Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2018

Stewards right not to give Hamilton “harsh” penalty – Ricciardo

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton did not deserve a penalty which could have cost him victory in the German Grand Prix for his pit lane entry violation, according to two of his rivals.

The Mercedes driver was given a reprimand, the most lenient penalty available to the stewards, for cutting the pit lane entry line when he decided at the last moment not to pit under the Safety Car. All the likely alternatives to the reprimand would have involved a time penalty which would have relegated him to second place or lower.

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo said it would have been “harsh” to strip Hamilton of his win over the error.

“I was out of the race so I wasn’t too fussed,” said Ricciardo. “I know it’s clear in my mind that if you enter [the pits] after the bollard, if he pitted doing the opposite, that’s a clear breach. But then avoiding one as he did… I don’t think it changed too much.

“The way I see it, he did a good race to come from where he did. It should be black or white so I’m not saying the circumstance should’ve affected the decision. But it seemed fine, he still deserved the win. If they would have taken the win from him for that maybe that’s a bit harsh.”

Sergio Perez also felt the decision to give Hamilton a reprimand was “correct”.

“It’s a hard one but when you look at the rule then it’s clear. The reprimand came, it was under the Safety Car, he rejoined safely.

“I think the stewards looked at it carefully and decided to give a reprimand which I’m not against. I think the stewards took the decision right.”

Ricciardo’s team mate Max Verstappen said the decision should set a precedent for how future incidents are handled.

“I know the onboard from Lewis it was very confusing from him. If it should have got a penalty it’s not up to me. In the rules it says it’s not allowed, this time they gave him a reprimand.

“I guess for the future for every team it makes it a bit more clear maybe you get a reprimand if it’s such a confusing thing. I hope they just are very strict on it for other teams as well.”

Hamilton said the team must decide how to handle similar situations in the future to avoid a repeat. “If I could go back I would have stuck to what I felt, which was to stay out, so I wouldn’t have been in that scenario,” he said.

“So that’s an area that we need to work on because we’re always dealing with split-second decisions. There wasn’t a long time for the team to make a decision. But if we had time to discuss, we would have come to the conclusion that I would have stayed out because that’s what I felt was right at the time. My tyres felt good.”

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16 comments on “Stewards right not to give Hamilton “harsh” penalty – Ricciardo”

  1. But leaves a president for making an illegal manoeuvre off the track at the very last moment if a driver/team decides… Not a good example to set at all.

    1. * under a safety car at low speed
      ** when it was clearly not a planned manoeuvre to gain an advantage

      1. *Doing it under safety cars makes it more serious, not less

        1. @socksolid How so? The speeds are significantly lower under the SC than they’re under green-flag conditions, so I’d argue it’s the opposite actually.

        2. Really? Then what would be the penalty for deliberately hitting another car during the safety car?

    2. Biskit Boy (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
      27th July 2018, 9:21

      Its not against the rules to off the track. It depends on the circumstances. This is why the stewards have the legitimate option to make a judgement call.

      Granted a zero tolerance policy would make the stewards job easier but I think we might end up with zero common sense decisions regularly on that basis.

  2. The Problem i see with this line of thinking is, everybody keeps complaining about inconsistent stewarding- however, mostly this involves situations with room for interpretation, ie, who caused a collision, what should be regarded as a move off line, was a lasting advantage gained. There will never be 100% consitency in these calls, its impossible. But this must be a black and white rule that states how to drive, right? So, how can there be any claim to consistent stewarding if clear transgressions are not handled properly? There is also another issue in there in that whiting seems to often postpone critical investigations- another case in point, Vettel vs Verstappen& Riccardo in Mexico in 20?16?- Vettel should have had this podium, he should have been given the position to max- by delaying action he got forced back into ricciardo and lost out, leading to the infamous (but, in all honesty, somewhat justified) meltdown. Investigating after the race just won’t do as it will allow illegal moves to influence the outcome.

    1. Vettel case in mexico is not what Vettel deserved. Max knew he would get a penalty for not giving the position back, he took the chance to take penalty! If this was 2008 like in SPA! he would have been banned a few races compared to what ham received despite giving his position back! But there is no rule forcing a driver to give the position back if he accepts the penalty… just like in football, u can foul, and receive a penalty shoot and take a chance in case keeper saves the day… what would be otherwise 99-100% chance score! Max is stubborn kid, and it will cause him some headaches if he doesnt change his sharp approach and mouth in the future… it will hunt him back… But saying because Vettel didnt get the position back DOES NO WAY JUSTIFIES his outburst… SO his BAKU bonehead move is justified too because he likes to handle things on track his way?

  3. Rui (@colinmcrui)
    26th July 2018, 23:29

    +1 @mrboerns I didn’t hear, just read, but looks like Max was being a little sarcastic :)

  4. I agree with the reprimand and that it was nothing more. Perhaps things would have been different if LH had come back on the track and forced someone to take evasive action to not hit him, but that did not happen here, and there is precedent that others who have done what LH did, also did not get penalized. And let’s recall how crucial it has been sometimes to drivers races if they either nail their pit timing, or fail to, when a vsc or actual safety car comes out. One can understand the angst of making the right or wrong decision to pit in splits of seconds of time.

    F1 is always in a tough spot trying to not be too over-policing…trying to keep some spontaneity and some variety and excitement and not have everything be black and white. Trying to take each incident on it’s own. Same with them still not having tennis style laser eyes to ensure the cars don’t leave the track without penalty. Do we really want everything to be so clinical?

    1. The question is what place would he be in if he did go trough the pitlane as he should have in this case.
      I haven’t seen the race, bad internet where i am at, but no body can tell me if he had an unfair advantage track position wise.

      In my point of view that is the hanging point between a correct and incorrect penalty

      1. I think i’m right in saying it wouldn’t have made any difference to the result.

        If Hamilton had gone into the pits, you would assume he would drive straight through rather than double stack behind Bottas who had no tyres there. Verstappen was a long way behind at this stage so Hamilton wouldn’t lose position (as bottas himself didn’t).

        Raikkonen pitted on the next lap and came out behind Bottas so we can assume from that that Hamilton would still be in the lead, and the race would play out the same as it

        1. Ok clear.

      2. The stewards have been clear that they will not consider “what if”, ie, what advantage/disadvantage a driver “might have gained” when they consider what penalty to administer.

  5. A list of past pit lane entry/exit white line/bollard incidents since 2013 has been published elsewhere. 19 ended with either no action or reprimand, 5 with a time penalty. For those wanting consistency it looks like the reprimand is the go to punishment.

    1. It was published here too.

      The ones that were punished happened at tracks where drivers had been specifically told not to cross the line. Baku for example where the pit entry is on the main straight.

      It’s really a non issue, a reprimand is in line with every other case.

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