Hamilton fined £21,000 for potentially “very dangerous” track crossing after crash

Formula 1

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Lewis Hamilton has been fined €25,000 (£21,640) for crossing a live race track during the Qatar Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was also given a formal reprimand and has a further fine, suspended for the remainder of the season, of the same value.

The stewards said the Mercedes drivers was “very apologetic” for crossing the track after his race-ending collision with his team mate. George Russell passed by “at high speed” as Hamilton walked back to the pits.

“After crashing out of the race [on] lap one, the driver of car 44 [Hamilton] abandoned his car in the gravel and ran back to the pits,” said the stewards in a statement. “He thereby crossed the track that was live at this time and reached the inside edge of the track just seconds before car 63 [Russell] arrived at high speed after exiting the pits. He then continued to walk alongside the track until finally exiting the track.”

Hamilton “was very apologetic and realised that the situation could have been very dangerous for him as well as the drivers approaching,” the stewards noted.

“The stewards reinforced the fact that crossing a live track can cause extremely dangerous situations and the drivers have to be very cautious about it. In addition to imposing a significant fine (which is suspended in parts), the stewards also reprimand the driver bearing in mind that receiving a certain number of reprimands during a season will draw a significant driving penalty in accordance with Article 18.2 of the FIA Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.”

Hamilton was also given a suspended fine last year, of €10,000, for a parc ferme violation at the Austrian Grand Prix. He did not repeat the infringement, which two other drivers also committed, and so did not have to pay the fine.

In 2021 he was fined €5,000, and given a suspended €20,000 fine, for disconnecting his seat belts while returning to the pits at the end of the Brazilian 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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37 comments on “Hamilton fined £21,000 for potentially “very dangerous” track crossing after crash”

  1. F1 thinks everything is “extremely dangerous” these days.

    1. Getting hit by a speeding F1 car would qualify.

      1. Have you ever crossed a street before without a crosswalk sign? Did they shut down the whole city to make it possible for you?

        1. The obvious analogy here is a motorway, where traffic speeds are not much more than the *slowest* point of an F1 circuit like Losail, which has no crosswalks and where it’s an offence to cross one on foot if you can avoid it.

  2. How does a fine solve anything? The guy is uber-wealthy.

    Only sporting penalties have an impact.

    1. He won’t be able to replace that scratched carbon fiber cup holder in his cherry red jet for another week with this fine!

      1. You mean the jet he sold in 2019?

        1. Amazing point!

      2. Lewis sold his jet the only driver in the field who owns a jet is Max Verstappen a big one so he can bring his friends and colleges with him.

  3. Did he want to give Russell a message?

    1. No. He admitted he was 100% in the wrong and had already seen the crash on replay by the time he crossed. Besides, what kind of message does walking across the track send? Tony Stewart can you tell about that.

      1. I don’t think that’s true as they played a recording of him talking to a reporter on sky where he said he hadn’t had a chance to view a replay of the crash so unless she interviewed him before he crossed the track…

        1. Fair enough. I still don’t think it was about sending a message, but I could be wrong again.

  4. More or less dangerous than 20 laps on a set of Pirellis?

    1. 18 laps max so 19 laps was dangerous :)

      1. @bullfrog More dangerous. After all, it is theoretically possible, under some circumstances, to get a Pirelli to 26 laps on that track. There’s nothing theoretical about the risk of being hit by a car exiting the pits at speed.

        1. Alianora, your logic isn’t quite right there. You are comparing the possibility of a tyre lasting 26 laps with the consequences of an entirely different event.

          It was hypothetically possible to do 26 laps on one set of tyres, (not a certainty)
          However, the consequences of failure was severe.


          It was hypothetically possible for Hamilton to be hit by a car leaving the pits (not a certainty)
          However, the consequences of being hit are severe

          I’m not trying to justify Hamilton’s actions, just saying you cannot compare things the way you did.

          It occurs to me that here in the UK, it is quite normal to cross an empty road without waiting for a cross signal, whereas my friends from Europe are horrified by this Jaywalking and insist on waiting pointlessly at the light until the pedestrian signal goes green and beeps. For that reason, regardless of who the driver is, you may find that it is a cultural thing that British people think fining a driver for crossing an empty track is a bit petty and authoritarian, whilst Europeans may think it is fully justified.

          Just about every GP I am a bit surprised to spot someone sprint across the pit lane to get from the garage to those seats alongside the track. That seems far more dangerous but it happens all the time.

  5. Guess things have moved on compared to when James Hunt stood waiting for Jochem Mass on the outside of Mirabeau to shake his fist at him before promptly, casually crossing to the inside of the track.

    1. Yes, less drivers or marshalls killed since the live track rules were changed… Is that such a bad thing?

      1. @psynrg I merely observed that times had changed, not that i wanted a return to it. When I heard of the penalty, I just remembered the clip I saw of that incident and I thought it was an interesting observation in the change of culture. Nothing more, nothing less.

  6. What a joke. Any club racer knows you NEVER cross a track unless explicitly instructed to by a marshal. He sets such a bad example, apologises and gets a token fine. Send him to a cold, damp track as a marshal for a few days, far more of a personal cost than a few quid.

  7. Not to defend Hamilton’s actions, because frankly, it was stupid, but given the heat and the complaints most of the drivers were making, I can say from first-hand experience, heat like that can make you stupid, or at the very least, unaware of how dumb you’re being.

    I know, it was early in the race, but he’d also just had a race-ending collision. It’s entirely possible he wasn’t thinking very clearly at the moment (and no, that’s not an excuse, it’s merely an explanation– Hamilton should have known better).

    1. It was under a safety car, there was zero risk, and he never would have done it under race conditions. Weather being what it is, and the team being as horrible as they are, its not hard to see how he was so dismayed and out of it. Lewis can’t be blamed for not taking it seriously, because his team sure doesn’t, and neither do the FIA.

      1. He should wait untill a marshall oked it..

      2. Exactly. People are overreacting. I love safety, but the levels some fans expect these days. Well, we might as well not race. What Hamilton did was way less than dangerous than when any of cross a street IRL. That’s no exaggeration either.

        1. I thought the same until I read Bob2 above

          Any club racer knows you NEVER cross a track unless explicitly instructed to by a marshal.

          and thought.. well that actually makes sense and since Lewis has been around for quite some years it should be carved into his DNA. So I agree it might not have been that dangerous, but having a rule like that in motorsport in general does make a lot of sense to me.

          1. I am also a club racer and most times we’re out of the car due to an incident, we’re too far from a station to be directed by a marshal as to when to cross. And I can assure you from being a club race myself, it’s much easier at a track when to see and especially hear if a car is within a half-mile of you.

  8. What can you expect?

  9. Did Max get fined and reprimanded when he literally walked down the track after his crash with Hamilton in Italy?

    1. That was a red flag situation.

      1. @macleod No, equally only SC.

    2. @theoddkiwi The track wasn’t live.

    1. Good addition to what I mentioned below.

  10. The race was under SC neutralization & thus Russell wasn’t approaching T1 from the pit lane at full racing speed, so minimized risk, not to mention he also crossed the track after his DNF in the 2012 Abu Dhabi GP as did Sargeant after his qualifying off in Suzuka with the session under red & everyone driving into the pit lane + he was past the pit entry point & the same in Spanish GP FP1, not to mention several other cases of drivers crossing a track during a session, so I’m surprised the FIA only reacted to this most recent one with a warning & fine.

    1. As Bob2 points out above, the key is whether you have permission from the marshals to enter or cross the track – the incidents you cite above could have been sanctioned by the marshals, which is why they weren’t investigated.

  11. I don’t get some of the complaints here. He did something stupid. Was it dangerous? In this case, highly unlikely. Was it against the rules? Yes. So, there is your fine then…
    There are plenty of times where you have 100% clear vision of an intersection an you’re the only one there. Is there any danger when you run that red light? In that case, highly unlikely. Are you going to get a fine from the red light camera? Yes…
    So what are we even talking about?

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