FIA Explains Reason Behind U-Turn Over Lewis Hamilton Penalty

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It would be an understatement to say that Lewis Hamilton left Sochi an unhappy man. From an excellent qualifying to a mere podium finish in P3, the British driver went through a real roller coaster of emotions in Russia.

It all started with the practice starts in an undesignated area, raising questions of why that risk was taken. Few laps into the race, he discovered that the FIA would levy a 10-second time penalty on him.

Further, he also received a two-point penalty on his Super License, one for each of the violations.

Lewis Hamilton penalty points were deemed harsh

Although the original decision was communicated during the race, the stewards decided to speak to Hamilton and Mercedes after the race. It was revealed that Hamilton had apparently received an incorrect instruction. Therefore, the stewards formally rescinded the penalty points and issued a monetary fine to the Mercedes team.

Post the revised decision, Race Director Michael Masi explained the change in events. “The stewards after the race heard from the team and the driver of car 44. It was actually a team instruction to Lewis of where he could perform the practice starts.

“On that basis the stewards have now rescinded the penalty points on both those decisions because they thought it was inappropriate and as a result have fined the team €25,000 for that instruction.”

Lewis Hamilton During The Russian GP
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race. Pool via REUTERS/Yuri Kochetkov

Hamilton had expressed his disappointment after the race, accusing the FIA of personally targeting him. Possibly, in his mind, he has somewhere believed that these are antics to bring an end to his dominance on the track.

After all, the 6-time World Champion had just about made it in Q2, with time running out. He went on to put in the fastest lap in Q1 and rightfully earned the pole position. The natural next step, obviously, was winning in Sochi.

Hamilton has eyes fixed on Nurburgring now

Despite what Hamilton thinks, safety violations must correspond to appropriate sanctions. In that context, the 10-second penalty was completely justified per the guidelines.

Lewis Hamilton Celebrates His Podium Finish In Russian GP
Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates with the trophy on the podium after finishing in third place in the race. Pool via REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

But for the sake of all parties involved, Hamilton will want to move on from this. If nothing more, his resolve to create a joint record of 91 race wins still stands resolute, and what better track to do it on than the Nurburgring?

So if all goes well, Hamilton will match the record at what was once the home race to the record holder, Michael Schumacher.

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