Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017

Hamilton accepts blame for ‘slow and erratic’ driving penalty

2017 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has been given two penalty points on his licence for driving too slowly in the pits.

The Mercedes driver was also given a five-second penalty for holding up Daniel Ricciardo when he came in for his first pit stop. Hamilton served the penalty at his second pit stop.

Lance Stroll, Williams, Bahrain International Circuit, 2017
2017 Bahrain GP in pictures
The stewards ruled Hamilton “drove unnecessarily slowly and erratically in the pit entry, reducing his speed to 57kph before increasing to 75kph as he entered the pit lane, holding up car three.”

Hamilton, who was following his team mate Valtteri Bottas into the pits when he incurred the penalty, said it was “the second time I’ve double-stacked and lost out.”

“I think I lost out once in Monaco, something like that. This one was really my fault.”

“I was supposed to have a five-second gap, it was increasing, it was 4.7. I thought at 4.7 I could start getting back on the power, which I did, and as I got to the line at the pit lane it was four seconds. And I think he had a problem on top of that which meant it was a lot closer.”

Hamilton admitted he could have finished closer to Sebastian Vettel, who won by 6.6 seconds, without his time penalty and other problems.

“Where I got to was as close as I could get to,” he said. “Of course if I didn’t have the five second penalty then I think I would have been.”

“And also we lost a bit of time, I think, in the pit stops. Lots of different things could have happened today but it didn’t. We’ll assess it and try to figure out how to move forwards.”

This article will be updated.

2017 Bahrain 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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33 comments on “Hamilton accepts blame for ‘slow and erratic’ driving penalty”

  1. I thought it was a bit harsh since Ricciardo still came out ahead.

    1. it probably cost Ricciardo 4-5 seconds though

      1. Which is a moot point. Ricciardo would never have come out in front of Bottas and the SC nullified everything Ricciardo would have lost. Which means that other than preventing to come to a full stop in the pit, Hamilton had nothing to gain by his action.

        1. Well Hamilton wanted to slow down Ricciardo, so that HE would come out in front of him. That didn’t work out, because of the slow pit stop Bottas had. It is always the intention that is penalized, not if the trick worked or not.

      2. It didn’t cost him anything. It was under safety car. They have to drive slow under safety car. Why they didn’t penalise Vettel for going unnecessary slow before restart?

        1. Cuz that’s not the rule. You are just making up things to be contradictory or have something against Vettel or something.

  2. Wasn’t sure about the penalty at first but looking at the replay Hamilton started to pull in then turned back out again while going slowly so can’t really argue.

    1. Yeah, the pit entry is one thing but the cars were very close at the pit lane speed limit line and Danny was rightly confused by Lewis’ actions. ‘Racing’ there endangered the Merc crew IMHO.

  3. The wording of that penalty is stupid, “unnecessarily slowly”. It was clearly necessary to ensure Ric doesn’t jump him due to Merc stacking…

    1. very unsportsman like, the pit zone is a “constant speed” area created for safety – dropping far below that speed to block competitors is not on, and even Hamilton apologized for it on the podium… so please don’t defend it if even the driver himself admitted guilt.

    2. Michael Brown (@)
      16th April 2017, 18:08

      In the pit lane entrance though?

      1. The post makes it sound as if the portion the stewards had a problem was before he entered the pitlane. Wasn’t the consensus that this area was fine? Didn’t Vettel overtake in the pit-lane entrance in China which could be seen as erratic?

        1. Surely that’s a bit unfair, yes I get hamilton should have moved over more for ricciardo to pass but they penalize him for this but they didn’t penalize vettel when he overtook 2 cars on the entrance to the pit dangerously

          1. Surely that’s a bit unfair, yes I get hamilton should have moved over more for ricciardo to pass but they penalize him for this but they didn’t penalize vettel when he overtook 2 cars on the entrance to the pit dangerously. They said hamilton drove erratically, vettels move last year was way more erratic and dangerous

          2. By rule, you can overtake until pit lane is reached. When VET did it in China, it was not under SC. I believe RIC could not overtake HAM because of the SC. Can someone confirm this?

          3. Sundar Srinivas Harish
            17th April 2017, 3:40

            @BrianW The logic is sound. Hamilton was trying to bog Daniel down, while Vettel was taking advantage of people who decided to slow down early. In the video you can see him hitting the pit limiter button *just* after crossing the line, while it looks like Ham wasn’t in the pit limits while trying to do what he did.

  4. Pathetic Hamilton.

  5. Hamilton might be happy that softer penalties are in place now than there were about 10 years ago.

    Fisichella got for the same action a DT penalty in China 2005, after Räikkönen in Spa 2005 did the same which resulted in the rules being changed to prevent such slow-driving before and in the pitlane.

  6. I think the penalty was fair as he clearly broke the rules & its a rule thats been in place for some times (Since 2005) which he should know about.

    I think it’s also important to remember why the rule is there. There were races in the past prior to this rule been introduced where under a SC teams would get the 2nd positioned driver to back off to effectively hold cars behind up to allow there lead car to come out infront.
    McLaren did it at Spa in 2005 & Renault tried the same at China later that year to which Fisichella was handed a penalty as @xenomorph91 above says.

    End of the day A very clear rule was broken & the penalty for doing so is clearly defined so the penalty was justified & fair.

  7. Have to love this. It’ll be the criminal lawyer in me, but can’t but laugh at the part where he accepts blame. Blame implies it was accidental and sloppy, this was calculated and deliberate.

    1. He knew what he was doing. He is racing though and at the time he probably didn’t think he was breaking a rule by doing so. Obviously deliberate, but I don’t think it was some sort of malicious decision thinking he would get away with it.

    2. Agree with you. But for such an unsportsmanlike and deliberate action the 5 seconds penalty was very mild. The whole action cost RIC about the same number of seconds, so the penalty should be at least double that.

      1. I may agree with you if it was under green flag racing, however it was under safety car so ultimately RIC didn’t lose anytime and the 5 secs was fair.

    3. Yep, why people call it a “mistake” is bewond me

  8. He accepted blame, he got penalised, debatable if it cost him the race, ( I mean Vettel with track position in a competitive car would’ve made Ham’s life a complete misery to try and pass him on the last laps of the race).
    He also didn’t get pole position, wasn’t Ham’s best weekend but he at least solidified second place so it wasn’t too bad in the end.
    Biggest disappointments for me is what Sainz did to Stroll and Verstaeppen having brake failure so early on as it was clear he was quicker than Riccardo.

    1. VER was even quicker then HAM in those first rounds and would have loved to see if the Red Bulls are really back a bit. RIC did a good qualifier lap but for the rest didn’t do anything special in the whole weekend. He would certainly been outclassed by VER in the race.
      And that poor guy Stroll is glad his father will continue paying because for the rest luck is not on his side yet.

      1. VER was even quicker then HAM in those first rounds

        Only because everyone was on the Bottas train.

  9. At least he’s admitting it, which is a good thing

  10. He also knew he wasn’t going to catch better what happened to given place back to bottas after all he did promise

  11. Sorry type error ment to say Vettel and not Better

  12. I wasn’t aware of this rule so I initially didn’t think there was anything wrong with what Hamilton did, I knew you couldn’t speed in the pit lane but I didn’t know you could also be penalised for going too slow in the pit lane.

    I think the commentators mentioned at the time that Red Bull had talked about it on team radio with Ricciardo but I thought it was just the usual case of drivers and teams saying stuff on radio knowing who else is listening and so trying to get their rivals into trouble.

    In the post race analysis I think Horner said that Hamilton would have got away with it if he had slowed down to create a gap before the pit entry but not after he entered the pits, is that true and is the rule that a driver can’t drive slow in the pit lane whenever someone is following during a race or just under safety car periods?

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