Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monza, 2020

Why Hamilton queried his 10-second stop-go penalty in the Italian GP

2020 Italian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton was given a 10-second stop-go penalty in the Italian Grand Prix after the stewards ruled he entered the pit lane illegally.

Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi was given the same penalty for coming into the pits after the Safety Car was deployed. The Safety Car came out because Kevin Magnussen had stopped at the exit of the Parabolica approaching the pit lane entrance.

Race control messages confirmed the pit lane entrance was closed after the Safety Car was deployed. This was signalled to the drivers, but Hamilton was unsure about the signal he was given and discussed the infringement with his team during the subsequent red flag period.

“I’m just trying to understand, there was no light on the entry to the pit lane,” said Hamilton on his radio.”

But his team pointed out the warning had been shown to him on a different display board. “Lewis it’s not the light on the entry to the pit lane,” they advised, “it’s the light on the left-hand side of the normal panels.”

Hamilton remained unsure about the reason for his penalty. “Are you sure I didn’t pass that before?” he asked. “Because I was obviously keeping an eye on what’s on the right-hand side because the incident was on the right.”

The stewards noted the pit lane was closed at 15:41:47 and Hamilton entered it 12 seconds later, at 15:41:59.

“The ‘pit lane closed’ message was displayed on the time page three, and the pit lane closed lights were displayed on light panels 16 and 17 at the same time,” said the stewards.

The 10-second stop-go penalty is “a mandatory penalty under the sporting regulations”, they added.

Hamilton was also given two penalty points on his licence for the error. He is now on a total of eight. Any driver who reaches 12 is given an automatic one-race ban. Giovinazzi also received the same sanction and is now on three penalty points.

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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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136 comments on “Why Hamilton queried his 10-second stop-go penalty in the Italian GP”

  1. What I can t underground is why hamilton was given a harsher penalty than the other driver who did exactly the same thing?

    1. Umm Giovinazzi got the exactly same penalty as Hamilton

    2. Who’s that? Giovanazzi got a 10 second stop go.

    3. What I can’t understand is why there’s comments everywhere on hamilton being given a harsher penalty while they got the same, not only on this site!

  2. Well it’s going to be good watching Hamilton try to race his way as close to the front as he can. Verstappen, Perez and Ricciardo also way back, should be good.

    1. Whilst Gio got the penalty straight away, Merc was trying to pull a Silverstone pit limiter, a Das, a engine mapping, trying to find a way to get their way. In the end all mercs ran out of Ham’s way. Alfa and Merc cost their drivers.

      1. Silverstone pit limiter? What are you on about?

        1. Hans (@hanswesterbeek)
          6th September 2020, 22:46

          Schumacher, 1998 or 1999 I guess. Forgot when it was exactly. Schumacher got a stop and go in one of the last laps of the race. He went into the pits on the last lap, crossing the finishing line in the pit lane. He then continued to his pit box, which was at the end of the pit lane. There he served his stop and go and still won the race. So, effectively, he served his penalty after the race was finished.
          … which pointed out a loophole in the regulations that needed to be addressed. And I think it was later on because of this incident.

          1. I strongly suggest you look up those facts. Schumacher never received a stop and go penalty then. He received a 10 second time penalty. Thus ten second to be added to his race time. However, as such a penalty could not even be applied to Schumacher’s infraction per the regulations back then (one of many mistakes the stewards made in issuing that penalty), it was rescinded altogether. Ferrari had actually only called him in the pits out of precaution. Here is the still online FIA Court of Appeal hearing judgement with all the details:

  3. Open and shut case I’m not sure why he was trying to argue the toss.

    Silly mistake by Hamilton especially for someone so experienced. The rule is there to protect the lives of marshalls.

    1. I’m surprised they let you into the room to hear what he said…

    2. David Bondo, I have not seen is an explanation for why it was necessary to close the pit lane to recover the car and why the marshals were pushing the car forwards into the pit lane though – has anybody explained why that was the case?

      It looked like the marshals were initially preparing to push the car backwards through the gap in the barriers, and it seems Magnussen was expecting that too, only for them to then change their mind and to push the car forwards instead. I would have thought that would have been the safer option if it was feasible, given that the marshals would arguably be spending a shorter time on track if they moved the car in that direction.

      1. I agree, but this has nothing to do with the penalty…

        1. It does with the race win though, because if they had closed the pit lane a lap sooner, Gasly would not have been where he was to take this win.

        2. @psynrg it does raise a question about how exactly race control is managing marshalling standards and safety protocols on track though, and that is something I would like explained given that I do feel that marshalling standards have slipped in recent years.

          Now, it may be that it was the quickest way of recovering the car, but I am getting the impression that, since Masi took over, marshals seem to be more reluctant to roll a car behind a barrier and there seems to have been a change in policy. There seems to have been a rise in the use of the safety car to cover such scenarios, and it also seems that the preference has shifted more towards moving the car to where the nearest mechanical lifting equipment can be found, rather than necessarily getting the car off the track as quickly as possible.

          I’m not necessarily sure that is the safest approach either, because some of the more recent accidents that have happened to marshals have been caused by the heavy lifting plant they’ve been using.

          1. @ anon

            some of the more recent accidents that have happened to marshals have been caused by the heavy lifting plant they’ve been using

            Excellent point. Leclerc’s car was swinging about on the crane and almost caught a marshal. Pushing a car off track or well out of harm’s way and recovering it calmly later would be preferable in many cases.

      2. Everyone else bar Giovinazzi followed the rules.

        1. David Bondo, that isn’t answering my question, which was nothing to do with any of the drivers and was related to the question of how the marshals were choosing to recover the cars and why that made it necessary to close the pit lane. Why did they adopt that particular method for recovering the car?

          1. I’m going to guess that because the marshals were on the edge of the track they decided to err on the side of caution rather than call the VSC.

            Marshal safety is paramount!

            Hamilton would have still won the race comfortably if he followed the rules.

        2. Yes I agree, and everyone else had 15+ secs to make that decision which is quite a margin in F1 racing conditions.

        3. If safety is paramount (and it should be of course) then why on earth is it safer to push the car into to pits (when two drivers went into them!) than to just push the car backwards and behind the barriers!

          Not defending Lewis or against the decision, two signs showed the pitman was closed, but this was NOT the safest decision.

        4. Nobody’s denying that Hamilton deserved the penalty, he broke the rules.

          The discussion is whether the pit closed signals on the far outside of Parabolica are where a driver would be looking while preparing to enter the pit lane. On my first viewing of it, I assumed those were just SC signals, which would have been expected.

          Sainz also missed the lights and wanted to pit, but McLaren told him to stay out, but he was quite a way behind Hamilton who had the misfortune of being first on the scene and his team should have warned him the pits were closed.

          1. I agree, the signals seem small although an experienced driver like Lewis must see it. I think F1 guys needs to put a proper huge signal with perhaps few Red crosses so that drivers can see it from afar, in addition to radio comms. It is a shame Lewis entered the pit lane, I was gutted. Huge Lewis fan.

    3. Come on. As Hamilton said, the incident was on the right, so he was focusing on that! You know, so he didn’t run over any marshalls. Asking him simultaneously to look left to see the signs would be fairly absurd. After he’d passed, he’s then looking at the pit entry light, fairly understandable! These signs had literally never been used before in F1 in such a situation. Responsibility is with his side of the garage for telling him to pit and then not correcting their error. And FIA for a rubbish sign system. Mercedes are slow on this stuff sometimes.

      1. Jenson just said that he had never seen those signs before but the regulation is there so it has to be applied. Unfortunate… but… rules. HAM had a good drive after that and showed his class once again (in a car that can’t overtake apparently). It was a great show today.

        1. @timeslides I agree with the penalty for safety reasons, I just don’t think Hamilton was to blame as much as the team. And it is a serious point that the ‘incident’ (Magnussen’s bizarre bit of parking a few seconds before the pits) was on the right of the Parabolica, the signs on the left. The SC was obviously contrived too, the whole situation bizarre.

          1. I agree re the team. We don’t know know why Mag stopped where he did and marshals were on the track so the SC was necessary.

        2. @timeslides – ‘showed his class once again’ – yes, by sulking like a little baby when things don’t go his way, Lewis once again shows his complete and utter lack of class. Besides, he couldn’t even get up to where merc projected he should by race end.

          1. @asherway Sounds like you’re the one doing all the sulking, sunshine ;-)

          2. @asherway That is pure sour bull, all sportsman across all sports contest decisions given a chance. Am not sure if you’ve ever played sports or it’s just utter ignorance. I’m a Hamilton fan and I’m not complaining about the penalty, but if he could talk his way out of a lenient penalty or at least dodge the licence points penalty at least, that’s his right to try.

          3. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole race, it was exciting. But that man LH is out there to win, not to create a spectacle by himself and make the races exciting. . .that’s not his job, his job is to win and for others to catch up or capitalise when he drops the ball

          4. Wow and you’re calling Lewis is sulking. WOW you’re unbelievable.

          5. I must have dozed off for a few seconds – how did this sulk manifest itself?

            Anyway, enjoy a rare Mercedes & Hamilton mistake. They’re few and far between, so you obviously have to make the most of them when they happen.

        3. @timeslides – I like how you have no response but to attack people personally. Great indication of a weak argument.

          1. @asherway I saw no evidence of any sulking from Hamilton. Your comments are up there in black and white. Mercedes made one mistake this weekend, the pit, and that is all. 2 Cars in the top ten. Compared to Red Bull and Ferrari that’s a good result. Hamilton was magnanimous afterwards in interview. He still has a massive lead ;-)

        4. @timeslides – I guess you missed his team radio. And his run to the principal’s office. Magnanimous? More an attempt to save face, but his true colors had already shown.

          1. @asherway you expect any driver to be happy after a mistake like that? Seriously?

            I saw or heard no sulking, sulking takes time. But I get it, you don’t like the man. Whatever. ;-)

          2. Not an attempt to save face but to understand the penalty, hence his explanation of how it played out from his viewpoint and the evidently unusual circumstances of how this safety car and the Marshall’s decisions played out. Can you please be objective in your analysis of the situation and not let other feelings influence such a blatant bias approach to your contributions

      2. they expect drivers to react instantly yet, they relay these informations to teams, but also boards placements for signaling drivers are even more rubbish… you are turning right in a high speed corner, and then you relay information to a board on the left/outwards side where i doubt any driver really look or want to be… you focus inwards to the right in that kind of corner…put some damn overboard/bridge like LED SCREENS where it would eliminate any kind of excuses…. or better yet, put it on a dash! very small separate led display… problem solved! just a red cross? fia/race organizer with all the money they have, they cant figure out simple things…. they are good at putting giant screens all around a circuit with people monkeying about and all… but they cant come up with a good informative way of informing drivers, and leaving it to chances and hope for the best esp for safety issues they so care about….

        1. @mysticus I agree you can’t expect drivers to see the signs and process information all the time, especially when Hamilton, as he said, was focused on the parked car and marshalls – as he should have been! But the team has the information in front of them to let him now ASAP not to pit. That’s their mistake.

          1. Absolutely, never Hamiltons mistake.

          2. Even then, the pit lane closed message is on page three or four of the FIA timing screens and the pit wall can’t see the signals the drivers are supposed to see. It seems like a situation that would be so easy for the FIA to avoid. Hopefully everyone learns something from it.

          3. David BR , great comment! Mercedes is a bit slow getting Lewis the correct information but I don’t think Lewis should have been penalized twice 10sec and a stop n go ! I think f1 has become saturated with rules let’s just race!

        2. The drivers are thoroughly briefed at the start of each GP weekend. Among others they are thoroughly explained where all the marshals’ posts and all the LED panels are. There is simply no excuse for him still not to know nearly half way through the race were these posts and panels are. What’s worse is that it wasn’t even the first time this season he’s been caught not to be properly aware where these things are.

          1. easier said than done! led panels are not the fault, their locations are! they are located in absurd places where a driver can easily miss them or loose their cars… pit lane entry closed should not be relayed in mid corner signals, either place some overboard/bridge style signs, or before the corner at the edge closer to track where drivers are going to be ! there are like 100 marshalls have a special flag for this or place as many pit closed signs as the SC signs… SC sign is pretty straight forward… not the pit lane entry with 2 sign boards at the corner’s outward position way off from the edge…. or appropriately large special led screens/boards that indicates these… why not even add a mandatory small led screen to all cars, just for SC/YF/DYF and pit lane closure kind of thing… these fixes can be easily implemented, rather than spending lots of money on 10m high giant led screens showing commercials/ads or some weird people relaying messages/gestures… if safety is that important to stewards, why not implement them appropriately! i also still dont understand one great thing/mystery about broken down cars stopping really randomly places… i understand crashed cars cant stop wherever they want, but slowly parking cars shouldnt stop wherever they want to create safety issues just to preserve the damn car! what is more important? safety of drivers? or safety of cars? vettel with literally zero brakes can drive to pits, another car just park in front of the pit entry? how can we prevent scandals as these can easily be used to cause so called unplanned-planned stops to cause SC periods…? Either place some safety parking zones for broken cars that cant drive the full distance but appropriate shorter spot! some cars with broken pieces blowing up in mid of track can drive 300kmh without “safety concerns” some cars just park middle of the road….

    4. Hey it’s a bot, repeating the same comment in each article, yikes.

      1. Sadly, this isn’t a bot, this is a demonstration of how unfortunate the human condition can manifest.

    5. Honestly, the team told him to pit– and the team should have known better.

      So yes, Hamilton missed the lights (Which are in a terrible position, because as was pointed out, they’re not in the places a driver would be looking during a high speed turn like the parabolica), but the team is also responsible.

      1. Regardless of the practicality of their location, the drivers are thoroughly briefed as to where they are at the start of the weekend. He should have been thoroughly aware were these light panels were and thus that there were none on the right side of the track and that the left side is where he should have been looking. They don’t suddenly erect these panels halfway through the race. They are permanently there.

        1. than appropriately use them, SC sign boards are shown entire track! why is the pit lane closed sign is shown in the last corner, mid corner and outward position way off the edge of track? you have no idea what you are talking about and yet you copy paste the same silly fanboy comment everywhere… drivers dont necessarily concentrate on looking at outward location when they are mid corner… esp parabolica is a very high speed corner… despite sc, they are still going at speed… wave damn X sign before the entry, there is 100s of SC boards and marshalls are waving signs too… look at the video and tell me why not wave X sign at or before the entry at the pit lane side!!!! drivers already know it is SC period, so i doubt they are checking for Xs being shown and certainly not in the last corner… everyone else had seen ham mistake and it was broadcasted very quickly so they had time to react….

          8.31
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9ZA2wa9h4o

          1. Steven Flatman
            10th August 2021, 0:12

            “..SC sign boards are shown entire track! why is the pit lane closed sign is shown in the last corner..”

            Because drivers have to adjust their speed as soon as a safety car is deployed, and they could encounter it at any point on the track. The pit-lane doesn’t move so drivers don’t need to know if it’s open in turn 3, there is team radio for that. The only place drivers need to know about the pit lane entrance is in the middle of the corner before they reach it. The assumption that drivers look right in a right hander is true, but anything mounted on the left will cross their field of vision, mounted on the right requires them to be looking far enough right. They are briefed that the sign is where it is, and should make a point of looking for it whenever entering the pits, it’s not like they have to do so every lap, or that the sign moves.

        2. Do you actually know they were briefed on the exact location of these pit entry lights? Such as, minutes of the drivers briefing?

          I’m not contesting, just genuinely interested if this was indeed the case.

          Or are you just assuming?

  4. Only Lewis only guy that protests the safety light closing the pit Lane

  5. Driver and team both asleep on this one I’m afraid. Even as a Lewis fan that was indefensible.

  6. Typical prima donna stuff from Hamilton as if F1 owes him titles and victories.
    Other teams had no problem communicating that the pit lane was closed and moreover Giovannazi had the humility to accept the penalty for wrong-doing.

    1. At the end of the season, Lewis Hamilton will have 7 World Championships.

      Can’t wait to read your comment then.

      Stay safe!

      1. He’s driving the best car, against a complete lemon who isn’t allowed and isn’t able to contest him.
        Of course he’s going to win.
        Doesn’t mean we have to fellate him like you :P

        1. proud_asturian very obvious how much lemon and grapefruit you mixed up watching the f1 races…

        2. @proud_asturian Triggered?

        3. On the lemon bit I agree :)

        4. Your crass language tells us all about the type of person you are.

          ‘Nuff said!

        5. Once again Mercedes dropped the ball when asked to react quickly to a developing situation. This certainly isn’t the first time that they’ve been found wanting, and regrettably it probably won’t be the last. Their pit wall need to be able to react decisively and correctly at all times and not just when everything is going as predicted by the race models.
          Good recovery drive by Hamilton to only lose 3 points to his main rivals.
          Ferrari only consoled by the fact that they weren’t racing in front of the tifosi.
          Verstappen unlucky to retire with technical issues on a day when both his rivals struggled.

    2. Easy to say that. I mean perhaps if you’ve been in such a situation as losing a race win in your pursuit of history, you’d probably understand. There has been no precedent for this kind infringement even thoug it is in the rules. The team called him in. He just assumed it was safe to do. The team pit is more to blame.

      1. There is very much precedent for this. Back in the mid 2000’s (crucially even when Hamilton was already driving in F1), this sort of stop and go penalties were pretty common as closing the pit lane whenever the safety car was deployed was standard procedure.

    3. Giovannazi had nothing to lose, so he isn’t making a big deal out of it.
      Every team had more time to react than Mercedes. Mercedes were first and did get the message for Valteri but Lewis came in too soon before they realized.
      Ham was 12 sec ahead and then 30 behind everybody because of 2 boards with red cross on them, something that I think hasn’t appeared in the last 10 years, or maybe all of Lewis’ career. It was a harsh punishment for error that FIA made unclear themselves. The race became a gamble and not winning based on merit.

    4. he was given instructions to pit way before, pit lane entry closed message relayed… this is more team’s fault but on the other hand, i dont know how this kind of important information really relayed to teams on time as everyone under safety car is expected to pit!!!! This is really bizarre…. what is even more bizarre was mag was meters away from the pit entry… why wouldnt he just enter pit and retire… there should be better signaling and message relaying system as drivers are expected to watch out a panel that may not be so obvious to see while in a corner esp high speed ones… why would they relay a signal like that in middle of a corner? and not at the end of a straight when a driver is more likely to notice! or why not relay this info to driver directly on their dashes… and not leave it up to teams to relay it to their drivers? these informations are relayed in an instant and they expect instant reaction too… these info panels should be reconsidered i think, as most important one are always in mid corner outside where you dont look or want to be while concentrating to drive inward…

      1. Magnussen’s power unit broke down. His car simply stranded there. He simply couldn’t drive it any further. There was no more propulsion.

    5. Yeah as a driver you should never challenge something and always bend over and take it.

      It was red flagged, so why just stew sitting in your car or go and get clarification. Oh and do so therefore taking you away from the car, perhaps away from your racing mind, then get back in the car be 26 seconds behind last place and end up mid field on a track that and car that makes overtaking difficult.

      Life must be weird hating this hard.

    6. So did Hamilton. But wait, if no other teams had a problem, how did GIO end up in the pits. Sainz also said he missed the signals and nearly pitted.

      I guess you turned the TV off before Hamilton accepted full responsibility for the mistake?

  7. I want a gif of him riding the scooter in the pit lane

  8. Maybe he was seeking clarification rather than trying to argue the matter. The quotes from him on this article imply that too.

    Anyway the penalty was expected and was rightfully given. A rule was broken, misunderstanding or not, and there have to be consequences for it. It’s down to Lewis and Merc to learn from this experience and simply make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    1. Apparently he asked to see the footage, which isn’t really a bad thing

    2. As Button said, he’s never seen that pit lane closed sign before, but the rules are the rules. As a Ham fan it was cool to see him coming through the field though.

      1. I seem to recall back in mid-2000s, Montoya was penalised for pitting when the pit lane was closed in Canada, can’t recall what year..I’m pretty sure it was a penalty for pitting when it he shouldn’t have.

        1. @jaymenon That was for exiting the pit lane under a red light. That was instant and automatic disqualification (and the red light at the end of the pit lane was obvious). Juan Pablo would have been fine if he’d queued. Lewis had no such option.

  9. Lewis’ biggest nemesis, pit lane entries.

    1. And exits! Remembering the crash with Raikkonen years back :oP

    2. Nah, that would be LED panels. That’s the second time this year he didn’t know were they were…

  10. As Brundle pointed out, it’s better to have the LED signs at the exit of the last corner and not at the pit lane entry, because if you see a red light at the entry, you have to swerve at the last second…Lewis is a great champion and all that, but I would not want to swerve left at 300 kph with the pitlane wall right there…

    1. @wsrgo Brundle also said he felt it would be better to have the pit closed lights on the inside of the corner rather than on the normal flag boards drivers wouldn’t necessarily be looking for at that point.

    2. I think in future they should maybe have a seperate dedicated pit light board somewhere on the inside of the circuit on the same side as the pit entry like they do in Indycar.

      I can see where drivers could make the mistake today as in this sort of situation drivers know the SC is out so may not be looking at the flag boards on the outside of a corner when they are just expecting them to be showing the flashing SC display.

      1. “I can see where drivers could make the mistake today as in this sort of situation drivers know the SC is out so may not be looking at the flag boards on the outside of a corner when they are just expecting them to be showing the flashing SC display.”

        not just that, SC sign boards and marshalls are also waving the same thing 100s of times, yet only two X signs at the last corner! and outwards way away from the edge…

        worse the information is relayed to time board’s 4 th page and not directly to teams! do massi/stewards really care about safety? why not two alternating signs one showing SC another to show pit entry (green or red) side by side? very simple and elegant solution!yellow sign shown everywhere i doubt drivers pay attention to them anymore after a few of them are passed… but alternating side by side panel one green and yellow or red would be easily achieved without needing to show this info 4th page of a computer screen or just once in the last corner…

  11. Why did Grosjean stop 100 meters before the pit entry, Vet could coast the whole lap without brakes but Gro couldn’t go extra 100 meters.

    1. You mean Magnusson? It sounded like the was a power issue, not brakes, he probably didn’t have the momentum.

      Bigger question is why the marshalls chose to push the car down to the pit lanes when there was a gap in the fence right there? Which is why Magnusson stopped where he did.

  12. And then the penalty, along with the one back from Austria, ends with McLaren on the podium again.

  13. Amateur error from Mercedes’ pitwall.

  14. Lewis Hamilton would like to speak to F1’s manager.

  15. One sign he could be excused for missing if he was glancing at his steering wheel display. But two is kinda sloppy.

    Why didn’t the team catch it though, they got the ‘Pit closed’ message at the same time as the ‘safety car released’ message. Again sloppy error.

    And weirdly, having watched F1 for years I always thought there was a signal at the entry too. hehe, but thinking about it, do agree with Brundle, it would be as useless as chocolate fireguard as by the time you see it, you’re commited.

    1. Obviously team mistake. I cannot be certain about that but I quess that even had Hamilton seen the boards he would misinterpret them as “SC” sign – which is what I saw on them until the Sky commentators clarified it was a red cross. Since the pitlane is closed rarely, drivers probably are not too familiar or accustomed with this sign, and rely solely on what their teams say to them over the radio?

      This is of course just my speculation but I expect other drivers were just told to stay out, they did not identify the sign and re-called their teams decisions based on that. Or did any driver raise that issue after the race?

  16. I’m sorry, but the in race penalty was correct, but 2 license points is ridiculous. Its a simple mistake, not dangerous driving.

    I’m not a Hamilton apologist. Its just as stupid Giovinazzi got the same 2 points too.

    1. The lit lane entry was closed as a safety precaution.
      So the 2 points are fair in my opinion.

    2. Penalty points are not only imposed for driving dangerously. They are simply handed out for generally braking rules.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      7th September 2020, 3:27

      Oh my god, they gave him penalty points? What a joke!

    4. @eurobrun Licence points in this case are attached to the penalty (as in, any stop/go penalty gets that many licence points, regardless of why it was issued).

  17. Doug Corbishley
    6th September 2020, 16:44

    At least for Ferrari in Italy the subject of the day is NOT Ferrari… remind me, which two cars were out of the race first? Sure placing the Mercedes that set the fastest lap ever, at Monza, in Italy, last in the race was just “racing”. This race will be forgotten very quickly rather than revered…

  18. with all the money at their disposal, it’s funny they can’t put a clear display just at the pit entry in order to avoid all this silly incidents.

  19. Why was Norris not penalised for backing the pack up?

    1. If you stay within the delta you are allowed to do this. If the team did it right, they kept Sainz on one extreme of the delta and Norris on the other extreme and were able to create a gap for the double stop. Excellent teamwork from everybody.

      1. I thought the rule was you had to stay within 10 car lengths of the car in front, or is that another rule they changed.

        1. @davidjwest They’ve been ignoring that one for over a decade. Part of the art of F1 is knowing which of the novel-length list of rules the FIA is applying strictly, which have wiggle room (through loopholes or vague wording) and which have been forgotten about that weekend.

  20. Bully the stewards and then wants to cheat by serving the stop-go after the 3 laps in order to do more laps in clean air at the front, counting on just an extra 5 seconds or whatever added to the stop time, gaining a net advantage.

    1. @balue cheat? He’s allowed to wait 3 laps, so how in the world could it cheating?

      1. You beat me to it. I was about to point that out to @balue. He must be a novice to F1 (or he must dislike Hamilton a lot).

    2. I think you misinterpreted the Merc pitwall – Hamiltion conversation. He was arguing for doing the two complete laps and pitting on the third to build some gap at front, while the pitwall wanted to serve it without delay (which is what they did in the end).

      1. @Kotrba Ok yes, for risk of a safety car within those 2 laps. I just heard he wanted to ‘risk it’ not coming in early and missed that part of the conversation. Retracted.

        1. Yes, another SC would obviously helped them a lot!

          1. Also, if the Safety Car comes out, the stop/go penalty is invalidated (assuming it was not already in progress at the time) and has to be re-served.

  21. at least he gets a refresher overtaking drive instead of his usual cruise 30s out in front

  22. So he got the penalty because he entered the pitlane 12 seconds after it was closed. Fair enough, but would you also get a penalty if it was just 1 second? Or does the race director make sure there’s no car approaching when the pitlane closes?

    1. I highly doubt the RD would wait, they would have just called it and as always, dealt with the aftermath later.

    2. @francorchamps17 If there was no opportunity to see that the pit was closed, then no penalty can be issued for missing that information. While it would be logical to have the “pit closure” light at the pit entry’s mouth, there is no rule requiring this, and it was not in this case. Therefore the time between the actual closure and when someone with an opportunity to see the light (i.e. marker boards 17 and 18) would arrive at the pit lane has to be taken into account. This is especially true since the official measure of when someone has entered the pits (the line where drivers must be at pit lane speed) is not at the mouth of the pit entry.

      Because of this, in the situation given, a 1 second gap might have exonerated Lewis, since he could not have seen the board and physically reached the pit lane marker line within that second. 12 seconds was more than enough time, so there was time for Lewis to have reacted. Even a signal at the mouth of the pitlane (the last point at which the information would be useful to a driver) has a gap between where it is positioned and the official start of the pitlane. Still, the gap between the start of closure and arrival at the pit lane line has to be specified, to show the stewards checked the rule could in fact be complied with.

      Of course, nothing in the regulations specifies what the “pit closed” signal looks like for a driver either (even on the light signal board), nor indeed is there anything in the rules covering it beyond the fact race control is allowed to close the pit lane at will, and must do so when suspending the race or at a specific point during the race start/restart procedure. So unless its meaning was literally written out, or a driver has previously been in a situation where they encountered the signal (and granted that Lewis should have done because he’s been in suspended races before…, unless the signal symbol has changed in the interim…) the drivers would not have known what those marker board crosses meant by themselves. Only the pitwall, who had the message spelt out (albeit on page 4, and entrants are expected to keep track of page 4) could tell them. I feel sorry for Antonio, because he almost certainly hasn’t encountered this signal before, the regulations don’t specify it, and if his team didn’t tell him the pit lane was shut, he had no way of knowing he was about to break a rule (plus, it being an in-race penalty, he can’t appeal the unavoidable-to-him penalty).

      This is why all light signal symbols should be spelt out in the regulations (as flag signals already are).

  23. I dont understand why the FIA took almost 70 seconds to call SC after the incident?. Secondly if they want to close the pit lane then put the red light before the pit entry itself rather than asking the drivers to look the opposite side signal of where the incident occurred and where the drivers look to avoid further incidents. Full stop. Drivers nearing the pit entry may not have sufficient time to react, but the teams should have known that.

  24. The penalty was fair, but it’s beyond stupid to have the signs for a closed pit entry on the opposite side to the racing line and zero signs on the side of the pit entry.

  25. What I find odd is how people (including commentators) still think Hamilton “just needs to get his head down and get on with it” when he’s discussing things with his team. Even Brundle and Croft were saying he just needed to suck it up and take the penalty when Hamilton was asking when was best to take the penalty. They still seem to think, after all this time, that Hamilton is unable to think and drive at the same time.

    1. Probably because the standard procedure is to wait until the last minute to take the penalty, meaning that thought process shouldn’t have happened. Of course, the fact that Lewis didn’t wait until the last minute in the end shows that short-circuiting the thought process isn’t always a good idea…

  26. 99 % Mercedes fault. Neither Hamilton nor any other driver on the grid would be able to interpret that sign correctly. It’s so uncommon. He saw a glimpse of light and expected it to be the usual SC sign. Then he was called in. Normal SC procedure for him and a classic example of confirmation bias.
    Nothing he could do, that’s just the way the human brain works.
    Mercedes strategists on the other hand had additional information by Race Control and although they had little time it’s part of their job and (should be) part of their training to understand and react proper to unusual situations.

    1. Agree with you @roadrunner. And my limited time operating things that require helmets I always felt it was difficult to see properly. Can’t imagine it’s easy to distinguish the squiggles on the blocks on that sign for the driver.

      Of course it appears they closed pit lan entry about a dozen seconds before he entered. Just too quick for the team to respond. Shoulder shrug, these things happen.

      Hamilton had another disadvantage – there was nobody in front of him to not follow down put lane

  27. Maybe he support red crosses matter instead of BLM

  28. “Are you sure” . . . “oh yes” . . . “OK thanks” – that’s all I see as happening

  29. When the hell did we all of a sudden start discussing “red crosses” when the article I read (another quality site) an hour or two ago said it was two “yellow crosses” and nothing was displayed in red?
    The other aspect is why is no one criticizing the FIA about their gross incompetence in administrating races? They’ve gotten extremely proficient and unethical over the past several years.

    1. I think you mean “unproficient” – proficient would imply they were doing a competent job, which does not appear compatible with the general thrust of your reply.

      Red is usually associated with “closed”, so it is intuitive for the crosses to be red. The crosses actually shown were yellow (as both this article and the other quality site you mentioned state). Since the regulations do not appear to specify that the pit lane closure has to be marked with crosses (let alone what colour), the fault here is in how the regulations were written, not how they were subsequently administered.

  30. As I saw it from a lowly track day driver’s perspective who watches too much racing.

    There should be boards on the inside of the corner to make them easier to see. However, driving through the corner, a driver is looking through the corner and as the boards come into sight, they would be line of sight at some point (but flash by). I think the suggestion from Toto that they be red and blinking is a good one.

    On the other hand, there should have been a yellow flag prior to the boards due to car 20, and the teams should have warned their drivers about it. After hearing about or seeing a yellow flag, a driver should be taking extra care to look at those boards than they normally would. A light at the pit lane start should be there, but realistically it’s too late of a warning.

    FIA should definitely fix putting the pit lane closed message on the top of page one of the timings rather than page three or four, accompanied by blinky text so the teams do see it straight away. The steering wheel should also have some sort of indicator.

    Pit lane closures are rare, but maybe should be part of the drivers’ briefing before the race.

    McLaren made no such mistake, they were right on top of it, and Sainz was not that much farther back from Hamilton. Credit to them for being on the ball despite the huge temptation, and getting the double stack just right.

    Alpha Tauri deserve serious props for the call to bring Gasly in as soon as Magnussen parked it up. That marshal stand opening looked pretty tight on space, not sure they could have pushed the car back in there, and it’s slightly downhill to pit lane which might have sealed their decision.

    Entering a closed pit lane is slam dunk. If you enter the lane after it closes, even if your car is 20 feet from it, you’ve got a penalty. In pretty much any series, only emergency repair or refueling is allowed, and they still have to serve a significant penalty after going back to green. Can’t blame Lewis for taking a punt on talking to the stewards, but it was never going to work. They don’t have much leeway in giving one, nor the degree of penalty.

    1. @lunaslide In sportscars, it’s only slam-dunk if a car receives service (this is to protect against someone notice the pit lane is shut after committing to entering the pits). If the closure was identified after entering the pit lane mouth (which is before the official definition of pit lane), the thing to do would have been to drive through the pits. In case anyone is wondering, that’s why it’s an automatic stop/go for pitting in a closed pit lane; the penalty has to be harsher than doing the correct action would have been, and 10-second stop/go is the step up from a (self-administered) drive-through.

      1. @alianora-la-canta Indeed, well spotted. It was endurance racing and Indycar I’m thinking of. If they accidentally go into a closed pit lane, then just drive through without service, no penalty applies. It’s only when they’ve stopped and serviced that they then have to pay for it with a drive through later. If they keep service during closed pit a thing, there should be a price to pay for it. With a red flag, it should be a pretty healthy penalty paid during green on the other side.

  31. Not a mistake a true great would make. Just highlights Hams very average ability that’s being flattered by a crap team mate.

    1. I don’t know, mistakes like that can happen, it’s very unusual for them to close the pit lane in cases like this, I’ve been watching f1 for a long time and when he stopped I thought it was the right move, until they came out with this risk of penalty thing. I think the recovery drive he did after as well as the first part of the race, although with clearly the best car, especially compared to bottas, puts hamilton in a better light than the usual cruising at the front. Think he’s one of the top 10 best drivers ever, even accounting for the car, which is no doubt the best anyone had on average.

  32. Is this an innocent act? The safety car deployed and the pit lane closed after Leclerc left the pit, although I don’t think the situation needs more than the virtual safety car.

  33. Why does that blonde woman follow Lewis everyplace he goes ? Is that really necessary ?

    1. Yes. Each driver has one usually supplied by Hintsa. They adapt their role to suit the driver. In Hamilton’s case she looks after the body, and Marc Hines, ex touring car driver, looks after everything else.

      https://www.racefans.net/2019/07/17/the-f1-minders-who-help-drivers-unlock-their-last-percent-of-performance/

    2. She’s his trainer/PA

  34. this website should change to hamiltonfans.net instead of racefans.

  35. On the restart why didn’t Hamilton go all out for 21 of the remaining 23 laps to see if he could build up a large lead ? As we saw he made up over 13 seconds and still passed lots of back markers ! Wouldn’t it have been best to go flat out and try get 20-30 seconds ? He was 1.5 seconds a lap quicker at times ?

    1. Because he had to take his penalty within 3 laps.

  36. As a Health and Safety type my main question is simply, how can this even happen?

    Seriously, I have read the comments, I watched the race. The penalty given to the drivers and whether Mec told their driver to come in or not. None of that even matters.

    What matters is that the system for notifying drivers and teams that the pits are closed is not robust enough to stop it happening. That is beyond arguing because the system failed. The reality is that it happened very early in the process of moving the disabled car so no one was injured. But what if the incident was different and was on the pit-lane in road, well it could have been fatal. At least they have a chance now to sort it out as part of an urgent H&S review rather than as the result of a fatal accident inquiry.

  37. What about the huge sign over pit entrance with BOX BOX in white?? It should have been CLOSED in RED!!

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