Hamilton faces double penalty threat as stewards investigate two practice incidents

2021 F1 season

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Lewis Hamilton is at risk of a penalty which could compromise his starting position for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver has been summoned to meet the stewards over two separate incidents during final practice ahead of today’s qualifying session.

The hearing will begin at 7pm local time, one hour before qualifying. The stewards are examining whether Hamilton failed to observe double waved yellow flags at one point in the session, and impeded a driver at turn eight in a subsequent incident.

Footage from Hamilton’s onboard camera showed him passing yellow flags as he approached turn 13 while he was on a flying lap around 20 minutes into the session. Hamilton did not appear to significantly decelerate.

His championship rival Max Verstappen was given a five-place grid penalty at the previous race in Qatar for failing to slow for double waved yellow flags in qualifying.

Later in the session Hamilton was also seen impeding Nikita Mazepin. The Haas driver dived onto the kerbs at turn eight to avoid the Mercedes.

Update: Hamilton avoids grid penalty after two investigations for practice incidents

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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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74 comments on “Hamilton faces double penalty threat as stewards investigate two practice incidents”

  1. Great. Another one of those moments. Hm, I really am not too sure which flag moment it was for Hamilton. But he did seem to be lacking a bit of timely information during that session for at least 2 other times.

    1. @bascb He wasn’t blue-flagged.

      1. I am not sure what you want to say there @jerejj. Did I not just write that apparently Hamilton was lacking information? I saw Hamilton dawdling around the track without any lights on the dashboard or flags being waved as well as anyone else watching the footage.

        With Gasly it looked more like the two of them not understanding where the other wanted to go. With Mazepin the Russian should have been getting white flags to warn him, and Hamilton should have been getting warnings both from his team and from blue flags. Both the marshalling and the team instructions were lacking.

        With this yellow flag incident, obviously the flags were shown, but he seems to have failed to react enough or in time. Who knows what he was radioed about them. And who knows when exactly what flags were being waved.

        1. @bascb Neither did he get yellows. All yellows in the session were extremely brief, one of those caused by him.

          1. Can we be sure of that @jerejj? The investigation explicitly mentions double waved yellows.

          2. @bascb The issue is no detailed explanation of the situation, where, etc. I can’t think of a realistic scenario.

          3. Well, the fact that we do not have a detailed explanation is because they are still having to investigate this in the first place, isn’t it @jerejj – only AFTER that can they give us more details.

            I had a look at onboards from around 17-23 minutes into the session and did not see anything (but since my connection isn’t great at the moment some of that was rather low res, so maybe I missed something)

        2. It doesn’t matter – like the case with VER recently.
          -5 and -3, for impending Nikita – makes -8.
          Only fair and consistent!

          1. Impeding in free practice does not always lead to a grid penalty.

      2. Fernand fofie wafo
        4th December 2021, 16:17

        There is NO PENALTY for practice infrigment of yellow flags.
        For QUALIFYING yes.
        This was FREE practice=NO PENALTY.
        Come on Race fans get with it now!!
        It is BIG ,nice headlines,but NO news.

    2. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      4th December 2021, 15:51

      A couple of times in the session there was yellow in sector 1 and then yellow in sector 1 & 2. They flashed up on the TV and were gone in maybe 2 seconds.

      1. I don’t think any of those quick yellows (shown when drivers go on the runoff) were actually double waved yellows @andyfromsandy.

        Not sure exactly when this incident even happened, or whether it was shown on the live feed.

        1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
          4th December 2021, 16:03

          The incident happened apparently 22 minutes into the session. There was no visuals of the incident and the commentators also missed it completely.

          1. Right, that certainly explains why nobody noticed anything much until this investigation was issued.

          2. Just had a bit of a look at onboards, couldn’t really see any yellows either, much like @krichelle mentioned below. But the Stewards must have had some.

      2. @andyfromsandy

        This brief waving of yellow flags needs to stop. If you will put a sector under yellow flag do it for at least 3 seconds. Not just 1-2 seconds and then green immediately. We have already had confusion 2 weeks ago because of the way yellow flags are deployed. Don’t just wave a yellow flag for one second, and then green and then another second yellow. 3 flag changes in 3 seconds is just getting silly.

        1. I disagree. The moment a steward sees something they think is dangerous, the flag should be out. If they wait to see if it might not be dangerous after all, they risk an incident. However, if they are going to do that, there will obviously be times when they put the flash away within seconds because the danger has passed.

          So we have a choice.
          1) we can leave things as they are
          2) we could tell the stewards to keep the flags out longer, keeping it under yellows longer even though the danger has cleared
          3) we could tell stewards to wait to see if the danger will last for at least a few seconds before getting their flag out

          Option 2 would be purely for appearances, and would lead to people having to slow when everyone can see the track is clear. Option 3 would risk an accident occurring when a steward has already seen the danger, opening them up to criticism.

          Option 1, leaving things as they are, is the right call. The stewards are well trained and, for the most part, very experienced. Let them use their training, knowledge, experience, and judgement to keep the drivers and everyone else as safe as possible.

          1. RandomMallard (@)
            4th December 2021, 17:38

            @drmouse Definitely agree. Reacting quickly to incidents can make all the difference. For example, take something like Spa Q3 this year. Imagine if after Norris’ crash, Vettel had come through at full tilt because there was no yellows, lost it himself and crashed at the same spot. We’ve saw all too tragically the effect of a high-speed multi-car collision at the top Radillon in 2019…

  2. someone or something
    4th December 2021, 15:46

    Bit of an unexpected one, no idea when that’s supposed to have happened … As if the Mazepin incident (for which I would expect a warning) wasn’t enough, now this could be real trouble.

  3. No penalty threat as a sporting penalty never comes from impeding in a practice session, only QLF ones.
    Besides, Masi already noted he didn’t get blues, which is a mitigating factor.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      4th December 2021, 15:53

      No / Driver: 44 – Lewis Hamilton
      Reason: Alleged breach of Appendix H, Art. 2.5.5.b) of the FIA International Sporting Code, not
      respecting double waved yellow flags/lights at 17:22.

      1. @andyfromsandy @losd When? He didn’t get any yellows.

        1. @jerejj I have no idea, checking onboards around 22 minutes in myself, as in the report from @andyfromsandy, but haven’t spotted anything. But I’m using my phone, so not the best screen for that.

        2. Pretty sure that is @andyfromsandy quoting the FIA message telling the world about this investigation @jerejj

    2. @jerejj This is not about blue flags, but about yellow flags.

    3. This is NOT for the incident with Mazepin @jerejj, as @losd mentions Lewis is being investigated for not heeding double waved yellow flags, which is quite a bit more serious of an issue with the stewards

    4. someone or something
      4th December 2021, 16:02

      No penalty threat as a sporting penalty never comes from impeding in a practice session, only QLF ones.


      Besides, Masi already noted he didn’t get blues, which is a mitigating factor.

      He did, and while that’s true, the existence of a mitigating factor does not automatically negate a penalty. Theoretically speaking, Hamilton could’ve caused the lack of blue flags himself by driving so slowly that Mazepin caught up at such a rapid rate that the track marshalls had no time to react.
      No idea if that was really the case, though. Just highlighting why that needn’t be a significant mitigating factor per se.

    5. As I understand it by reading the article this wasn’t about impeding, it was about ignoring yellow flags which is always taken seriously throughout the entire race weekend.

      1. Wow that was a lot of comments popping in while I had this tab open… sorry, didn’t mean to spam the same message as everyone else again.

  4. Trying to search any onboards available online. So far nothing.

  5. BLS (@brightlampshade)
    4th December 2021, 15:54

    Fairly sure the longest yellow in FP3 was about 3 seconds. A yellow is a yellow I suppose and rules are rules.

  6. FIA is desperate to order someone to wave yellow flags in front of Hamilton for 2 seconds so that they could penalise him for not noticing yellow flags.

    1. Oh please.. IF he ignored double yellow then that’s on him.

  7. 14:17
    Post update
    We have a flash of a yellow flag in sector one. Who is in the run-off area?

    It’s Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes locks the from tyres and backs out of the corner sharpish.

    A mini spin gets him back on his way.

    This is the only reference to yellow flags I can find during FP3 from BBC live reporting.

  8. Absolutely this NONSENSE must CEASE.
    Constant inconsistency from the race director & his stewards is now despicable.
    Just more “drama tension” from the now inexcusable LibFilx soap opera.
    Only GUILT, is this sort of nonsense bringing the sport of F1 into disrepute.

    1. I already signed off from F1 Newsletter. I hate soap operas and F1 is turning into one of them. Sad.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      4th December 2021, 16:30

      What are you complaining about? They are being consistent! If you pass waved yellows and fail to slow, you get investigated and if it’s proven, you get a grid penalty. Happened last race and has happened many times before.

  9. Maybe he gets 50 lashes

    1. Ha Ha, nice one ;-)

  10. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    4th December 2021, 16:05

    That would be classic. Lewis gets a a penalty for not slowing for his own yellow when re-joining the track!

  11. “We don’t want drivers going dangerously slow” says masi followed by “we spoke to merc and said don’t do it again”.


  12. Ive watched 3 minutes before and after 17:22 on tracker and see no yellows..


    1. Theres a yellow flag at 17 minutes into session, but Lewis looks like he slowed down between turn 2 an 3

  13. There was a point midway in the session where there was yellows, where he went past a Red Bull, and definitely set purples. It’s whether the yellows were caused by the Red Bull. We won’t know until we see the onboards, hopefully for the championship he’s not done something stupid

  14. The blocking thing is nonsense, but if he ignored double-waved yellows, how can we possibly argue?

    1. No further action. Lol.

      1. As if there was any doubt the stewards are biased

  15. I also cannot remember seeing any yellow flag incident, but that doesn’t mean anything.

    I surely saw the Mazepin incident and I think that clearly warrants a penalty. Driving slowly on the racing line and dangerously impeding a faster driver is a clear cut grid penalty. Doing so on a track, where the drivers have been warned of the dangers and where they know drivers cannot see around blind corners should lead to a harsher penalty than on wide open tracks.

    This issue has been going on for far too long and it is obvious that the drivers are not willing to listen and learn. Sadly I think the FIA will only start imposing stricter penalties after this sort of behavior leads to a big crash.

  16. petebaldwin (@)
    4th December 2021, 16:26

    This things are simple – they’ll have onboards and live timing to look at. There’s no point in speculating if there were yellows or not – if there were and he passed through without slowing down, it’s a slam dunk penalty. If he slowed down or their weren’t yellows, he’ll be fine.

  17. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    4th December 2021, 16:27

    At 18:32 Lewis was summoned to the stewards for double waved yellows. At 18:51 he was summoned for unnecessary impeding at turn 8 at 17:39.

    Both to be investigated at 19:00.

    So he has been there for 28 minutes at this time.

  18. There is a rumour about some special Saudi penalties for breaking that rule, involving beheading

  19. So, going by recent timelines I guess we’ll find out if he’s penalised in about 24 hours. Perhaps they’ll even wait until the cars are on the grid this time… Imagine the scenes it’d create for DTS.

  20. Looks like hes gonna have to drive like this in the race.


    1. You deleted the crash & burn bit

  21. Just wondering what the comments would be like if Hamilton and Mazepin roles were reversed…

    1. nobody cares about mazepin, obviously. But this track is crap and everybody is talking about it since activities began. A lot of near misses like these already happened.

  22. Sky just showed it & I think it would be really harsh if he gets a penalty for that yellow flag incident.

    It seems like someone had gone off at T1 & the yellow board was flashing on the entry, However it had stopped flashing & gone back to green when Lewis was still 200m+ away from going past it.

    It seems the stewards may be thinking that because he passed the start line he had entered sector 1 & since sector 1 was yellow at that point he should have abandoned the lap.

    1. Although the article says turn 13 but Sky said that the footage they showed of T1 was the footage they were given by F1 when they asked for footage of the incident?

  23. Oh the drama, oh the suspense, oh the… It’s getting very near the point of me never mentioning I’am into F1 to any new I meet…..

    1. *anyone new I meet….

  24. petebaldwin (@)
    4th December 2021, 16:46

    No penalty – looks like it was something automatically triggered but the yellow flag was only out for a second so he couldn’t have slowed.

  25. No further action

  26. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
    4th December 2021, 16:48

    Decision No further action.
    Reason The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton), the team
    representative and have reviewed video and the marshalling system.
    The Race Director reported to the Stewards that the double yellow flag warning on the
    FIA Marshalling System was activated at Light Panel Number 6 accidentally, for less
    than 1 second. 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.
    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.
    Competitors are reminded that they have the right to appeal certain decisions of the
    Stewards, in accordance with Article 15 of the FIA International Sporting Code and
    Chapter 4 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules, within the applicable time limits.

  27. Since max got a 5 place penalty for the same thing last race lewis better get 10 for 2 of those.

    1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
      4th December 2021, 16:55

      You can read the action taken by the stewards on the FIA website. I think you might of missed no action taken.

  28. FIA seems willing to do anything to stop HAM from winning. Accidently activating double yellow for a second – such a joke.

    1. FIA seems willing to do anything to stop HAM from winning

      MIA/HIA seems willing to do anything to stop anybody but HAM from winning
      There, I fixed it for ya

  29. Ignoring double yellow.
    First yellow light and several hundred meters after twoo yellow flags waved. Hard to see.

    1. Even at 0.25x playback speed I dont see anything… And it was officially stated that an accidently activated yellow was the cause of the investigation. One which wasnt even shown on track…

      1. https://youtu.be/q4uGwJ8deBU

        But indeed, ver difficult to see.

      2. BTW, if yellow was by accident or as a result of a crash should not matter.
        Ignoring is penalty.
        So very strange reason.
        But I hope they can fight on track and not as a result of penalty’s

  30. This is not good. We want VER to beat HAM on track. Now HAM made two safety mistakes because of no info from the team. At leat 5 places on the grid is mandatory for safety violation.

  31. Why I am not surprised?

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