Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

Hamilton two penalty points away from race ban after practice start violations

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has been given a total of two penalty points for his pre-race practice start violations.

The Mercedes driver was found to have performed two practice starts in the pit lane exit, contrary to the race director’s instructions.

The stewards noted Hamilton “performed the practice start near the end, but directly in the pit exit” during his pre-race reconnaissance laps prior to the Russian Grand Prix.”

The stewards noted: “Article 36.1 requires drivers to use constant throttle and constant speed in the pit exit other than in the place designated for practice starts in the Event Notes item 19.1., which is defined as the place ”on the right hand side” after the pit exit lights (and is not part of the track as defined by lines) which has been known to all competitors and used without exception.”

The two penalty points move Hamilton onto a total of 10 for the current 12-month period. No F1 driver has ever reached more than 10 penalty points. Hamilton is the third driver to do so, following Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat.

Since the penalty point system was introduced in 2014, no F1 driver has accumulated the 12 points which triggers an automatic ban. Last year Formula 2 driver Mahaveer Raghunathan did so, on two separate occasions, but only served one ban.

Hamilton was also given a five-second time penalty for each of his two infringements. “Anything to slow me down,” he complained on the radio when he was informed. “But it’s OK, I can take it.”

Hamilton’s penalty points

DatePenaltyPenalty points
17/11/2019Involved in an incident (Alexander Albon)Five-second time penalty2
5/7/2020Yellow flag speedingThree-place grid drop2
5/7/2020Involved in an incident (Alexander Albon)Five-second time penalty2
6/9/2020Entered a closed pit lane10-second stop-go penalty2
27/9/2020Performed practice start outside designated zoneFive-second time penalty1
27/9/2020Performed practice start outside designated zoneFive-second time penalty1

Update: Stewards cancel Hamilton’s two penalty points for practice start violations

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2020 Russian Grand Prix

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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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75 comments on “Hamilton two penalty points away from race ban after practice start violations”

  1. Hamilton is the only driver on the grid who takes penalties personally.

    1. Nonsense. He took both the Albon incidents on the chin and actually apologised for ruining his race

      That’s problem with a selective memory, it makes it easier for others to show how nonsensical some comments are

      1. Exactly :) lewis is super cool. He isnt hot headed like vettel or kimi or especially max who constantly swears over the radio!

    2. Yes when you have passion for your sport you will take everything personally. Go Lewis .

  2. Hamilton would still lead the standings even if he gets a 2 race ban

    1. Not anymore 44 point gap between him and bottas.

    2. It seems like Hamilton may match another Schumacher achievement this season…
      I don’t recall anyone else since Michael is 1994 missing a race for disciplinary reasons, yet still winning the championship that year?

      1. Grosjean was given 3 race ban(if I remember correctly) after the Spa accident

        1. It was just a one race ban that Grosjean got, and Eurobrun is talking about winning the championship and having a race ban in the same year.

  3. I would say the quali engine mode ban worked very well. Verstappen faster than Bottas on Saturday and Hamilton no pace on Sunday

    1. Max was faster, due to the tow

      Hamilton’s tyres are laps older than Max’s and so he rightly has to look after them and it’s feasible he make a move during the last ten of the race

      If Saturday and today’s penalties hadn’t occurred – both Mercedes would be 20s down the road – Bottas is simply driving within himself

      1. Hamilton had a 10s penalty and finished 10+s behind Verstappen, he simply had no pace

        1. @paeschli He had some pace on the softs, but Mercedes number crunchers, who know far more than any mere race driver, decided to call him in against his own call. These kinds of decisions madden me. It kills excitement. Hamilton’s idea was to extend the life of the softs, maybe pull away more, make a difference where he could. The computer geeks dampen talent to achieve an ‘optimum’. So what if Hamilton was wrong? It’s those human calls we want to see made, not a bunch of algorithms battling it out.

          1. He was just saving the engine, made no sense fighting so late in the end of the race.

        2. You can’t equate it like that

          His hards were always older and he’d spent some time, albeit it not much, behind others

          I’d bet anything he simply decided to settle for third as there was no chance of him making up the 10s with older tyres

          Basically, Hamilton was at a disadvantage on the tyres he started from, lost 10s and yet was still within 10s of Verstappen until he either slowed down or his older tyres slowed him down

          Spectacular straw clutching, if you genuine think that Verstappen would have been faster on say the same strategies

          Just one of those bizzare weekends that Hamilton has occasionally – which let’s be honest was the only ‘entertainment’ on show

          1. we saw what happened with checo on extended soft stints…if anything he wouldve been closer to max after the pitstops and who knows…he wouldve been more motivated to pass him. We saw what the merc can do; its really down the driver. clearly ham was not motivated to push today

          2. @banbrorace @cplchanb I’m tired of commentators hyping Lewis as a true racer who never gives up, when we’ve seen him give up plenty of times since he aborted his final flying lap at Silverstone 2014.

            Verstappen would have at least tried something if he had been in Lewis’ position.

        3. Mercedes car doesn’t follow as well since their cooling is inferior which plays more when behind, this is already a known relative weakness of the car. (relative cos their still pretty fast with it)

          Also, RB claim was that they are closer to Mercedes in races than in QF (due to Party Mode). Based on Max causing zero threat to Bottas today a driver, that isn’t the case.

          1. @paeschi

            The fact, in 13 seasons, you can count the number of times Hamilton ‘gives up’ on one hand, illustrates why his commitment isn’t questioned

            I fail to see what the point would be of chasing down Maz, on tyres that were a lot older, on a track that everyone agrees that it’s difficult to overtake cars of a similar pace

            So Lewis is at a disadvantage with tyres and you want him to waste his engine breezing up to overtake Max – who of course is going to sit there and let him?

            Why you think this would be anything more than crackers when you are 40+ points ahead in WDC is beyond me?

            And please let’s not use Max as an example. He was the one, back in 2018, who refused team orders when he had a 5s penalty – refused to let Bottas past him, when he had nothing to lose and ended up losing a place!!

    2. It was pretty obvious hamilton gave up after the penalty and had no interest in even pushing.

  4. This penalty has to be seen as a team penalty, since Hamilton was advised it was ok to practice is start further up the pit lane.

    1. Exactly. The driver doesn’t make the call for a practice start, the team does.
      When I look at the bulk of the penalties he has accumulated I believe the team has done a very bad job. They almost seem to be spoiled with success that they take their eyes off the ball.

    2. This penalty has to be seen as a team penalty, since Hamilton was advised it was ok to practice is start further up the pit lane.

      It was mostly a team penalty as they all stood there and weren’t allowed to do anything :P
      Or if they had penalised the team, they would then penalise the driver for not driving “the car alone and unaided” (rule 27.1) :P

      Sorry, I cannot come up with more serious answers when confronted with these silly arguments.

      1. You didn’t have to comment at all.

      2. The driver doesn’t just choose to do a practice start for the fun of it. The team initiates the process.
        Of course also knowing the recent trends, the team should always not stick to the 1st page of the FIA bulletins as we know important safety information gets hidden deep within the pages.
        Assuming Lewis made a mistake the first time, the team can tell exactly were he stopped and make him realise that was the wrong position. So for it to happen at all and then twice, it is a big team failure.

    3. Well the driver getting a penalty obviously affects the team as well, so it is a team penalty at the end of the day. The driver races for the team and if the team messes up with a driver, the driver has to face the consequence which will also apply to the team.

  5. Hmm, interesting! And none of his points expire until November. Needs to be careful in the future races.

    This weekend for Hamilton has been particularly erratic

    1. Yep, a fair few races between now and then. Almost seems inevitable… not that I expect it to have much of an impact on the outcome of the championship.

    2. And still 44 points in the lead of the WDC. Erratic or not he got another pole, finished 3rd, lost only 11 points to his main rival and remains 44 points to tge good. In the grand scheme of things…? You shouldve noticed over the years how Lewis bounces back with ruthless authority after incidents like this. Let’s see what happens in Germany!

  6. Has there been other occasions where a driver got penalty points for an infraction outside of the race? Normally grid penalties are given for those.

    1. Penalty points are imho always given when a driver gets a penalty. Whether it is a grid or time penalty.

      1. @silfen, sorry. Meant time penalty, not penalty points.

  7. He’s going to get a ban isn’t he? Seems inevitable. Both he and Mercedes contriving novel ways to lose points. Are they bored?! Just seems such a dumb and obviously dangerous thing to do. Maybe a race ban will wake him up.

    1. lol if this season is him “not waking up”, I wonder how more OP he will be after he does.

    2. Actually agree here

      Hamilton is notoriously easily distracted, when he’s only got his team-mate as competition, i.e. 14/15/16. It’s also one of the reasons, in the past, his first third of a season has been poor compared to the other

      It’s as though he needs a real challenge, i.e. look at 2018 when really he woke up when he was near the back of the grid at Silverstone after Kimi pranged him – which was caused by his poor start off the grid

      Then suddenly ‘2nd half season Sunday’ Hamilton arrived and the rest of the season is history

      I’d wager anything that if Verstappen was 5 points ahead of him and had as good a car – these errors wouldn’t be happening

      1. @banbrorace I wonder if it’s also the contract issue? With Wolff and even Mercedes maybe unsure if they’ll continue beyond next year, it maybe is starting to distract. Obviously Hamilton is still ahead because of the exceptional weekends he’s had since the first in Austria (acknowledged @yaru) but any long-term Hamilton fan knows not to take the situation for granted – specifically ever since his first season! You could tell with his demeanour after qualifying, a brilliant final lap, that he was (too) despondent about the race, which may have contributed to the nervousness about practicing the race starts. Who knows.

        1. The contract does seem to be dragging on. But in fairness all the BLM rubbish (and yes I’m black and don’t agree with it!!) won’t be helping either

          However, I think he’s simply got so far ahead, he’s taken his mind off things

          For me the Q2 error is his most clumsy of all his errors. Ironically of course that didn’t get a penalty – other than removing the lap, but was the type of thing we expect Latifi to do. Wouldn’t have happened at this time in the last 3 seasons when he had the Ferrari’s breathing down his neck

    3. Hehehehe a boom- tish! David is here all week ladies and gentlemen.

  8. If Hamiltion reaches 10 penalty points will he banned for one race AND the points will be set to zero?

    1. As the article states, he is already on 10 points after today. Reaching 12 will trigger a ban and it goes back to 0.

      1. I don’t think it goes back to 0; there’s like a fresh 5 points slapped on for good measure that expires 12 months later. Just to keep a banned driver on probation of sorts.

  9. Complete idiot nobody else did any but he will say is it because im bl……

  10. I wonder why he didn’t get 2 points for each infringement today…

    1. I think they are classed as minor infringements. I’d assume that it’s demerit point for each ‘5s’ or equivalent

      In fairness, it all made sense to me

      1. But he got 2 points for other 5-second penalties. Penalty points and race penalties should be aligned.

        1. Depending on the infraction he can get 1 or more penalty points for a time penalty. Usually it is 2 for a 5s penalty but not mandatory. It depends on the infraction. This one is minor. Hitting another driver or ignoring white flags is more serious.

    2. BEcause he would be banned the next race in germany?

  11. Meddling to artificially extend the championship. Poor stewarding yet again.

    1. I mean…if it’s against the rules..what can you say? It seems ridiculous but rules are rules. Suck it up and on to Germany to rub some smug noses in it. 😀

      1. I think his point is that this was against Masi event notes not a particular rule. In that case the penalty is discretionary. i.e. down to the stewards. Could have been a slap on the wrist, or as I think some will think, just one penalty as it was clearly a misunderstanding of the event notes by the team.

        I would imagine; particularly with reduce crowds at the track, that a Ham ban would suit those running the sport.

  12. The upcoming races include 3 new/returning events which can increase the risk of getting the extra 2 points needed for a race ban.
    It’s up to him to avoid getting in a collision or doing a random infringement which can give him the 2 points, but the only one he has to blame(if he wants to) is himself and his team. The “anything to slow me down” is kinda unnecessary

    1. It’s how Lewis operates. He likes to feel things are against him, he thrives under that pressure… and who can question his methods? I’m a big fan. It’s not really to my liking but who cares? It works for Lewis! 6 WDCs, 90wins and 96 PPs say he knows what works for him.

      1. Agree here!! Alluded to this myself

        I can see a race ban and then Lewis simply wins all the other races. He has our weird Brit attitude – we’re never comfortable when it’s easy!!

      2. Yeah, you could say he enjoys a bit of extra pressure, so that he chases perfection in his driving.

        Perhaps after clinching his 6th championship, he relaxed a bit so he collected, in a time of 5 racing months, 10 license points starting from Brazil 2019.

        It’s gonna be interesting to see how he handles this whole situation and how he and Bono will work out some details in their co-working, as they have been caught out recently.

        1. Caught out? Do you mean between Ham and Meadows; as its him job to keep the team within the rules. So pit lane in Monza and this week will be down to him. Although Monza was more about lack of time to make the right decision.

          1. All the teams make errors. It’s just that during 17-19, Mercedes made about one per year (Ferrari about one per race!!) and there’s been a couple in the last three races

          2. I aint claiming that the situation in Monza for instance was easy, they had around 5 seconds to make a decision but as @banbrorace said, Mercedes used to be almost flawless in the previous seasons and so far they have been caught out in more occasions.
            I meant that the team around Hamilton(including Bono and the Mercedes stuff) might need to alter some prodecures to avoid a repeat of an infringment,as it would be quite detrimentral for Hamilton’s super licence situation @ian dearing

  13. Did he perform them both on the same lap or on two separate laps? Because if it was the latter, why didn’t Race Control or the Stewards immediately get on the radio to Merc, given the severity of the infraction is such that it requires a penalty? I mean it’s not like there’s much going on at that point to distract them.

    1. @tomd11

      The stewards are not particularly fast at investigating penalties in general.

  14. Wait, so he breaks the rules, gets a penalty because of that and it’s a “conspiracy” against him? come on.

    1. They weren’t FIA rules though. They were simply instructions for the day and so were entirely discretionary

      I’m not into conspiracies at all, but I do think they give him as harsh as a penalty as they could – partially because they don’t want people thinking they go soft on him

      The penalty was harsh – 5s would had been enough, if anything. Even the very fair minded Toto thinks so and he’s normally very even handed

      1. There is always a designated area for practice starts. Where that area is, is different for each race because of the different layouts between circuits, so it is in the event notes for the race.

        It is not only for this race.

  15. The penalty points are a bit ridiculous to be honest. They were brought in to stop maniacs and dangerous defensive moves. Yet again, it’s something the stewards can’t implement properly. There’s a number of drivers who have got to a high number of points for really not a lot.
    Is Hamilton a dangerous driver? No real evidence for it – in fact, it’s been something everyone points to as a positive against other world champions.
    As fans, we now lose entertainment because he’s no going to go for a move now, because it’s not worth the risk. We’ll end up in a situation that all drivers are scared to take a chance

    1. I can’t see it effecting his actual race craft, which is largely exemplary

      Unless of course he’s down the field due to an unlucky safety car or car issue

    2. When you get a penalty, you get penalty points.

    3. Supposedly the penalty points were implemented to stop dangerous drivers.

      I’ve made enough comments now that the regulars on the site know I have no respect for race control right now. That continues to be proven this weekend by the problems that turn two where they fail to devise a solution that drivers can follow. Hence the three cars that were not giving penalties in qualifying. Then in the race we see cars crashing and drifting out onto the racing line trying to avoid the poorly placed bollards.

      Yet since the penalty system was implemented we’ve seen the “let them race* attitude that actually contributes to real safety problems like drivers blocking on high-speed straits and weaving in the braking zones.

    4. @burden93

      It is dangerous to do practice starts where people don’t expect them.

  16. And remember the Albon incident in Brazil was totally bonkers – the kind of thing he was doing in his worst season, 2011 and the kind of brain fade he always has when he’s won the WDC

    Problem is then that when he gets unlucky penalties like this and the safety car one recently, those stupid ones comes back to bit him

    I can see him ending up with a ban – the only thing that makes me doubt that was that Lewis was very diplomatic after the race, i.e. it’s probably his ‘back of the queue’ 2018 Silverstone moment and he’s white hot from now on in

  17. the strange thing is the way hamilton implied they are out to get him.I would say the opposite is sort of the case. Due to what he did, they had to serve the penalties, but instead of the typical 2 penalty points for each, they give him one. And that is presumably specifically to avoid him having a race ban.

    1. In fairness to Lewis, he’d already calmed down after the race

      I think all cockpit comments, should be taken in the same context we take a car slicing us up on the Motorway!!

  18. Hamilton needs to stop with the conspiracy theories. The FIA isn’t out to get him. At one point he thought Mercedes were trying to sabotage him doesn’t paying him significantly more than Rosberg.

    He’s made silly mistakes like this throughout his career. He was rightfully punished. It was incredibly dangerous where he parked his car to do a mock race start.

    At the end of the day he couldn’t make up the gap to Verstappen. I doubt he had the pace to be Bottas.

    1. The poor starting tyres were an enormous hindrance to Hamilton. Please stop ignoring that. You seem to really think you’re on to something as if Hamilton has suddenly become slow – you really need to get back to reality. Just look at the two laps he did before he pitted – wasn’t so slow then!!

      Maybe Hamilton is more pragmatic than you think. There was no point trying to get past Max, on a track notoriously difficult for overtaking, with inferior tyres. Why waste the engine trying, when it’s worth 3 points?

      Hamilton’s bad was making that stupid mistake in Q2 yesterday

  19. Hamilton should never have even got that kind of Penalty. The pratice start wasn’t during the race. sure fine him or whatever, give him a penalty point but the race should be independent of that.

  20. @tomd11

    The stewards are not particularly fast at investigating penalties in general.

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