Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020

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

2020 Russian Grand Prix

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The stewards have cancelled the two penalty points Lewis Hamilton was given for his practice start violations in the Russian Grand Prix.

They have instead issued a €25,000 fine to Mercedes over the error. Hamilton served two five-second time penalties during the race for the infringement.

The stewards ruled the team should be held responsible for the error as Hamilton asked Mercedes whether he was allowed to make his practice start from a different position, and the team told him he was.

“The stewards received information from the team that the driver of car 44 had received a team instruction to perform the practice start in the incorrect place,” the stewards ruled. “This was confirmed by the stewards having listened to the audio between the team and the driver.”

Hamilton was penalised for performing two practice starts in an unapproved locations on the track during his reconnaissance laps. He originally prepared to perform a practice start in the same position as his rivals, then asked his team, “There’s all rubber here, can I go further out?”

His race engineer Peter Bonnington replied: “Affirm.” When Hamilton asked: “To the end of the pit wall?” Bonnington answered: “Yeah, copy. Leave enough room for cars to pass.”

Having decided the responsibility for the error lay with the team and not the driver, the stewards decided to “remove the penalty points imposed and fine the competitor (Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team) €25,000.”

Hamilton is therefore now on a total of eight penalty points instead of 10. He will receive an automatic one-race ban if he reaches 12. He criticised the decision to give him two penalty points as “ridiculous” before they were rescinded.

Mercedes had previously said they did not agree with the penalties but would not protest them.

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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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175 comments on “Stewards cancel Hamilton’s two penalty points for practice start violations”

  1. #WeRaceAsOne #ExceptForHamilton

    1. Upset are we?

    2. Aww, here have a rattle to throw out of your pram.

    3. Snowflake

    4. I found the 2x 5 sec penalty logical, considering Lewis did not follow the instructions received ahead of the race. The 2x 1 penalty points were however quite harsh, and in my opinion not in the spirit of why the license system stands for. And it’s been now corrected. Say what you want about Massi, the FIA, LB etc, but at the end of the day I find that the whole race management has been rejuvenated, and globally has been quite fairly ruled. There is always room for interpretation, therefore opinions. But instead of seeing this as a u-turn, I prefer to see this as a “I’m not afraid to admit we partly took the wrong decision, we assume it and correct it”. Well done Massi. And… Mercedes team… pay more attention to the instructions; because they are being attentive. At the end of the day, you made a mistake.

      1. Dinah Samson-Fessale
        27th September 2020, 18:10

        It still made Lewis lost the race. The FIA guys should’ve known that Lewis asked permission from his team. He is not stupid. He knows that they dont want him to win.

        1. Lewis would have lost race anyways irrespective of penalty thanks to hash he made of qualifying.

          1. Unlikely.

      2. Agree here. Whilst I think we can question why the deliberate Vettel Baku shuntx2 of 2017, carries no more of a penalty – it’s fair to say it probably would have done under Massi’s regime

        1. @banbrorace To be pedantic, the Baku penalty for Vettel would have cost him much more time. As it was a stop-go, this necessitated an extra trip to the pits costing Vettel around 30s in total. This is as strong as you can go before a black flag (which he definitely deserved in my book).

          In Hamilton’s case he just had to wait 10s at his next pit stop.

          After the penalty points have come off I think that Hamilton should take that as a good result. These 2 points may be crucial in avoiding a race ban not just at the back end of this year but also during the first part of next year as he has to wait until July for more to come off after Turkey this year.

    5. Ha Ha!! I knew that some of the anti-Hamilton brigade would have had their Sunday evening ruined by this

      It’s like a double whammy (or should that be ‘Hammy’?) first it’s clear Lewis wasn’t at fault and second he’s less chance of a race ban

      Damn!! They’ll have to go back to their Button / Rosberg were better than him flat earth theories or that Alonso was better in 2007 because he was Ron Dennis’s pet

      More beer and popcorn needed!!

      1. You’re spot on! bru

      2. It’s like a double whammy (or should that be ‘Hammy’?)

        Indeed, double Hammy.

      3. Drivers wouldn’t get penalties for a team’s unsafe release from a pitstop would they? I see these as quite similar infringements. The race penalty is justified but the penalty points for the driver was a bit much. I think the right decision has been made ultimately.

      4. @banbrorace All drivers receive a cheat sheet ahead of the race weekend with all the info on where you can do practice starts, where warning lights are located to indicate if the pitlane is closed from the race stewards. It seems like the only one who can’t follow the rules is Hamilton.

        1. Think about where Hamilton did these practice starts.

          Hypothetical I know, but if the old pits were still being used at Spa (for example), Hamilton’s practice starts would be at Raidillon…

    6. he took Valteri towel on purpose, he puts himself in that place with his attitude..

      1. I wondered if anyone would notice Hamilton’s poor behavior after the race. It was clear where the podium finishers were to leave their helmets, pick up a cap with their numbers, and take a towel and pair of gloves. Hamilton stood in front of the #1 stand, took Bottas’ towel and gloves, and refused to leave his own helmet in the #3 spot. That’s poor sportsmanship, whether you agree with the race penalties or not. Hamilton should look to Riciardo for how to behave. When Riciardo was told of his five-second penalty, he said, “Okay. I’ll just drive faster. My bad.” What a shame that Hamilton does not have such class.

        1. THANK YOU for pointing this out! No one is talking about this. Everytime I mention this to anyone they say that they didn’t even notice it and that, “if it’s even true” (because the almighty LH is perfection personified), Hamilton must have done this accidentally. Ugh! He knew exactly what he was doing and it was a slap in the face to Bottas! Hamilton doesn’t know how to lose gracefully, while Bottas was a perfect gentleman as he stood back waiting for Hamilton to “make his point”. Bottas showed such class!!

    7. #NONSENSE.
      They never penalised Hamilton for such till now.
      It was all about trying to prevent him from winning this year championship

  2. Going to be interesting to see the reaction of all those that were insisting the points were justified.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      27th September 2020, 17:25

      It’s an awesome day for checking comments. Let’s not forget that Netflix was around.

      1. Will be good to see Hamiltons temper tantrum in 4k

        1. Will be good to see Lewis 7th WDC in 4k too. Let’s hear it for Netflix!

          1. :) fave comment of the day

    2. Dithering Massi. Weak. Weak. Weak.

      1. Correct decision has been made team not driver error, punished in the race as required and the team punished further as they made the error not the driver.

        1. not correct at all:

          19.1 in the Race Director’s Note:

          “Practice starts may only be carried out on the right-hand side after the pit exit lights and, for the avoidance of doubt, this includes any time the pit exit is open for the race.

          Drivers must leave adequate room on their left for another driver to pass.​”

          The location isnt exactly a specific place, as there was never one, if this smartmassi wants to be smart and not some power tripping goof, he should say right after lights, or designate an exact area!! Miles long interpretation left wide open, and never even been a penalty like this applied in the race! This almost smell as bad as Spa 2008 penalty out of thin air… Just for the sake of stirring things up with the man who is about to make history…. It is a stupid decision written all over it! Like yesterday, they should have properly clarified the situation, and move on… Not decide to change the race results artificially let alone unfairly…

          1. @mysticus The regulations don’t specify where the practice start point is, but the track notes issued by the FIA do, just like they mentioned where the Pit Closed signs are at Monza.

          2. Massi
            “Generally, we actually don’t paint a box, we just specify the location and have done even before my time, from my understanding. It’s very much a circuit specific element of where it is. I think today was just a simple error from that perspective.”

            “I think you need to have a look at everything on its own merits, In the stewards view, performing that practice start in that area, in their view was a sporting advantage.

            “Having spoken to them quickly, and therefore they thought an appropriate penalty was a sporting penalty.”

            I have my doubts that it explains the situation and the penalties followed… unless they make up rules for penalties as they go? Because penalties should have been defined for this kind of situation, which noone knows about until suddenly two of them are issued, and applied into the race after the race was started! rather than communicating the confusion and providing proper clarification as there is no precedent for the event! For one, they are talking about safety, then they penalized him from gaining an advantage, they allow everyone to do the practice start runs in the exact same spot, which is not really ideal but also given false info to drivers as everyone start from a different spot in the grid… makes no sense… they penalize him for ignoring the notes which in itself ambiguous at best… they just interpret as they see fit… leave/open the regulations to interpretations rather then providing info that is not up for debate… paint the damn line and say only this place for practise starts, failing to do so gets 5 sec penalty… problem solved…

          3. performing that practice start in that area, in their view was a sporting advantage

            I don’t know all the ins and outs of this, but isn’t the whole point of a practice start to gain an advantage? If it is, why wouldn’t you do it in the best location that you can?

            I have to agree though that Mercedes seem to be tripping up operationally – shades of McLaren in 2011 and 2012? Are they getting complacent?

          4. That’s a bit naughty (even misleading) to only quote 19.1 and ‘forgetting’ 19.2. @mysticus

            19) Practice starts
            19.1 Practice starts may only be carried out on the right-hand side after the pit exit lights and, for the
            avoidance of doubt, this includes any time the pit exit is open for the race.
            Drivers must leave adequate room on their left for another driver to pass.
            19.2 For reasons of safety and sporting equity, cars may not stop in the fast lane at any time the pit exit
            is open without a justifiable reason (a practice start is not considered a justifiable reason).

          5. @coldfly, not at all, he was penalized for ignoring 19.1! so they applied breaching sporting code article 12.1.1 (i)

            did you read or seen the official penalty?

          6. Fair point, @mysticus.
            My apologies, I did not read the official penalty notice and I should not have referred to your comment as ‘misleading’ as the reference to 19.2 is not mentioned in the penalty.

          7. @coldfly no problem, i wasnt misleading, because official report was both times for ignoring 19.1 thats why it wasnt mentioned… i can be naughty at time, but wasnt trying to this time… also read about the mika salo situation?… i see a big conflict with this guy…

  3. Can’t argue with the decision given the circumstances, but one has to wonder why they didn’t listen to the audio (I’m sure I heard it on Sky before the penalty was announced) and establish this fact at the time… would have saved them looking silly.

    1. Agreed, you would expect they check these kind of information beforehand. They had enough time to do it.

  4. But but but… aren’t they trying to stop him?

    1. To make themselves look less stupid and sound fairer than they are… there is not a specific race start training line… there never been one… they just tell them after the pit exit…. all the ambiguous terminology to allow this Massi-ve ego trip guy to try hard to make controversy every other race to make f1 look interesting to watch again…

      They see these practice runs, instead of warning, they just make silly penalties for the race which has never been done! This is why Ham is right to say they are trying to stop him… He is the man to talk this year due to his achievements exceeding all previous drivers including schumi’s at the end of the year… So these massi-ve ego guy/gang is given a task to specifically look and pick actions against ham for infractions that has never been even looked at before or never penalized harshly ever!

      Have you watched Spa 2008? they literally created a rule after the penalty applied… Wouldnt surprise me one bit… All the ex ferrari people getting jobs left and right in the top positions nowadays…

      1. Perfectly said, mystic one!

      2. Spa 2008 is in the legendary status – just for that reason

        Hamilton also became one of the first ever to receive a penalty for a first corner shunt with Massa at Japan that season as well, whereas at Brazil Rosberg got off scott free for taking out Coulthard, in his last race, in a similar manner

        I get why Hamilton says what he says – but ultimately I think 2008 was just one of those ridiculous years, McLaren were not that popular after ‘spygate’ and that explains the reasoning

        1. It might explain @banbrorace but it doesn’t condone, which is the crucial part.

        2. Greetings.
          Well, if the colour of a given car’s livery can triger some people, it is not that surprising so can the colour of somebody skin.
          Is it that easy to forget people were prohibited to attend classes in a certain school, or to sit whenever he/she wanted on the bus because of his/her skin colour?
          For being a black fella I was delighted in 2008, but I confess I quit following the sport in 2009 until the late 2013 because of the racism displayed on the internet (news comment section), people had hidden themselves behind a pic and a nickname to bash Hamilton, and it is not that surprising people would conceal their dislikes or/and disrespect behing a stamp and a rule book?
          A very common thing, that’s why you said

          I get why Hamilton says what he says

      3. Spa 2008 was the classic stupid un-necessary novice manoeuvre. Cut the chicane: give the place back. Don’t be dim and just slip into the slip stream. Give it back properly. Especially if you have the fastest car and you can get him on the straight.
        Every driver in F1 agreed. British press didn’t.

        1. In Spa 08, you should watch j again. Hamilton slowed on the start finish straight and let Kimi by. He passed him. At the end of the straight. It isn’t a long straight. There was no DRS. Hamilton didn’t pass Kimi back because of a slip stream. He repassed him because Kimi braked too early for the corner.
          It is impossible for a car to go from slower by several kph to faster in such short a time.
          The slipstream explanation is incorrect.

          1. It’s best not to bite with Rodber. Difficult sometimes but he is the epitome of a WUM especially when it concerns Lewis. Let him have his fun.

          2. to make matters worse:

            19.1 in the Race Director’s Notes says:

            “Practice starts may only be carried out on the right-hand side after the pit exit lights and, for the avoidance of doubt, this includes any time the pit exit is open for the race.

            Drivers must leave adequate room on their left for another driver to pass.​”

            Hamilton did it on the right hand side, slightly further down for the obvious reason he explained on the radio message as well…

            There is no specific location/place defined, but an ambiguous “right-hand side after the pit exit lights”, 1 m? 10 m? 100m? after the lights? So one starts 1 m after the lights, every sheep follows, and that becomes the rule? or massi picks a place eyes closed and says this is penalty? latter is the most likely…

            I think, Ham should take this opportunity and protest the penalty or be stupid as massi been, take him to court for artificially and unfairly trying to change the results… despite his team doing otherwise! who knows maybe he bet on bottas winning the race big? it is not like people never involved in betting scandals?

          3. @mysticus Like I said elsewhere, I’m suspicious of Masi etc’s motives too. However there’s a limit to how ridiculous they can get with the penalties. I don’t think they actually made any difference to the eventual result this time, Hamilton wasn’t going to beat Bottas, or Verstappen probably, starting on soft tyres, and definitely not when he came in early. 10 seconds didn’t make the difference. So in some ways it’s better that Masi and the stewards issued these penalties in this context when they didn’t really affect anything. Let’s hope they’ve got it out of their system. If not, then, yes, Mercedes and Hamilton should start kicking up some real fuss.

          4. @david-br
            check this out… tell me there is no controversy??

            Mika Salo: A finnish steward, in russian gp, also the same guy leaking this info to Finnish media/TV 10 mins before official release while jumping for joy, and have some mouth to go along with it…

            I think there is some influencing happened in the room, reading the way this guy’s talking…

          5. @mysticus I agree. Initially I thought this was just a bad idea on Hamilton’s part. If he cleared the practice starts with the team, though, that already throws the onus more on to them (a familiar pattern TBH). I still don’t think it’s wise on his part to push the envelope on this stuff when he has an inkling the stewards are getting heavier on him, but still, that doesn’t mean they were right. But the Mika Salo – Finnish TV ‘conduit’ looks very dodgy indeed. Leaking info on a penalty and penalty points on HAM’s license when it hadn’t been announced to the team and when the issue wasn’t even resolved (they hadn’t heard from team or driver) is simply unprofessional and unethical. If true, it should be contested by Mercedes and Salo should, really, be barred from any such position in the future. His remark about the story (or Hamilton) being ‘full of SH14’ just convinces me it’s the exact opposite. It’s a typical over-aggressive response when you’ve been caught out.

          6. @david-br
            exactly what i was keep saying before as i suspected. but also think of this Salo guy as an inside trader? reason being, think of gambling aspects of the sport! if say for example has ties to gamblers/gambling companies, it changes the odds against drivers/results/bets etc… by providing this info early, it makes huge mass for official gambling companies too? no?
            as i said before, it is not like some big names never involved in these kind of scandals… being finnish and talking bad language against one driver, makes one think that he can influence others on smaller issues in the room against ham?

        2. At Spa 2008, Kimi Raikkonen led most of the race. It was only when the track became damp that Hamilton started catching him. As good as Kimi was in the wet, he was no match for Lewis. Felipe has never been good in the rain (remember Silverstone 2008?)
          As to having the fastest car, that is misinformation. Felipe Massa and Kimi won more races than Hamilton and his teammate Heikki Kovalainen (8 wins to 5 wins).
          Here are the final laps of the race, if you care to see how Hamilton won that race.


          1. 8 wins to 6 wins

        3. Spa 2008 was the classic stupid un-necessary novice manoeuvre

          Even if that were the case, it was his second season in F1 – calling “rookie error” is hardly a damning indictment is it!?

          Even if he almost won the championship in his actual rookie season, with a WDC team mate, but how many 1000’s of times have we heard that one (which never gets old). Well, for this “novice” Belgium 2008 was but a stepping stone to #1 anyway – the penalty, right or wrong, was utterly irrelevant :)

      4. ooh funny.
        I am not British :-)
        I do think it was unfair what Hamilton did at Spa. He got a better exit from cutting the corner and was able to pass Kimi directly. He got an advantage because of it.
        I think according to the rule-book Hamilton did it correctly giving the place back, that is what made it difficult
        I wouldn’t call it silly, but if Hamilton was a little more patient, he could overtake Raikkonen easily anywhere after that straight.

  5. Oh my goodness… This is embarrassing. It feels justified, but come on… This is what will turn me off this sport, not one team domination.

  6. Very good. Handing penalty points for some practice starts is beyond stupid and ridiculous.
    Leclerc shunts Stroll out of the race – no one bats an eye. Hamilton does a couple of practice starts and the stewards lose their mind.

    1. He did it on the racetrack. That’s just stupid.

      1. Where do you expect him to do it? In the pit lane?

        1. they expected him to imagine it in his head… and the penalty, is like he didnt practice from the training line like there ever was one???

          this is like spa 2008 all over… they came up with “there was an unwritten rule of giving up place but not trying to overtake for at least two corners, but all drivers know it, so we officialize it after giving you the penalty”
          Even the so obvious damn max moves, they warned and warned and warned and only made a rule after everyone was fed up…

          This is a massive stupid mess up from from race directors… If it ever needed action, it was to warn the team/drivers, and next race they allocate a place for drivers to do this race start practice! it should be on the track!!! not in pit lane at all… if the safety is really is a concern! But this is just a yoke…

        2. i think next one will be, if he sneezes or farts, it will be 4 points penalty… if he kill a bug, 2 points, if he kills more than one bug 4 points plus 25 sec time penalty… and if receives 12 points overall, he receives one race ban + 1 more race ban as a bonus… and next one would be if anyone received 2 bans, all their points stripped, and they cant start races until the cicadas come out next time…

          1. haha. from andrew to here, i enjoyed every single bit of this conversation, and relate to the leclerc/stroll incident and the one in spa 2008 (those last laps were gold).

          2. @jeff1s imagine, they auto penalize hamilton until cicadas start to wake up next time…. people’s brains will blow up from the ridiculousness of these penalties!

        3. At the end of the pit lane (60 kph part) like always

      2. They do practice starts on the grid all the time. What’s your point?

      3. @rvg013 He was at the end of the pitlane. And he was besides the track

    2. @andrewf1 The stewards have stated for several years now that first-lap incidents caused by swarming cars are nearly always treated as racing incidents, unless one drivers reckless actions are so blatantly obvious that they couldn’t decide otherwise.

    3. Leclerc shunts Stroll out of the race – no one bats an eye.

      , same feeling here. How about Verstappen racing on the escape area as well as Sainz, where were the stewards? Sainz could get himself and somebodyelse injured and Max put himself in position to fight Dany Ric back easily.

  7. Guess Hamilton was right about there being a bias. Just wrong about which direction that bias lands.

    1. You dropped your toy.

    2. Perhaps you should view what Leclerc did today to Stroll and compare it to what Hamilton did to Albon @aiii and what penalty he received.

      Then come back to us…

  8. Jose Lopes da Silva
    27th September 2020, 17:22

    Man, today is an amazing day for checking comment sections.

  9. Mercedes did not instruct Lewis to go and do that.
    But Kudos to Toto for covering up his driver’s error.

    1. Yes they did. He asked them first, they said yes.

      1. That’s not an instruction, but giving permission. Don’t you guys understand the difference?

    2. But they did. Why do you lie about this?

    3. Clearly you did watch the same footage as the FIA didn’t watch.

  10. I remember how after the Brazilian GP in 1995 Schumacher’s Benetton and Coulthard’s Williams cars were excluded from the race classification as a result of the illegal fuel sample “fingerprints”, and Berger declared the new victor. After an appeal was made by the two teams, the drivers were reinstated into the race classification at the hearing on April 13 (after the Argentine Grand Prix had taken place); however, the teams did not receive Constructors’ points.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      27th September 2020, 17:30

      Yeah, when Lauda famously said: “I cannot separate the driver from the car.”

      1. You see, drivers fault was seperated from a team’s fault already 25 years ago!

    2. Didn’t the same happen after Jerez 97 but the other way around

  11. Shouldn’t they also cancel the 10-second time penalty? Doesn’t put him above Max but just absolves him of any blame as cited in their mea culpa?

    1. 10s as a team. Penalty points are aimed at the driver.

    2. He did not get a 10 sec penalty. He received two 5 sec penaltys for making the same mistake twice.

      1. Which equates to a 10 second penalty?

  12. So,does that give Lewis a win or not !??

  13. The whole penalty system is rubbish. They must give ban after stupid crashes like SPA 2012. It’s the shame that ferrari’s pilots can crash into each other ( Brazil 19, Stirya 20) or Stroll today and no penalty , no penalty points.

    1. I agree, penalty system is useless, when applied uselessly like in F1!

      1. I don’t think you realize the competitiveness of the drivers and teams will drive them to do anything. If you want to avoid chaos, you need rules and you need to enforce them with penalties. So yeah, sometimes it feels some penalties are unnecessaries. But order is built on rules that have to be followed. Again, all these comments about the rightfulness of the penalty, but the real question is why did Mercedes ignore the rule ? My opinion: no good reason, just a mistake. Yeah, baby. Assume it like a grown up, then.

    2. It actually was created in response to Spa 2012. It is for serious racing infringments not for silly team slip ups! Might as well start giving penalty points for unsafe releases and poor starts then.

    3. This is my thought also. I would support the penalty system if it prevented dangerous drivers from repeating their mistakes. However we’ve seen that it isn’t effective at that. It is effective at cracking down on anyone who makes little mistakes. Ignoring blue flags, not slowing down quickly enough for yellow flags.

      What it hasn’t done is deter any dangerous driving. mainly because stewarding standards got laxer over the past few years and penalties are not given. so instead it functions to amplify every little penalty that is given.

      I think the application of the penalty system is clear now, and it should be abolished.

  14. We all heard this on the race broadcast, it’s not like it was some obscure hidden message that wasn’t transmitted. Why are the stewards issuing penalty points in the first place without their investigations actually involving any investigating? They seem to be going for quick decisions first and foremost, who knows what else they’ve got wrong because people didn’t complain loudly enough about it. It’s laughable.

    1. Didnt that happen in Mugello with one of the drivers at the re-start crash? In front of the crash, and telemetry showed he maintained a constant speed. But issued with a warning anyway.

      1. Mugello showed just how lazy and somewhat incompetent the stewards could be.
        Even in athletics one runner user has a false start that triggers others to follow. Imagine at the Olympics all 8 or 9 runners at the 100M finals all getting a warning simultaneously for a false start.

  15. if a driver gets an unsafe release, the team should get fined as they let the driver go.

    If a team tells a driver to break the rules, the team should get fined as the team told him he was allowed to…..

    What a load of rubbish. Teams can do all they want now if they know they may only get charged if they tell their driver to do something wrong rather than it punishing the driver with penalty points.

    1. ‘This corner is too slow. Can I cut it?’
      ‘Whenever I want to?’
      ‘Yeah, copy.’

      Team fined. Driver absolved.

    2. Penalty points do nothing for the team until the driver gets a ban!

      The time penalty stays and that hurt the team today and so no the teams won’t now just ask a driver to do something illegal.

      what a stupid comment.

    3. @thegianthogweed Exactly, this is crazy when we also know drivers get punished for team’s mistakes all the time.

    4. @thegianthogweed

      Exactly. The driver has the responsibility to know the rules anyway, regardless of what the team tells him.

      You also can’t do this in real life. If I get a lawyer to tell me that I can steal a car, I will still get into trouble if I do. Justly so.

      Fining the team for an unsafe release is actually way more justified than this, because then you can argue that the driver can’t see the traffic in the pitlane, so he has to depend on the team’s timing. But in this case, Hamilton had more information than the team, who were not aware that he wanted to do a practice start at the end of the pit exit, rather than one car length ahead of the usual place. At that point, it not only broke the rules, but it obviously also was a safety risk, so the penalty points were fully justified IMO.

  16. Feels like Mercedes and Hamilton have intimidated the stewards into overturning their decision.

    Is this how it’s going to be everytime Hamilton gets a penalty?

    1. Given that he already has 10 penality points that have NOT been overturned, obviously not.

    2. You can’t intimidate the stewards. The stewards are human beings that can make woeful mistakes just like any race driver.

    3. More like they have been trying to intimidate him.

    4. No, David Dumbo, as Nik says, Hamilton’s been given multiple penalty points before. This time the stewards screwed up and tried to remove the omelet from their faces.

    5. Hehehehe I thought this would upset you Dave. Hehehe

  17. These stewards are an embarrassment to the sport.

    1. To be fair, like the rest of the paddock they have to interpret the gobbledegook that Massi continually churns out during a race weekend. Many of them corrections to the last bit of paper he churned out.

      1. I guess. I so much miss Charlie. You never know how good things were until you lose it.

        1. yeah… charlie never received any flack…

          1. He got things wrong from time to time, but generally listened to everyone and seemed to take a balanced view with some decisions. Masi on the other hand, ever since he started waving that Black and White flag at Leclerc at Monza which meant nothing, has been on an ego trip.

    2. The stewards deserve 2 race ban for this embarrassing mistake 😷. LH should just keep his head down and move on. It’s all part of the sports; work hard and make provisions for days like this.

    3. Agree with that. Stewarding in F1 is appalling.

  18. Well … at least they have shown that at least one neuron works.
    But the double penalty is still a charade, a clear maneuver against Hamilton to win the race.
    This sport / show is less and less sport and more lousy show.

    1. You’re spot on!

    2. Hamilton pointed out in the post race press conference that he does do that kind of practice start every race. In otherwords, they had plenty of time to cook this one up.

      1. Yeah, but not at the end of the pit lane exit. Which was the reason why he was fined.

    1. Off track action more entertaining than the on track right? I am witnessing the greatest off track action in F1 History, and it’s too good to be true.

  19. I think it’s fair enough to say that if they’d listen to the evidence in he first place, it could easily have been a different penalty or probably none at all, i.e. a fine for the team and a slapped wrist, after all they had this discretion

    However, Bottas would still had one. There was no way to prevent the undercut, with him been on those tyres

    1. Overcut is the term you’re looking for.

    2. ..and won is the word you’re looking for

      1. Slowmo and Balue: Give us all a break. We know what BH is saying.

  20. Barry Bens (@barryfromdownunder)
    27th September 2020, 18:25

    Still lost the race, so all good.

    Sure, Lewis can’t now the rule book from memory, but using common sense (if he has any) should be enough to get that you can’t do a test start whereever you please because your name is Hamilton. Knowing him,. he’s going to get 4 penalty points in 1,5 months anyway.

    1. Oooof and how annoyed will you be then? If these points stayed, then he would have to serve a race ban.

      Bet you’d be really $%^£*( off then.

    2. If you read what he said about the incident, his “complaint” about the penalty was that he’s been doing the same thing for years (going further down the pit-exit compared to most drivers) with no penalty, and suddenly he received one. I believe he was genuinely perplexed about why he was given a penalty, as were Mercedes, who must also have believed what he did was ok and had been ok in the past.

      The solution to it moving forward is clear though. Actually define the area you can do practice starts in better than “past the pit-lane exit light, giving other cars enough space to pass on the left”.

  21. This seems very fair

    1. Although Max got penalty points for an unsafe release in Monaco

      1. Was that because even when clear he was released into the side of someone he refused to yield though too.

  22. This just gets better and better. After being so thorough in their investigation that it took them until after the race had started to adjudicate on an incident that occurred before the cars had even taken to the grid, it turns out they didn’t even listen to the team radio. Can the officials be charged for bringing the sport into disrepute?

  23. It’s all moot anyway.
    It’s gonna take more than a 1 race ban to stop him winning the championship.

    For what it’s worth, I’m not keen on him, but you have to give credit where it’s due and he’s been on a different level for a few years now.

    1. Hamilton hasn’t been on a different level. His car has been. If Mercedes would let their drivers race, we may have seen some different results. Rosberg could have won more than one world championship, and Bottas could have challenged more frequently. Mercedes should fear killing Bottas’ spirit with their favoritism. I hope he goes to another team soon.

  24. This is a proper mess and shows that the race director and stewards are not fit for purpose yet again.

    Retroactively changing a punishment because the team told him over the radio coms? Seriously? I’m a Hamilton supporter but once the penalty had been applied they needed to stick to it or else not give the penalty in the first place.


  25. Whilst I think its good they re-visited their decision, since I’m not sure there’s actually a rule written down anywhere that states what Hamilton did was incorrect, I’m not sure this particular adjustment makes much sense.

    Firstly, surely other drivers have been given penalty points in the past for what could be argued are team mistakes, such as unsafe release from the pit-box? If so, then this apparently changes that precedent completely. Is that the intention?

    Secondly, does this now give teams a way to allow drivers to break the rules by telling them something is ok, when it is not? I would guess not in most circumstances, if they’d still get a time penalty as in this case, but it could give teams something to argue over for small infractions that the team should be penalised, not the driver.

    I guess the underlying issue here is it’s not crystal clear what the penalty points system is for and when it should and shouldn’t be used. This decision makes it feel ad-hoc. I also wonder whether the true motivation here was a realisation they shouldn’t have penalised him, but rather than saying that, they just removed the one element that could still impact him going forward.

    1. Im guessing Ron Meadows pointed out that what Hamilton did was not specifically forbidden, and as the time penalty had already been served this was the best course of action for both parties.

      1. Yeah! I’m thinking the stewards realized their decision was probably too hasty and ‘wrong’, but this was the only ‘correction’ they could make.

  26. I’d like to see the FIA investigate themselves for this issue today, and review if there was any conflict of interest within the stewards office.

    More info on Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/formula1/comments/j0trh9/fia_steward_mika_salo_reportedly_leaked_the/

    1. Is this fake. Dont speak then language, but I tend not to believe it.

      1. Not fake. Reported elsewhere also.

        Shot of Stewards room, Salo looking down at a tablet and looks like he’s typing on it.

        1. Thanks for that. One of the things that threw me was they were talking about a ban for the next race; when he was only issued with 2 points to take him to 10. Which ead me to believe it was a fake. But now Ive seen elsewhere where the initial stewards decision was to impose 4 points on him. So I can see why some are agreeing with Hamilton that there was something dodgy about this whole thing.

        2. Yeah, I thought “Damn, smartphones, the guy has to pay close attention to almost everything going on during the race, eventhough he’s texting someone else, he should be warned”.

          In case that turns out to be true, Mika Salo can be accused of not only benefiting finn press, but a finn driver.

          1. @humb

            How does this leak benefit Bottas?? It makes no sense.

            This is only an issue for betting.

      2. “This is fake, I don’t know for sure that it’s fake, but because I don’t believe it, it must be fake”


  27. Jose Lopes da Silva
    27th September 2020, 20:09

    We were watching a foreign language emission and my nine-year old asked me what did Hamilton do wrong. I told him that, apparently, he could not practice starts at that point.

    He shrugged shoulders and carried on watching, but football is way more simple to understand (although referee decisions can also be ambiguous). In a few years, everyone will start regretting these things.

    Especially because there is no such ambiguity in videogames, and they are turning mainstream, either Ecclestone like it or not.

  28. Hehehe the same suspects…the gift that just keeps giving. 😂 You’d think you’d be tired of egg on your face by now?

  29. Stupid decision!

    So the new ruleis that whenever a team tells a driver to break the rules the driver doesn’t get punished, but the team does. Strange. Opens up a whole new can of worms.

    Imho a driver also has the responsibility to know and adhere to the rules, not just the team.

    1. Greetings. I think you’re missing the point: they screwed things big time. This is their way to try to save their reputation; there’s another thread in this site on which we can read the guidance issued to the drivers, and I’m having hard time to find Hamilton at fault tbh.

      1. @humb

        I saw the video of the place where he practiced. Any passing driver that would lose control, would crash into a stopped car, which is very dangerous. Hamilton should have understood this, even just based on common sense.

  30. Lewis – Stop trying to be a victim.
    FIA – Sort your F###ING act out!

  31. If nothing else, Hamilton could at least refrain from sulking over the radio to his engineer as if it was Bono’s fault. This is why many have a problem with him – he’s only acting as a fair, great champion when everything goes his way. Once there’s a slight inconvenience, the sportsmanship in him quickly erodes. And yes, penalty was justified, especially when he practised the start twice way beyond the agreed spot.

    1. Well it was the teams fault. Should he be simply unconcerned that the victory slipped away for doing something his team told him to do? I’m sure you process stress and disappointment on your much less public and high pressure job with perfect equanimity.

    2. It is easy to expect a driver to be calm when he suddenly gets a very harsh penalty for doing something that is not in the rule book or what the rules permit and does not clearly define.
      Had the stewards given him a grid drop of 3 0r 5 places, he may not have felt too bad. Being stationary in the pits for up to 10 seconds while the rest of the cars are going at hundreds of miles per hour, gives you that feeling of being left behind.
      I’ve heard Verstappen react with so much “joy and happiness” when he gets some penalties, but of course that is fine, he isn’t Hamilton.

      1. I agree OOliver

    3. Most drivers would react the same way in the same positiion, many of their responses would be unbroadcastable. Anyone who has listened to the entirety of a race via the medium of team radio will know full well that drivers generally are a Whiney bunch of overacting potty mouths when things don’t go their way. Hamilton is nowhere near the worst, and to be honest he has more to huff about when he’s handed a ridiculous penalty while leading a race, some of those on track would react the same way while going backwards in P15; but hey you don’t like him, I get that. What I don’t get is why you waste so much time trying to manufacture a such obviously biased arguments against him or to put him down, it’s not a good look bud., but maybe it makes you feel better about something.

  32. to be honest, I feel that the two licence points were the only thign right about the penalty. Safety violation, gives you a fine and licence points

    Much like other safety violations

    The 10s I don’t understand them, if you speed in the pitlane during FP you get a fine, if you do a practice start on a track that it is not live you get a time penalty? There is no advantage from it. It just bizarre for me if I’m honest

    1. Mad world that is F1.
      If you crash into another driver, you sometimes get a no further investigation necessary.

    2. Normally I would like your insights, but the guidance issued to the drivers stated “do it after the pitlane lights whenever they’re green, and make sure to be on the right-hand side of the track”.
      A recon lap might not be done flat out, so I guess all drivers agree in using it to practice starts thus I don’t see any safety violation, but of course, that’s my opinion.
      And I’ll agree with you: where’s the advantage Hamilton gained for doing so?

      1. @humb I saw the issued note, but c’mon, ther aren’t really kids, they knew that it was just after the lights, not after the lights wherever they pleased

        that just finding an excuse, which doesn’t serve Mercedes any favour, they can take one in the chin once in a while and admit the errors

        about the advantage, he didn’t gain any, hence why I don’t understand why they applied a sporting penalty, instead of a technical one, in other words, a fine and license points instead of a time penalty

    3. @johnmilk

      There is an advantage, since Hamilton could do a practice start more similar to a start from P1. This could prevent an overtake during the start.

  33. It’s the first live race I have watched in well over a year, was good to see Lewis NOT WIN. I usually watch Qually & some practice. If I hear that Lewis hasn’t won a race, then I’ll watch a replay the next day. As for Lewis’s 10 sec penalty I think it was ok, 5 sec would of been fine also. But while Lewis is racing, I will not watch F1. As far as I’m concerned he is not good for F1.

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      28th September 2020, 0:38

      I kind of have that exact same feeling, but regarding Stroll.

      Don’t you feel that about Stroll? That he is not good for F1?

      1. you shouldn’t have that feeling this year about stroll. Stroll has had 3 DNFs that were not his fault and yet he is still ahead of Perez in the standings despite Perez just missing 2 races – which he has an element to blame himself for too. Perez really hasn’t been better than Stroll this year, which should either make you think Stroll has more than justified his place (which i think is the case) or Perez hasn’t been good enough to deserve a seat for next year.

    2. Is it Lewis that is not good for F1 or Mercedes that isn’t good for F1 or the combination.
      You don’t give any particular reason why you say he isn’t good for F1.

  34. OK – lets look at this logically.

    If Hamilton thought that there was not likely to be any issue in doing a practice start in a place different to where they were all doing their practice starts, he wouldn’t have bothered asking if it was OK so he clearly had some idea there might be some risk.

    If he and Mercedes had thought about it a little more, they’d have realised that stopping and performing a practice start where he did was pretty much like stopping on track in a position that was “safe” and doing one there. They know they’re not allowed to stop on track so why on earth would they have thought stopping two feet from the “track” (but definitely in what they deem to be the fast lane) wasn’t going to at least raise questions.

    It truly was a fairly silly. and to a certain degree dangerous given he was stopped in a blind corner albeit off line, which is something I’d not expect of the team. Perhaps the team should have spent a little more time before answering his question, or just said “no lets not risk it” rather than run the risk of having some kind of penalty for something that was ill thought out and probably gave no benefit at all to teh driver.

    The penalty – yep that was fair, the penalty points probably a step too far and has been corrected.

    Overall, pretty well handled.

  35. Verstappen passes a car in the pitlane. Actually going off the fastlane for that overtake and he got nothing. How did that get past Masi? Not interesting enough for the show?

  36. Rosberg was better than Hamilton in 2016 and Button was better in the years in which he beat Hamilton.
    how do you dispute that?

    1. Easily, Hamilton has far more technical issues than Rosberg in 2016, given equal reliability Hamilton wins the title.

  37. The stewards have compounded their error. Penalty points and ten seconds was far too heavy and understandably Hamilton felt that again he was being ‘slowed down’ rather than subject to normal rules.

    Whether or not that was a legitimate concern doesn’t matter now because by rescinding the penalty points the stewards have admitted either their error or their prejudice.

    Hamilton’s shenanigans with Black Lives Matter and Black Power salutes on the podium, pushing the community kneeling (another Black Power salute) and the nasty black livery are all annoying and misplaced in my opinion but how can he not feel there is prejudice as this season has echos of 2008 where new penalties seemed to be invented for him.

    However annoying his behaviour off track he is a brilliant and very clean driver who sticks to the rules if he knows them. If there is fault here it is him now knowing the details of the specific rules for this track and the team not ensuring he followed them. So the team fine was appropriate with the time penalty for the driver.

    1. The penalty points are the most reasonable part of the ruling and the 10 seconds were a bit much (although a time penalty was still fair, IMO). However, they can’t change the time penalty after the race, so removing the penalty points was the only things they could do.

      It makes no sense given precedent on safety and driver responsibilities, but…

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