Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

“Amazing” to be “breathing down the leader’s neck” again, says Hamilton

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In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton is pleased by the performance of his Mercedes team this weekend

In brief

“Amazing” to be “breathing down the leader’s neck” – Hamilton

After he and Mercedes team mate George Russell secured third and fourth on the grid in qualifying yesterday, Lewis Hamilton says he’s enjoying being in the fight for pole once again.

“It’s great,” Hamilton told the official F1 channel. “For us to get a third and fourth, it’s amazing for us to be finally really, really in the mix and breathing down the leader’s neck.

“While the gap was three tenths, I think the lap wasn’t perfect at the end. The car’s quite tricky. I think there was a good couple of tenths in it.

“But that’s really positive, that we have climbed up. We’ve got a little bit of work to do to completely, finally, close that gap, but hopefully tomorrow in the race, we’ll be better off.”

Sargeant penalised for impeding Stroll

Williams driver Logan Sargeant was hit with a three-place grid penalty for today’s Spanish Grand Prix for impeding Lance Stroll in Q1.

Sargeant got in the Aston Martin driver’s way into turn ten on his first push lap in qualifying. The stewards noted that Williams failed to inform him of Stroll approaching but handed him a grid drop as a result.

The penalty makes no difference to Sargeant’s starting position, as he had already qualified last.

Campos fined for unsent email

Campos F3 driver Mari Boya escaped without a sporting penalty that could have cost him his victory in yesterday’s sprint race.

Boya won Saturday’s first race of the weekend but his car failed a technical inspection after the race after scrutineers noted that his car’s plank had not been correctly nominated for his car. Campos were summoned to the stewards and the team’s manager explained that he had attempted to send the FIA an email to inform them of their plank use but that the email had failed to send correctly having gotten stuck in his outbox.

The stewards accepted this explanation and only issued a €2,500 (£2,113) to the team after determining that “no present or future performance advantage had been gained.”

Meguetounif hit with grid drop

Trident driver Sami Meguetounif apologised to his team mate Santiago Ramos after the pair collided while battling for the lead in Saturday’s F3 sprint race.

Meguetounif challenged leader Ramos into turn one at the start of lap three but the two collided, putting Meguetounif out and dropping Ramos towards the back with a puncture. During the stewards’ investigation, Meguetounif apologised for the clash and said he had been trying to avoid the accident.

He was handed a five place grid penalty for today’s feature race, which will drop him from 11th to 16th on the grid.

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Comment of the day

With Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll both only reprimanded for swerving at other drivers in practice, Scotty calls for much stronger action by the stewards…

This sets a very dangerous precedent that will end up getting someone hurt. Stroll and Leclerc should have been banned from any further sessions this weekend. It would send a clear message that using a car as a weapon is never acceptable and gave us and two reserve drivers an amazing opportunity. Imagine how cool it would have been watching two drivers with no preperation stepping into a qualification session on a well-known track.

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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9 comments on ““Amazing” to be “breathing down the leader’s neck” again, says Hamilton”

  1. RE: COTD

    A weekend ban is over the top, but no penalty is a joke. But no one will get hurt. So, please, spare me. These cars go hard into walls at 150+ mph and they get out without a scratch. So, unless a driver starts going the wrong way on the track and tries to bomb head-on into the other driver, no one is getting hurt from this type of stuff. It still sets a terrible example for younger racers watching. And that alone is bad enough.

    And Leclerc didn’t get a penalty exclusively for the purposes of maintaining the show.

    1. There’s certainly behaviors the stewards should come down HARD on to discourage but they seem extremely reluctant to do so. What’s more worrying is this reluctance is hardly new and will likely stay until something really serious happens.

  2. Wasn’t the briefly hospitalized individual a track/paddock marshal, though, given his clothing, i.e., orange fire-proof suit with vest featuring track-specific references?

    Nice gesture by Ben Sulayem.

    A risky person who was on the wrong side of catch-fencing to take photos while a session was ongoing.

    I couldn’t agree more with the COTD, except for the part about the ban, which would be excessive, but both, especially Leclerc, should’ve definitely received a grid penalty, given how clearly he used his car as a weapon.

  3. So Sergeant gets a grid drop for impeding but not hitting anyone, even by accident. But Stroll, and especially LeClerc get away with incidents that would bring sanctions to road drivers? Presumably the reasoning will be because one was in qualifying while the others were in practice.

    Anyone else baffled? I’m more than baffled, I can’t think of any situation or mitigation where, had I been a steward, I’d have let either Stroll or LeClerc take part in qualifying. A pit lane start is the absolute least they deserve for their actions.

    1. Anyone else baffled?

      I’m not baffled, nor even slightly confused.
      F1 is just keeping to its precedent of being inconsistent and openly (and enthusiastically) bowing to the will of the teams and the commercial rights holder.
      The FIA, as independent as it is from all this blatant commercialism and selfishness, still makes an enormous amount of money from making sure that F1 is entertaining and selling well. Removing F1 drivers from F1 for being unprofessional (even for one session) is not a direction the FIA wants to take any more than absolutely necessary as a last resort.

      Nobody should be all that surprised or confused – at least not if they’ve been watching F1 for longer than just a handful of events.

      As for the incidents themselves – they weren’t anything to get excited about. Stuff like this happens during races on a pretty regular basis – that they happened in a non-competitive session makes them even less worth pursuing.
      Drivers in other series (and potential drivers in the future) don’t look to F1 for precedents in driving standards or behaviour – they look at the series they compete in at the time. ‘You do whatever you can get away with’ is basically the modern mantra for any athlete.

  4. Maybe it’s just me, but all bar one 23rd June articles are appearing ‘after’ several 22nd June articles.

    1. Jockey Ewing
      23rd June 2024, 14:24

      As I perceive, maybe since 1-2 years here and at some other sites with a timeline-like feed of news, they parted ways from sticking to exact chronological order. So sites might keep some articles higher in the order, instead of ordering them by the exact time of the publication. I think this is based on the article’s measured popularity, or popularity by some metrics. So I think it is an instrument or approach of achieving higher web traffic, visitor count etc. I would be ok with it, if there would be a switch on the UI to allow adhering to the chronological order. But maybe then it would beat the purpose of the whole effort.

      1. Fair Point.

        I have noted similar before, but it just seemed a little more extreme this time.

  5. I agree with COTD that both Charles & Lance should have received harsher penalties. I personally would have excluded both from taking part in qualifying & mandated both start the GP from the pit lane.

    The fact that they let this sort of thing go without a significant penalty has been something that I have disagreed with going back to those few occasions Pastor Maldonado did it a few times in what 2011/12 & more recently when Vettel did it to Hamilton under the SC at Baku in 2017 (I felt at the time that should have been a black flag).

    If backing off early & overly-slowing going into a corner while racing for position on the last lap is seen as “potentially dangerous” then why is intentionally side swiping somebody for no reason other than because they held you up a bit in a practice session seemingly not viewed that way?

    This sort of thing should never been seen as an acceptable action & an example should be set to show that it won’t be tolerated.

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