Start, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2016

Whiting explains why Hamilton avoided a penalty in Mexico

2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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FIA race director Charlie Whiting explained why Lewis Hamilton wasn’t penalised for cutting the first corner in Mexico when Max Verstappen was later in the race.

Hamilton’s move drew criticism from other drivers who claimed he had gained an advantage by cutting the track at the start.

“The principal difference between the two was simply that in Lewis’s case it was felt he didn’t gain any lasting advantage and in Max’s case he did,” said Whiting during today’s FIA press conference.

Screenshot
New video compares Hamilton, Rosberg and Verstappen’s corner-cutting
Referring to video footage of the incidents, Whiting said: “You can see that Lewis makes a small mistake at the beginning, cuts across, gains significant track advantage but then sets about giving that back immediately.”

“And you can see on the straight between turns three and four He backs off to 80% throttle to give that advantage back because obviously he’d got a significant advantage there

“And then about a minute later the Safety Car deployed and that advantage gone completely. So the stewards felt no lasting advantage.”

“On the other hand the case with Max and Sebastian, if Max had done the same thing on the straight between turns three and four he would certainly have lost the place. So I think that’s why the stewards felt it deserved a penalty because the driver had gained a lasting advantage. That was the fundamental difference between the two incidents in the eyes of the stewards.”

Whiting confirmed that Hamilton could have been asked to relinquish more of his advantage if the Virtual Safety Car had not been deployed shortly after the incident.

“We were going to ask Lewis to back right off to ensure he maintained the same distance he had when he went into the corner,” said Whiting.

“We could see from the data he had already backed off significantly. Then the VSC was deployed followed by the Safety Car. Had that not happened, yes, we would have done that.”

“Once you go off that should be the penalty”

Turn one, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2015
Why gravel traps aren’t the easy answer to corner-cutting
However Verstappen said he still does not agree with the ruling. “I’ve got a penalty, I think if you give penalties, give it to both, or you don’t give any penalties,” he said.

“But I think what we need to maybe change for the future is once you go off it should be a penalty on its own instead of the stewards interference and deciding a penalty. We need to come up with a solution that once you go off that should be the penalty on its own.”

Hamilton backed Whiting view but also agreed with Verstappen’s call for clear policing of run-off areas.

“The stewards have a very difficult job because every scenario is different,” said Hamilton. “For example the Safety Car came out immediately after my incident. Every scenario is different, it’s not easy to apply the same rules to every single thing.”

“I also agree with Max that we should work with Charlie, as we have been through the year, to try to make it easier for them to make decisions and for it to be more clear.”

2016 Mexican Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
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  • 114 comments on “Whiting explains why Hamilton avoided a penalty in Mexico”

    1. It’s still a ridiculous explanation. If Hamilton had tried to avoid massively cutting the corner he’d have lost three or four places. How is that not an advantage? It’s a ridiculous way of interpreting the situation.

      1. He DID try to avoid cutting the corner – that’s why there were clouds of smoke billowing from his tyres. But at some point you have to accept it’s not going to happen and be pragmatic. As for what “would” have happened, there’s no real way of telling. In your scenario maybe he would have been involved in a collision and be out of the race, so maybe he should just be excluded?

        The stewards can’t go on more that the simplest and most obvious “what ifs”, and faced with the facts in front of them Lewis behaved reasonably – it was the correct call.

        1. @fluxsource we constantly use ‘would’ happen as a reason to punish someone, using the most likely scenario as starting off point. No reason for that to be different here.

          1. @hahostolze But I’ve nothing that convinces me that we’d have any idea what the most likely scenario would be. So it’s unusable.

            1. @fluxsource Except we do, and Charlie certainly does. Unless Hamilton suddenly reinvented the rules of physics, he’d have to slow enough for other cars to invariably get past. It’s really not that intricate.

            2. @hahostolze Where’s the analysis that supports that? Or it is just your gut feeling?

            3. @fluxsource
              when it is ham, everyones are expert analysts in this forum mate, quit whining :) if it is Ros, or Ver, oh they never do anytg wrong…

        2. Stuart Becktell
          10th November 2016, 14:50

          All we need is a rule that if you go off track and miss a corner, you have to come to a full stop. That fixes everything. Its not tough, and it penalizes them.

          1. been saying that for years, all for off then full stop before returning(except if forced off). If you force someone off like VES did to ROS then a full stop for you(penalty box maybe). Or if it is deemed unsafe to come to a full stop then maybe a penalty box in a safe place or a drive thru.

            1. Completely unworkable. All this does is shift the debate to whether the driver ran off through a mistake or lack of talent or was forced off by another driver. We’ve already seen numerous debates about this in other circumstances.

        3. What I disagree with is that the Focus is on given the advantage back. But, actually, it is unfair to say he should just go back to the pre corner lead, since he made a mistake and should have lost that lead completely.

          1. Maybe that IS the right penalty/decision; but at least be consistent.

            Had they told VES the same as they intended for HAM – “We were going to ask Lewis to back right off to ensure he maintained the same distance he had when he went into the corner,” – then I would have understood it. They could have told VES that when he was still on the grass!

        4. So in future, why shouldnt every driver in pole brake 10m too late in Mexico, drive over the grass and keep the lead? If there was a wall there, I bet he’d have managed to avoid it!

          1. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            10th November 2016, 18:25

            This is it @petebaldwin @magon4 if Charlies logic is to be applied consistently and the qualifier for escaping a penalty is to “maintain the same distance as you had going into the corner” then you can just go straight on at Nouvelle chicane, and let the chasing car back onto your gearbox before tabac. There wont be any lasting advantage after all! Its ABSOLUTE NONSENSE!! Someone needs to give that man a big gold Rolex already. Either he knows he’s talking BS to save face, or he isn’t up to the task.

          2. Precisely what I was about to say!

          3. @petebaldwin Because they would risk completely ruining their tyres; It would be counterproductive.

          4. @petebaldwin

            If there was a wall there, I bet he’d have managed to avoid it

            I don’t think that’s quite the idea behind Trump’s Mexican wall!

      2. As VErstappen mentions, “But I think what we need to maybe change for the future is once you go off it should be a penalty on its own instead of the stewards interference and deciding a penalty. We need to come up with a solution that once you go off that should be the penalty on its own.” @hahostolze. And I agree with that.

        The best way would be to find a solution to have that be the result of the track layout (i.e. making going off track just slower) but things like having to stop for a second, having to go around in a wide arch with a speed limit, etc could be alternatives to achieve that. Or if not possible (for now) resort to handing out penalties for it without the “didn’t gain a lasting advantage” thing.

        1. @bascb there you go. I agree with that, and you, too. This ruling took out the incentive for Hamilton to slow down and make the corner, thereby gaining a massive advantage. The proposed rule would mean he’d either lose time due to his mistake by making the corner, or would lose time by getting a penalty for cutting the corner. That way it would be fair either way. It’s an excellent suggestion.

        2. Maybe everytime a Driver cuts a corner he got a time penalty.

      3. @hahostolze

        He could have lost a bunch of places or he could have been at the front of an almighty pile-up. He chose the safest course of action then slowed down to give up the advantage it gave him. The safety car came into play before he could give up any more of the advantage. Had there been no safety car and he hadn’t slowed down to the point of allowing Rosberg alongside him he could have been slapped with a penalty, but he got lucky and a safety car was called.

        Verstappen didn’t slow down as much and wasn’t lucky with a safety car situation saving his bacon so the rub of the green is that he got a penalty.

        I understand the ruling, I don’t disagree with it. But I do still think Hamilton got lucky out of it. He didn’t gain an advantage, but he didn’t suffer the loss that lock up should rightly have cost him.

        1. @philipgb except you’re missing a link in the causal chain. Hamilton did gain an advantage. By taking into account the safety car you miss the fact that had he made the corner he’d have been way down the field. The fact he was first at all is his advantage, and using safety as an argument us ludicrous, he could have gone over the grass and then given the places back, that would have been safe and fair. As such, it’s still a ridiculous ruling.

          1. @hahostolze

            He never actually lost the place though, he was always a nose ahead. There are no rules about leaving the track as long as you don’t gain an advantage from doing so. Drivers leave track limits all the time and the rules are that you should suffer a time loss from that happening, but that you shouldn’t gain time from it.

            So within the letter of the rules Hamilton went into the corner ahead, left the track, as long as he didn’t have a lasting advantage of being more ahead than he was on corner entry, that is deemed as not a lasting advantage.

            The statement clarifies that they would have expected Hamilton to still slow further to give the same gap as was had before the corner cut, but the despatch of the safety car nullified that need.

            1. Drivers leave track limits all the time and the rules are that you should suffer a time loss from that happening, but that you shouldn’t gain time from it.

              Meant to say the rules aren’t that you should suffer a time loss.

            2. But that completely and utterly misrepresents the nature of the movement of cars and the nature of the first corner. He was only comfortably ahead because he outbraked himself. Thus far these are empirical facts. As much an empirical consequence is he either makes the corner really slowly, handing places to other drivers, or he shoots on which isn’t allowed! That’s why he should have been penalised. What you’re doing for some reason is seeing his leading position in the first corner as definitive when it isn’t.

            3. Let it go, your common sense is almost non-existing! For you, 1.1 and 1.9 it’s the same thing, no? Just a variable of 1.0……. If for you going off-track 10cms or 1m it’s the same with going off-track 10m, skipping entirely 1 corner (corner 2 more exactly)… no wonder there’re so many absurd comparison in this world. He had absolutely no intention to join the track as soon as possible, more exactly try to join the track something around corner 2 or somewhere between corner 2 and 3!!!! Had he done that, which actually is what he should have done, at least 1 car would have passed him, no doubt. So, yeah, he gained more than just some “space or time”, he made a move that guaranteed him position 1 after corners 1,2,3. A cheaters move, no doubt!

            4. @hahostolze

              I don’t agree with him keeping the position after making a mistake on the corner. I said as much in my first post. I’m saying the written word of the rules, and their application here were done correctly. Hamilton did something he knows he’s allowed to under the rules, he did the same in Monaco against Ricciardo. We can disagree with that it should be allowed, but in the strictest sense of the word of the rules it was legal.

          2. @hahostolze Why would he be way down the field? How many places should he give back? 1? 2? 21? You’re just pulling stuff out of thin air.

            1. That’s a good question. At least one. Had he made the corner he probably would have barely been fifth so he’s still lucky.

            2. Kestutis Rutavicius
              10th November 2016, 16:43

              why trying to protect favourite driver, people creates unlogical explanation and questions ? simply drive through(or track shoud be penaltying enough, that driver wouldn’t chose to cut corder like that) for all cutting corner like that for their own foults, nothing more, nothing less…

          3. It’s a perfectly valid ruling, given the wording of the ruling.

            The fact that you don’t agree with it, doesn’t invalidate it.

            The rule is designed to allow drivers to run off the track (to preserve their tires, for instance), as long as they do not gain a lasting advantage. Hamilton didn’t. And if you have to result to equations, or probability math, you’ve already lost the argument.

            It is an unfortunate first corner design in that it actually benefits the driver to run across the grass and skip corner #2, but it’s a rare enough track configuration we don’t need to rewrite the entire flippin’ rulebook to compensate for one instance.

            1. Kestutis Rutavicius
              10th November 2016, 17:11

              sorry, but this doesn’t make any sense. if such circumstance is excuseable, then any driver will try to look to make out of similar situations and sport would be laugable. Please, stop with with having no lasting advantage, because that only biased Hamilton fans think that way, end of story. Image if in football player plays with hand and referre doesn’t give penalty for team, saying that attacker wasn’t going to make a goal. So this situation is same. We never going to find out real consequences of this Hamilton mistake, but ruling or track must be penaltying enough, that driver wouldn’t take corners like that at all costs. And saying such situation is rare, is plain wrong, because only at this track we saw two such excursions. And often in past even by FIA itself said it will be no tolenrance it was various monitoring and track limits respects. In the end, read sporting regulations about it….

            2. It’s bothering me for years now, that they can go off track ‘without gaining a lasting advantage’ and it’s perfectly fine!
              Who idiot with no sense for racing wrote that rule?!

              If you make a mistake and go off track and don’t lose any time relative to a driver who didn’t make a mistake, how did you not just gain an advantage?!

      4. You could argue that returning to the track as soon as physically possible could have resulted in an accident – the corners are tight down there and with the chaos of a typical turn 1, his forced reentry could have caused more hassle for other drivers… so he took the straight route and conceded the advantage safely. Seems like a logical approach to me.

        Sure he could have lost places, but so would others, unfairly.

      5. I think if you give penalties, give it to both, or you don’t give any penalties! As Verstappen said, and that’s it!

      6. If you recall Hungary, Rosberg backed off only very slightly on his qualifying lap when he reached yellow flags and that was deemed to be sufficient in terms of ‘backing off’, so Hamilton ‘backed off’ in order to give up the advantage he’d gained and I’m guessing Vestappen didn’t back off at all after his excursion, hence him getting a penalty. That’s the logic I think they’re running on.

      7. You nailed it – this sets a precedent that you can go hot into a corner, screw it up, go over the grass and continue. The point of a race is to go as fast as you can and stay inside a track (although both those stalwarts of racing could be argued these days). If you can’t stay on the track, guess what? YOU WERE GOING TOO FAST! If you were to slow down and make the corner, what would have been the net result? Not saying that deciding on what kind of penalty would be easy, but deciding that there should be one certainly is.

        1. It doesn’t set any precedent because these incidents have happened before. Rosberg, Canada 2014 for instance.

          That occasion went against Hamilton. This isn’t Hamilton support letting him getting away with something he shouldn’t, it’s the state of the rule and the way it’s always been.

          1. Yep, precisely @philipgb, the rule was already not quite water/tamper-proof here it was just shown again. The best solution remains to indeed make sure that going off track costs time and not an easy corner cutting.

      8. Exactly. He very obviously gained a lasting advantage. Whiting should have been honest here and said Hamilton wasn’t penalized because he personally favors Hamilton.

      9. The answer is on the packaging: lasting advantage.

    2. “You can see that Lewis makes a small mistake at the beginning” lmao

      And anyway, when the VSC came out quickly before they sent out the full SC, Hamilton was still miles ahead of Rosberg in second, way more than the advantage he gained. He may have backed off a little, but he should back right off straight away and give the advantage back as he comes back onto the track, or even lifting off while he’s on the grass like Verstappen did (despite him not giving the position to Vettel like he should’ve) instead of full throttling it.

      1. but he should back right off straight away and give the advantage back as he comes back onto the track

        But whats the real difference in backing off straight away or gradually before the end of the lap ? The middle sector is very fast flowing so Rosberg wouldn’t get a chance to overtake anyway. Hamilton did back off as Whiting mentions he wasn’t full throttle on the straight.

        1. Hamiltion already ganed the advantage – keeping his position despite making a huge mistake at turn 1 of the firat lap. That’s the advantage – not being a further second up the track.

        2. The difference is that you have to give it back as soon as possible, that’s what’s in the rules. Additionally, say he hadn’t throttled it over the grass and had tried to stay and make turn 2, he would’ve lost a few positions by going wide, so that’s already the advantage gained of keeping track position. I don’t see a way of looking at this where he hasn’t gained an advantage by cutting the first corner.

        3. Stuart Becktell
          10th November 2016, 18:50

          how can you say Rosberg wouldn’t have had a chance to pass? Vettel almost got passed by Riccardo in that same sector at the end of the race.

      2. @hugh11, the thing is, Rosberg has pointed out that Hamilton would have had an advantage anyway because Verstappen banged into him at the start, forcing him to go wide and slowing him down significantly.

        How much of an advantage was gained because of cutting the corner, and how much was gained due to Rosberg being pushed off track by Verstappen, compromising his exit from the corner and therefore bunching up the pack? I don’t think that you can draw a clear distinction about what exactly was gained.

    3. All this wall of text, just to justify stewards bad call. There’s really no room for any rationalizations, lasting advantages and other similar nonsense. It always gets people sucked in into an endless and non-endable discussion, when the matter is actually perfectly clear:
      He made a mistake and used a shortcut to escape the consequences of his mistake. Plain. And. Simple.

      1. There’s a Bernie. There was the dodo. There were the dinosaurs. There were the trilobites. There were the Ediacara. And there’s a Charlie Whiting. One too many.

    4. I find the “lasting advantage” argument quite funny. The fact that the gap remains the same is irrelevant after all! He didn’t make the corner because he made a mistake, and by cutting the corner, slowing afterwards and maintaining the gap he gained a lasting advantage: he held his position, regardless of his mistakes.

      It always seems like a “lasting advantage” is only defined by time or laptimes, and it shouldn’t. We all know how sensitive these cars in dirty air, so how is holding a position that would’ve otherwise been lost not a lasting advantage?

      Again, this goes back to old argument on track limits. It should be black and white, we don’t need all this grey areas: Hamilton might have locked up harder trying to make the corner, and that could’ve had worse consequences in his race because of flatspots or whatever.

      1. @fer-no65 Locked up harder? The wheels weren’t turning, hence the flat spot. What more do you want from him?

        1. Stuart Becktell
          10th November 2016, 14:53

          Probably attempt to make turn 2.

        2. easy… going a bit slower on the straight!

          Hamilton simply carried to much speed going in to the corner, if he would have taken it slower Rosberg and Verstappen would have been closer and his position would have been at risk.

          This explanations actually means you can go 300km/h in to a corner where 250 is the logical limit.. cut the corner maintain your position, but slow down a bit after you cut that corner… all will be fine…naah doesn’t make sense!

          1. Except it wasn’t because of a late brake or going fast into the corner, it was because of a glazed brake disk…

        3. @fluxsource he released the brakes early and commited to the run off to avoid flatspotting his tyres more. They do that these days, not just him. Because damaging the tyres is so bad, they just don’t lock up at all. But if penalties were enforced to avoid corner cutting or abusing track limits, they’d have no choice…

    5. How many times it has to be explained? Brundle and McNish already explained the differences between the two similar off-track excursions very clearly, and now Whiting as well, so I wonder who’s the next person to do the same, LOL.

      1. But McNish (lap 1) gave a different explanation than Whiting (lasting advantage).

      2. The point is, it still doesn’t make any sense.

        1. It never makes sense for most people when Hamilton’s involved though, does it?

          1. That’s a non-argument. And for the umpteenth time, what’s bugging me is not the fact that Hamilton went unpunished (a difficult decision, but I think it was OK, as it only happened once and most probably not on purpose), but the fact that Verstappen was punished for doing pretty much exactly the same thing, albeit gaining much less of an advantage.
            So, again: This isn’t about Hamilton. This is about consistency, or rather, the blatant inconsistency with which these incidents were judged.

    6. A race director (aka Judge) is supposed to be objective.
      Charlie my friend, you are not there to tell us if this mistake was small or big. You shouldn’t care about it because it’s still a mistake which subject to rules. And by using the word “small” there, it’s like hearing in a court a Judge say “The accused did a small crime”. It negates/cancels your status and your objectivity.
      If we combine your reaction on this with Bernie’s statement that “It wouldn’t be good for the sport if Rosberg becomes WDC”, then we can have a clear sum up of what’s going on.

      1. it’s like hearing in a court a Judge say

        The accused did kill the elderly victim, but as he turned himself in (slowed down), did not steal his wallet (lasting advantage), and the victim would have died soon anyway (SC) there will be no further jail sentence.

          1. Lol or one could argue that a kid stealing candy from a convenience store is equivalent to a hardened criminal committing armed bank robbery…they’re both theft, right? So I think there is such a thing as a small crime, no?

        1. Terrible comment. Not applicable.

          1. How is the reply terrible ? It seems to clearly illustrate in a vivid way the how bad and not justifiable by any reasonable means the ” lasting advantage ” rule is.

            I am interested to understand your defence of the “lasting advantage ” rule.

    7. What is really amazes me when I watch it and watch it is not only that they were extremely close to him at start, but the fact that Hamilton totally floored it kinda showing his mentality on the incident (I’ll be first no matter what.). Thats 100% penalty on my mind. Verstappen at least starts accelerating as soon as he reaches the end of grass. Much more covered imo. Rosberg is blameless in the fact verstappen pushed him and that he tried to reach clear track as cleanly as possible so it was both for safety and keeping his place the best course of action for him.

      Something last to add is that I believe Hamilton had a degree of influence in Verstappen incident at least.

      1. I’ve watched the start again too and both Lewis and Max both lockup but Lewis locksup way before turn 1 like 150m before, Max like 50m, what astounds me is that Lewis hits the apex then decides not to take the turn, he goes off the track and remember although there isn’t gravel off track the grass isn’t immediately off track, there’s tarmack runoff that enables one to join and take turn 2, he doesn’t, he floors it on the grass, Max somehow, locking up later makes the turn and correct me if I’m wrong he wasn’t on the grippier side of the track, anyway Lewis was miles ahead at the start of a gp after just 3 turns all of which he did not manoeuvre! The way I see it the argument that he lifts off is if he did it while on the grass and not after turn three after accelerating after going off road

    8. “And you can see on the straight between turns three and four He backs off to 80% throttle to give that advantage back because obviously he’d got a significant advantage there

      “And then about a minute later the Safety Car deployed and that advantage gone completely. So the stewards felt no lasting advantage.”

      “On the other hand the case with Max and Sebastian, if Max had done the same thing on the straight between turns three and four he would certainly have lost the place. So I think that’s why the stewards felt it deserved a penalty because the driver had gained a lasting advantage. That was the fundamental difference between the two incidents in the eyes of the stewards.”

      Basically, the main reason to why Hamilton avoided a penalty was because Verstappen felt the need to divebomb Rosberg going into Turn 1.

      Rosberg also got a penalty at Hockenheim as well for pushing but Verstappen off the road (while he himself stayed on the road) while Verstappen did the same to both Perez and Raikkonen at Belgium (and couldn’t even stay on the track himself) and didn’t even get investigated.

      Whiting should just retire. He is clearly no longer suited for this job and is generally incompetent.

      1. Totally agree, you said everything man

      2. Rosberg also got a penalty at Hockenheim as well for pushing but Verstappen off the road (while he himself stayed on the road) while Verstappen did the same to both Perez and Raikkonen at Belgium (and couldn’t even stay on the track himself) and didn’t even get investigated.

        Max was following the racing line, Rosberg wasn’t.

        Hamilton had a lift, Max didn’t. Like Rosberg had a lift after rocketing through the final chicane in Canada and on the same basis didn’t get a penalty.

        Lot of people getting emotional that Lewis Hamilton could have had SUCH a SPANKING, and the opportunity was spurned ;)

        And pretending they don’t know Charlie has already said they’re going to fix that corner for next year.

        1. @lockup

          Max was following the racing line, Rosberg wasn’t.

          Doubt you understand what this comment means.

          Verstappen was defending the inside line from both Perez and Raikkonen (= not on the racing line) going into the corner, then drove off the track completely out of the corner (= again not on the racing line). Exactly at what point was Verstappen on the racing line?

          Hamilton had a lift, Max didn’t. Like Rosberg had a lift after rocketing through the final chicane in Canada and on the same basis didn’t get a penalty.

          The only reason why Hamilton did not lose a place when lifting off was because Verstappen crashed into Rosberg, something I specified in my initial comment.

          Lot of people getting emotional that Lewis Hamilton could have had SUCH a SPANKING, and the opportunity was spurned ;)

          Some people want to see the rules applied consistently and to see those who cut corners to be punished.

          And pretending they don’t know Charlie has already said they’re going to fix that corner for next year.

          Irrelevant to what happened last week, for the bold part above.

          1. I’m not going to try and teach you about the racing line, or address you faking you don’t know it. Charlie and the stewards said it was about the lift, so I’m not going to believe you am I? I think it is emotional, bearing in mind the problem is solved but you’re still upset about it.

        2. “Max was following the racing line” ???

          No, he wasn’t, and he moved under braking while Rosberg was approaching inside him, but the one who was penalized was Rosberg!

          And please, don’t say that the “Verstappen rule” was not already in force, cause Perez was penalized for moving under breake about 2 years ago in Canada!

    9. Don’t worry Charlie, you will get plenty of chances to be ‘consistent’ when more drivers do what hamilton did in the future. Watch out for the late braking defense. What is the point of track limits again?

    10. Verstappen should have received a penalty for bowling out Rosberg in the first corner. Rosberg would have been in a position to capitalize on Hamilton’s mistake, if he hadn’t been punched out of bounds.

      If the Rosberg Verstappen melee hadn’t happened, a Hamilton penalty would have become necessary.

      The combined non-occurrence of those two penalties put Rosberg in a tough spot.

    11. Whiting’s justification for not giving Hamilton a penalty is becoming downright infuriating at this point. I’m not kidding, my blood was boiling when I read this. The whole thing hinges on what is classified as a “lasting advantage”, which compares the actual case to some reference case.

      The FIA is using ‘taking the normal racing line through turns 1-3’ as their reference case. Comparing Hamilton going off to a driver taking a somewhat normal racing line (for instance the rest of the field): when Hamilton braked for turn 1, he was just ahead of Rosberg. When he rejoined he was significantly ahead of Rosberg, but when he braked for turn 4 he was just ahead of Rosberg again because he had backed off. Using the FIA’s logic, no penalty should be issued.

      However, taking the normal racing line as your reference case makes absolutely no sense to me. The reason for that? Hamilton made a mistake!

      “You can see that Lewis makes a small mistake at the beginning”

      1. -accidentally pressed ‘post comment’ :P-

        Are you kidding me, Charlie? A “small mistake”? He missed his braking point by almost 50 metres, you call that a small mistake? And in case you’re thinking of replying to this with ‘yeah but he glazed his brakes on the warm-up lap’, isn’t that still a mistake?

        Since Hamilton made a huge mistake in the braking zone of turn 1, it makes absolutely zero sense to take the normal racing line as your reference case. What Hamilton should have done is brake in a straight line, take to the run-off area, turn around and rejoin the track between turns 1 and 2. Without completely cutting turn 2. This should have been the FIA’s reference case.

        Taking this new reference case into account, Hamilton would have lost many positions. But then again, he made a huge mistake, so it’s justified for him losing that many positions. How many position did Hamilton actually lose? ZERO. He kept the lead of the race.

        I am beyond frustrated that the FIA doesn’t understand this. What’s going to stop me from intentionally cutting turn 2 at Interlagos on the opening lap? Whoops, I glazed my brakes a bit Charlie, now let me go straight across this run-off zone (thanks for removing the grass and replacing it with tarmac by the way) and straight into the lead. And just to make sure that I didn’t gain a ‘lasting advantage’ wink wink let me just back off on the Reta Oposta straight here – not too much though, I don’t want to lose the lead, eh?

        It’s a fictional scenario of course, but it just shows that the FIA’s interpretation on what is considered a lasting advantage is wrong. There are two things they can do: they can either replace their illogical reference case with the logical reference case, or they can make a rule for specific turns to prevent corner cutting. Something like ‘if you go off at turn 1 in Mexico, you must rejoin the track before turn 2’.

        1. cmon man, get real, you know they will find excuses for anything, thats really the only thing F1 is good for these days, manufacturing excuses, … and oh yeah, promoting certain brands of ethics and political correctness.

          You can’t reason with someone who needs to lie to people to earn a living, when you are ‘offending’ their reputation/getting in the way of their pay check.

          Sit back, enjoy the show, know that Mercedes are a horrible brand that currently own the rules in F1, everyone needs to save gas so one ring can rule them all and people just need to get used to being told what to do, especially if it means paying to lose. F1 in a nutshell.

        2. Andae I agree with your post completely and I am sitting here sharing your frustration. I read F1 Fanatic daily, but rarely comment, but this just infuriates me. This issue seems to capture much of what is wrong with modern F1.

          Surely ‘drivers shall not short cut the track’ should be Rule #1 in racing. It should be the first and most strongly policed. But in modern F1 it is not, as long as you ‘give back’ what ever advantage you gained by effectively cheating in the first place.

          Hamilton went off track at T1. Hamilton should have rejoined at T1. End of story. And he should do so safely. If that means he has to slow to a stop, do a u-turn and wait for the field to pass before rejoining so be it. Any other outcome should be penalised heavily as a black-and-white infraction of the first rule of racing.

    12. Good grief.

      I can’t believe this has been dragged right back up again.

      F1 really is in trouble. The same thing is repeated ad infinitum, the same explanations, the same complaints, the same agreements blah blah blah blah. AGH!

      It’s here where I question how much longer I could follow F1 once drivers who I enjoy watching more than others are finally retired.

      Tyre and/or car conservation, track limits, consistent stewards decisions (ignore variable scenarios) etc etc etc

      I’m just looking forward to the next race. I think I’ll just focus on that… and then the next one, maybe…

      1. Agreed 100%… It really is a shambles if this is what people are focusing on.

        Negative kudo’s to this site to be frank, do we need to hear the same explanation repeated 20 times?

        1. Repeating it 20 times does not make reasonable a stupid (and dishonest) explanation

    13. This is farcical. If he’d remained silent, he might’ve stayed a philosopher, but this just lacks dignity.
      So in his opinion, it’s all fair because Hamilton cut so massively through the corner that he came back onto the track more than two seconds ahead and then lifted a bit to reduce that gap to the best part of a second, whereas Verstappen was a fool for not properly abusing the track limits and coming back onto the track with the same gap to Vettel as he had before, so that slowing down as much as Hamilton was out of the question?

      Unbelievable.

      1. Yes, it is exactly like this, you summarized very well the senseless explanation by CW…

        1. totally agree, what a pathtic explanation was that by Whiting?!

          One really has to question his abilitiy to do this job.

          1. Why?

            Do you think someone else would make better decisions?

            1. When things are bad , it’s worth rolling the dice.

    14. Forget the Advantage! where is the penalty for making a mistake? Change the track Mr Whiting to penalize drivers, not reward them!

    15. Sorry, but I still don’t understand it. Can someone explain the part where Charlie says:

      if Max had done the same thing on the straight between turns three and four he would certainly have lost the place. So I think that’s why the stewards felt it deserved a penalty because the driver had gained a lasting advantage. That was the fundamental difference between the two incidents in the eyes of the stewards.”

      1. I’m not sure but it could be when Max attacked Rosberg and didn’t make the move stick, had he blasted on he probably would have come out ahead of Rosberg

    16. It’s quite frustrating reading some of the comments here. How can someone say he didn’t gain an advantage just because he was in the lead to begin with…

      Lets think of this way… What if turn 1 was a hairpin instead of a chicane (combined with turns 2 and 3). Hamilton approaches the turn 1 in the lead, he outbrakes himself and overshoots the corner. Now, he has to keep slowing down enough to be able to turn back using the tarmac/grass area, and join back the circuit at the exit of turn 1. By the time he joined back the circuit, at least 1 or 2 of the drivers behind him would have passed him, if not more… That’s how you should be looking at this incident..

      Or even worse, let’s pretend it’s Monaco with no run offs… Would he not try to brake harder in order to make the turn rather than an impact with a barrier.

      But because it was a chicane with nice smooth grass runoff areas, and he chooses to cut corners 1 and 2 and go straight to corner 3. So even if he slowed down a little, he kept the track position. And let’s be honest, track position is a lasting advantage…

    17. First and foremost I think runoffs should have their own natural penalty for going onto them built in, whatever that material or surface might be. If that is not possible due to the nature of the track or, as the likes of GT-racer have pointed out, is because of the other types of vehicles that race at a track year round, then there should be an automatic 2 or 3 second penalty for going off via a sole mistake, but not from being punted off of course.

      Otherwise I agree with what CW, LH, and MV have said on their quotes above.

    18. Michael Brown (@)
      10th November 2016, 17:43

      In the recent years, I’ve noticed a trend. One race out of the year, the stewards issue a statement that they’re going to crack down on track limits. Then, for the rest of the season, they treat track limits like they usually do: barely notice them.

      This year, things got a little different. The stewards realize that they can’t police track limits, so Hungary happened. Drivers were allowed to cross the white line (violating the rule the stewards can’t be bothered to enforce) as long as it was by no more than a meter. Then, Germany. “Okay, you can go over the line, but don’t go any further than the two-car wide kerbs.”

      Also, they decided to penalize drivers for going off track in practice. It’s practice, for crying out loud.

      This track limits controversy is still going on because the stewards can’t be bothered to properly enforce the regualation that states that drivers must keep a part of the car within the white lines. They’ve given up, leading to how they handled Hungary and Germany.

      Slightly off-topic: Tracks don’t need kerbs that can fit a whole GT car.

      1. The problem is you can’t have consistent rules.

        Hungary and Germany both have several corners where drivers would go wide naturally. If we have so that all four wheels off equals a penalty, we’d very quickly have a massive amount of complaints about that instead.

        And an automatic penalty can be dangerous as well, if in Mexico cars that go off on lap one try to rejoin before turn 2 to avoid a penalty, we’re simply going to have accidents. So that’s not ideal.

        1. It’s the responsibility of the racing drivers to drive within the lines, no matter how the track is designed.

          The fact that some corners make them go ” naturally wide ” is not an excuse. After all , they are supposed to be the best in what they do.

    19. CW used to seem a number of unprintable things. By opening bis mouth he has erased all doubt.

    20. The simple answer to drivers “offs” intentional or otherwise, is gravel traps! If a driver knows that the likely outcome is that he will be out of the race, stuck in a sea of kitty litter, he’ll ensure he stays on track!🏁

      1. They are coming at that corner at some 350km/h. Gravel is not a good solution.

    21. Charlie’s explanation is unsatisfying because if it’s sufficent to slow down and wait other cars to avoid penalties, then the poleman will be allowed to cut first corner(s) and back out of fight for positions. We all know that in today’s F1 the fight for 1st corner is maybe the most important to define final results. Why should the poleman get involved in 1st corner fight if he can simply cut straight and then wait for other competitors?

      He should also have to explain why Rosberg deserved a penalty for his move on Raikkonen in Malaysia when Verstappen got no penalty for a worse move in Mexico (nor Alonso in USA for his brute thrust on Massa).

      1. The short answer to your first paragraph is that usually it is not so easy to just cut the first corner and expect the car to remain stable and the tires to remain intact and clean enough to continue without having a grip issue at a minimum, if not actually spin out, or damage a wing hopping back over a curb etc etc. Usually cutting the corner is not optimum. Nor would repeated attempts at that trick fly with F1.

        The second paragraph? Can’t answer that…don’t know.

      2. Perhaps he is Charlie’s pet!!!!!

    22. Looking at the second photo in this article, something comes to mind, Pythagoras theorem , turn 2 makes the 90 degree angle whilst Hamiltons venture off road is the hypotenuse

    23. This is so so boring now … 2 weeks on another race this weekend and all you can do is complain that Hamilton didn’t get a penalty and criticize Charlie Whiting, one of the most experienced and respected people in F1, which is more than I can say for the whiners on here.

      The more you sit and read the comments on this site the more you come to believe this is just a forum for the anti Hamilton brigade.

      1. I think you’ll find very few places on the internet where people think Hamilton’s lack of any penalty at all was right. The accusation that “everyone here is biased” is well, as unfair to people’s intelligence as it is insulting to yours.

        If you disagree, say so, explain why and let your argument sit on it’s merits.

      2. Really?

        You are going to suggest the masses on the Internet are ‘right’ or ‘righter’ than a voice of reason that is actually correct in what he is saying

        And your suggesting that after the US election result?

        Whether you or the Internet like it or not, the rules were interpreted in exactly the same way as they have been for years?

        Cannot recall such a fuss when Rosberg straightened an entire chicane in Canada. Just saying…

    24. So Charlie basically said that Hamilton didn’t deserve a penalty because he took bigger advantage than Verstappen.

    25. Its quite simple really and am astonished how many cant see it. Hamilton would have got a penalty if rosberg and vestappan had not come together. Its that simple. Charlie has also said when vestappan cut the corner he would have lost the place after if he had backed off like Hamilton did. How can nobody comprehend that. Yes its a bad corner design and if they had gravel Hamilton would have lost more time, rosberg would have lost q few places and ves would have had a drive through so the order would have ended ham, ric, ros.

      1. It is exactly as Jorge said in the reply above. The way that Charlie explains it, it would have been okay if Verstappen would have accelerated on the grass, come back on the circuit with a much bigger advantage and then be on 80% of his throttle for a few moments. That is really an insane way of differentiating between Hamilton and Verstappen and make no sense whatsoever.

    26. Posted something similar in the BBC forums previously on this, and I am sure some old computing game did the same.

      my viewpoint is, if you leave the track on point A, and re-join at point B, then any car that has passed point A, by the time you rejoin at point B should be considered ahead of you on the track.

      very simplistic viewpoint I know, but apply the penalties to drop said driver down the order.

    27. My opinion:
      – All the automatic ideas will struggle to ever work. We don’t want additional time penalties added when people are pushed off the track, or they miss their braking at a normal corner and already suffer several seconds of lost time. The stewards are *generally* doing fine (*s because I am about to say where they are not).
      – Hamilton out braked himself, and suffered no consequence because of it. He was right not to try and come back on turn 2 (causing almost certainly an accident) but should have been given a time penalty.
      – Circuits layouts should anticipate these problems, and put more “return zones” to build in a penalty. If Hamilton had been forced to make an excursion that took more time than missing turn 2, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. It is only really a problem at chicanes, so there are not that many corners that need to be considered.

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