take is on this. Eg. If LH hadn’t backed off should he have been penalized? Or…should there be something in the runoff that ensures a driver cannot gain a speed advantage at that spot, thus penalizing himself?

          Personally I’m for the second option…there should be something to slow the cars enough that there is no advantage to cutting through. I don’t mean a wall, nor do I mean gravel that would suck the car right in…just a small time-penalty-providing deterrent. If that was there I wonder if LH would have felt as comfortable carrying too much speed into the corner. He seems to like doing this sort of thing in turn 1’s and has sometimes even pushed Nico off claiming innocence due to understeer which is actually self-induced understeer.

      2. Just as I noticed watching the race: Hamilton backed off after going wide.
        And it was looked at by Charlie Whiting. Time to move on from this.

    18. Looks like we are in for another Rosberg meltdown. It’s interesting that after the safety car Rosberg was left in dust and could never catch up with Hamilton. I believe Hamilton is in Rosberg’s head again. Get prepared for rookie mistakes from the #2 and ending couple of points short of the title. I will have a good laugh.

      1. Doubt it. Yes he was surprisingly off Hamilton’s pace all weekend in Mexico but I don’t think Hamilton is in his head. I just think it is Rosberg doing what he needs to do to wrap up the championship.

        Personally I’m expecting Rosberg to (barring any mechanical issues) walk away with the win and title in Brazil as he has been pretty strong there in recent years.

    19. Of course he was 1st in turn one, the other drivers hit the brake to make the turn! next race just pedal to the metal and cut the track, no advantage gained, why follow track when you can cut it without penalty?. stupid as f,

    20. In the whole 14 years that I have watched motorsport, I don’t think I have ever seen somebody getting away with such a blatant cut of the course. Hamilton did not appear to even make an attempt at making turn 1, he just drove straight across the grass, completely missed turn 2, and rejoined the circuit in turn 3 at least 250 metres ahead of everybody else I’d say, and the only reason that advantage was nullified was due to the safety car being deployed because of a crash further back. Now, I could have accepted no penalty for Hamilton if it wasn’t for the fact that later in the race another driver (Verstappen) get penalised for the exact same thing. How can you possibly punish one and not the other when it’s the same action from both? It is inexcusable.

      1. @rob91 I get where you’re coming from but, in spite of many disagreeing with what I’m about to say, the stewards aren’t idiots. There must be some reasons for this discrepancy.

        I think partly it is because they tend to be a bit more forgiving of turn 1 incidents at the starts of races, and that is probably because they know that is usually one of the most exciting parts of the race. If they over police the starts of races they might sterilize it and make drivers just happy to coast through cleanly rather than thrill us.

        Apparently too, LH did slow himself down after coming back on the track, I assume thinking that he wanted to show contrition and avoid a penalty, by being pro-active.

        Max’s indiscretion took place later in the race, and needed investigation time too, and perhaps it was because they didn’t penalize LH that they thought they better take a close look at MV’s telemetry for more proof of what went on. At the time they didn’t have him cede the position, and then after getting more data they decided it was worth a 5 second penalty, perhaps because he didn’t show the same contrition as LH by backing off voluntarily.

        Just speculating on my part. Imho they need to put something at that runoff that costs a driver a couple of seconds ‘naturally’ rather than gain him time, so that the penalty for going off there is self-imposed and it doesn’t have to take investigation and ‘litigation’.

      2. This cutting corners gave HIM an advantage and Needs to be punished by putting HIM at leest one place down.

      3. Did anyone else note during the pre race National Anthem that Lewis was the only driver standing in a row of dignitaries which I believe included Bernie. That could add weight to the Lewis Favourtism conspiracy.

      4. In the whole 14 years that I have watched motorsport, I don’t think I have ever seen somebody getting away with such a blatant cut of the course.

        Rosberg did it in Canada in 2014 @rob91.

      5. What about Monaco, heaps of drivers cut chicanes there. There have been plenty of drivers who have cut corners etc. But usually they get a warning first, then a penalty if they keep doing it.

        In this case Hamilton actually backed off and let the field catch him. He wasn’t under direct attack by an attempt to pass, so who did he have to give his place up to?

        Max had no intention of backing off, he got a penalty

      6. The same corner it may have been but the situation was entirely different. At the start of the race there is a much greater chance multiple collisions. In that situation at turn one, safety should be the primary concern, even before any perceived advantage. Clearly the judges thought so.

        Imagine if Hamilton had been sitting on that runoff as another driver is forced into his path. As for the claim that Hamilton was carrying too much speed into the corner, there is data to confirm his brakes weren’t responding as he would have expected, even for the start of the race.

    21. Im here with Roger. Of course he was a lot ahead of Ros and others when he reached t1, he basically start breaking as if the cornr was further away. So he could not make the turn and decided to cut T1 and T2. It gave him a very undeserved advantage. Some argue he hurt his tyres and try to show this as a reason why it was ok tonot penalize him. ¿? Some others say the s.c. cut any advantage he got, are these people serius?

    22. Hamilton cutting the corner to avoid compromising situations after a poor entry seems to have been many times this year. Maybe a pre-determined tactic of his?

      But agree with others here that it’s outrageous stewarding to penalize the exact same thing later in the race.

    23. I suggest the same penalty handed to Verstappen, i.e. 5 seconds added to his time be handed to Hamilton too for cutting the same corner.

      However, the results would not change as Hamilton was 8.4 seconds ahead of Rosberg at chequered flag.
      He would still be the winner.

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