Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020

Hamilton under investigation over yellow flags and leaving the track

2020 Austrian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton is under investigation for two infringements durign qualifying, including failing to slow down for yellow flags.

The Mercedes driver qualified second for this weekend’s race. He appears to have passed yellow flags when his team mate Valtteri Bottas left the track in front of him during their final runs in Q3.

Hamilton has been summoned to a meeting of the stewards for “allegedly failing to slow for yellow flags between turns five and seven (marshalling sectors nine and 10) at 15:59.” He improved his lap time on the run in question.

Speaking in the press conference after qualifying, Hamilton said he hadn’t seen any yellow flags when Bottas went off.

However Daniel Ricciardo, who was running behind Hamilton at the time, did see yellow flags and backed off. Ricciardo was under the mistaken impression that Bottas hadn’t left the track, when the Mercedes driver had spun to a stop in the infield.

“I don’t know why they went to yellow,” said Ricciardo on his radio. “There was a yellow for two corners for nothing. He stayed on the track. That was shit.”

The last six occasions on which drivers were investigated for failing to slow for yellow flags during qualifying all resulted in the drivers involved receiving grid drops of between three and five places. The most recent was Max Verstappen at last year’s Mexican Grand Prix.

The last driver to avoid a grid penalty for failing to slow for yellow flags during qualifying was Nico Rosberg at the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton is also being investigated for leaving the track at turn 10 earlier in the session.

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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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35 comments on “Hamilton under investigation over yellow flags and leaving the track”

  1. He was like 2 seconds behind Bottas, wen did he have time to slow down?

    Anyway, they can delete his best time, will not change much.

    1. Think the penalty for not slowing for yellows is a grid place drop rather than just deleting the lap time.

    2. Hemingway (@)
      4th July 2020, 18:03

      It probably will. His other lap in Q3 didn’t count because he left the track on the last corner… Surprised the commentators didn’t notice that either. So it could be no time set for Q3, leaving him 10th with a 10 place grid penalty.

      1. I can see why Hamilton said he did not see any yellow flags, and this will be really tight.


        Let’s go to 5:14 where Bottas is already on the gravel, and just at 5:15, there is a small window in which the yellow flags were transformed into green flags, and then they bring the yellow flags back out again. If you then skip to 6:23-6:24, you’ll see those green lights coming up on the right side of the screen while Bottas is still in the gravel. I presume that Hamilton meant that when he said he did not see any yellow flags, as the green lights were flashing for a split second there, and then they went back to yellow. Next, if you go to 6:34 in the video, you’ll see Bottas just at turn 6 in the gravel, and a black car passes him. I believe that must be Hamilton, and then there is a light flashing on the right again, that being a yellow light. Assuming Hamilton saw the green light flashing, as it turned back into yellow, was he in a position where he could see them quick enough for him to slow down? Because if you go from 5:15-5:21, you see the yellow flags go to green, and then they go back yellow and then green again while Hamilton was passing turns 6-7.

        This is a very tight one for me, because the lights changed quickly in that sequence.

      2. @theessence He didn’t get his earlier Q3-lap invalidated, though.

        1. Hemingway (@)
          4th July 2020, 18:37

          It will be though. Pretty clear cut when they review it.

    3. No, 3 place grid penalty is the punishment for failing to slow down for yellow flag.

      The track limit issue is strange. On tv it looked pretty obvious, but as far as I know there is a electronic device policing that limit. Should have been clear within seconds instead of hours.

      1. Hemingway (@)
        4th July 2020, 18:28

        There is actually not prescriptive penalty, so a 3 place penalty is not a ‘given’, it depends on the circumstances and the stewards could use a 10 place if they see fit. I’m just giving the worst case scenario.

      2. it is hard to assume without seeing actual driver view! corner is outwards and flags are inside, by the time you turn the corner i dont know how easy it is to see the flag and slow down mid corner while being committed… also was there really enough time to react? bcoz they were tight, 2 seconds behind each other, were the stewards really lightning fast to press button for yellow in time before hamilton could see and react? without on board footage and outside view of the yellows hard to judge…

        1. I just watched Bottas onboard. When he is plowing through the gravel the yellow flag is flashing on the screen to the right of the track before Hamilton passes him. If he did not see it, vision was so bad he should have slowed down anyway.

  2. Will be keeping an eye out for outcome.

  3. Its all about timing.
    Ricciardo and Hamilton were not occupying the same track position.
    While it doesn’t mean the yellow flags were not waved, it just means Ricciardo seeing the yellow flag has no bearing on Hamilton’s guilt or innocence.

  4. Finally, after 7 months, my F1TV subscription would have some use and could check Hamilton’s onboard. Guess what? His onboard wasn’t working in Q3…

    1. Ahah, typical!

  5. Is it cos he is black…..

    1. No, it’s because you are a racist.

      1. Ian dearing, I think you need to google “trolling”

      2. Tommy Scragend
        4th July 2020, 18:14

        Or maybe it’s because you don’t get the reference.

        (Clue: Monaco 2011)

      3. Hahahahaha I knew the old race card wouldn’t be long before it reared it’s head….

        1. and I thought you understood the AliG joke

      4. @riptide i think you hate Ali G too!

  6. No, but his onboard camera was…

    1. It looked like it was slow motion….. Oh wait that’s just cos it’s Hamilton driving.

  7. On first try at Q3 it was clear that he was off the track. But I don’t think he will receive a penalty

    1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
      4th July 2020, 17:49

      Why would they not delete his time instantly than conduct an investi after everything has been done and dusted

    2. That would prove lying you did not see anything works.

  8. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    4th July 2020, 17:54

    The yellow flags were appropriate, but plenty of the time when drivers go a bit wide, they kick up dust and there is no yellow flag. If Hamilton as he says couldn’t see and they were gone as soon as he’d gone through the dust, I think he has a good enough reason to not get any sort of penalty. I’m against many that say there should have been no yellows, but I don’t think hamilton should be punished if he couldn’t see what happened or any flags.

    If it turns out yellows were out after he passed the dust and he didn’t notice them, then my opinion may change. But Hamilton will know that could result in a penalty.

    He may be getting investigated, but i don’t think there will be any penalty given.

    1. Yes officer, I ran the red light but I didn’t see it…

      Plus, don’t they have an warning light on their dashboard as well?

    2. Verstappen didn’t see, the penalty was given

      1. @Matn have you seen/heard Ves to be at fault ever? Like he crashes a guy blatantly he still blames the other guy!

    3. If yellow was out, he should be penalized. If a driver did not seethem, he should have a better look. If a driver misses a yellow flag it’s his problem.

      1. The Austrian Grand Prix stewards have cleared Lewis Hamilton for failing to slow for yellow flags during qualifying.

  9. Rules are very simply – if there is yellow you must slow down even if you disagree with the yellow flag.
    Hamilton like the previous drivers must get a grid penalty for that offense.

    1. William Jones
      4th July 2020, 18:40

      Where it’s not so simple is that we do not have Hamilton’s onboard camera, so we don’t know if he was through the area that went yellow while it was yellow, further complicated by looking at the cameras we do have, the yellow was cancelled and then reimposed.

  10. An improvement in overall lap and or sector time is irrelevant as long as the improvement didn’t come from the specific mini-sector where the yellows were active.

Comments are closed.