Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2018

Hamilton summoned to stewards over pit entry incident

2018 German Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has been summed to see the German Grand Prix over his pit entry incident during the race.

The stewards are investigating whether he breached Appendix L, Chapter IV, Article 4(d) of the FIA International Sporting Code by “crossing the line separating the pit entry and the track.”

The article states: “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards), the crossing, in any direction, of the line separating the pit entry and the track by a car entering the pit lane is prohibited.”

Hamilton won the race with less than five seconds in hand over team mate Valtteri Bottas. He therefore could lose his victory if the stewards impose a time penalty.

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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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98 comments on “Hamilton summoned to stewards over pit entry incident”

  1. Begs the question why they didn’t look at it in the race, if they consider it a viable incident to check. Coming back on the track like that in a wet race can definitely be considered dangerous, even in SC conditions.

    1. That, and why didn’t Mercedes let Bottas drop to just over 5s – sure, pressure from RAI, but still; well, so maybe Bottas does win a race? Found his luck somewhere in that rainy patch?

      1. Probably as they – quite rightly – thought that as it wasn’t noted during the race, it wasn’t going to be an issue.

    2. @hugh11, as you say, it is rather unsatisfactory that they have left it so late after the race to make this decision – it’s more than an hour after they announced the provisional classification and after they’d already finished the post race scruitineering of the cars, giving the impression that they were not going to take any further action.

      I feel particularly sorry for the members of the team who probably would have assumed that everything was OK and been preparing to leave for home, only to be forced to delay their departure because the stewards are now holding this investigation. As you say, if it was a concern during the race – and they had quite a bit of time to consider that incident within the race itself – then it probably would have been better for all concerned if they’d at least announced an intention to investigate this after the race instead of leaving it until fairly late on afterwards.

  2. I can’t recall it ever being an issue if the car does not actually drive through the speed limited part of the pit lane (except for Baku where there are specific rules in place because of the high speeds). It has happened like this before and has gone without problem, however that was years ago and the stewards may have a different interpretation now

  3. FIA/Ferrari party like it’s 2008 again… Seriously, they’re going to remove a Hamilton win again hours after the race? Nobody was affected by what happened, aside from Hamilton, and the fault was entirely the team’s for switching the pit order to him (a bit like Waze telling you to go left, no right, no left, no right..!!). I could understand this being an issue if another driver had been affected, but it should have been sorted in the race itself, there wasn’t much else going on for the stewards to look at. Smacks of behind the scenes Ferrari complaining.

    1. Thomas Sherrill
      22nd July 2018, 17:23

      “Smacks of behind the scenes Ferrari complaining”

      May be true…but the rules allow it.

    2. @david-br If someone deserves his win to be taken away (I’m not saying he does in this case, in all honesty, haven’t seen the incident yet), then that win deserves to be taken away regardless of whether it was during or after the race. Should the stewards have just let Raikkonen win the 2003 Brazilian GP just because it was days before they found out he wasn’t the correct winner? I don’t believe so.

    3. Would be a shame to take away a win after a drive like that… but Ferrari would obviously use all their political power to make up for their failures.

      1. @todfod
        Has there even been an incident in which, such a political nexus existing between the FIA and Ferrari been proved ?

        Why do fans keep speculating all the time ?

        1. It suits them so they can think their diver lost because it was unfair and he is the best, I used to think like that at Ferrari/Schumacher era, but I was just a child then.

          1. Maybe read the comment below son.

        2. @webtel

          Wow.. where do I start? Firstly, Bernie has openly admitted that Max and him have helped Ferrari win during their time together – http://www.f1i.com/news/284049-ecclestone-f1-fia-often-helped-ferrari-win.html

          Then let’s see what I remember from the top of my head –
          1) Ferrari got Mclaren’s innovative brake pedal system banned in 1998. It was scrutineered and deemed legal by the FIA, but magically Ferrari got that decision overturned.
          2) They got mass dampers banned in 2006. Again it was deemed legal, but surprisingly overturned when Ferrari still couldn’t beat Renault.
          3) They got Alonso demoted from pole position at Monza in 2006 to somewhere at the back of the grid because he apparently impeded Massa’s run. That was the most blatant favouritism (political power play) I’ve seen in any sport so far.
          4) They decided not to penalise Ferrari for the 2010 team race orders although they were illegal at the time.
          5) They let Ferrari drivers who deserve race bans get away with small taps on the wrist as long as the apologise … Pfft. That’s Baku 2017 by the way.

          I’m sure there are at least another 10 or more instances I could find over the past 20 years… but I think you get the gist of it already.

          1. A quick Google/Wikipedia search would have been useful before posting.

            2) Flavio Briatore has named McLaren as the team who complained to the FIA” [about mass dampers].
            4) The team was issued a $100,000 (£64,700) fine for the rule infringements,[40] and the stewards decided that the result of the event would be unchanged.
            5) Vettel did not “get away”. He got a 10 sec stop/go, which is only one step lighter than the black flag. https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/headlines/2017/7/vettel-baku-incident-closed-after-apology–fia.html

            I’m not saying that the FIA never made controversial decisions from time to time – for example, with Mclaren’s brake steering solution -, but I think they were always trying to engineer the intensity of the championships, rather than their outcome. To say that FIA is trying to construct Ferrari victories is simply not true and goes against common sense – just look at the number of titles Ferrari has won in the past 20 years: six. What about the other 14 seasons? The guys at the FIA responsible for making Ferrari win aren’t doing a very good job…

          2. Thanks @todfod. Lot of info there.
            I guess @palagyi has a few rebuttals to that. I do remember the last two. A devoted tifosi would perhaps have rebuttals to all the other ten or so instances you mentioned about.
            Whether a driver deserves a race ban or not is not for us to decide. We have stewards for that. And again, Alonso was demoted because he impeded Massa—at-least in the eyes of the stewards.
            If you choose to believe that the the FIA and Ferrari work hand in hand, and that the system is rigged to favor Ferrari from time to time, why do the other teams still choose to participate in such a rigged system ? Horner and Wolff make a few statements every now and then but to no avail. I think they have stopped complaining. Fans haven’t. It is as simple as that.

          3. @webtel

            Man.. Did you even watch monza 2006 qualifying? No human being in his right mind would call that impeding.

            It was Schumachers last monza race and they wanted him to win there at any cost.

            If you’re genuinely asking why Ferrari are accused of getting the governing bodies to favour them without any ‘proof’ you’ve either not watched the sport closely enough or just blindly support Ferrari

    4. @david-br well it’s just not true that nobody was affected. If Hamilton pitted he would have been in the pits behind Bottas and possibly not got ahead of Räikkönen (not sure what the gap was). If it was in fact an infringement then it should be penalised accordingly.

      Also it’s a team sport so “it was the team’s fault not the drivers” is irrelevant.

      1. Nobody was affected by the team indecision over to pit Hamilton or not and its end result – crossing the line at the last minute. That’s the point the stewards are addressing, a safety issue, not the tactical issue of whether Hamilton actually pitted or not, obviously!

        1. @david-br they never take that account when making decisions about pit lane lines.

          If the stewards do decide he was in the pit lane and backed out later than allowed, then the decision is that it is breaking the rules by leaving the pit lane and returning to the track (thus gaining an advantage). In addition what I said before, the advantage doesn’t even have to be against other cars, it can be time that should have been lost but wasn’t

    5. Nobody was affected by what happened, aside from Hamilton

      I don’t think this means anything (well judging by Australia 2011 it doesn’t. Though Spa 2012 then happened so there’s that)

      and the fault was entirely the team’s

      Of which the driver is a part. wouldn’t be the first time a driver gets penalised for a “team’s” mistake (plus theoretically it still would’ve been HAM’s job not to drive the car accross the line like that), assuming this turns out to be worth penalising, anyway (though OTOH no disqualifications happened in the WDC the way it did in the WCC in 2007…so I guess there’s that). @david-br

    6. Check the rules before you allow your bias to cry “conspiracy theory”.
      Hammi Fan Kids everywhere …

    7. @david-br What baffles me most is that if this was not allowed, then why didn’t they investigate this clearly visible incident right away.

      It’s like someone decided not to complain during the race, but waited till afterwards to make sure Hamilton couldn’t pull a gap to lessen the damage of a possible time penalty.

      1. @patrickl Precisely what I thought too.

  4. So what triggered Hamilton to suddenly stay out? The radio seemed to only urge him IN IN IN

    1. There was 1 message between ‘box box’ and ‘in in in’ saying ‘stay out’ – quite the confusion.

    2. @sihrtogg Right at the last second they cancelled the order (after insisting IN IN IN).

  5. Note that Raikkonen’s 2016 European GP penalty for crossing the pit entry line is not necessarily a precedent as on that occasion drivers had been given a specific instruction not to cross that line:

    https://www.racefans.net/2016/06/18/baku-makes-changes-following-safety-concerns/

    1. A better example would be Hungary, 2007, when Kimi did exactly what Hamilton did today, without penalty.

      Of course, at that time, the rules didn’t necessarily apply to Ferrari, as Hamilton discovered a year later at Spa.

      1. Care to show some footage? I’ve only seen the one in Nurburgring that year, but in that occasion he seemed to have a major snap of oversteer while coming to the pitlane and had to get out of it with opposite lock to avoid spinning before the pit entrance, whereas today Hamilton did make a decision only to back out of it, always purposefully.

        1. You’re right– brain fade. Nurburgring, not Hungary.

        2. @toiago https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEiiSvlJUlY Someone else posted that somewhere (in the live session?) looks quite similar in effect (if not in cause, bc. he seems to just slide out again due to wet track, little grip)

          1. @bosyber
            It could be argued that Kimi paid the price for such a move–dropped him down by many places on the next lap.
            Not the same here for Lewis.

          2. Yeah, I guess @webtel, but didn’t we have it established over the last few races that the effect of moves only matter in ‘overtaking off track’ and not in other incidents?

        3. @toiago Hamilton wasn’t ‘purposefully’ messing around his own pit stop or non-stop. He reacted instinctively when told to stay out by the team after a series of confused orders (the team confusion is palpable on the radio messages). I accept the driver is part of the team and so has to take the rap sometimes if the team is at fault. However this (a) seems permissible by the rules, (b) the precedent is confused but mostly seems to be OK, no penalty, and (c) should have been dealt with in-race. Unless they want to clarify the point with Hamilton and issue a team warning or other penalty, it would be fairly outrageous to alter the race result hours later for this incident.

    2. Massa had also the same penalty in Brazil 2013.

    3. For sure. Different scenario. Today (all weekend) there was no issue with the pit entry.

    4. I’ve had a look at the other instances of drivers being investigated for crossing the white line at pit entry I’ve been able to find between 2011 and 2017. There are 22 of them.

      Of those, four attracted penalties:

      Felipe Massa, 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix
      Carlos Sainz Jnr, 2015 Russian Grand Prix
      Kimi Raikkonen, 2016 European Grand Prix
      Pascal Wehrlein, 2017 Spanish Grand Prix

      In each of those cases, drivers had been specifically warned in the Event Notes not to cross the pit entry line. In the case of this weekend, there is no such warning in the Event Notes.

      Based on that I wouldn’t be surprised to see no penalty issued.

      1. @keithcollantine

        Keith, can you also let us know as to why such a warning was issued only in these four instances and not in the others ? It is subjective ? Upto the stewards ?

        1. @webtel It’s particular to the configuration of the track. For example in Baku, where Raikkonen was penalised, the pit entry line extends onto part of the track where cars travel at close to top speed, so for safety reasons they use that rule to make sure only drivers heading into the pits (and therefore about to slow down) are on that part of the track.

      2. Why is it then, that that isn’t standard procedure and part of the standard regulations, why does it have to be part of the event notes? Especially Russia and Spain, the pit entry is well off the racing line, so how are those tracks different to here? Seems a bit odd.
        I think the rule should be added that once you go beyond the bollard in the pit lane, you can’t then cut back onto the track. It could very well be dangerous to do so at most tracks, especially in the wet. Odd that that isn’t already a thing.

      3. Darran Donald
        22nd July 2018, 17:57

        I know your meaning warning from the stewards but i wonder if his engineer screaming at him to come in could be considered as a warning but i can see that since he won the race rather than it being a right/wrong decision they wont take a win off a driver after the event on a “minor” technical

      4. Why was there no penalty for Hamilton pushing his car in qualifying, effectively causing a yellow flag?

      5. Race director notes Europe 2016:

        In accordance with Chapter 4 (Section 4) of Appendix L to the ISC drivers must keep to the left of the white line at the pit entry.

        Race director notes Germany 2018::

        For safety reasons drivers must stay to the right of the bollard at the pit entry when entering the pits.

        It seems to me that they’re saying exact same thing, just in latter case they don’t explicitly refer to ISC.

      6. https://www.fia.com/file/70810/download?token=7RLYEXwy

        Section 8.2 very specifically states that cars must stay to the right of the bollard at pit entry for safety reasons. It is verbatim the same wording as the language in the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix event notes.

        https://www.fia.com/file/56752/download?token=YhFfw2ph

        There was no safety issue with other drivers. It was caused by confusion of being pitted by the team during a safety car.

        Those are the facts for both drivers. Pascal got a 5-second penalty (the same as every other driver found guilty like Lewis). Lewis only got a reprimand, unlike everyone else cited for breaking the rule.

        1. It is verbatim the same wording as the language in the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix event notes.

          I assume you meant 2017 Spanish Grand Prix as that is when the Wehrlein case occured. The two are not quite the same.

          Here’s what it said for the 2017 Spanish Grand Prix:

          For safety reasons drivers must keep to the right of the bollard at the pit entry

          Here’s what it said for this race – note the crucial extra four words:

          For safety reasons drivers must stay to the right of the bollard at the pit entry when entering
          the pits.

          1. @keithcollantine To use a race director’s note to protect a driver from the effects of the International Sporting Code is to make the note overrule the regulation. While that is permitted in F1 (but not in other racing series), the few previous occasions I can recall from the top of my head have been, at minimum, controversial.

            (Also, I see no difference created by the four extra words, given that it is physically impossible to get to the pit entry without entering the pits).

      7. Yet there is nothing in the rules which allows not mentioning the pit entry in the drivers’ briefing to be used as a means of exemption, so rather like the reasons put in the FIA press release, it doesn’t allow for this to be used as the reason for excusing someone of crossing the pit lane exit.

    5. Indeed.

  6. “Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the Stewards), the crossing, in any direction, of the line separating the pit entry and the track by a car entering the pit lane is prohibited.”

    1. There was no force majeure, so basically HAM just escaped a penalty to get the win, uh?! Not very cool…

    2. To be fair, if they had to, they could argue they had an issue with Bottas in the pits, and to double stack during a safety car could have been potentially dangerous. So when the delay with bottas was apparent, they cancelled the pit order.

      Long shot, yes, but a possible defence if they were desperate for one.

      1. Long shot, yes, but a possible defence if they were desperate for one.

        @mach1 If they really do end up in a position of having to defend I think that would be easily countered by the possibility of the legal alternative of entering the pits, not stacking behind BOT, and yelling as many expletives as possible watching the amount of time you’re losing.

        1. Oh I agree, I was just thinking of any possible angle they could use to mitigate it…not a likely one…..

      2. Red Bull did just that in China, Haas did exactly the same at this very race without the slightest safety issue, that arguement won’t stand.

      3. Not a valid defense at all (although you’re right to say it’s worth a shot for them), they know the risks of stacking, everybody does

      4. Except their own radio would have negated that argument. They told him to come in. He replied about Kimi. They said “Stay out”. He swerved back on track. They then said “In, In, In, In.” It wasn’t the problem with Bottas. It was a reaction to Kimi and it was obvious.

  7. Once again the FIA / stewards are inconsistent…

    Allowing that move to go unpunished sets a dangerous precedent – a 10 second penalty would be fair.

    1. A 10 second penalty itself would be inconsistent…

    2. And that is the major problem with penalties. It is perfectly fine to give a penalty if driver or team made a mistake but this princip should be apllied on every driver and every team.
      Stewards had enough time to give a penalty to Lewis during the race.

      1. Keith has clarified above the number of penalties given with this and consistency is not an issue (at the time of writing, as this incident hasn’t yet been finalised).

        Of 22 similar incidents that he could find “four attracted penalties”… “In each of those cases drivers had been specifically warned in the event notes..”

        Seems pretty consistent.

        1. Except those same specific warnings were in the event notes for this race too. Those other four got time penalties. Lewis did not. Not consistent.

          1. Except those same specific warnings were in the event notes for this race too.

            No they weren’t.

        2. Except that there is no scope in the regulation for the presence or absence of event notes concerning the pit entry to make the slightest difference regarding the pit lane entry’s enforcement.

  8. Levente (@leventebandi)
    22nd July 2018, 17:31

    With going through, Hamilton salvaged at least 15 seconds. I don’t think a time penalty less than that would be enough…

    1. @leventebandi The amount of time he gained/lost strategically is not relevant to the punishment given.

      It’s purely due to safety. If it’s deemed unsafe you get a punishment. The punishment given is up to the stewards within a certain framework and existing precedents.

  9. Meh, reprimand and call it done…..

    1. Alex McFarlane
      22nd July 2018, 17:53

      Yeah. Slap on the wrists, clarify the rules going forwards, job done.

  10. Envy and hate are wirong.
    If there was something wrong with Hamilton move, that should be investigated during the race.
    Call Hamilton afterwards to change the final result is against the truth of F1.

    1. Sometimes they want to hear from the driver about these things before awarding a penalty. I think it’s pretty standard, no?

      1. @john-h Depends whether they would consider a penalty that altered the race result (winner) or not. In which case it would have been grossly unfair not to have given the penalty (presuming a time penalty) during the race when Hamilton would at least have had some chance to respond on track. Massa ‘won’ Spa 2008 in ridiculous fashion after such an incident – remembering that the race stewards actually cleared Hamilton during the race. But then explicit FIA Ferrari bias was OK. In this case, there was a clear radio conversation for the stewards to hear, why would they need Hamilton’s version afterwards?

    2. @herberto I think it’s against the spirit of any sport to leave something unpunished simply because it wasn’t noticed at the time.

      Ideally, it should have been dealt with during the race but I’m guessing they were busy and overlooked it. That’s sloppy and hopefully they’ll review their systems to avoid it again. But a penalty is a penalty and our sport is perfectly capable to give them hours or even DAYS later.

      In this case no penalty should be given. And I doubt it will be. But it should be investigated as a matter of process. Also, I’d like to see this clarified once and for all going forward. Because it does seem odd that at certain events they are issuing specific instructions and at others letting it slide, when, to me, this seems like something that should be very straightforward; “After point X do NOT cross the white line” Except perhaps in mitigating circumstances, ie. avoiding a collision.

  11. I don’t know what to think right now. I complained about the incident in another article. I can hardly believe that there is no rule preventing it. Kimi did the same thing 11 years but didn’t get penalised.
    “crossing the line separating the pit entry and the track.”
    Hamilton didn’t cross the line though. He did something more serious that the rules ignore.
    Very strange situation. And the late reaction by the stewards is appaling.

  12. What a joke, this should have been looked at during the race, the TV crews were all over it.

    Is there an actual rule book?

    1. Yes, there’s about twenty of them – which may be part of the problem. Stewards are not necessarily good at recalling an entire novel, word-perfect, at a moment’s notice – nor are the people who report incidents to them (this appears to have been race control-initiated).

  13. I’d be very surprised if he’d lose his win. I was already surprised that they decided even to take it into an investigation afterwards.

  14. The incident aside, this is why people get turned off F1.

    If they had called the investigation during the race, fair enough. Even stating that it will be investigated after the race.

    But to launch an investigation 2 hours after the race ends is ludicrous.

    It’s analogous to a potential change in the result of a football match after it had ended because a possible penalty had been missed during the match.

    I am talking generally here, not just about this incident. If it was not deemed to be investigated during the race, then that is the fault of the stewards.

    1. Even if no action is taken, the fact they are investigating so long after the end when there had plenty of time to announce during the race is a real problem in my opinion — this isn’t a case of something being discovered to be non-conforming in post-race scrutineering.

  15. A fine for Mercedes would be my penalty, stripping a win for something that had no impact on any other driver would be ridiculous.

  16. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    22nd July 2018, 17:48

    Not that I’m not interested in this topic myself, but I find it amusing that in just over 30 minutes, this page has more comments that the race result page that has been here for 2 hours! Clearly we care more for Hamilton’s penalty than the order every driver the drivers finish in! :D

    1. To be fair, it does rather spoil (whether a penalty is applied or not) what was a fantastic race.

      For a result to be thrown into doubt so long after the race has ended is always going to cause controversy.

    2. Well, yes, this has implications for the championship.

  17. Not a Mercedes/HAM fan, but taking away his win hours later after the race has ended is not the way thing should go, especially for this kind of error. Probably should award some penalty in the following race if the penalty is for the driver.

    1. I don’t see it that way.
      If a mistake was made by the stewards and Hamilton broke a rule he should be penalized.
      Plenty of times drivers receive penalties after the race is over.

  18. Hamilton did not break the quoted regulation. He did not leave in the ‘pit entry’ so I really don’t see what the fuss is about

    1. Was that not the pit entry?
      What is the pit entry then?

      1. I was under the impression that the pit entry was the section of track shared by the pits and the normal race track, in the case of Hockenheim that would be the section of track between the second to last and last corners. However after rereading the relevant section I dont think that is correct.

        1. Pit entry is the stretch of road where the cars leave the main track, just before the bollard, all the way to the pit delimiter line just before the garages, where it then becomes pit lane. It basically started at the DRS detection 2 sign, midway between turns 16 and 17.

  19. Rules are rules, if you are penalizing Vet for blocking in quali you should penalize Ham here bc he clearly broke the rules.

  20. I think it’s really weird they didn’t investigate this right away.

    I think it shouldn’t be allowed to get out of the pit lane entry like that.

    1. It was intentional and he gained from it

  21. I think there is no information forbidding Hamilton move.
    Charlie Whiting said that cars should entering the pit lane on the right side of the pin. That’s the only rule that I read.

    1. Charlie’s own Race Director even notes that go out to the drivers stated (8.2) that cars must remain to the right of the bollard when entering the pits. When Lewis swerved back on track, he moved to the left of it. It’s the exact same words in the 2017 Spanish GP (it’s like they copy and pasted it) that they penalized Wehrlein for when he crossed over during the safety car.

  22. Why are they making this so complicated? If a rule was broken, then a penalty needs to be accessed.
    Don’t screw it up FIA!

  23. Stewards again lenient on Hamilton and Mercedes because it’s their home race – not making such a blatant call instantly is proof of that.
    What a political circus!

  24. WIN CONFIRMED – SUPER

  25. HAM drove extremely well, but if if you broke the rules you should get a penalty. That was not a normal driving line and in some other occasion could have been dangerous joining the track like that.

  26. In 2002 French Gran Prix in Magny Cours Schumacher (Ferrari) was penalized because he put a wheel over the continuos line at the exit of the pits. He was alone. No danger for any competitor. Now a driver jumps from the pit entry directly into the track

    and “it was just a mistake”….strange, very very strange.

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