Lewis Hamilton was handed a big dent in his pursuit of a 91st career race victory. The Brit driver received a total 10-seconds penalty for two separate violations. As a result, Bottas and Verstappen catapulted ahead of him in the race.
Although, the Brit driver was under investigation just before the start of the race. The FIA Race Control however communicated the decision some laps into the race.
Hamilton, for obvious reasons, expressed huge disappointed when he heard it over the team radio. Post hearing the message from the race engineer, he enquired the penalty sanctions based on where it was written in the sport’s rule book.
Lewis Hamilton penalized twice for the same infringement
According to the Race Control, Hamilton received the sanction for carrying out a practice start outside of the designated area. This is as per Article 19.2 of the Race Directors’ Notes. “For safety reasons, drivers must keep to the right of the bollard the pit entry when they are entering the pits.”
Now effectively, Hamilton being handed the penalty, means he has performed two laps before the start of the race improperly. In any case, cars cannot stop in the fast lane of the pit exit unless there is a valid reason to do so.
The FIA keep this directive in place so as to not endanger the safety of other cars. Hamilton prior to the start of the race, thought this would not be a concern. However, as is seen, it might just cost him the race win at Sochi.
Potential further trouble for Hamilton
Should the FIA deem it necessary, Mercedes‘ Hamilton could also receive a points fine on his racing license. Currently, he has 8 points accumulated so far this season. And as the rules suggest, a total of 12 points would mean an automatic ban from the next race.
Due to the fact that there were two violations resulting in the 10-second penalty, 2 points per infringement would take it up to the feared figure of 12. Were that to happen, Hamilton would be missing the German GP at Nurburgring. But the bigger disappointment, hands down, would be the loss of a race victory in Russia.