Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2020

Seven under investigation for driving too slowly after Hamilton goes off-track in practice

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Seven drivers are under investigation by the stewards for allegedly driving too slowly after Lewis Hamilton drove onto the grass to avoid other cars in final practice.

Hamilton has been summoned to the stewards along with the seven drivers who are under investigation. They are Romain Grosjean, Sergio Perez, Nicholas Latifi, Carlos Sainz Jnr, Pierre Gasly, Alexander Albon and Lance Stroll.

The Mercedes driver put two wheels on the grass at speed approaching the Parabolica as he overtook Latifi and Grosjean, who were running side-by-side at the time.

Hamilton appeared to be the only one of the eight drivers who was not in the process of preparing to start a flying lap. He had performed a practice start at the pit lane entrance and, following the near-miss, returned to the pits to perform another.

He did not make any remark indicating the drivers ahead had interfered with an attempt to start a lap time. Before he overtook them, Hamilton’s race engineer Peter Bonnington told him: “So it looks like all these cars will be starting laps.”

Hamilton overtook George Russell and Kevin Magnussen before he went off the track while passing Latifi and Grosjean. He then passed Perez in the final corner.

Russell saw the incident unfold ahead of him. “Oh my word!” he exclaimed. “What on earth happened there?”

Update: The seven drivers were cleared by the stewards

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Keith Collantine
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29 comments on “Seven under investigation for driving too slowly after Hamilton goes off-track in practice”

  1. The slipstream action introduces too much chance to qualifying. You don’t want chance involved if you’ve got the fastest car

  2. Time to bring back single lap qualifying.

      1. Why not? It is safe and equal for all.

        1. kpcart, in dry conditions, you are giving the driver who goes last potentially the best conditions on track in which to set their lap – meanwhile, in variable or wet conditions, it could very easily give the biggest advantage to whomever goes out first if the track only gets wetter during the session, or equally could disadvantage them more if the track is drying.

        2. It’s not equal for all though given how the track improves throughout the session & how air/track temperature can also affect performance of both cars & tyres through a session. Not to mention how changable weather over a session can be a disadvantage to some.

          Additionally let’s not forget that F1 had single lap qualifying from 2003-2005 & it was really boring to watch which was part of why it was dropped. It simply lacked the build-up & tension you get with what we have now where positions change a dozen times in the last seconds as each car crosses the line at the end of each segment.

  3. Considering Hamilton wasn’t going to do a lap and knew others were, was it really necessary to have that big of a closing speed?

    1. Absolutely not. But with the wording of the maximum lap time, perhaps he himself would have been at risk of penalised for going slowly had he not passed these drivers.

      Still, this wouldn’t have happened if there was either a minimum speed in sector 3, or simply if Lewis had adjusted his pace to those in front of him. It’s not like these slow cars appeared out of nowhere, they were in front of him on a straight.

      1. He looked pretty flat out, rather than driving to the maximum lap time.

        Not saying it’s his fault, but maybe he might have seen it coming?
        There had just been a red flag which had messed up the last qualy run. Everyone went out at the same time so it was obviously going to be a mess, as it’s been all weekend and for the past few years.

        Not saying he should be penalised or anything, that would be ridiculous, just that maybe he could have seen it coming

    2. It’s a racetrack?

    3. @dragon88 Of course. Hamilton’s fault for going to fast on a race track under normal conditons (no flags). It’s a new one anyhow, congratulations.

      1. Never said it was his fault, take your bitterness out on somebody else.

        But he was not on a fast lap and surely he would know it would be a mess due to the red flag.
        Just a bit of an unnecessary risk

        1. @dragon88 Bitter, why? Just dumbfounded that someone could blame Hamilton for going at speed on a race track, not the drivers going slow. They’re the ones with the responsibility to drive safely, keep off the racing line and not go too slow. And you are blaming him! “surely he would know…” At least be honest. It would be an upgrade.

          1. Won’t even bother to try to explain again the difference between “unnecessary” and “to blame” seems you don’t seem to be getting it.

    4. Though the other drivers should not have been going so slowly, this is not qualifying or the race, and Hamilton trying to charge through like that was straight up foolish and made a dangerous situation even worse

  4. Blaize Falconberger (@)
    5th September 2020, 13:39

    World champion driving fast on a… let me see… (checks notes) racetrack? Hmmm… what a surprise…

    1. Yet the 6-time world champion with 13 year experience couldn’t process that as a dangerous situation and back off, especially since it was practice?

      1. Yes he should have known as he was going down the (clear) right, and the others dawdling on the left where you need to be to start a lap, that one of them would dive over to the right just as he got there.
        Hopefully no one will pass any other car at all during qualifying in case the one in front suddenly decides to go from one side of the track to the other.

      2. It only became a dangerous situation when one car pulled out to the right, blocking Hamilton’s otherwise clear path forward. There is the mitigating circumstance that he wasn’t about to start a flying lap, but even so, pulling out just before the final corner while going very slowly is exactly the situation they’re trying to avoid.

        1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          5th September 2020, 14:14

          Right, the slow cars should be aware of what is going on behind them – which is why they were in front of the stewards… lost of armchair pundits trying their hardest to blame Hamilton, but hey, nothing new there…

          1. At last a bit of sense well done.

        2. The slow drivers should all be off line, not side by side like in this incident. Russell predicted a crash, and it so nearly happened, I bet Hamilton pitted to take a mental pause, as that was a near death situation at that speed.

  5. If he’s not on a timed lap then what’s the point of rushing past all of those who are about to start theirs?

    1. Because they are going way too slow, and overtaking each other like idiots at low speed with fast cars coming behind.

  6. It’s almost painful to see how many people thought that taking away engine modes would change anything.
    Merc have had the best all-round chassis for several years – they could use the engine differently solely because their chassis performance is better. That has been their biggest advantage for the last 4 or 5 years.

    I, for one, am not at all surprised that nothing significant has changed.
    What were you lot expecting, anyway?

  7. It’s practice. Not qualification or race.

  8. Why is everyone defending Hamilton saying it is qualifying? It was practice, on Friday

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