Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Hamilton avoids penalty after investigation for speeding under yellow flags

2020 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton’s second place on the grid for the Austrian Grand Prix has been confirmed after the stewards cleared him of failing to slow for yellow flags during qualifying.

The Mercedes driver was penalised for a separate incident in which the stewards found his did not obey track limits on an earlier run in qualifying. However this resulted only in the deletion of a slower lap time, which has no bearing on his qualifying position.

The stewards took no action against Hamilton for his reaction after team mate Valtteri Bottas went off the track ahead of him during their final runs in Q3. They ruled he was shown “conflicting signals” about the status of the track at that point.

“The driver mentioned that he passed a green light panel in turn five,” the stewards noted. “The video footage confirmed that there have been yellow flags and green light panels at the same time and therefore conflicting signals were shown to the driver.

“Taking this into account, the stewards decide to take no further action.”

Before the investigation was announced, Hamilton told the media he had not seen any yellow flags when Bottas went off.

Hamilton was also investigated for leaving the track during his first lap in Q3. The stewards ruled he did run wide at turn 10, and therefore deleted the lap time he set. As this was not his fastest lap time during Q3, it does not affect his qualifying position.

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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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42 comments on “Hamilton avoids penalty after investigation for speeding under yellow flags”

  1. Good.
    Back to racing!

    1. Good now there’s been a penalty I’d say.

  2. As I thought so, since the green flag was waved for like a second when Hamilton passed by, then it went to yellow for a second, and then green again. It would be better if the drivers have those on their dashboard rather than on track to avoid this issue.

  3. Here’s hoping they will give him a 5 place penalty for the leaving the track… Looks like it may be necessary to have a mildly interesting GP. Or we can watch another boring Mercedes 1.2…

    1. Him? Would that be Bottas or Hamilton as they both left the track. I think a number of others did as well.

    2. So sorry to disappoint! Yeah

    3. They HAVE given him a penalty! The deleted his time. Did you read the article? I know you have form but thought you’d at least read the articles.

      1. That’s not a penalty, that’s just symbolism. Another GP where we can pencil in the winner. Hopefully the rest of the race won’t be a complete snorefest. The last 2 years where good, because Max Verstappen, so maybe it will not be a bad one.

  4. Does it not show on his wheel if there’s a yellow flag? Personally haven’t been able to find the video.

    1. when you enter the stewards room, please record secretly and show it to us too :)

    2. His onboard camera did not work during his last run, @hugh11.
      Oh conspiracy…..

      1. But tweets such as this seem to indicate that they had access to his onboard in the stewards room which is why I’m so confused

    3. @hugh11 Yes, drivers do get yellow lights on their steering wheels when driving through a yellow flag-affected section.

  5. Seems a bit strange… conflicting signals means that yellow was shown (and should be seen by the drivers) and that should have resulted in precautionary actions by the drivers. It shouldn’t matter if there’s a green flag alongside it: when in doubt choose the safest option. The fia screwed up by giving double signals but that shouldn’t relieve drivers from the obligation to anticipate trouble ahead. And Hamilton did that by driving as fast as he could.

    1. Going slow when when there is a green light can be dangerous so when you are given conflicting lights, either option can be dangerous especially since errors happen.

  6. He’s already starting last in class – no point in wasting everyone’s time discussing this.

    1. Okay, that got a chuckle out of me @petebaldwin

  7. If there were conflicting yellow and green lights were shown shouldn’t it mean that a full investigation of the ‘yellow light’ system should be undertaken as it could have put driver(s) life at risk… ???

    1. How can a yellow flag put a drivers life at risk?

      1. When a driver got a false yellow flag and slows down in a middle of a corner and the other drivers are rocketing behind him. Could be very dangerous indeed.

        1. That’s a good point actually

        2. But car following would also have a false yellow.

          1. The conflict may be fixed after a second or two, perhaps before encountered by a following car. It only has to be false for the fraction of a second that any particular driver looks at it and they have to make a split second decision on what action to take…

    2. I assume when they say investigation, they meant disciplinary actions againts Hamilton for ignoring yellow lights and not into the light sustme itself.

      1. The article quotes the stewards as saying: “The video footage confirmed that there have been yellow flags and green light panels at the same time” … This situation of two differing flags being shown concurrently clearly should not happen, is potentially dangerous, and should be investigated.

        1. Having looked at the video, it is now obvious the yellow and green flags were not on at the same time. There were two electronic flags and a marshall waving a flag present as Hamilton drove along the track. First was a Yellow flag sign on the left hand side of the track, which was visible enough to be recorded on the video through a massive cloud of dust. About 200 or so meters after that, on the right hand side of the track, was a marshall waving a flag. Unfortunately it is hard to tell what colour it is, but I think it is probably yellow, although it might be a light green colour. Finally, on the right hand side about 400 metres or so after the marshall was an electronic green flag that was clearly visible.

  8. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    4th July 2020, 19:17

    Well of course he does.

  9. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
    4th July 2020, 19:40


  10. if there is a green panel, and a yellow flag… that is conflicting information… shouldn’t you follow the yellow one than, instead of the green one? might be some danger ahead…. not giving a penalty because it was conflicting is just plain wrong… because there WAS danger ahead. and because you can’t know for sure if there is. its like a gun, assuming it is always unloaded… uh wait

    1. It isn’t difficult to make the light system so that a Yellow light automatically turns off a green one if the situation arises where the system tries to activate both a yellow and a green light. This sort of logic has been used in electrical systems for over a hundred years.

  11. He got lucky with that shoddy track management…
    However Verstappen didn’t get any yellow flag or panel and was still penalized last year

    1. He got one. watch the video again.

  12. proud_asturian
    4th July 2020, 20:53

    One rule for Hamilton. Another for everyone else.

  13. It’s not difficult to understand what happened unless you’re like most of the people making comments here.
    Lewis said he never saw the yellow panel as was confirmed by his in-board. This can be so as the dust obscured that panel or since he was immediately behind Bottas, came upon the incident even before the yellow was made, so by the time he got pass the corner there was a green panel in view. So he Continued. Also, his mini segment speed indicated that he went slower through the segment as the incident occurred.

    1. Slavisa (@sylversurferr)
      4th July 2020, 22:00

      Last section of comment was not true. He set personal best time threw middle sector where yellow flag occurred.

      1. each sector is split into mini sectors

  14. So he said he didn’t see yellow flags and then it turned out he did, and not slowing down for a yellow flag is sometimes Ok.

    F1 is back just like nothing happened.

    1. it is not very clear cut as he is towards direct sun light, plus dust obscures the view! and this happens as he entered the corner! you cant brake there, only slow down in the straight, and as you can see in the video, there is green flag to the right, and yellow on the left through the dust! impossible to say he did see it!i doubt anyone checks left side of an outward corner, esp at speed! these are not something to justify, these are facts…

      see before entering the corner, there is no sign! no green no yellow! then a split second midway through the corner there is dust cloud! then as he passes it green flag is waving! you have to be real hypocrite to try and fault any driver in this situation!

  15. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    5th July 2020, 3:36

    Can someone explain why the track limit violation was not taken up seriously during the quali? I saw at least half a dozen drivers go wide at the final turn all 4 wheels off the track. Deletion of the lap time soon after the violation makes the whole situation clear for the driver and the team.
    Worst case scenario- IF bottas had had a big shunt, and Ham wasn’t able to complete his 2nd flier, he’d be starting P10 today, considering his first lap time was deleted hours after quali ended.

    1. I cannot explain that; but I would like to know the answer as it is a very good point. What made me chuckle was Crofty’s (In my opinion one-eyed) comment on Lewis’s second Q3 lap where he said ‘oh, his rear tyre is off the track but his fronts arn’t’ .. problem was, you couldn’t see where his front tyres were touching the ground as the camera was at the wrong angle. Lewis’s 1st Q3 lap should have been deleted before his second run.

  16. Even if Hamilton was penalized and started 5th or 7th, Mercedes would still easily do 1-2.

    1. With hamilton first like as not

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