Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023

Hamilton ‘doesn’t care much’ about penalty for sprint race collision with Perez

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton said he wasn’t too concerned by the penalty which dropped him from fourth to seventh place in today’s sprint race.

The Mercedes driver was given a five-second time penalty for colliding with Sergio Perez during the race. The stewards ruled he caused an unnecessary collision.

Hamilton finished the race in fourth place but his five-second time penalty dropped him to seventh. However he was largely unbothered by the decision.

“In a race like today, I don’t really care too much,” he said. “You don’t get many points.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Gallery: 2023 Belgian Grand Prix sprint race in pictures
“Of course it would have been nice to finish fourth. But I don’t really care to finish fourth, I want to win. Fourth, seventh, it doesn’t really make a difference.”

The stewards ruled Hamilton was “predominantly at fault” for the collision. “While Perez was giving little room on the inside for Hamilton, Hamilton drove onto the kerb and subsequently understeered into Perez in the wet conditions,” they noted. “The stewards consider that Hamilton was predominantly at fault for causing a collision and order a five-second penalty.”

Hamilton was also given two penalty points on his licence for the collision. He said he felt it was a racing incident.

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“It’s tricky conditions out there, we’re all trying to do our best,” he said. “Of course it wasn’t intentional.

“I went for a gap, he was slow going through 14, I went up the inside, I was more than half a car length inside. And if you don’t go for a gap then you’re no longer racing as Ayrton always said. So that’s what I did. When I watched it back, it feels like a racing incident to me.”

Perez claimed Hamilton caused serious damage to his car which ruined his race. Hamilton said his car’s performance was also impaired by the contact.

“With the collision I had floor damage so I lost a lot of downforce on the floor,” he said. “So unfortunately then the rear end was just tailing, the tyres were going off and I couldn’t get any closer.”

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff echoed his driver’s view, calling it an “absolute racing incident.”

“This is a sprint race, we want to see them racing,” he said, claiming Perez had already lost pace before the collision. “The argument of the damage isn’t valid because he was going backwards before then, massively backwards.

“I think when you look at that corner they were side by side and fair enough it takes two to tango but it’s a racing incident. For me that’s pretty clear.”

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2023 Belgian 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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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35 comments on “Hamilton ‘doesn’t care much’ about penalty for sprint race collision with Perez”

  1. It was just an another rare and uncharacteristic mistake from the world champion, I agree.

  2. He is not wrong given it was just a Sprint race and his position in the WDC. He does need to get rid of the understeer in such situations however imho.

    1. He does need to get rid of the understeer

      Why? it serves Sir well.
      This is Sir’s signature move, the only thing Sir ever does right. ruins the other guy’s race while getting no self-damage and making it look as a race incident (that takes a lot of practice and skill that would be of much better use if used to actually race).
      On top of that almost never gets a penalty for it, or a very minor one like this time.
      And if the other guy is sent to the hospital, time to gloat and celebrate

      Real nice, Sir

      1. The problem is it can’t be used to defend, can it? So there’s no way to take verstappen out with that this year since he’s always faster.

        1. That’s Verstappens luck .
          You can say he is saved by his faster car. Not sure if that something to be proud of as Lewis fan.

      2. You must really rate him as a driver of you think he can both
        1) introduce such a precise amount of understeer in such tricky conditions, and
        2) do so in a way there stewards, with all the data available, wouldn’t notice…

        1. 1: yes he had that skillset and showed it multiple times against Redhill drivers.
          2 the stewards did notice, hence the penalty.
          3 the problem is the penalty is way to light. The other contestants always end up with a dnf.

      3. Still harping on about Silverstone. Get a grip!

        1. Especially as the BrakeTester caused the Silverstone Crash. Hamilton dummied him on the outside, went to the inside and the as Hamilton passed him, he veered deliberately into Hamilton.

      4. 2 melanos
        Your idiosincrazy to Hamilton it’s only your’s problem

  3. The drivers, like the fans, don’t really care about sprints. Even Piastri was struggling to explain in the interview regarding the importance of this podium. Really have no clue what does the FIA want with this useless addition to the weekends.

    1. Maximizing revenue

    2. The large majority of fans would rather see a race than qualifying. The large majority of fans would rather see qualifying than free practice.

      You also must have missed the jubilation at Alpine over their third place.

      1. Yellow Baron
        29th July 2023, 20:43

        The total duration of the sprint shootout today was probably longer than the sprint race

        1. True, but it was on track, wheel to wheel racing. There was probably more action in the few laps yesterday than in many full length Grand Prix.

      2. Yes, I enjoy races more, but not having two races. There is a difference, you know…

        1. Then don’t watch it.

          1. Completely agree: If you don’t enjoy the Sprints, you don’t have to watch them. You get your whole Saturday back to do something else with. Or, if you want to keep your race weekends the same, you can just record Qually on Friday and watch it when you normally would on Saturday.

  4. Does anyone cares about what happens in Sprints anyway?

    They know since yesterday where they’re going to start tomorrow and are focusing there.

    Saturday is minimum effort day for everybody involved as there is so little to gain and everything to lose when things go wrong.

    1. Why do you say there is everything to lose? The only thing Perez lost today were a few points, that’s all.

      1. A bad crash can damage the car beyond repair in 24 hours, obviously.

        1. It’d take a lot to damage a car so badly that they can’t repair it in 24h, it’s no issue imo. If you really have such a bad crash the most worrying thing is the driver’s health, cause otherwise a car is fine again in a couple of hours, often they make in time to repair it for quali after a fp3 crash.

          1. These kind of damage can easily result in lost engine and as such a big impact on the season.
            (Look at Valtteri in Hungary bowling both redbulls)

    2. Weird one isn’t it, I haven’t bothered with any of the sprints so far this year but given it was 1. Spa and 2. Wet and changeable conditions I decided to watch it (just the actual session, none of the fluff). It was fun but I wouldn’t have bothered if it was dry and I switched it off part way through racing lap 10 as it was done and irrelevant by then, from the sprint we can tell that Max will win tomorrow as it’s clear the Max + RB19 combo have a 0.5-0.7 sec a lap advantage over the closely matched F1.5 teams.

      I hope São Paulo is also mixed conditions, but I won’t bother with the Austin and Abu Dhabi sprint days.

      1. Would be interesting to have another wet race in brazil, let’s not forget brazil 2016 has been the last full wet race in f1, then as I recall it didn’t rain any more there the following years, however unlike 2016 I feel like it’d be a race on intermediates, given these wet tyres are so bad, and they’re being way too careful with safety.

      2. Talking specifically about rain in the race ofc, as I remember it rained a bit in quali last year.

  5. Shouldn’t it just be 1 license point since it was a sprint race and there aren’t full championship points?

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      30th July 2023, 0:53

      @jimfromus wait, he actually got 2 license points on top of the ridiculous penalty? What penalty should the stewards get for that decision? How about a lifetime ban from every racing event along with a tv ban as well so they can’t even watch it since they clearly don’t understand the sport…

      1. Agree with that.

  6. Time penalties are rubbish. The drivers behind just sit there and don’t even bother to race.
    Pitlane drive-throughs are too long. F1 should bring in Long Lap Penalties like the bikes.
    (the Spa long lap around the old 14km road circuit would be spectacular…or an Eau Rouge chicane, Zhou would love it)

    1. I do agree that a long lap or similar wood be a good idea. Most tracks could accommodate some sort of penalty lane, abs those which can’t could normally just mark out a section of a straight or something which the drivers had to go through at a certain maximum speed.

      1. Yes, Formula E at Monaco used the outside of Casino on the left for its Power Up thing – that would be fine to serve a minor penalty for track limits, gaining an advantage, speeding by 1 or 2 Ks etc. A switched-on following driver could take advantage, but it would require a bit of skill and communication – and the penalty would be complete sooner.

  7. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    30th July 2023, 0:50

    Good job by the stewards. Now hand them some towels so they can go dry the track and apply all their skills to the max:) Where do they find these people?

  8. I can understand the penalty, but I disagree with it under the current rules. To me, this was very close to 50/50. This wasn’t Hamilton carrying too much speed into the corner and running out wide. It looked to me like a significant part of the reason for Hamilton’s understeer was that he’d been forced onto the kerb. Looking at the incident as a whole, both drivers shared a similar amount of blame, with Hamilton shouldering a very small amount more, but that’s not enough to be “predominantly” to me.

    That said, I do think they need to change the rules. If two drivers both do something wrong, both should be punished. They should look at the actions of both drivers in isolation and punish each according to their own actions.

Comments are closed.