Hamilton avoids grid penalty after two investigations for practice incidents

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has avoided a grid penalty following two investigations over incidents he was involved in during final practice for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was cleared over allegedly failing to respond to double waved yellow flags when the stewards rules no flags were shown. He was then issued a formal reprimand, and his team fined €25,000, for an incident involving Nikita Mazepin.

The yellow flag incident was reported to the stewards by FIA F1 race director Michael Masi. He noted “the double yellow flag warning on the FIA Marshalling System was activated at light panel number six accidentally, for less than one second,” according to the stewards.

“As the on-board video of car 44 (to be released by the commercial rights holder following this decision) clearly shows, there was no yellow flag displayed, no yellow lights were displayed to that driver and the yellow warning light was not visible on the driver’s steering wheel,” the stewards ruled.”

Hamilton’s championship rival Max Verstappen was given a five-place grid penalty at the Qatar Grand Prix for failing to slow for yellow flags. The stewards pointed out Hamilton’s incident was different to previous cases they had ruled on.

“Unlike other incidents this year, there was no yellow flag or yellow light displayed to the driver (the driver already being well into the marshalling sector when the system was briefly activated) hence no breach of the regulations has occurred,” the stewards concluded.

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Although Hamilton was given a reprimand for the Mazepin incident, the stewards focused their criticism on the team for failing to keep him appraised of the Haas driver rapidly approaching him at turn eight. Mercedes were therefore also given a fine.

“The driver [Hamilton] was given a 10-second warning that car nine was approaching when he was at turn two,” the stewards noted. “Due to a failure in communication by the team he was not given another warning until car nine was alongside him.

“The stewards accept that this circuit presents challenges for drivers in relation to using their mirrors as the method of determining the approach of overtaking cars. Although it is the driver’s ultimate responsibility to avoid impeding, for this circuit the driver must depend upon the team to communicate efficiently. This did not happen in this case and accordingly the penalty for the competitor is imposed.

“The stewards take this opportunity to emphasise that due to the nature of this circuit it is essential that teams communicate effectively and proactively with their drivers.”

“This is not to be taken as a precedent for other circuits,” the stewards added.

Hamilton’s reprimand is his second of the season. If he collects a third he will automatically receive a 10-place grid penalty.

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2021 Saudi Arabian 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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29 comments on “Hamilton avoids grid penalty after two investigations for practice incidents”

  1. someone or something
    4th December 2021, 16:50

    Good news for him, I wouldn’t expect a sporting penalty for the impeding incidents. A warning or reprimand should do them justice.

  2. petebaldwin (@)
    4th December 2021, 16:52

    Good – investigated it quickly and made a sensible decision.

    Now onto the Mazepin incident. I guess with this one, it’s simply a case of what the drivers have been told. If they’ve been warned to not drive slowly on the racing line, he could be in trouble but otherwise, he should be fine.

    1. I anticipate a reprimanded at best, but the incident is ironic after Hamilton warned after P2 about closing speeds to slow moving cars… he’s not wrong!
      Pretty lucky there that Mazepin kept it out of the barriers.

  3. Clear that the FIA wants to keep it a fight on the tarmac.

    1. Bore off. There was literally no yellow flag. It flashed on and off BEFORE Hamilton got to the section of track. He was therefore never shown a yellow flag, so rightly didn’t do anything wrong.

      1. Wrong there are youtube videos where you see a flashing panel and a difficult to spot steward waving a flag.

        1. Why lie Mike? There’s no videos from any Hamilton onboard as he was never shown a yellow flag! It was on by accident for less than a second and wasn’t visible to Hamilton at any point.

          1. petebaldwin (@)
            4th December 2021, 17:04

            They showed it on Sky so you’re wrong as usual.

          2. It was shown on the F1 TV feed.

        2. If that’s true then appeal is imminent. If not the the correct decision was made

        3. Then why Mike, @petebaldwin does this verdict bring up this:

          “As the on-board video of car 44 (to be released by the Commercial Rights Holder following this Decision) clearly shows, there was no yellow flag displayed, no yellow lights were displayed to that driver and the yellow warning light was not visible on the driver’s steering wheel.

          I have looked at the onboards from Hamilton, and it looks more like there is a white flag shown on that panel sky showed. Or maybe this is another moment

      2. RandomMallard (@)
        4th December 2021, 17:35

        Actaully Ben it looks like it was the other way round (the warning light was triggered after he had passed it), but a computer system probably flagged it because it realised he was in a yellow sector and didn’t slow down, but didn’t take into account other circumstances. Still the correct decision to not penalise though.

    2. Clear that the FIA wants to keep it a fight on the tarmac.

      Well track plus plenty of run-off if and when needed :oP

  4. Some kind of glitch in the system then. I thought it was confusing as I watched practice and didn’t see any yellows. Sounds like it flashed on and back off by accident before Hamilton actually arrived, hence no need to slow down.

  5. Hamilton and Mercedes should be penalized. It is unfortunate but Mercedes once again demonstrate that their race team and pit crew are sub par. The have excellent engineering and drivers but their racetrack operations are woeful. Hamilton was stating yesterday how dangerous the track is and yet the spotters were snoozing today.

    1. The crane is getting ready

  6. Ahm, right. Well, at least that explains why I wasn’t able to find anything on any onboards! I guess this track still has some issues with marshalling systems and flag instructions then.

    I wonder, surely they were able to pull in the likes of the Bahraini marshalls to help out in this event, right – those have helped before in Baku and earlier in India as well when those tracks were newly introduced.

  7. RandomMallard (@)
    4th December 2021, 17:32

    Seems like the right decision. Impeding should be on the team, especially somewhere like here where it’s both more dangerous and harder to see other cars behind. Reprimand is fair, fine for Mercedes is fair.

    As for the yellows, sounds like a fair decision. Probably flagged up automatically by a computer system that went “Ah. There are yellows there and he didn’t slow down”, without taking into account the other circumstances. Probably flag warning lights accidentally initiated by a rogue marshall (am I right Christian? Also FIA that’s a joke please don’t fine me).

  8. Interesting.

    Concerning the Mazepin incident: because the circuit is more dangerous the driver is less culpable? Shouldn’t the dangerous nature of the circuit lead to drivers being more careful and not dawdling around on the racing line?

    Like I said in the other topic, the FIA will continue allowing drivers to drive like this until we have a big crash. We know such a crash is inevitable.

    1. Oh, we just had such a crash with Bottas, luckily in a slow corner. Mercedes again. What is wrong with their operations this weekend?

  9. The Mercedes driver was cleared over allegedly failing to respond to double waved yellow flags when the stewards rules no flags were shown.

    From the wonderful and frightening world of Formula 1.
    Cleared of ignoring yellow flags that didn’t exist.
    But still Red Bull might protest. Because they’re just that kind of folk.

    1. Why protest, it’s useless, unless you are Merc of course
      Just nu ke Brackley

      1. So you think Hamilton should be penalized for flags that FIA has admitted were never shown to him?
        Is he supposed to be psychic?

        1. Its hilarious that the double standard Hamilton is held to now includes knowing about flags he was never even shown.

  10. Wel today the F.I.A proofed there bias. and have no consistency. Hamilton made almost 2 people crash into him and ignoring double yellow flags. and gets nothing. wow Brilliant F.I.A your as corrupt as the politicians in Britain are these days

  11. FP2 Sprint Race — Stewards just handed DAR Daruwala 5 second time penalty for being in the lead, braking late at the first corner of Jeddah circuit, and cutting the corner and retaining the lead over Piastri.

    Looks like this is a different set of stewards and rules compared to F1 Brazil. :)

    1. The one difference though was Piastri was on the inside and made the corner.

      1. My bad.. watching the replay, looks like DAR was inside. Too bad, with safety car, he goes to the back of the field.

        DAR was on the comms telling they do this in F1 all the time; and if he was told, he would have given the place back. P2 vs. Dead last.

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