“I still don’t think those penalties were necessary”: Hamilton vows he won’t be caught out next year

2020 F1 season

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Had it not been for three controversial penalties, Lewis Hamilton could well have beaten his team mate in almost every race he started this year.

Valtteri Bottas finished ahead of Hamilton in the Austrian, Italian and Russian rounds – all races where the stewards issued penalties to car number 44. The season finale in Abu Dhabi, where a less than fully fit Hamilton returned after catching Covid-19, was the only other occasion Bottas’s car was the first Mercedes home.

Hamilton had his first brush with officialdom at the season-opening round. On Saturday the stewards investigated whether he had failed to slow for yellow flags during his qualifying lap. He was initially cleared, but ahead of the race Red Bull requested a review of the incident after discovering new footage published by Formula 1. That revealed Hamilton had been in breach of the rules.

He was given a three-place grid penalty which meant he no longer started on the front row alongside his team mate. Bottas won from pole position, while Hamilton collected a second penalty during the race for colliding with Alexander Albon, dropping him off the podium.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2020
Hamilton started the season with two penalties in Austria
While Bottas could reasonably claim he might have won that race without Hamilton’s penalty, there were two further occasions where the stewards’ intervention was clearly decisive in the contest between the pair.

Hamilton’s next significant penalty came at Monza. By this time he was comfortably leading the drivers championship, 40 points clear of Max Verstappen, with Bottas a further 10 behind.

He pulled clear in the early stages of the race while Bottas fell into the pack. But Hamilton was caught out when the Safety Car was deployed in response to Kevin Magnussen’s car breaking down. With very little time to react, neither he nor Mercedes noticed the pit lane entrance was closed, and Hamilton broke the rules by coming in. The regulations stipulated a fixed 10-second stop-go penalty for the infraction, which destroyed his race.

During the subsequent red flag period Hamilton took the unusual step of going to see the stewards in person in the middle of a race to discuss this incident. It made no difference to his penalty, however. When the race restarted he recovered to finish seventh, two places behind his team mate.

That was the first time in seven races that Bottas had taken points off Hamilton. More came his way just three weeks later in Sochi, again thanks to his team mate collecting a penalty.

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Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Monza, 2020
Magnussen’s retirement led to another Hamilton penalty
As at Monza it was for an unusual infraction. On this occasion the stewards ruled Hamilton performed two practice starts before the race in an unapproved and potentially dangerous location. He was initially given a five second time penalty and a penalty point on his licence for each violation.

Having led the early stages of the race, Hamilton fell behind his team mate and Verstappen after serving the combined 10-second penalty at his pit stop. The decision helped Bottas cut 10 points out of Hamilton’s championship lead.

Hamilton was deeply unimpressed at suffering a second setback in three races, and suggested the decision had gone against him to trim his advantage in the championship. “I didn’t put anyone in danger,” he insisted. “I’ve done this at a million tracks over the years and never been questioned on it.

“But it is what it is,” he continued. “It’s to be expected. They are trying to stop me, aren’t they?”

Not everyone shared Hamilton’s view that he had chosen a safe position to practice his starts. Daniil Kvyat, one of the drivers who passed the stationary Mercedes explained: “You go very fast there, already like 250kph. So it wasn’t a good place to be.”

“I was surprised,” Kvyat added. “I knew you couldn’t really do that.”

The consequences of Hamilton’s latest penalty initially looked serious. Two more penalty points put him on a total of 10, just two away from an automatic ban.

However the stewards then took the extremely unusual decision to rescind the penalty points Hamilton had been given for the incident. The U-turn followed a post-race meeting between the stewards, Hamilton, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and the team’s sporting director Ron Meadows.

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Hamilton’s run of penalties was unexpected for a driver whose record before the stewards had previously been among the cleanest. Speaking after the season ended, he admitted his suggestion someone was “trying to stop me” had been “a human reaction” said “in the heat of the moment”.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2020
Pre-race penalty in Sochi dropped Hamilton behind Bottas
Nonetheless he made it clear he still doesn’t agree with the decisions.

“With the FIA and with the stewards, I think there’s been a growth of respect between us and understanding,” said Hamilton in response to a question from RaceFans. “I still don’t think those penalties were the necessary penalties. But it is what it is and it’s not my job to come up with what the penalties should be.”

In an otherwise excellent 2020 performance by Hamilton, his penalties contributed significantly to his rare defeats at the hands of his team mate, and point to one of few obvious areas of improvement for him.

“I learnt a lesson from it and they won’t be able to catch me out for that again, that’s for sure,” he said.

“I’m just going to be very vigilant and diligent, moving forwards. And not only as an athlete, I’m always trying to find an edge. I’m always trying to find that extra bit.

“It’s a fine line between being over the edge and beneath it. It’s fine if that one was over the edge. I learnt from it and it won’t happen again.”

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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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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112 comments on ““I still don’t think those penalties were necessary”: Hamilton vows he won’t be caught out next year”

  1. Hamilton was fully to blame for both his penalties in Austria. He drove past a yellow flag zone and did not slow down in Q3. That’s an automatic penalty. Albon left him more than enough room on the inside and he understeered into him, another clear penalty.

    As for Monza, he drove past two flashing red lights before entering the pitlane. He should take partial responsibility for that penalty.

    The penalty in Sochi was harsh but rules and rules.

    All these penalties are the reason why Verstappen was the best performing driver this year.

    1. What Hamilton did to Albon reminded me of what he did to Massa. Three times in a year!

      1. @Dave About the 2011 incidents: The Monaco one at the hairpin was 50-50 as he was side-by-side by a large portion of the car length, so couldn’t avoid the contact when Massa took all the available space out from him, i.e., thought he could vanish in thin air.
        The Indian GP incident was similar to the two T1 crashes on the Portuguese GP weekend and more on Massa.

        1. Yeah have to agree @jerejj, 2011

          1. Grr…. that was probably Hamilton’s worst season, but those Massa collisions weren’t all completely him.

            Those Albon collisions well, Albon in Austria did take some risk (and could have been more patient) and his season saw him penalized for not quite dissimilar actions so looking back it seems a bit convenient to put it completely on Hamilton.

    2. Agree @kingshark, but I would also say the Monza penalty was even less excusable given that he had already copped one penalty earlier in the season for ignoring the flashing light boards at the edge of the track.

      In general I think Hamilton’s demeanour in response to these penalties is part of the problem – where others might have accepted the penalty and vowed to be more careful in future, Hamilton’s attitude (e.g. “They’re trying to stop me”) means that he does not properly reflect on the cause of the penalty and runs the risk of doing the same thing again.

      1. @red-andy

        Exactly. Obeying the flags that are shown has been one of the main safety mechanisms since the beginning of the sport. It’s completely standard to get a penalty for not doing so and actually necessary if you take safety (and the death of drivers like Bianchi) at all seriously.

        Lewis seems to have a persecution complex (which also explains why BLM speaks to him to much, even though he is one of the most privileged people on the planet). Perhaps he needs it to perform. He often seems to start and end seasons with little motivation. Perhaps he needs a conspiracy theory to be motivated to ‘show them.’ I’ve seen the same in a bunch of other athletes.

        1. Jose Lopes da Silva
          21st December 2020, 17:28

          @Aapje of course I have a political bias and political opinions. What I don’t do is to bring politics into sports analysis. I don’t like when people do it, but that’s the way it is.
          There’s a guy who has devoted since childhood to a top-level sport, regarding nothing but the fullest about professionalism and commitment. Yet you are able to bring the victimization card AND associate it to politics.
          Bring your views about Prost, Senna and Mansell’s continuous victimization playing and associate them to politics, too.
          The worst part of all this is that I’m a longtime fan of Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. I think Max Verstappen was the most impressive rookie of this century, better then Raikkonen, Alonso or Hamilton. I think he was ready to on the championship since 2017.

          1. @Jose Lopes da Silva

            You appear to not be able to recognize my point, due to your hurt feelings.

            My point is that quite a few very successful athletes have been driven by unjustified feelings of being persecuted. This doesn’t have to make them worse athletes. In fact, a highly motivated athlete is much more competitive than one who is unmotivated. However, it does mean that they have to be aggrieved to function in their jobs, so they tend to be very biased in seeing themselves as hard done by, because they need to feel that way to do their jobs well.

            A downside of this kind of motivation is that these athletes tend to be fairly immune to criticism and thus can persist in mistakes, blaming penalties they receive on bias against them, rather than on their own mistakes.

          2. José Lopes da Silva
            21st December 2020, 22:02

            @aapje Your reply got way more clearer now. It included a reply to my question regarding Prost, Senna and Mansell. Thanks.
            Hope can understand why I have feelings hurt. There’s politics everywhere. And I can’t swallow the growing acceptance of Team Owners as an sporting inevitability.

        2. Remember when he slowed for the double yellow flags and Robert didn’t.? The latter was not penalized

    3. The Albon penalty was a joke, you’re embarrassing yourself.

      1. Look at Lewis’ incidents with Felipe in 2011 and see what you think.

        1. Yes those suddenly stopped after the stewards were fed up with Massa just closing the door like that and starts penalizing Massa instead.

          Or how about Albon having a dozen of those incidents. Always when he was involved did it go wrong. When he wasn’t involved the other drivers managed to get through those same scenario’s just fine. Stay out a bit further on the kerb and leave the inside car a bit more space. Or don’t leave the door massively open and then cut in anyway. Or don’t always go overtake on the outside of a corner with maximum risk.

        2. Provide the links although I don’t see the relevance of judging historic incidents on the driving standards we have today. This is part of the issue though is that what is accepted changes with the stewards interpretations. Last year the stewards set some very bad precedents we’ll all have to suffer the consequences of for years to come.

      2. @slowmo
        The Albon penalty was fully deserved. Albon left him about 20 car lengths of space down the inside and he still understeered into him

        1. @kingshark Albon had ample space to his left. Which means not wholly to blame. Which means acing incident.

          People were arguing Stroll could have left Leclerc more space when Leclerc rammed into Stroll on lap 1. Stroll was on the kerb!

          1. @f1osaurus
            I could debunk you but this guy explains it better than I ever could:


          2. @kingshark Thanks for proving my point. It shows exactly what I said it does. Albon has a massive space to his right. The incident is hos own fault fault for running Hamilton tight.

            Plus Albon was behind at the braking point which means that Hamilton could have actually just run him off the road. The odd thing is if he had done that, Albon would have gotten the penalty. So it also shows what is wrong with the current penalty system.

            I knew I could count on you to prove the opposite of what you are trying to say.

          3. @f1osaurus
            It doesn’t matter who was ahead during braking, all that matters is who was ahead during contact.

            Hamilton did try to run Albon wide, but what he failed to realize is that Albon had far more grip than him. Hamilton’s inability to realize this is what caused the crash.

            Albon didn’t run Hamilton tight at all. Hamilton had acres of space down the inside (more than Albon had around the outside), but he simply understeered into him.

            The race stewards agree with me and Hamilton rightfully got his 2nd of 4 penalties because of that accident.

            What amazes me is how Lewis has failed to be more consistent than Max this season despite driving a much faster car (it’s far easier to be consistent when you always start on pole).

          4. @kingshark

            It doesn’t matter who was ahead during braking,


            What amazes me is how Lewis has failed to be more consistent

            Lol. Verstappen messed up 5 or 6 races. Hamilton had 2 debatable steward calls against him.

          5. @f1osaurus
            I didn’t know we had 5 races in Turkey, because that was the only race where Verstappen lost any points because of mistakes.

            Although even in Turkey, that bad race was aided by a mistake in front wing setup by Red Bull:

          6. @kingshark You don’t understand the tyre regulations, overtaking regulations, make sense you post utter nonsense.

            Thinking that the front wing is what lost Verstappen the race really takes an IQ of a Verstappen fan. Did you see him spinning off before that happened? If you want to see Verstappen wasting easy points you shoild also check him at Styria breaking his front wing and ruining his tyres, Hungary flailoing around not being able to find a setup and then putting his car in the wall, Monza uinable to find a setup messign up his start (and/or messing up his engine settings), Skahir putting his car in the wall thoinkin he could race throuig gravel.

            Plus some minor dumb acts, but you’d probably have enough trouble adjusting your bloinders to the one mentioned.

            Man you are lame

          7. @f1osaurus
            Please learn how to read.

            that bad race was aided by a mistake in front wing setup by Red Bull:

            I said that Verstappen’s bad race in Turkey was aided the front wing error (which he drove with for more than half the race). I never blamed the front wing error for his initial spin, nor did I claim that the front wing error was the sole reason for his bad race. I merely pointed out that the front wing error was a big reason why he lacked so much pace in the second half of the race.

            As per usual, you straw-man the position of the people you are arguing with.

            As for Austria, no amount of insults will change the fact that the stewards (who have a lot more data and telemetry than you do) deemed your hero at fault for the accident. No amount of moaning or insults will change that.

            Anyway, if I disliked Hamilton as much as you dislike Verstappen, I could easily nitpick his season like this:

            Austria – numerous self inflicted penalties
            70th anniversary – bad qualifying followed by getting schooled by an inferior car on Sunday
            Nurburgring – setup mistake in qualifying
            San Marino – did not maximize performance in qualifying
            Monza – can’t see red lights
            Russia – can’t read rule book
            Turkey – ran off the track on the opening lap and allowed Vettel to overtake. Then ran wide around lap 16 and allowed Albon to overtake.
            Abu Dhabi – mediocre

            This is how you sound like when you talk about Verstappen. I just thought I’d give you a bit of insight into self awareness.

          8. @kingshark Stop embarrassing yourself over and over and over. He messed up his own race in Turkay in Q3 and then even more in the race.

    4. Without knowing the context of this quote I would imagine Hamilton is just referring to the Sochi penalties.

      At the time of the other incidents he was accepting of the punishments so I doubt he’s referring to those.

      1. You dont become a 7 time WDC without spending too much time at the front and in the lead. This reduces the driving and overtaking skills. As soon as you put him (and Vettel) in the mid field, they show rustiness

        1. Totally agree

        2. Jose Lopes da Silva
          21st December 2020, 16:35

          And Schumacher too.

    5. All these penalties are the reason why Verstappen was the best performing driver this year.

      The team bosses, the drivers and most of the pundits/analysts disagree

      1. @amam

        Anyway, the teambosses vote lost all its credibility when Vettel won it in 2009.

        1. Team bosses, analysts etc have more credibility than biased fanboys

          Anyway, i’d argue Verstappen wasn’t the best performer by crashing on the formation lap in Hungary , spinning x2 in Turkey, spinning in wet Styria Q3, driving himself into the barriers Sakhir, colliding with Perez in Portugal

          1. @amam
            Most of the mistakes you mentioned Max make had zero influence on how many points he lost that weekend. In Sakhir he was a victim of Leclerc’s stupidity. Only his spin in Turkey actually cost him points.

            Hamilton lost more points because of his inability to spot two flashing red lights in Monza than Verstappen lost all season.

        2. Anyway, i’d argue Verstappen wasn’t the best performer by crashing on the formation lap in Hungary , spinning x2 in Turkey, spinning in wet Styria Q3, driving himself into the barriers Sakhir, colliding with Perez in Portugal

          1. Also, Verstappen broke his front wing in Styria by panicking in trying to keep a gap to Bottas (who would have never gotten past anyway) and lost P2

    6. The penalty in Sochi was harsh but rules and rules.

      The problem at Sochi was the Race Director hadn’t specified where the practice area finished in the Event Notes (EN 19.1), only where it started. Where Lewis did his practice starts was after the starting point for doing a practice start, but as I said the rules didn’t state where the practice start area finished. As far as I could tell anyone could have done a practice start almost anywhere on the track provided it was on the right hand side of the track.

      1. The Russia penalty was just wrong. Hamilton didn’t break a rule, and no one has been able specify how he broke the one he was accused of.

        Mercedes pointed this out to the stewards post race who realised Merc were right and gave Hamilton his penalty points back to save face.

        Austria was racing incident.

        Italy a slam dunk (if admittedly rare).

  2. The penalties at Italy and Russia were all part of the Great Ferrari Master Plan.

  3. So many setbacks, an excellent team rival like Rosberg could score a title this year.

    Penalties, Covid, etc.

    Imagine if missing a race due to covid decided the title?

    Lewis really needs a better teammate, for us to enjoy any kind of title scrap.

    1. @jureo Russell 2022.

      1. So one more year of this? I can see Hamilton retiring soon after. He has done enough.

    2. lexusreliabilty?
      21st December 2020, 9:38


      Funny, people weren’t asking for a better team mate for Max (like Ricciardo).

      Same could be said of Max though- a better team mate could have taken the runner up spot in the WDC standings crashes etc. Verstappen scored 51 points out of a possible 125 in the final 5 races in a car capable of much much more.

      1. @lexusreliabilty?

        What are you on about? A ton of people have asked for a better team mate for Max.

      2. And you seem to miss his DNF’s in the first half..

      3. @lexusreliability
        Yeah right, and Lewis only scored 15 points out of a possible 50 points in the last 2 races in a car that should have won both races!
        If you’re gonna be creative, so can I.
        (Is this also the moment to discuss Lewis only scoring 7 WDC’s where he should have atleast 10 given the cars and teammates he had?)
        (Or bring up the fact he lost races and qualis against the most incompetent nr. 2 driver ever?)

        1. I can be even more creative… Lewis Hamilton 7 X WDC. Max Verstappen 10 x Race winner 🤣
          Your persistent whining changes NOTHING in the grand scheme.
          Some cretin above also states Max was the best Rookie of the century!!! I mean…behave! We know who has that honour and it isnt Max. Again… this is official, not the meanderings of a mad man with an agenda. It’s no coincidence that Lewis is winning all these awards. Just suck it up, accept it. Lewis is the best driver of this generation.

          1. He defends Marko

  4. The rules apply to you too Lewis.

    1. Rarely, but still

      Anyway, if I had an ounce of respect for the guy I would have lost it the day he went to bully the Stewards in Monza

  5. He was lucky not to escape with more in Austria as that was practically another ‘liegate’

    1. @balue The stewards confirmed there was no flag.

        1. @balue lol what? They did.

          The issue was that there was electronic signal somewere else, but the stewards did not have the flag out. So that was true.

  6. How many penalty points does HAM have currently?

    Does his penalty in Austria get wiped away for the first race in AUS or does he wait a year?

    I am asking as they fitted 17 races in 5 months so surely the 1 year rule should not apply for next year?

    1. Don’t they go by calendar date? I believe he has 8 still and it’ll be another 9 races before he loses any. (Beginning of July)

  7. What happens to penalty points if you miss a race due to COVID / any other reason? Can the driver count it as a ban and reset penalty points balance to 0?

    1. The points remain. Only a ban wipes away the points.

  8. The only one where I would say the team is more to blame than Hamilton was Monza, however, even that one is on him to some extent. The rest is all on par with what the stewards did to others.
    Most athletes that get penalized do not agree with the decision, regardless of the sport. But after they had time to look at their infringement, they usually agree with it, unless it’s something that one usually does not get a penalty for.
    But all his penalties were worthy of a penalty 100% at a time. So why is he complaining.
    Most likely because the championship fight was still on the line at that time. But if this interview or comment was recent then it gives me even more reason to call him a cry baby.
    It’s ok to plead with the officials at first but not months after where the end result (championship) was not even closely affected and the only thing he is short of is another Trophy and beat a record a race or two later.
    I for one am happy that he is not given special treatment, even though the a lot of you guys would love to see him get preferential treatment.

    1. That yellow flags situation was really weird. Hamilton did not see a flag. The stewards agreed during a review and then later some footage was found where a yellow flag was shown. So at the very best the situation was ambiguous. In other cases the drivers have been let off in situations like that.

      Penalizing Hamilton for Albon taking a high risk outside line and then cutting in early rather than staying on the kerb was really daft. When Leclerc hit Stroll on lap one people said Stroll should have given Leclerc more space (while Stroll was on the kerb!). Albon turned in early and was well inside the Kerb. Yet people then claim Hamilton was the one who should have given more space.

      If Albon had been on the kerb and Hamilton touched him then the penalty would have been fair. As it was Albon could go left by a least a meter still, but he tried to cut off Hamilton forcing him to have a bad exit. He cause the incident himself.

      Besides, by now it’s abundantly clear that it is Albon who was the common denominator in all those incidents. He kept having those issues, not just with Hamilton, but with about half the field. It was like when the stewards finally decided to start penalizing Massa for him turning into Hamilton every time in 2010 or 2011.

      The rules need fixing too. It’s ridiculous how a driver can overtake with a dive bomb if the defending driver just lets it happen, but if the defending driver turns in then suddenly it’s a penalty for the attacking driver.

      The rules need to be clear on who needs to leave space to who. Before it was much clearer that the driver ahead at the braking point had the rights to the racing line. Drivers were more gentlemanly about it. Nowadays drivers just barge in and hope they can bully through. Up to the point where the stewards even start penalizing defending drivers.

      Like when Verstappen drove into Stroll in Portimao. Stroll was clearly ahead and Verstappen still just rams it in. That was in practice, but still.

      For Monza. The odd location of the pit entry light was daft and then putting the message on the second screen rather than on the main screen.

      The practice start location was the most absurd. Clearly the rules literally allowed the location where Hamilton started. He met all the requirements mentioned in the rules. It wasn’t where they intended him to start from, but he did not break what was written. They changed the description of the start location for the next event to cover off this vagueness.

      In normal use of rules, no penalty is applied and the rules are adjusted to stop future misunderstandings. As happened in F1 so many times.

      1. @f1osaurus +1
        I think all the penalties are questionable. To some extent, that’s the way it goes. Drivers will contest most if not all of them. So in a sense, some of them should be accepted with a shrug. That goes for the yellow flag penalty, the Albon penalty and even the Monza pit penalty. There are arguments against the penalties in all three cases (invisible flags, the Albon collision a race incident, the team culpable for Monza and the track signs badly designed). But you can also see a reason for the penalty.
        Socchi is the standout. Why? Because it was pre-race, race direction allowed it to happen twice, the team cleared the area of track with Lewis, Leclerc had done the same thing at Spa, been investigated and cleared, and – on top of everything – the stewards (Mika Salo) seem to have been more interested in wondering what penalty to give Hamilton and telling the media about it, than anything else, including telling Hamilton not to practice starts there after the first incident. If it was so dangerous, why not?! That’s where a race director worth his job comes in: Whiting would have chatted to Mercedes, told them, “no ,not there,” and the issue is solved. Hamilton is right that communication with the stewards and race direction needs to be improved and its crucial. But that initiative should be coming from Masi and co, not the drivers.

        1. @david-br True. With the Socchi starts I find it most ridiculous that they changed the wording to explicitly disallow Hamilton’s interpretation. Limiting how far “after the pit exit” it was supposed to happen.

          Then for the races later they changed it altogether letting drivers practice on the grid. To fix the reason why Hamilton wanted to find a clean bit of track to practice on.

          I didn’t always agree with Whiting either, but at least he would get the decision right more often than not. While with Masi it just seems to be an unending list of bad decisions and oversights.

          In general though I think racing situations are also stewarded way to randomly recently. If you left the door wide open in the past, you couldn’t complain that a car slipped in. Nowadays they just driver the normal racing line going completely wide in and turn in like no one is there. Making an overtake pretty much impossible unless the overtaking car is fully ahead already on the straight. Or if the defending driver cooperates and lets you go past.

          The latter is the most absurd. It’s like saying that driving through a red light is fine unless you hit a car.

          1. @f1oclown
            Hahaha, and this is exactly why you’re an anonymous whiner on the internet and not employed in F1 for even the most meaningless job.
            Thank you, once again, for making my day.

          2. @Oconomo you still using “f1oclown” as if you hate F1oSaurus a lot, huh?!

      2. and then later some footage was found where a yellow flag was shown

        so there was a yellow flag and HAM ignored it.> Penalty well deserved.

        btw: The way you describe this incident tells enough. It was not like the yellow flag was waved after . He missed it. so that’s a Penalty.
        The rest of your story line about the same.

        1. Technically, yes, if you miss a flag or any other signal, that’s a penalty. However, FIA has a responsibility also to ensure that drivers are properly advised and warnings are adequately signalled. At Monza in particular, the system seemed inadequate, a lot of drivers missed it. In this case, the correct response is to complain about the system but accept the penalty. Socchi was exceptional for a lot of reasons, like I wrote above, too many to simply accept the penalty, I think Hamilton was right to contest it, including in person. Some here complained that he went to see the stewards about it mid-race. But then one of the stewards was apparently busy texting Finnish media while the penalty was applied. And Sky etc. knew about the penalty before it was officially announced. So it’s OK for the stewards to communicate with the media whenever they want, merrily talking about how many points to deduct before the driver is even informed of the penalty, but direct communication between them and the drivers is out? That frankly stinks of something rotten in FIA’s operation.

          1. @f1oclown
            So many words, yet completely depraved of substance!
            Keep it going

          2. Yes, so many words. One day you may even be able to use them correctly too.

          3. Whataboutism will no do here.
            The responsibility for waved yellow is at the driver.

          4. @Oconomo “f1oclown” means you can’t tag people’s usernames right.

        2. If there are two places where to see the signal and one is not giving the signal then it’s the fault of the operators.

          Like on Ducth highways. Both sides of a highway need to show the speed limit or road work signs. If one of them is missing, you do not get a fine.

      3. @f1osaurus For the yellow flag incident, things went exactly as they should have. Hamilton said he didn’t see a yellow flag. The stewards reviewed the onboard footage and concluded that he hadn’t passed one. Therefore no penalty.

        Then the additional footage emerged and the stewards reviewed it. They found that Hamilton had indeed passed a yellow marker board. There was no suggestion that Hamilton was lying when he said he hadn’t seen the board, but the stewards concluded that this was a result of negligence on his part rather than – as they had previously held – because no flag or marker board was present. Hence the penalty.

        This is exactly how the system should work – the stewards issue their ruling on the basis of the evidence available and, if new evidence comes to light, they are entitled to review it. ‘When the facts change, I change my mind,’ as some guy said once.

        1. @red-andy So the stewards looked at it and concluded that indeed Hamilton did not see a flag. Both signals should be there.

          1. What you wish and how it is are different things..
            Rules are rules.. missing yellow = Penalty

          2. Sure. Yet who’s fault is it that the yellow flag wasn’t out?

            Because if you do then lets look at things in a more broader view. At least he didn’t put his car in the wall twice, spun off losing an easy win, broke his front wing giving away an easy P2. Or funniest of all complained about getting engine modes banned and suffered 3 DNF’s because of it. You know, swings and roundabouts.

  9. OK I missed the yellow flag one, but they’re usually a slam dunk. However, Leclerc escaped penalties for a) an identical crash to the Albon one, with Stroll at Sochi and also b) for a practice start at Spa, outside the usual area. So certainly some inconsistency there.

    Then you have the fact that Hamilton’s indiscretions in Sochi were so severe as to merit in-race penalties for a pre-race infraction, yet apparently not severe enough for anyone to notice at the time and tell him not to do it for a second time. Plus, if I remember correctly, to the letter of the Race Director’s notes, he didn’t actually exceed the guidelines. Not to mention Mika Salo’s alleged actions…

    As for Monza, quite why they felt the need to immediately close the pit lane and start moving the car simultaneously with throwing the SC is beyond me. The car wasn’t in the firing line, so tell the marshals to stay put, let people pit if they want to and allow the snake to form up. You know, like they have at every other GP for as long as I can remember. And if they claim it was on safety grounds, it clearly did not have the intended effect, as due to the novelty of these actions, they managed to catch out a 6x WDC, who still entered the pit lane.

    Your mileage may vary on whether the penalties were deserved but a little consistency from the stewards would help. Hell, I could whip them up a flow chart if they’re that unsure of proper procedure and the precedent they’ve set for prior infractions.

    1. It’s just an irrational hatred of Hamilton by some very salty posters unfortunately. All the points you made are precisely why the penalties were dubious and in some cases not even valid under the rules.

      1. @tomd11 @slowmo +2

        I read the comments higher up as a ‘Gripe Bin’, one of those little boxes in offices people stuff complaints in anonymously. In this case, gripes, grumbles, moans and whines after a season dominated by Hamilton. If it makes them feel a bit btter about it all, in the context of some serious realworld problems, so be it. It’s festive season.

        1. No, there are just a bunch of very thin-skinned Hamilton fans on here. Max, Stroll and Grosjean gets a lot of stick too, but they don’t have anywhere near the same number of thin-skinned fans.

          1. You’re obsessed with him @aapje. As a friend of mine once said, a ma n who talks about trains all day, likes trains’. Maybe you should look at your thin skinned reaction to anything he does. Its about as pretty as your picture.

          2. @tonymansell

            I’m not obsessed with him at all, but this topic is about Hamilton, so of course I would discuss him here.

            That you see more in it, is probably projection on your part.

  10. Some of those flags and signs are positioned in difficult places to see. There’s just too much for a driver to figure out. Sure, you can hand out a penalty for missing it. There’s a reason why traffic lights are positioned where they are. I’m glad they are not off the road somewhere where I need to figure out their position every time I cross the road. Where’s the light, honey? I can’t find it! Boom! It’s not my fault…

    1. @freelittlebirds Not sure if that is everywhere but in the Netherlands the speed limit needs to be visible on both sides of the highway. A lorry might be obscuring one side or the driver might miss a sign on the opposite sign. Not just fixed signs, but also temporary road works signs. So if you can prove (with a dashcam) that it was only marked on one side, you don’t get a fine.

      Then we have high speed racing cars and lives at stake and then the closed sign is not on the actual entry (where it normally always is), but on a corner far away on the opposite side of the track looking similar to the SC sign. The German TV reporters didn’t even realize what was wrong for 5 or 6 replays.

      I get that they can give a penalty for this, but how does nonsense like this even happen?

      1. That’s the difference between an diluted fan and some reporters and a real F1 driver. Its their work to notice these things and the reward is excessive so you should expect they really deserve the money.

        1. You mean the difference between a “diluted fan” (whatever is supposed to mean) and an F1 race director who is supposed to make sure the drivers do actually see the signals they are meant to see?

          1. Typing errors can happen.. blind fans ignoring the reality is a different story.
            The stewards, ( you know the experts at the location) made the decision based on the rules.
            Noting more to it really..
            But you can always make things up like you do a lot ;)

          2. Well you are a diluted fan yes. I never make anything up. All I say is backed up by facts.

            You should try it one day. Actually read some proper articles. Understand the matter and then form a founded opinion.

            I get that you like just being a useless troll, but maybe try it just once. Actually support your opinion with some facts.

      2. @f1osaurus – that’s interesting about the speed limit signs on both sides. Same with road work signs. They should clearer.

        Some of the newer cars now have traffic sign recognition which coupled with heads up displays makes life a lot easier. Heads up displays should probably be mandatory in every car – they’re just so much safer to drive. The thing I hate the most are touch screens especially below the dashboard – those should be outlawed. There is a race to provide the most screens by manufacturers in their cars when really better software is what’s needed.

      3. @f1clown
        Your stupidity is hilarious!

        1. Yeah, you’re still obsessed with calling him “f1oclown”, don’t you, huh?!

    2. @freelittlebirds Your traffic light analogy only holds if, prior to taking to the streets, you’re issued with maps detailing the location of every traffic light. The drivers and teams are informed in advance about the locations of the flag boards and can reasonably be expected to pay attention to them, especially in a high-risk situation such as a safety car.

      1. @red-andy Not entirely, because to see something you need to be able to see it without overdue effort. For F1 drivers that’s even more paramount because the driver who needs to slow down might also be tracking the incident itself while keeping safe and they still have to maintain a good amount of speed since the event is still on. There are way too many things to track there – a driver can get overwhelmed and miss it.

        As I mentioned, I missed the flag in the video and I was looking for it and just sitting in an ultra-comfortable chair. The stewards were the only ones who didn’t miss the flag apparently after watching it 10 times.

      2. @red-andy The point is that if it is paramount that people see the signs then the organization needs to make sure the signs are as visible as possible.

        Almost none of the drivers or pundits notices the pit closure. Sainz was even arguing with his pit crew that the pitlane was open until finally they told him that in fact it was closed. Sainz was warned well on time and still he didn’t see the sign.

        That clearly demonstrates something is wrong with the sign.

        1. And yet Russell saw the sign and discussed it with his pit crew. It doesn’t tell us anything, except that some drivers weren’t looking in the right place, even though they knew where the boards were (because they’d been told prior to the weekend).

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            22nd December 2020, 3:18

            @red-andy signs should be visible by all drivers and not in their peripheral vision. Besides the penalt, it’s a safety issue and therefore the FIA is at fault, not the drivers.

          2. @red-andy Yes one in 20 saw it. That’s the point isn’t it?

        2. Well just try yourself..
          Ingnore the speed limit and when you are fined just tell them you missed the sign.
          I guess that will help ;)

          1. More like an exit being closed but not marked as such erikje, no idea whether that would be punished.

            The Monza markings were unclear and the FIA needs to improve that. Russell saw them, but might have been rather unique in that. But the team, unlike McLaren for example with Sainz, failed to notice it too. They did have the least time, but it remains their mistake.

          2. Well if one of the signals is missing then yes you get your fine revoked.

  11. (@f1osaurus) “That yellow flags situation was really weird.”

    When C4 reviewed the incident they replayed Hamiltons on board, which showed that there was a green flag and a yellow being shown at the same time!? This was a Redbull track. Redbull raised the issue. Somehow Redbull had more information than the stewards who had investigated the matter. I thought the stewards had access to all footage and communications? Redbull! Nothing against Verstappen but it was somewhat poetic justice when his car stopped on track.

    The outside overtake by Albon was 100% Albons fault as you have described. The stewards were supposedly taking a hands off approach to “hard racing” but that “directive” was very very selectively applied, ahem Leclerc.

    The Sochi incident had Mika Sado as one of the stewards using expletives against Hamilton, texting to newsfeed about the likely sanctions before the “penalties” had even been applied. Its almost comical. Two penalties applied well into the race from an pre-race practice starts which were within the written rules!

    And Monza. As I understand things the pit lane closing, was supposed to be signalled with flashing red crosses. But they used flashing yellow crosses in red borders (race control – oversight), probably only visible in peripheral vissssssssssion because they were located on the wrong side of the track from the drivers line of sight when entering approaching the pitlane (race control – oversight).
    Rather than taking the above into account and the fact that (I think) Hamilton said he was concentrating on the stewards moving near the stricken car, stopped by the approach to the pit lane. Gave as harsh a penalty as they could possibly conjure up.
    The stopped car, should in any case have been simply and safely pulled back into the nearby opening designed for this purpose! And presumably the driver had sensibly decided to stop there because it was the best thing to do. (race control – “error”).

    Funny how the unnecessary call to close the pit lane happened minutes after the Haas stopped but just 12 seconds before Hamilton entered the pit lane.

    I think that the commentators on here that deny Hamilton is getting rough treatment and that BLM should be swept under the carpet, probably still think Rump won the US election. And Brexit is a wonderful thing rather than the fishy jingoistic disaster it is proving itself to be, the stink of which will only increase over time. (Sorry couldn’t resist). I think they would be delighted in a Rump steal over in the US and in F1.

    And meanwhile Charles Leclerc crashes into anybody he likes, drives other cars off the road, literally cuts a
    chicane whilst being closely chased (He was in a Ferrari and it was Monza, so that’s ok), frequently moves
    dangerously in the braking zone and not a whisper from the stewards (oh yea a black and white flag) or the same self commentators on any of the forums.

    Its a shame really, I don’t want to feel any antipathy towards Leclerc. But the selectivity of the stewarding cannot but leave a bad taste in the mouth. I never saw Hamilton take pleasure in such opportunistic wins, ie when a close adversary hit technical or other problems during a race, quite the opposite really. For example Singapore 2017 when Vettel sort of lost the Championship after the 2017 crash ? See postface C4 interview when Hamilton looks almost miserable after winning the race! Unlike Rosberk who used to punch the air with a certain venomous air of delight whenever he obviously only “Won” a race because Hamilton had a technical, or suffered a similar stewarding “advantage”.

    I used to feel respect towards Rosberk when as underdog to Michael Schumacher. He quietly went about beating his 7xDC team mate. And in the early years against Hamilton I used to say fair play. Until he started with his shenanigans, and then in Monaco he showed his true colours.
    At least Leclerc, during his interview post Monza 2019, referred to his “errors” during the race, but that is really cold custard.
    Maybe some people are just bad winners? Rosberks fist and Vettel’s finger. But I am warming to Vettel these days, and maybe I’m just a bad viewer!

    I lost confidence in the FIA during the Mosely regime. I have to credit Mosely (and Eccleston and Whiting and particularly Stewart) for his safety initiatives. But he loses massively with the lack of credibility race control has always shown and his lack of its reform. Ah Mosley spawn of ……

    Race control has needed reform, even since the times of Senna vs Prost or Hunt vs Lauda. At least I think we can trust the qualifying timings for now, they would never help Lewis!

    Ferrari International Assistance.

    But heart warmingly the balance of UK SPOTY voters recognise the sportsmanship of Hamilton. I was amazed that Rashford didn’t figure in the top three though, I thought Rashford would win and I’m a Hammer! (Doh, West Ham, not Lewis Hammerton! No, no your right, Lewis Hammerton too come to think of it!)

    1. True, Mosley’s regime was utterly bad. How he did not end up in prison for giving away F1 to Ecclestone for peanuts is beyond me.

      I get that Ecclestone probably had some dirt over him, but still selling out F1 by sponsoring Ferrari for Ecclestone and then giving away the whole lot for a handout. Just atrocious.

      1. Was not aware of the way Mosley was able to hand the show over to Ecclestone, interesting. Like keeping your enemy’s/friend’s close and then closer still can be unimaginably profitable if you are ruthless enough.

        If Eccleston managed to put the thumb on Mosely then he must have had some mighty goosberrys. Mosley was found in a WWII “themed” German Military Uniformed “Event” which I thought to be so compromising that it looked like game over. He may have ultimately been forced (after brazing it out for an age) to step down from his F1 perch, but he managed to sue the poor old rag! And setup somewhat of an Anti Complete Freeedom of the Press Infrastructure! For telling the truth about the nature of his, shall we say German WW2 predilections?

        But then again how Ecclestone managed to avoid the clink over the bribery scandal in the German courts! By effectively bribing the German Courts (what a world). I remember all those massive banners at the races over the tracks with the message “Dont drink and Drive” and my mind would always substitute Drive with Bribe.

        Birds of a feather.

        I’m glad they have gone. Maybe one day Free To View, Great tracks and tyres made of something other than cheese will return. And whether this years really enjoyable unpredictable season is due to the C19 emergency and going to all those beautiful old tracks (Sorry Abu Dhabi, dull dull dull) or not, I hope somehow it is a sign of good things to come from the new heads.

  12. Only to add.

    During the C4 Monza coverage, during the Safety car period they replayed Hamiltons on board, approaching and entering the pit lane. David Coultard a former F1 racing driver who I believe has raced at Monza and Ben Edwards (who I think might have some racing experience himself were co-commenting. They were both looking for pit lane closure lights! Neither saw the lights!

    They replayed the onboard a second time in slow motion and this time Ben Edwards pointed out the “Yellow” lights on the left side of the screen.

    David the former F1 racing driver had been looking to the right where he expected any warning lights to be. He was looking where any sensible racing driver would be looking at high speed, to the right towards the racing line and on the side of the pit lane entry, and where with the attendant marshals were moving near the stricken car.

    Racing Control were presumably responsible for ensuring that all lights are located in the best place.

    Hamilton was looking where a racing driver would look, he had no warning of any impending pit lane closure as he was so close to the pit lane entry when racing control flipped the switch. His team could not warn him unlike some other teams.

  13. The rules are fairly clear.

    Hamilton was gifted a win at Canada last year when he capitalised on Vettel’s penalty which was debateable.

    These penalties were less debateable especially the pitlane being closed.

    1. @deanfranklin Vettel gifted Hamilton that win though. He could have just kept his car on track for a change.

      1. Vettel is error prone but he was driving a car where he had to push the limits to stay on pace with the Mercs. Hamilton never has to push the limits given his car advantage. Playing poker with four aces as Bernie said.

        If Vettel was deserving of a penalty than Hamilton was deserving of one Monaco 2016.

        1. @deanfranklin Hamilton had to push to stay close behind Vettel to push him into a mistake.

          The fact that you don’t understand Monaco 2016 was a different situation is irrelevant.

          1. Indeed, Hamilton should have gotten a penalty in Monaco as his offence was quite a lot clearer.

  14. Funny how Hamilton fans will always have him blameless for every single incident year in and year out and think it’s a perfectly reasonable position to take.

    1. @balue The point is that most of these were quite debatable.

      People debate other penalties as well. Funny how it’s only the the Hamilton penalties that you have no problem with.

      1. People debate other penalties as well. Funny how it’s only the the Hamilton penalties that you have no problem with.

        Indeed. Every single one of those penalties was questionable. Sochi was a travesty and Monza was a farce. Even if you agree with the black and white interpretation of the rules by the stewards, blaming Hamilton rather than the team simply shows a hidden hate.

        As for the incident with Albon, he clearly left the door too wide and decided to close it too late. At worst, it was a racing incident instigated by the team putting him on a terrible strategy when he was in a position to win the race.

        Again, you can defend the stewards, but you cannot claim Lewis was totally to blame. Incidentally, Albon has been found wanting in those situations a few times this season.

        Those quick to bring Lewis’s BLM stance into the issue are no different from those angry with Colin Kapernicka stance in the US. They are simply racists.

  15. All these penalties were more or less dubious. Coincidence or someone really tried to play with the Championship’s intrigue?! Sochi penalty was too harsh since Leclerc was not penalised before at all for the same “crime”.

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