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Hamilton penalty was for offence eerily similar to GP2 move
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jul 2011   |  5:43 pm GMT  |  216 comments

Lewis Hamilton’s race today was compromised by a bad strategy call to go for intermediates when they were not needed and by a drive through penalty for almost colliding with Paul di Resta as Hamilton recovered from a spin.

The incident was uncannily similar to one he had in the Turkish round of the 2006 GP2 series. Hamilton received no penalty for it in GP2 but he did today.

Take a look at this video at 49 seconds from the start.

Today Di Resta had to go with all four wheels off the track to avoid Hamilton and the stewards, featuring Allan McNish in the ex driver role, didn’t like it. McNish didn’t like Hamilton’s moves in Monaco either, the last time he was an F1 steward, handing him a drive through penalty for colliding with Massa and a further 20 second penalty for colliding with Maldonado.

Some of the experienced ex drivers in the F1 paddock expressed some surprise that the Di Resta incident warranted a drive through. On the whole ex driver stewards this season and last have persuaded their colleagues to give the driver the benefit of the doubt in close calls.

“I honestly have to apologise to Paul di Resta. I didn’t see him,” said Hamilton. “I had absolutely no clue. I don’t know what happened but I got a penalty for something, which is to be expected, I guess, sometimes. So I apologise to him.”

This contrasts with his reaction in Monaco that McNish’s and colleagues’ decision to penalise him was “an absolute fricking joke.”

Di Resta’s response was, “Thankfully I saw him quite early, I saw before I went into the chicane he’d had a moment. And just as I came out of the chicane, I was a bit surprised, but at the same time there was time to take action on it. I think Lewis was leading the race at that point so I can fully understand what he was trying to do.

“But there’s no harsh feelings. I spoke to Lewis about it, he just said he didn’t see me. But if it had cost us a lot of points then it would have been a hard one.”

Like the GP2 incident it certainly looked dangerous, but Di Resta’s comment that, from his perspective, “There was time to take action on it” in conjunction with the lack of penalty by stewards in 2006, makes one wonder whether that makes it a penalty worthy offence. Perhaps this will set a precendent.

And as Di Resta is managed by Hamilton’s father Anthony, there is not likely to be any issue between them.

Penalties in F1 do not carry a cumulative sanction like yellow cards in football, whereby a player is suspended for a match for accruing a number of yellow cards in a season.

As the holder of a season pass to the stewards’ office this year Hamilton will be grateful for that.

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216 Comments
  1. Nando says:

    There was actually just about enough room for DIR to stay on the track. The key point for me is that if HAM had just stayed stationary then it would of left the same gap.
    McNish has only really had real success in a sportscar. You’ve to question his amount of experience at top-level single-sester RACING.

  2. Frankie says:

    I thought the regulation was pretty specific. In that if you deliberately force another driver off the track or create an accident when returning to the track or restarting after a spin, then you would be penalised. Both incidents are equally dangerous with the exception only Di Resta was forced to leave the track.

    As for Hamilton going onto the inters, was there any other strategy to give Hamilton the win at that point? Deserves criticism for maybe not picking up 3rd, but I don’t believe that came into the reckoning.

  3. Anders says:

    When you screw up like that, you have to wait until it is clear to go. This is yet again some not so good driving by LH.

  4. Merlinghnd says:

    Not doubting Lewis about Di Resta but when he had stopped after spinning, he was and would have been able to see clearly there were a number of cars approaching and passing through the chicane and should have possibly been better aware of the oncoming traffic.

    I think he got the penalty because he was clearly able to see the oncoming traffic and still continued onwards causing a hazard.

    Tough but fair penalty I think, imagine if he had collected Di Resta or another car.

  5. Lewis says:

    James in 2008 after the debacles of Belgium and Fuji the FIA promised to release video evidence of any contentious decisions made on F1.com and on the FIA site. Do you know why they’ve never actually done this?

  6. Peter says:

    In my opinion it could have ended with a big crash and having watched the reply he must have seen Paul di Resta coming. He made a big mistake, spun and put others and himself under danger by not waiting until other cars pass through.

    If Vettel spins off line by a meter (as he did in Canada) and keeps the car on track its a huge mistake and people keep talking about it endlessly how he cant stand pressure. If Hamilton makes a mistake, as he does quite often, we are starting to look for excuses or blame everyone else stewards, tires, other drivers. Nonsense. McLaren is far the best car in these conditions because it generates more tyre temp, he could have won easily.

  7. Nick Lynn says:

    James, I think this is an unusually negative piece from you about this incident – the inference being again that Lewis is somehow ‘dangerous’.

    He drives right on the limit to get the maximum out of car which has rarely been the fastest. He overtakes considerably more often and more decisively than most other F1 drivers: in percentage terms he doesn’t have that many failures. He does what most F1 fans have been complaining that there has been not enough of – it is why he is compelling!

    Like Senna, the ‘dangerous’ tag is always going to be used by his detractors – especially those who can’t beat him on the track.

    Moreover, I feel the football yellow card analogy misleading as I would suggest that the majority of footballers are penalized with a yellow card for acts which amount to gamesmanship.

    With all that went on today, it occurred to me that the memorable races this year, as in recent years, tend to involve Lewis in some way: he makes things happen!

    Interestingly, I struggle to recall a memorable race where Vettel has been prominent in the action, as dominant as he has been.

    I’m sure you don’t want to discourage drivers from being bold – but that seems to be the subtext of your post.

  8. michael grievson says:

    I’m on the fence with this one. From one camera angle it looked very close. From another Paul looked far away.

  9. Carlos says:

    The incident with DiResta probably didn’t deserve a penalty (out of a slow corner and didn’t needed a reaction from DiResta just a cautious move outside of the track).

    But if it would have been more similar to the GP2 one, it definitely would would deserve it –look at 1:30′s in the video, high speed and too dangerous.

  10. James Draper says:

    With Hamilton’s Q2 time on softs, McLaren decided to put used supersofts on? Erm yeah great call guys.

  11. Mosq says:

    If I was at LH’s place I’d have done the same, but yes, it should be penalized… Sounds weird but you can’t just sit and wait until everyone passed

  12. Webbo says:

    James,

    I felt the penalty was fair as it was a dangerous moves, but what an AWESOME video! Only viewed it to watch the incident but ended up watching the whole thing! This is why Hamilton is a great racer. Perhaps too much heart than head, but entering nonetheless. And I’m a Mark Webber fan 100%!

    Cheers.

  13. Lev Piautzer says:

    Hamilton who? Good job Jenson!

    I believe before entering the chicane Lewis was thinking “i didnt crash into anyone for a while now…”

  14. Arron says:

    McNish should how hard it can be to see out of the cockpits when looking left or right,even i did’nt see Di Resta from the T-cam until the last moment,by Hamilton was already spinning around. Maybe it was revenge by McNish for his Monaco comments.

  15. Mark says:

    It deserved the penalty. It was a dangerous move to spin the car back around at that moment in time. If he had hit Di Resta I don’t think there’d be much of a discussion. He had lost control of the car and the oncoming cars then have a much harder job avoiding a moving car rather than a predictable stationary one. He should have waited until the oncoming cars had passed – I don’t believe the ‘didn’t see him’ explanation. Having said that I understand why he did what he did. He had lost control of the car whilst in the lead of a Grand Prix and wanted to get going a.s.a.p. – the adrenaline kicked in.

  16. P King says:

    When I read two days ago that Allan McNish was a steward for this race, I thought “here we again, here comes trouble for Lewis”.

    But in any case, Lewis lost the race due to McLaren making the wrong choice (super soft in place of soft) for Lewis’s tyres during the 3rd pit stop.

  17. Damian J says:

    It’s becoming very obvious that Alan McNish does not like Hamilton, especially as most commentators seem to think this was harsh, including Martin Brundle who dismissed the idea of a penalty out of hand during the race.

    I wonder where F1 is going with all these ridiculous penalties and investigations!

    Can you get a penalty for a car that explodes?

  18. Damian J says:

    No doubt Alan McNish will do a spin on track a la Hamilton in the same way he handed Hamiliton a penalty at Monaco for an offence that Alan repeated shortly afterwards at Le Mans!

  19. san says:

    I’m personally not fine with some drivers trying to be “smarter” than the others, sport is all about trying to compete while some rules are respected, that is what make the difference with real life, ruthless competitions. Without rules, sport doesn’t exist.

    Hamilton doesn’t get a penalty for every dangerous situation he causes (Nürburgring taking Webber out of the track, the same in Silverstone with Massa, Monaco, Canada…) so he should be more or less ok with how things are managed. For instance and coming to James’s example about GP2, last year at Valencia he got just a drive through (without effect, 20 laps late) after overtaking the safety car while in GP2 he got a black flag for doing the same…

  20. XKarter says:

    You do have to wonder if Mcnish has a problem with Hamilton as looking at the tv pictures di Resta made a bit of a meal missing Hamilton (understandable as the track was v slippery at the time). It would be better if McNish did more racing and less stewarding!

  21. Dries Sels says:

    I thought it was a bit harsh but then again I think we have to remember the incident with Adrian Sutil and Nick Heidfeld during the 2009 Singapore GP where Sutil did the same. He spun, kept his foot in to turn his car around immediately and wiped out Heidfeld in the process. Also remember the crash with Liuzzi and Schumacher in Abu Dhabi when Liuzzi’s car mounted Schumacher’s car which was facing the wrong way and nearly touched Schumacher’s crash helmet.

    I completely understand Hamilton’s move but it was a tad dangerous.

  22. r0ssj says:

    Hamilton turning around in the face of traffic seemed quite dangerous to me. Di Resta may have had time to take avoiding action, but he had drive off track in wet conditions to avoid hitting Hamilton.

    Drivers usually wait until the traffic has passed before righting themselves after a spin. Hamilton didn’t and forced Di Resta off track and could have caused an accident. So I don’t think the penalty was too harsh.

    The GP2 incident also looked dangerous, but GP2 is a different formula to F1 and it was 5 years ago. Can’t really apply GP2 rules from 2006 to F1 2011.

  23. Conrad M. Sathirweth says:

    I have always thought of you as being very balanced and unbiased. However lately you have seemed to of been very pro-Hamilton and this has just confirmed it for me, to write a whole article on something like this with an obvious slant towards Hamilton really surprised me.

    For me I think he deserved it because it was quite dangerous to spin in front of an oncoming car. Just because he did not get a penalty for it in GP2 is not a good reason for why he should of not got one today.

    Lastly to suggest that McNish has got something against Hamilton just because he was part of the stewards panal that gave a penalty to Hamilton in Monaco which Hamilton made a huge fuss about of is a bit pathetic and and very dissapointing that you would write something like this.

  24. paulusa says:

    The burden for reentering the racing track should properly be on the driver who has lost control. Just throwing your car back onto the track and expecting others to brake/steer around you should be unsat.

  25. Paul says:

    When I saw Hamilton do what he did I immediately thought of what he did in GP2. It of course deserved a penalty because that could have been a nasty accident. I don’t understand how he can say he did see Paul because he had only just lapped him! It’s yet another example of Hamilton’s lack of respect for other drivers of track.

    I have been thinking for some time that Lewis hasn’t really progressed from that superb first half of his maiden season. He hasn’t dipped in quality, but he hasn’t learnt from his mistakes either. For example, his desperation in Monaco and Canada earlier this year paralleled the two hot headed retirements in Monza and Singapore last year, when he needed to score points to keep himself in the championship.

  26. Sammy says:

    The video coverage is just sick!
    He definitely deserved his penalty today.

  27. Galapago555 says:

    “Penalties in F1 do not carry a cumulative sanction like yellow cards in football, whereby a player is suspended for a match for accruing a number of yellow cards in a season.”

    Actually there’s a possible situation of minor penalties accruing for a bigger one: three reprimands on the same season will result on a ten grid place penalty.

    From the FIA 2011 Sporting Regulations:

    “18) SANCTIONS
    (…)
    18.2 Any driver who receives three reprimands in the same Championship season will, upon the imposition of the third, be given a ten grid place penalty at that Event. If the third reprimand is imposed following an Incident during a race the ten grid place penalty will be applied at the driver’s next Event.
    The ten grid place penalty will only be imposed if at least two of the reprimands were imposed for a driving infringement.”

  28. Andy says:

    I’m not sure how Hamilton can say he didn’t see DiResta. He was facing the chicane as DiResta came through it.
    Although it didn’t look as bad as the GP2 incident, any manoeuvre like that with other cars in close proximity is dangerous.

    As fast as Hamilton is, he would be so much better if he used his brain a bit more and he wouldn’t need his VIP pass to the Stewards Office.
    If the drivers have requested that all incidents should be investigated by the Stewards, then it’s simple, don’t cause any.

  29. The Talent says:

    It was the absolute right decision by the stewards – Hamilton was very fortunate not to create a horrific crash.
    A decision I thought was wrong, though, was to not bring out a safety car when Heidfeld’s car caught fire. Marshall’s on the race track, on the pit exit, is never a good idea. At one stage they were pushing the car back into the pits as Vettel was coming out…on a wet track.
    Not very clever…and I’m suprised not more has been said about it.

  30. adam says:

    Fair play to you Lewis for your reaction to this incident.
    The race director needs a drive through penalty for not deploying the safety car with a burning F1 car on the track not you for recovering a spin.

  31. veeru says:

    “i didn’t see paul”…WHAAAAAAAAT??? That is a lie.

  32. Steve McGill says:

    Surely it was better that he moved from the position he fractionally stopped in – that would have blocked the track entirely – seems to me he was punished for making a mistake! By McNish who obviously isn’t a Lewis fan

  33. Jodum5 says:

    Pretty ridiculous move by Lewis. Doesn’t matter what Di Resta says, penalty was deserved. Drivers need to be more cognisant of what’s going on around them. I think Lewis was in a massive rush and didn’t think to consider there were cars somewhat close behind him. A lesson to him and other drivers.

  34. cjf says:

    The obvious differance is that in the gp2 incident nobody was forced off track and so no rule was actually broken (although it looked very reckless).

    Lewis took a chance spinning the car to save time rather than for example simply driving forwards on to the grass and back on to the track. He compromised DiResta’s race in order to minimise the impact upon his own.

    Ultimatly the penalty was very hard but fair.

  35. S.J.M says:

    Cant blame Lewis for wanting to turn 180 asap, he was leading the race and ofc is desperate to remain doing so. Yes, he should have been more attentive to his surroundings, but then its easy to say that when many of us have never raced a car, let alone raced in F1 and be leading a race after 90minutes and have any clear idea on how it effects your thinking. Im not defending Lewis, he could have hit Paul or someone else, and was lucky he didnt. He did wrong and was penalised, no need to lynch him now.

  36. Charlie B says:

    Hamilton spun his car round into oncoming traffic without looking, forcing di Resta off in the process. That sounds like a penalty to me.

    I don’t understand why Hamilton couldn’t wait for that traffic to pass, he waited for the whole field to pass in Japan 08.

    Hamilton showed he has no respect for other drivers and doesn’t mind if he puts them in danger. Hopefully the penalty calms him down, then he might be able to win another race this year.

  37. chub says:

    He said he didn’t see him, so it proves it didn’t look at all around before doing his tank parade, i’m a fan of lewis but here he is wrong.

    This is not the fastest part of the track but still very dangerous to not penalize this kind of behavior

  38. ronmon says:

    The penalty was definitely appropriate. Sitting still facing oncoming traffic at the exit of a turn is not where you want to be for long, but snap-spinning towards them is even worse. As I watched it live I was sure he should be penalized, and figured he’d get away with it like he usually does.

    Justice was served.

  39. Baz says:

    It is a tight call but I voted “Yes” because of the H&S rules that now exist in F1, and for the sake of consistency (I’m trying not to laugh when I say the word “consistency” in relation to F1). LH said he didn’t see him, which is fair enough, but ultimately he did a 180 degree spin in front of an approaching car that had to move off track to avoid him. But there was no real issue from both LH and DiG.

  40. Seán Craddock says:

    I’m confused James, r u comparing an incident today in a F1 race with an incident in a GP2 race in ’06 and saying the stewards should b consistent?

    They are different sports!!! You can’t compare them. They’ve got completely different rules. For example, in GP2 there is no penalty for unsafe release. Is there even a similar rule in GP2 for a move like Hamilton’s today?

    Yes DiResta had a lot of time to react, but what if he had of taken a chance going through the 1 car sized gap on the right of the track? Hamilton’s car could’ve kept spinning just a bit more & Paul’s valuable points would’ve dissapeared! Fair penalty

  41. AP says:

    I think that the crucial phrase is: “if it had cost us a lot of points then it would have been a hard one”, as Di Resta said. I voted “Yes” for that reason, and believe that Lewis deserved the penalty. He should learn that he does not race alone in F1, and he should be more respectful for his fellow racers and their efforts.

  42. irish con says:

    was probably just a natural reaction from hamilton but it was deffo a risky move and deffo a move that had to be penalised. how can cars pointing the wrong way down the track at others be a good move.

  43. Cliff says:

    James,

    Your article is objective as ever. It’s just a pity the comments that follow are not similar to yours.

    As with any incident involving Lewis Hamilton the debate gets polarised between the lovers and the haters. For once, can we not accept the decision of the stewards, the apology from Lewis Hamilton and the repsonse from Paul Di Resta.

    As for the 2006 race, I can’t remember anyone complaning at the time…dangerous or not!

  44. Mike from Medellin, Colombia says:

    a) Webber got no penalty for what I think was a deliberate attempt to take out rivals at Korea 2010.

    b) Are the stewards implying that it is better to be a stand still on the straight and act as a sitting target for other drivers to run into. By getting a move on Hamilton avoided being piled into.

  45. Stefarno says:

    Seemed to me like he was blocking the racing line a lot more before he moved, he definitely got out of the way of the Lotus.

    But then again, by spinning round he risked hitting another car.

    A marginal call really, can’t complain either way.

  46. Scott says:

    There was room for Hamilton to drive towards the part of the track that wasn’t on the racing line before spinning his car back round. He didn’t do this and put himself and a few other drivers in danger.

    A penalty all day long, I can’t see the debate here. I really can’t.

  47. Sinkers says:

    I think the penalty was a bit harsh.

    Being stuck in the middle of the track with cars steaming towards you is clearly very dangerous. A drivers natural reaction is to get out of the way and get going as soon as possible. Waiting until the ‘road is clear’ could easily have resulted in Hamilton being hit by another driver.

    The penalties that McNish was involved in handing out to Lewis at Monca were generally viewed as a little bit excessive (Many people seemed to conclude that either the Massa incident OR the Maldonado incident warranted a penalty both not both).

    Given all this and the fact that there was no contact and DiResta didn’t lose a place I think a grown up decision would have been a reprimand. Be more careful next time etc.

    I’m not a Hamilton conspiracy theorist but my view is that if you changed the driver involved OR the steward with racing experience the result would not have been a penalty.

  48. Rob says:

    What if it was the other way around??? We all have a good idea of what Hamiliton would be saying…. no?

  49. Simon says:

    If you watch after the spin, Hamilton is slowly rolling backwards across the track. If he did nothing then Di Resta would have either driven off the track to avoid or hit Hamilton. The only difference would have been Hamilton would have been in the right for waiting and praying no one hit him in the side.

  50. David Goss says:

    Hamilton executed the move well and no contact happened (Di Resta clearly saw the movement and sensibly gave it a wide berth, although there was still room on the track) however if it had not gone right then there could have been a serious accident – remember we are talking about racing speed vs almost stationery – so I guess it has to be a penalty. Shame because I thought he deserved a podium but as he said “that’s racing”.

    Not sure why some people are saying he hasn’t learned from his mistakes – he was humble and philosophical about both the penalty and the race result in general. We have all seen him rant after races have gone wrong before so clearly he has improved his mindset.

  51. Simon Lord says:

    Hamilton made an error of judgment and created a dangerous situation. The fact that no serious incident occurred isn’t the point. You have to wait for a gap in the traffic before you get yourself out of the mess. There may be occasions when NOT moving is more dangerous than moving – this was not one of them.

    For me, the most positive thing in all this was that Hamilton tok responsibility for his actions, accepted that he was in the wrong and apologised for them. If he learns to accept that he is not always right, he may actually mature as a driver.

  52. Andrew says:

    I think it has to be said that if it was Paul (or as Lewis once called them “those monkeys at the back”) pulling the same move on Lewis and costing him a win Mclaren and Lewis would be throwing the book at him!

  53. Brace says:

    James, I can’t believe you are even asking a question. He deserved that penalty 100%. Only problem I have, is that he didn’t get a penalty for GP2 move that was even more dangerous.
    Everyone knows that you always have to wait until the traffic is past you, before you can spin yourself into the right direction again.
    Nothing vague about it.

  54. David says:

    The penalty was fully deserved, altho’ one can sympathize with Hammy’s desire to avoid losing time. Still, he did choose to kick his car around, and we have seen similar throttle-spins go haywire in the past. A stationary vehicle is much easier to “read” than one in the middle of a kick-turn.

    The safety of other drivers demands that you not make your car a less-predictable obstacle in such a situation, and Hamilton broke that rule.

  55. William McCone says:

    Of course it did. The fact Di-Resta seen him and was able to take avoiding action is irrelevant. The avoiding action forced Di-Resta off the track.

    Hamilton spun on a greasy track, performing the corrective spin on the same part of the greasy track was unpredictable and he could of easily taken Di-Resta out. A fully deserved penalty.

  56. Robert Gunning says:

    I think the GP2 incident was far more serious than what occurred yesterday at the Hungaroring. At Istanbul, Hamilton was almost of the track and then subsequently crossed the racing line when other cars were on it at full racing speed. At the Hungaroring, Hamilton was parked across the track on the racing line, with numerous cars bearing down on him; he could not vanish. Short of spin turning in the opposite direction, I do not know how he could have avoided this penalty.

  57. bmg says:

    James, I think the wrong choice of tyres cost Hamilton more.
    He said it was his choice to go on inters, can you tell me was it Webbers choice or the teams.

    The big winner was Vettel.

  58. DB says:

    I think the penalty was deserved. This time “there was time” but ask Zanardi what can happen when there isn’t and a nose-cone is hit from the side.

  59. Dave Aston says:

    I think the penalty was justified. It wasn’t a good look for a driver of Hamilton’s experience. Similar to rejoining the circuit in an unsafe manner. I was impressed by the way he copped it too, no complaints.

  60. Nick Ward says:

    Tough call but fair, although I would want to get out of there pretty quick with cars approaching me…

  61. VanDhloms says:

    I think the first mistake was to stay on super soft on his second pit when it was clear that the track was too abrasive for SS. In fact soft tyre was actually quicker than super soft at the time when Hamilton pitted for the second time. From there he was losing time to Buton and Alonso, when the rain started super soft was extremely unforgiving compared to soft. His third pit was necessary as his super soft was a wrong tyre at that point, i guess anyone in his shoes would have gone for inters like he did. The rest is history… had he gone for soft on his second pit he would have not felt the need to pit when the rain started and most likely would have won the race with ease…

  62. Bevan says:

    Lewis deserved it,but who can blame him for it eh,adrenaline’s a killer & hindsight’s always 20/20.
    As for team McLaren strategists,especially LH’s side of the garage,sack the lot,”hopeless”!
    What were they up to,its not often you see other teams wrecking their drivers day with their own bad decisions but the Whitmarsh led McLaren team seem to do it every other race.

  63. Jeremy says:

    I’m voting for penalty as well. While there wasn’t an accident, and Di Resta didn’t really need to avoid as much as he did, we can only say that with the benifit of hindsight. Most drivers in such a situation would have left the car sitting in-place so Di Resta was probably rather surpised to see it flying around, and it looks like a tricky manouver to anticipate.

  64. Adam Tate says:

    The difference is that in GP2, young drivers are expected to make dangerous decisions like Hamilton did in 06. Now, deep into his F1 career, he should know better.

  65. For sure says:

    Alex Zanardi lost both of his legs in a similar situation so even if you have side pods it really was a dangerous thing to do.

  66. Graham says:

    I don’t understand why people are blaming McNish!! He is only a part of the a quarter of the authority on decisions. For all we know he said it was fine but the other stewards didn’t like it and Hamilton was given a penalty.

    James great coverage! If it was down the field we’d all be saying that was dangerous i.e. Buemi, Sutil etc fighting for the lower points. As is was the leader it does not excuse the fact it was a very dangerous thing to do when other cars are coming round the chicane and lets be honest he has not long lapped them so he knew other drivers were there.

    Hamilton had no problem with the penalty and to be fair I don’t think any driver would in the same situation. They all champion safety and no matter what rivalries they have as drivers at the end of the day they are still pals and yes that includes Fernando and Lewis!

    The British media and mostly by mediocre sports writers for the mail and the sun like to build up some fantasy hatred between those 2 especially. I am sick of it!!

  67. Peter Jones says:

    I don’t agree with Hamilton’s penalty but I understand why. Basically he’s lost the benefit of the doubt with the stewards I believe. Had it been Vettel, Webber or Button maybe it doesn’t happen, who knows?

  68. Senthilprabu.S says:

    >>“I honestly have to apologise to Paul di Resta. >> I didn’t see him,” said Hamilton.

    I can’t believe this. This is just a mere excuse. It is the driver’s responsibility to make smooth rejoin others after spin. He simply cant ruin other’s race. It is his responsibility. He deserves the drive through. There is no escape route here. He should learn this and understand the reality. And this is not drag race either..

  69. adi says:

    I see Lewis has reverted back to his standard response of “i dont know what happened”. Its better than saying di resta was “stupid” for leaving the track and drawing attention to the incident……….or calling McNish racist!!!!

  70. monktonnik says:

    Harsh call, but I agree with it.

  71. Richard says:

    I think the stewards were a bit hard on Lewis as Di Resta missed him by a country mile. – About a car width! Lewis rotated the car about its front axle and therefore his position on the track hardly changed. I think a drive through penality was excessive, and a reprimand would have been more proportionate.

  72. Dmitry says:

    If Lewis din’t say that – I would – this penalty is a fricking joke.

    I think everyone can understand Lewis and his feelings at that moment, and actually even the footage from his car don’t clearly show, that there’s a car coming.

    It might have been be a bit dangerous, but I totally think it should have been a spoken “reprimand” instead of a penalty… with this rate I start to wonder, why no one receives such penalties after race starts? Why Hamilton didn’t receive a penalty for touching with Button on the start?

    Ridiculous.

  73. Jon says:

    One thing that impressed me about Lewis this weekend, was his attitude when he was interviewed after the race. He immediately said he hadn’t seen Di Resta and apologised. This showed maturity which has sadly been lacking in the past. He took the penalty on the chin, and grew up as a man.

    His immaturity in the past is what made me dislike him, his attitude at times has been very childish. But yesterday he showed maturity, and I respect him for that.

    That said, I think it was a dangerous move, and warranted a penalty. I think he’d have lost the race anyway, due to tyre choice.

  74. David Drinkwater says:

    Has anyone asked Mr Ecclestone? He seems to have opinions on everything else.
    Oh – I forgot. He sits on the fence until he sees which way the wind is blowing so……..

  75. **Paul** says:

    Perhaps the people who voted ‘No’ would feel a tad differently if Di Resta’s car had smashed into Lewis? That’s the hindsight crowd for you though, everything’s fine until someone gets seriously injured right?

    Yas Marina last year shows exactly how dangerous F1 cars going nose to nose can be, as Schumacher was very close to getting hit in the head.

    A responsible F1 driver would have driven forward, towards the edge of the track (off the racing line) and then performed a spin to carry on. The fact Lewis was leading and wanted to get on with it makes no difference.

    Hamilton is the one driver on the grid who has well and truly used up all of his ‘warnings’. The only way to get the message across to him is to punish him, as he blatently dismisses warnings and has little regards for the stewards.

    I feel there would be universal critism had Riccardo performed this move in-front of say… Hamilton!

  76. Schmorbraten says:

    The penalty was a no-brainer. An unnecessary risk, definitely. The moment I saw Hamilton’s move I thought that he will be given a penalty for it. The standard racing procedure would have been to wait until all other cars have passed and only then turn your car around – but Lewis’ brain does seem to switch off in moments like that.

  77. Paul Moss says:

    It was dangerous. Period. Whether anyone lost a place or the difference between 3 wheels or 4 off the track is irrelevant. The cops don’t differentiate between a dangerous action and a dangerous action action that had consequences, why should the stewards?
    Btw the final 6 minutes of the video show-cases the very best of Lewis. As awesome as it was, surely it was left in deliberately :)

  78. Gareth says:

    Did hamilton cause an unavoidable accident?
    answer: no

    Did he cause another car to leave the track?
    answer: yes

    As he was penalised on the latter, how does it stand when a driver will force another driver ‘off the track’ when he is being challenged around a corner?

  79. Ravara Mike says:

    When his car came to a stop it was blocking virtually the whole track. In recovering it, Hamilton didn’t use up any more track width. Di Resta would have had to drive round him anyway if he had stayed where he was! How long did the stewards want him to block the track for? Bad call stewards – again.

  80. dt says:

    I haven’t read the FIA rule book, but I assume waved yellow flags warns drivers to be aware of an incident ahead and be prepared to slow down, thereby putting the onus of avoidance on the following drivers. I admit that LH confused matters by becoming a moving target, but as others have commented, LH’s spin turn took up no more track space than his parked car. There have been many incidents where cars have been forced to have all 4 wheels off the track but no penalties have been given.

  81. Matt W says:

    I think the penalty was harsh, but fair. My only problem is that they need to apply that ruling consistently going forward which F1 seems to very rarely do. Each week we seem to get a different interpretation of the rules and I’m certain we will see a similar incident before the end of the season that will go unpunished.

    If you are going to penalise drivers for forcing people off of the track then you have to apply that to every instance, including where drivers run each other out of room on the exit of a corner.

    F1 at the moment has too many penalties. They should ease up on it a little bit and remember that sometimes incidents can just be racing incidents. You certainly don’t get all of these penalties in Indycar.

  82. Neil Jenney says:

    My first reaction was, “That was dangerous!”. I was surprised to see a penalty but didn’t feel it was over the top. In the debate between racing for the win and someone getting injured, I love Lewis’ aggression on the track but safety first. Given the hindsight of Lewis’ comments that he didn’t see DiResta it comes across as harsh. I don’t have strong feelings either way even now, which to me indicates the penalty could be justified.

  83. Neil Thatcher says:

    Seriously James, uncannily similar? The two incidents are night and day. In the GP2 incident Hamilton drives across the racing line in the face of oncoming cars in a blatantly dangerous maneuvoir that undoubtedly deserved a penalty. In Hungary Hamilton moved off of the racing line to avoid being t-boned by oncoming cars and performed a tidy spin-turn off of the racing line. Di Resta mis-read the situation and decided to drive off of the track when it wasn’t actually necessary.

    You have to wonder if McNish has some sort of grudge against Hamilton. Did Hamilton get a drive at some point that McNish was up for?

  84. David Goss says:

    James

    You seem to have somehow written a post which has led you to be accused of both anti-Hamilton and pro-Hamilton bias:

    http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2011/07/hamilton-penalty-was-for-offence-eerily-similar-to-gp2-move/#comment-261477

    http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2011/07/hamilton-penalty-was-for-offence-eerily-similar-to-gp2-move/#comment-261534

    It seems like you can’t have an opinion on a story without someone saying you have an agenda. People should remember that if you strip out any personal angle of the writer then all you are doing is stating the facts. The facts can be found elsewhere, but I come to this site because I want to read what James has written.

  85. Williams4Ever says:

    That GP2 incident and not being served penalty goes on to show how FIA and F1 world really works. Everybody associated with F1 wanted Lewis to succeed and bent backwards and looked the other way round whenever he made mistakes on track in his early years (2007-08) in F1 and now this video is good evidence to show that he was given discount even in formative years.

    While Lewis fans feel that their favorite driver is targeted and victimized, they conveniently forget incidents like these in his early years when authorities looked the other way, to increase F1′s popularity by having driver win title on his debut season.

    I remember Fuji’07 when Lewis went off the track and in low visibility condition, jumped in the way of Robert Kubica, Kubica had to take evasive action to avoid contact.
    Lewis was served no penalty, but in 2009 Singapore race Sutil veered off the track and jumped in the way of Heidfeld and was slapped a penalty.

    Clearly goes on to demonstrate the inconsistencies in F1 where certain drivers are given leeway and other penalized. I consider this as just other way to determine the outcome of races and championship illegally.

    My discussion just uses Lewis as an example, there have been similar incidents associated before in F1, where Michael Schumacher was similar beneficiary in stewarding decisions during his multiple series winning years and his competitors, unjustly penalized in more than one occasions.

  86. KGBVD says:

    You’d think open wheel racers would be more careful about putting themselves in a position where they are vulnerable to a 90 degree impact.

    I always think of Alex Zanardi’s sicking crash at the Lausitzring, where Tagliani drove through Zanardi’s car (and his legs) after Zanardi spun up the track. I know a 220mph CART crash isn’t something we’d see in F1, but a side impact in any open wheel sport wouldn’t be pretty.

    Watching Lewis drop his clutch after his spin made my hair stand on end.

  87. You can understand Hamilton’s haste to get back on the leader after spinning but he has to be more patient or he will end up with penalties, as we have seen. It seems apparent that Hamilton gets ‘worked up’ when things go wrong in the race. He needs to channel that frustration in to his speed, not making ‘dangerous’ moves like that or complaining on the radio about tyre choice.

  88. Shane says:

    I think the penalty was fair. Maybe a tad bit harsh, but there is no other lighter penalty that would have been appropriate at that point in the race.

    I think the penalty was fair as I have seen many a driver spin and then wait, sometimes for quite a while, until they are relatively sure it is safe to get back at it. Lewis seemed to try to get back to racing without much concern for those around him.

  89. JAG says:

    If he had just done his spin turn to the right instead of to the left he would’ve avoided the whole incident all together.

  90. Peter C says:

    Do they have yellow flags in Hungary?

  91. LemzisMilpis says:

    Thankfully, F1 is not GP2. In my book LH should have been black flagged for this move, since it is an unwritten law in this sport that, if you make a slip in the middle of a track and stay there, you should first of all watch for coming cars before making a recovery. In fact it was not only Di Riesta whom he made to go on the grass. He could have easily taken out JB and one more driver (whom I don’t remember right now) out of the race.

  92. Tyler says:

    What a joke, how is McNish qualified anyway…he couldnt hack F1..why is he there?

    Penalizing a race car driver for spinning is like penalizing an airline pilot for flying through rain. It happens.

    What a farce.

  93. Andy c says:

    I’ve never known a driver who can attract those that are completely convinced he can do no wrong and others are completely convinced he can do no right.

    My view on the spin was Di resta was not in the corner when he started the spin, but there were two other cars (I think from memory) that were in his path as he started the spin.

    If anything Lewis should have moved forward off the line and then spun. But I’d really be interested to hear Malcolm33(regular poster) who is actually a pro driver.

    James,
    It seems like a ridiculous suggestion, but can you stop writing about Lewis as although he attracts lots of comments, most of them lack balance and spoil it for those of us who’ve been on here for ages. I’ve actually stopped commenting as much as I have no desire to get tied up in huge arguments. Your articles are great but perhaps when you write about Lewis you can switch comments off ;-)

  94. Damian J says:

    James,

    I often wonder if FIA race control listen to the BBC commentary when they get their ideas to investigate driver actions. Not that FIA would ever tadmit to this as it would suggest that they are responding to media suggestion but I sometimes wonder!

  95. Deez says:

    I think it was more dangerous for Lewis to leave his car on the racing line like it was after the spin. No matter what, the cars coming behind him would’ve had to take to the grass to avoid him so it was best to turn it around and get it out of that dangerous position in the chicane.

  96. paul m says:

    Anyone wonder if sometimes penalties are handed out to LH knowing that he will have to drive back through the field, and therefore add to the spectacle with his mad overtaking manouvers?

    I think this penalty was justified. the penalties in Monaco, not so.

    Lewis is one of the reasons i watch F1, the other is Kobayashi. Jensen Button and webber on the other hand… zzzzzzzzzz

  97. Shrub says:

    Personally I was convinced that the penalty was a bit harsh [so I am a Lewis fan]…..until I re-watched the footage several times.

    Having looked at it again Lewis clearly has two cars coming past him and he decides to spin the car in between those two cars. For me if it had only been the Di Resta and not the first car then I think I would have given Lewis the benefit of the doubt as he would have had a bit of clear air, and Di Resta would have had a good view of the situation.

    With the addition of the extra car that passed Lewis, I see the manoeuvre as a dangerous move amongst oncoming traffic.

  98. pallys says:

    It’s a bit unfair, would have left it as a racing incident and try not interfer too much.

    Lewis corrected his car with great precision and actually did not take any more of the track and put others in dangers.

    A few got by safely but the problem is PDR is inexperienced and he got scared off the road. Someone with a bit more experiance would have not reacted the same way.

    Ultimately PDR panicked, unlike the others.

  99. Rather difficult to show your race-craft prowess when you start on pole and disappear into the distance!

    What about Vettel clawing back to the points last year at Silverstone?

  100. Lalit says:

    When i was watching live, I was shocked Lewis started to move, as you could clearly see other cars behind the one that he let by.

    I was actually thinking there should be a stronger penalty, as there are quite a few ‘young and restless’ drivers these days; and going head on into an on-coming traffic.. well there had to have been a better lesson than just a drive through.

  101. Karl says:

    This is the trouble with F1 now to much of big brother FIA and stewards, there will be always racing incidents but the book is being thrown at the drivers to much when they do happen.

  102. Stupot says:

    one for the conspiracy theorists, Ham got the penalty because all the races are fixed, but he went against the plan. funny how Alonso won on Ferraris anniversary, Button wins on his 200th ?? F1 is becoming a joke.

  103. Stephen Hughes says:

    To me this was a simple one. Lewis spun *towards* the racing line.

    In a word, Stupid.

    He would have lost very little extra time by moving away from the racing line before spin-turning, or even going across the grass to turn.

    I want to like him but sometimes he is just a little too ‘keen’.

  104. PDBird says:

    I raced saloon caes 40 years ago and the rule then was as it is now: YOU WAIT UNTIL THE TRACK IS CLEAR BEFORE YOU RE-JOIN THE RACE. Correct decision by 4 stwards ( not just 1)

  105. Marley says:

    Hamilton knows the rules he’s been in the game long enough to know what to do….don’t get me wrong I think he’s a massive talent but you get the feeling that sometimes he think’s the rules don’t apply to him.

  106. Kenny says:

    Personally I find it a close call on whether it was a penalty worthy incident. Perhaps leaning towards JUST about right that he got a penalty for it. Sure he wanted to get back up to racing speed and out of the way, etc, but at the same time you cannot just return to the racing line as you please.
    Sure Di Resta may possibly indeed have had enough room to squeeze through, but it was enough for him to be thinking about avoiding action and he did so obviously.
    This may be a bad analogy here, but when learning to drive my instructor always stressed: cause someone else to change their speed and/or direction then that is a major and you fail the test. Doesn’t matter whether I hit them or not, I could have acted in a way that could have been dangerous for the other driver and I think that was the key.
    I think I would be able to draw a more definitive view if I was able to get an onboard shot from Di Resta’s car, but sadly obviously can’t.

  107. P King says:

    p.s. see McLaren pit wall commentary here:
    http://www.mclaren.com/2011/hungarian-gp/race?expand=1

  108. James Allen says:

    Not in the least, I’m asking the question. I think there are some interesting aspects to this

  109. mtb says:

    “Interestingly, I struggle to recall a memorable race where Vettel has been prominent in the action, as dominant as he has been.”

    Didn’t he overtake Hamilton at Interlagos in 2008, thereby making the final laps enthralling? And he started the 2009 race behind Button, but finished in front. Much has been written about Button’s performance that day.

  110. There is a difference between penalizing someone for a questionable pass (I think they shouldn’t) and for making a dangerous manoeuvre (I think they should.

    Doing a half-donut in an F1 car is not an exact science, especially in wet conditions, on a greasy track. The fact is, he could have screwed up the move, and very easily put Di Resta in a lot of danger. It is that risk that he should not have taken and should be penalized for.

    Passing is a part of racing, not doing 180-degree spin turns, and penalties should be assessed according to that distinction.

  111. James Allen says:

    Good question. We had a change of regime in 2009 though

  112. mtb says:

    They did issue an explanation of the Hamilton disqualification at Melbourne 2009, but that is the only action that I can remember.

  113. Baz says:

    Typo – I was meant to put DiR

  114. fullblownseducer says:

    I made the same point about McNish the last time he was a steward – couldn’t cut it as an F1 pilot, so is he really qualified? Coupled with his crash at Le Mans this year (yes, it was his fault) it makes you wonder.

    Lewis’s spin today was 50-50 though. A toughie. But seeing as Di Resta didn’t lose position or pick up any damage it was a bit harsh – but it did mean we got to see him overtake Massa and Webber..

  115. Trent says:

    The gap may have been the same, but Di Resta had to make an allowance for the fact that Hamilton was executing a spin turn. As it happened, Hamilton nailed the spin turn and just about did it on the spot – but often they don’t go to plan. Di Resta would be crazy not to give him a little extra room – take to the grass rather than chance a collision. It’s nothing to do with experience, it’s a split second decision based on an unpredictable scenario.

    I hate all these penalties, but I can certainly see where McNish was coming from.

  116. Paul Kirk says:

    I totally agree, Nando, in fact I thought Hamy did a good spin to turn the car to face the right direction in that it virtually girated in the same spot thereby not using up any more track width, DiR did go on to the grass as a precaution but he made the decision to do that well before he got to the scene, he was not actually “pushed” as some are saying, it was his choice but he need not have done so.
    I’m not a Hamy fan, but I thought he handled the situation well, I mean, some people seem to loose their orientation of where they are in a spin, we see their front wheels pointing in all the wrong directions, and sometimes a driver just freezes and waits till he stops befor he decides what to do next, Hamy was reacting very well and anticipating ahead of things as they happened, I’d give him a pat on the back!
    PK.

  117. F1Fan says:

    Or perhaps question his motivations towards Hamilton. McNish penalized Hamilton in Monaco for an unsafe passing attempting, only to them show us how to NOT use good passing judgment at Le Mans.

    Contrast that with Nigel Mansell, who has at times been rather critical of Hamilton and yet seems able to put that aside when he’s a steward.

    Perhaps McNish harbors ill will for his time in F1 with Toyota, but what that would have to do with Hamilton is unclear.

  118. Alan says:

    Exactly, giving Lewis a penalty because Massa turned in on him was dodgy, this was ridiculous.

    LH pretty much span on the spot, McNish clearly has a problem with him.

  119. mtb says:

    Lewis clearly didn’t have a problem with the penalty, so why do you?

  120. **Paul** says:

    Most people of sound thought would appreciate that performing a doughnut on the racing line, when it’s clear cars are heading towards you, is extremely dangerous.

    As I’ve mentioned else where, if Riccardo had done this in front of Hamilton I feel quite sure he would have recieved universal critism, including that from Martin Brundle.

  121. Dave says:

    +1

    Lose McNish from the stewards

  122. wayne says:

    Here’s the problem I have with straw polls like this about Hamilton: The guy inspires such inexplibible hatred in some people that they will vote against him regardless of the situation or circumstnace. From what I read on many forums it really is hatred too, not just dislike! It’s utterly insane.

    Just as well there are many more people out there who ‘love’ the guy and are thankful for his tallent and driving style.

  123. Mike J says:

    fullblownseducer. Yes i did read the posts above. I think gravelrash summed it up perfectly. I was a bit hard on your comments though after reading ‘other’ peoples posts. Sorry ’bout’ that.

  124. Rodger says:

    Between Daytona, and Le Mans McNish does more racing in two races than an F1 driver does all year.

  125. Damian J says:

    Now we have investigations and penalties for driving where there is no connection between drivers.

    F1 is a dangerous sport but the stewarding decisions are trying to sanitize racing to a point that is going beyond belief.

  126. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

    “Di Resta was forced to leave the track.”

    I disagree. The camera angle for the replays was just right, and it showed that there was room for DIR to stay on the track. He over-reacted. That was probably more down to his inexperience than anything, but there should not have been a penalty.

    As someone else has said, HAM was pretty much in the same position during that move (he spun the car in-place) except he was now pointing in the right direction – which is probably a safer orientation to be in so you could argue he did the right thing vs. sitting there hoping the traffic would navigate around him …

  127. Steve says:

    I agree with your first paragraph. Its funny reading the coments, one person said that James sounded pro-ham, and another one said he sounded against him LOL Just objective reporting.

  128. Cain says:

    Posted By: Cliff
    “Your article is objective as ever. It’s just a pity the comments that follow are not similar to yours.
    As with any incident involving Lewis Hamilton the debate gets polarised between the lovers and the haters.”

    Excuse me Cliff, but aren’t you just saying that you see things clearly and all the others here expressing their opinion are biased

    As for myself I have defended Hamilton when needed and criticized if he’s done something dangerous.
    The move he made yesterday was something to criticize for. It’s already dangerous if you face wrong direction of the track but making a spin move as car is coming is not acceptable. There’s unwritten rule in racing that you, who make a mistake have to make clear that it’s safe to get back into racing line. That’s why di Resta didn’t expect a move like this from Hamilton and drove off the track.

    Would we expect same kind of move from Webber? from Alonso? from Vettel? I don’t think so. Maybe only Schumacher would make something like that.

    In Hamilton’s defence I can just say that I understand it from his point of view, not wanting to lose too much time there but saying he didn’t see di Resta, sorry I just can’t believe that.

  129. san says:

    Do you really need to discuss about spinning the car on the track while other cars are passing around you? Di Resta overreacting at 200 km/h?

    It is incredible what some people can justify when it comes to defend Hamilton. Total lack of perspective. How many drivers have you seen doing that without a penalty?

  130. Keith says:

    I happen to think the penalty was harsh, but fair, but that’s just my opinion.

    What I object to is you “blaming” Di Resta for over-reacting.

    Yes, in hindsight, Di Resta could have kept two wheels on track. However, approaching a spinning car, Di Resta had no idea if Lewis was going to do a 270 (which he successfully did) or if it might go 360. In no way was it an over-reaction or inexperience by Di Resta, it was simply safe driving, for which he should be commended.

  131. LycraClad says:

    HAM may have been practically in the same spot on the track before and after he recovered and there may have been just enough room to squeeze by without going off however, as DIR said, he saw HAM had spun when he entered the chicane, imagine the scare he got when he saw HAM spinning his car around as DIR exits the chicane. It was probably the shock of seeing a spinning F1 car that lead to DIR leaving the track to avoid an incident and that is why HAM needed a penalty.

    Interesting point with the football yellow card comparison, it might be a good idea to introduce such a system in F1 to encourage drivers to correct their ways…

  132. Ron W says:

    You have quite clearly never driven on track, let alone in a race before have you?

    You are doing 100mph and you see a car spin.

    You plot your course because it is stationary.

    All of a sudden, you see the smoke from the rears and the car is now facing toward you with a possibility of moving into you path.

    Of course, you don’t take avoiding action because you can read the future and know that there will be enough room…Yeah, right….

    I suppose a practical analogy would be a pedestrian walking alongside a motorway. You notice them and plot your course around them. All of a sudden, they attempt to run into the motorway. Swerve/brake/avoid? Of course you do – how do you know what they are going to do.

    Said person would then probably be jailed.

    Diresta took avoiding action because Hamilton decided to do a 180 despite oncoming traffic. It was, without doubt, extremely dangerous and certainly deserved a penalty in my opinion.

  133. Long Nguyen says:

    Couldn’t agree more!

  134. Ron W says:

    Sums it all up I think.

    Who are these people that think McNish is purposely picking on Hamilton because he’s jealous or is on somesort of payback?!?!

    Probably the same fools who thought Damon Hill deliberately punished Schumacher for the 2010 Monaco GP move, because of their 1994 coming together.

    The intellect of the average F1 fan seems to have dropped vastly over the recent years…

  135. James encore says:

    Actually I’ve watched this about a dozen times now.
    3 tail-enders unlapped themselves by passing to right. Button passed him on the left.
    * Had he gone to the other side of the track, he would have hit Button.
    * Had he stayed where he was, that was about the most dangerous place.
    * I was convinced that the Lotus (KOV) came through before he started to move and took the same avoiding action as DiResta, but watching it back there was room for him to stay on the track.
    The on-board footage from the Mclaren shows there wasn’t room for DiResta and he needed to put at least 2 wheels off the track, he could have stradled the track edge but seems to have made the decision it was safter to go all off than half off.

    If you think “No harm, no foul”, it’s not a pentaly. If you think “Dangerously close” it is. I’d tend to the former, but there have been plenty of worse decisions.

  136. billday says:

    Is that assuming he races all 24 hours at Le Mans?

  137. James encore says:

    I took DiResta’s comment to mean “no harm no foul”.
    Leaving his car in the middle of the track wouldn’t have been “respectful”. Where he finished up after that spin.

  138. mtb says:

    I didn’t hear Lewis complain about the penalty. From what I have heard, he actually apologised to di Resta for the incident. It seems that you are far more concerned about the issue than what Lewis is.

  139. One of the first things you are taught about safety when karting, is that if you spin, you must wait until it’s clear before re-joining.

    It wasn’t clear and he could clearly see that. He should have waited for the cars to go past and then spin around. Bad judgement by Lewis and whilst I do get annoyed with all the penalties, this one was deserved I feel.

  140. Lilla My says:

    It’s not about “sanitizing” – it’s about not endangering other drivers. Hamilton was reckless at this moment. He said he didn’t see di Resta and I believe him, but the whole incident still has nothing to do with Hamilton’s apparent agression on the track when fighting for position that so many fans praise so much. It was an avoidable and silly manoeuvre, which posed danger not only for himself, but also for other drivers.

    Drivers make mistakes and so does Hamilton and not every controvertial thing he does can be excused by his tendency to fight hard on the track and by his great agression and bravery or by stewards being the guilty ones trying to “sanitize” the sport.

  141. I recognised you Simon Fuller!

    mtb, Mark Williams and Lilla My all have good points.

    Sutil was penalised in the same way in Singapore 09 although he did crash into Heidfeld who could not take the avoidable action Di Resta managed because of the walls on the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

    The penalty is fair IMHO.

  142. Right, because every driver in F1 can do a perfect 180 in an F1 car on a greasy, damp track… so therefore it should be assumed that you can pass them, mid-spin, with inches to spare and have no problem.

    Come on.

    Hamilton could have ended up screwing up his spin, and then taken out Di Resta.

    It is not the result that should be penalized, it is the dangerous act (even if he got away with it).

    Tight-quarters passing? Don’t penalize that if they rub a bit (takes two to tango). Dive-bomb with no chance at all? Yeah, give a penalty. 180-spin with oncoming traffic? Definitely give a penalty… that’s just dumb.

  143. Steve says:

    Nobody cost anybody a win…

  144. Ron W says:

    I sympathise with you/him – you want to get going.

    However safety first.

    Just like the Torro Rosso who overtook a few metres before the green flag after Heidfeld’s exploding car, Hammy was dangerous.

  145. TomJ says:

    funny, that’s pretty much exactly what you are supposed to do, wait until it’s safe to rejoin.

  146. SketchCND says:

    Being in a rush in the middle of a race! ….who would have thought???

  147. Lev Piautzer says:

    +1

  148. Lev Piautzer says:

    He was actually leading the championship before Monza ’10 if i remember correctly!

  149. Gravelrash says:

    Guys,
    You have to be able to play the ball not the man. To keep this forum at a high quality you shouldn’t stoop to the “he is a knuckhead” type of posts….. debate the issue by all means but don’t get personal. It adds no credibility to your argument and detracts from the whole forum.
    There are plently of uninformed forums out there that favour anonymous slander….lets not go there

  150. wayne says:

    Yes the stewards were just starting to get it right with the influence of ex-drivers. Don’t let ths one bitter pill spoil the great work that has been done thus far. Drop him!

  151. F1_Badger says:

    +1

  152. fullblownseducer says:

    Aw, c’mon James – nobody’s slandering or calling him a ‘knuckledragger’ – just questioning the guy’s F1 experience (of course he was a driver for a couple of years, but a bit of a fringe player). I thought the whole point of the driver stewards was that they were supposed to be familiar with F1 racing, and McNish isn’t really – racing, yes, F1 racing, no.

    Even more dubious imo is the decision to use him again so soon after Monaco, where there was quite a fuss over the Hamilton incidents and comments, and of course the ‘apology’ to the stewards – is it really right to use him again, so soon after that? Surely they could’ve foreseen that Lewis, or at least his fans, would smell a rat re any controversial decision at Hungary – and guess what happend?…

  153. Liam in Sydney says:

    These comments about McNish not being qualified are ridiculous. He is an F1 pilot, has extensive experience in Sportscars and many other formula, and surely can provide sympathy and perspective to the decision making of race stewards. Calls for his sacking really is silly.

    Maybe the solution here is to have the stewards go over a checklist, not just a series of camera replays from different angles, but a checklist to remind themselves of some really important elements that they may forget at the time when high-pressure and race altering decisions are being made. Asking themselves on this checklist “Did Lewis turning his car around inhibit Paul or not give Paul enough time to take corrective action before causing a bad accident?” would be a good question. There would be plenty of good ones, even just to skip over as not relevant, to make sure both the driver at fault, and maybe even more importantly the driver who is inconvenienced, is treated fairly.

  154. Kristiane says:

    “I hate all these penalties, but I can certainly see where McNish was coming from.”

    +1

  155. Ben says:

    I thought it was a pretty dangerous move, full of frustration after making an error which clearly cost him the race.

    Considering the type of error it was there was clearly less grip than usual on the track so to spin the car around essentially back into the racing line was more dangerous than it would have been in the dry. Tough call but I think he deserved the drive through, can’t really compare to GP2 which is a bit of a free for all in my opinion.

    The important thing is that Hamilton doesn’t change too much, for me the switching positions with Jenson and the powerslide behind Vettel were the most exciting moments of an exciting race.

    I’ve disagreed with a lot of the penalties for him this year but this one was fair enough.

  156. BA says:

    DiResta 200km/h at chicane? Get out of town!!!

    That chicane can only be attacked 100km/h max unless you cut it.

    It is incredible what some people can justify when it comes to Hamilton :D

  157. Jaco says:

    Hah – I was reading through the comments and this is the first sensible one. Spot on.

  158. Martin,UK says:

    If you want perspective try looking at the in car replay of the incident. Then consider that drivers sit even lower in the car than the camera. You can’t see the two cars ahead of di resta they’re already out of Hamiltons field of view and milliseconds before Hamilton executes the spin Di Resta finally comes into view. Theres far too many comments made by people about drivers that don’t take into account what a driver can actually see from his cockpit.

    As far as affecting his race goes its a moot point he was screwed as soon as he was on the option when everyone else went to prime.

  159. Graham says:

    Yip, Absolutely agree with that assessment. When Vettel came out of the pits he nearly lost the car! Perhaps not a safety car but at least the pitlane being closed or the red light at the end of it when they were towing the car back.

    Kinda ridiculous when in some races the start is under the safety car for 10 odd laps when it dosen’t need to be and when there are marshals on the track people are accelerating out of the pits (and we are always told how fat these cars acceleate) and others at high speed right next to the pit lane exit going at 180 mph.

    I am definitely all for racing without a shadow of a doubt, however safety on occasions only applies to the guys driving the cars. Sometimes I feel that the guys and girls doing the jobs of marshaling are often forgotten about. Their safety should be right there with the drivers. Seasoned motorsport fans will be able to recall countless deaths of marshals. Sometimes the fans do not think they warrant a mention and that is really sad.

  160. Williams4Ever says:

    A decision I thought was wrong, though, was to not bring out a safety car when Heidfeld’s car caught fire.
    >> That is Charlie Whiting – the race director’s call. The way Charlie goes about doing some of the things he does and later FIA has to claim its not race director to make that call have always made me wonder to look at Whiting’s job description, assuming there is one documented somewhere and FIA doesn’t have to fabricate one on the fly.

  161. Graham says:

    It wasn’t harsh, If he’d collected someone we’d have been talking about a massive incident. To say he didn’t see people makes the situation even worse.

    The unwritten rule in any form of motorsport is not to spin your car in front of oncoming traffic because it is highly dangerous. To say that he didn’t know people were coming round the corner is to be frank a lie. The problem was he made a mistake and his adrenaline was pumping to recover it. We’d all be in the same boat, especially in the lead, however he should of remembered the other cars coming round the corner and to see a car trying to spin his car round as you’re coming round would be very scary. Its reminiscent of Schumacher and Barrichello last year, in the fact it was just plain dangerous.

  162. Peter C says:

    Yes they did. Hamilton cost himself a win.

  163. Bevan says:

    Eh,so MTB,that’s 2 instances over how many seasons of 19+ races.Your point isn’t very compelling.
    There is something about LH that attracts detractors though,no matter what excitement & showmanship he brings to F1.
    I wonder what it is James?

  164. KRB says:

    mtb, at Interlagos 2009, Vettel did not overtake Button on-track, but in the pits. JB executed at least 5 overtakes in that race. LH also went from 17th to 3rd that day.

    All but one of Vettel’s wins have come from starting on the front row (and the other was from 3rd). He hasn’t really been in the situation where he’s had to overtake someone for the win, and especially not one of the big boys like LH or FA. He’s beaten Hulkenburg or Webber off the line, and been leading by the first turn in those wins where he’s not started on pole.

    I can think of recent examples where his inability to overtake on-track has been glaring:

    - 2011 German GP: kept behind by FM in a slower car for the latter half of the race; only passed him in the pit
    - 2011 British GP: held up by LH for 9 laps in an obviously slower car
    - 2010 Belgian GP: messed up overtake attempt ends in a DNF for Button
    - 2010 Turkish GP: moves over too early on Webber, nearly putting them both out
    - 2009 Australia GP: tangle with Kubica ends in a collision

    Even what I would consider his “good” overtakes this year involved clear advantages:

    - 2011 Australia GP: passing Button around the outside (fresher tires, Button too easy a lay)
    - 2011 Spanish GP … same exact circumstances as AUS

    A win is a win in F1, but there is something special in seeing a driver take his car above and beyond what its normal position would be, by raceing the hell out of it. LH’s win in Germany was a classic example of that (goin’ around the outside of FA in Turn 2?!?!? Are you kidding me?!?!?!). That’s when you sit back and go wow, and when F1 becomes art.

  165. Peter C says:

    Because fans of individual drivers are blind to facts. Works the same for all rabid fans, whoever they support.
    It’s a case of objectivity out of the window.

  166. Nando says:

    There is a difference between not having a problem with the penalty and agreeing with it. The difference is usually how the penalty affects your race.
    As it happened the penalty didn’t cost him anything and he probably had some fun passing Webber.

  167. BoV says:

    Peter, you are absolutely right.

  168. Mike J says:

    Wayne and ‘fullblown’. I see similar comments about other leading drivers on various sites. [mod] People are leading with their emotion, not their brains. I think LH is fantastic talent and love to watch him but in this instance he was in the wrong IMO. Whether he could see the cars following or not is not the point, but IS the risk of the move towards the racing line and also the potential consequence.
    I also find it hard the ‘anger’ about McNish and the ‘hatred’ as you say about him. There are 3 other stewards. Maybe some followings are using McNish as a distraction to the real event.

  169. meens says:

    I love the guy, but I felt the penalty was fair. It looked pretty dangerous from my sofa.

    It’s worth noting that I had 50 bucks on him for the win – so I was especially filthy about it!

  170. wayne says:

    Mike, I happened to think Hamilton was on thin ice with this one as well. Just making the point that of all the drivers Lewis divides opinion like no other and those who dislike/hate him will NEVER offer a balanced view of his ability, they are just not capable of it for some reason. I dislike Schumi but have massive respect for his achievements. I used to dislike Alonso but am now comming round to his particular brand of brilliance.

  171. CJ says:

    I happen to see the other side. I tend to be more critical of LH because there are so many people who think he does no wrong and will never blame him for anything.

  172. wayne says:

    I donl’t understand CJ, why would you be MORE critical of someone? That proves my point doesn’t it?

  173. fullblownseducer says:

    Mike,

    What ‘anger’ and ‘hatred’ about McNish are you talking about? Did you actually read the posts above?

  174. rad_g says:

    Oh yes, we all feel sorry for Lewis. He had such tough childhood. Give him special rules. He can take off the track whoever he wants. Let’s make Lewis happy.

  175. Martin,UK says:

    Think a lot of the commenters on this need to watch the in car replay of the incident to see how little you could actually see from the cockpit.

    Think like a racing driver, not a spectator.

  176. Yeah I’ve seen it and you can see cars approaching and yet he still decided to spin around. I can totally understand why he did it, but it was unsafe.

  177. Paul says:

    Exactly my point! He could have won the championship with sensible point scores in Monza and Singapore.

  178. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    At last, a sensible comment, logical, comment from someone with racing experience(it would seem). All your points are correct.
    The move was downright dangerous..What if Diresta HAD hit him…….I’m not a fan of any driver in particular(okay, maybe Webber, Ricciardo)and it would not have mattered who it was…..a spin turn into oncoming traffic at any time is dangerous. End of story.

  179. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

    [mod]

    The fact of the matter is that only two people know what went through those guy’s heads and what they could or couldn’t see at that split second – and they are not contributing, so every single comment on this article (including mine and including yours) is speculation and opinion.

    For the record, I think my use of the word “over-reaction” has been taken (by several people) differently to how I meant it, but I won’t bother trying to clarify as I think the moment has passed on this discussion now.

  180. Mike J says:

    That is an excellent point. If he saw the cars it was bad move, but if he couldn’t see the cars on the racing line, then that is worse still. It was a decision that looked at now he may have taken differently. Maybe wait 2-3 sec and wait for no traffic. He would have then lost 5-6 secs, not 25 secs. But hey, we all are not ‘in the seat’. Penalty justified

  181. cjf says:

    I say harsh because the move was (if we give him the benefit of the doubt) an act of stupidity rather than a premeditated piece of rule breaking.

    I agree that the whole “not seeing” argument holds no water since it is his responsibility to play it safe and ultimatly he would just have lapped those cars and as such know they were in the vicinity.

    The “safety” argument is also invalid as he could’ve driven forward on to the grass as I said.

    A friend who is not an F1 fan watched a race a few weeks back and said she thought Lewis was “unproffesional”, I think he may’ve reaffirmed her view this week!

  182. Jodum5 says:

    Right and he walked himself right into a penalty…

  183. He was parked in a dangerous place but doing a full 180 was dangerous with on coming cars.

  184. Peter C says:

    Ridiculous.

  185. LemzisMilpis says:

    If he stood still, at least Di Riesta and others would have it easier to figure out which way to go around him rather than facing someone in a full spin :). For me LH’s move was either an act of blindness, brainblock or just pure selfishness.

  186. Damian J says:

    We all know that Lewis is under pressure to “suck it up” and speak like a corporate robot because that is what FIA wants….heaven forbid any driver that criticizes a FIA penalty!

  187. Damian J says:

    So Martin Brundle as an ex-racing driver was talking nonsense when compared to the more experienced “armchair critic”, especially when an armchair critic introduces an opinion dressed as a fact by starting a sentence with……”Most people of sound thought would appreciate that”?

  188. KRB says:

    So he should have kept his car perpendicular on the racing line?!?!

  189. Damian J says:

    Reading some comments, one would think Hamilton deserved a penalty for just ending sideways on the racing track “as a dangerous act”, particulary when Hamilton is in the driving seat.

    If a driver is not able to see, how is the driver supposed to know when it is clear to turn around?

    Hamilton’s car was sideways in the middle of the track. Either way, Di Resta had to go off-track to pass Hamilton. Di Resta was not forced off the track by his turn.

  190. Galapago555 says:

    @Damian J

    “If a driver is not able to see, how is the driver supposed to know when it is clear to turn around?”

    I guess if a driver is not able to see he must be especially careful when trying to rejoin the race, don’t you think so?

  191. James Allen says:

    You’re right….it is a ridiculous suggestion!! Comments on Hamilton stories need tightly moderating because of the nutters, but I’m not going to stop writing about one driver because of that

  192. I only watched it on TV, so I saw the replay once.

    I will tell you that the first time I saw it, I cringed, expecting the worst. Sure, Hamilton pulled off a nice 180, but I’ve seen a lot of those go wrong, and the conditions certainly weren’t the most predictable.

    My opinion on penalties is that passing is a part of racing, and a pass that results in a bit of contact should be considered a part of racing (as long as it’s not a silly dive-bomb); however, 180′s are not a part of racing, and if you do one in front of on-coming cars, you should be penalized for it, no matter if there was contact or not.

    Di Resta saw the car spinning, and how is Di Resta supposed to know where the McLaren will end up? That chicane was super-greasy, maybe he’ll overcook it? He’s not quite on the line, so maybe he’ll get a bit more grip and the car will move over more? A lot of questions Paul has to ask himself in a split second, with the best answer being “screw it, I am going to give him a car-width rather than an inch” and go a little wide.

    Any time I have spun during a race, I will go where the cars aren’t. If they are all going to one side, I go to the other. If they are going on both sides, I lock the brakes until there’s a big gap. That’s all hypothetical, however, since I can only remember one spin where I ended up stopping on track, and by the time I got the car re-fired, there were no other cars there… so I didn’t have a choice to make!

  193. Lilla My says:

    I do agree that Lewis Hamilton attracts more lovers/haters than any other driver (maybe with a little exeption for Alonso), but I don’t think switching off comments would be a good idea. It would look like a cenzorship, and though we do have a bit of moderation here (which is actually a good thing sometimes, coz we all know how forums with no moderators look like and how the discussions end), it’s still not a cenzorship. But even more importantly – just imagine the outrage of some of the posters if commenting is banned only regarding Hamilton’s articles.

    Unless you were joking Andy ;).

    As for the incident – difficult one, I thought the penalty was fair, because this manoeuvre was dangerous (and I’m by no means a person who would penalise Hamilton for his sole existance), but it was a difficult situation – staying in the middle of the track would be as bad as spinning back and driving back/forward/wherever else would also cause some havoc. No good solution, it seems.

    Very nice answer by Malcolm – thanks, it’s good to hear an opinion of somebody who knows ‘a bit’ more than all of us together ;).

  194. KRB says:

    I know!! That was the race right there. I suspect that if he went to softs, that he doesn’t make the mistake in the chicane, and he coasts to victory.

    I was laughing when Button said in the post-race comments that he sensed the win was on at the end of the first stint (I’m guessing he meant the end of the first super-soft stint). LH was leading by over 8 seconds then, whereas he was ahead by just over 5 seconds at the start of that stint.

    LH ended up 48.338 sec’s behind, even with two extra pit stops and a drive-thru penalty, nevermind losing 3 sec’s a lap for the period while he was out on inter’s. Given 21 sec’s for a pitstop and 17 sec’s for the drive-thru, that’s 59 sec’s, which would have put LH 11 sec’s clear of Button at the end.

    Why LH’s engineers elected to go with a 3rd set of super-softs is beyond me. It’s inexplicable. Going to softs he would basically have forced all the others (JB, SV, and MW) to do the same – they did anyways – lest they screw themselves pushing hard just to make up the extra required pit stop time. FA, who went to the super-softs just before LH, was not close enough to be a threat at the time.

    It was a crazy call that cost LH the win.

  195. KRB says:

    The Sauber of Perez you mean … I wouldn’t call Perez’s pass dangerous, but instead a clear violation of the rules (i.e. no passing while within a Local Yellow zone).

  196. wayne says:

    Yes, very much yes. No idera why this is not so blindingly obvious to more people.

  197. Arron says:

    What’s ridiculous?

  198. Damian J says:

    Hamilton did not hit anyone. That is vindication enough especially as he was not even close to hitting Di Resta. Even Paul Di Resta has comemnted and said that he was not concerned so why are you?

    And the list of ex F1 drivers who do not think it was a penalty grows ever larger with Alesi also saying that he did believe it was a penalty so why are you over-reacting?

    Perhaps it is because you do not like Hamilton as the real reason for wanting him punished?

  199. Rubinho's Keyfob says:

    Hi Keith,

    I originally didn’t want to add anything more to this thread, but I think your comment deserves a response -

    “What I object to is you “blaming” Di Resta for over-reacting.

    Yes, in hindsight, Di Resta could have kept two wheels on track.”

    I didn’t intend to “blame” anyone – your second sentence actually sums up what I was trying to articulate (and yes, it’s all 20/20 hindsight to anyone who comments here). I have no doubt that Paul did what he thought was necessary at that point in time, but the replays seem to corroborate what you have said (that his reaction could have been more subtle). Let’s not forget that both MB and DC at the time thought that a penalty wasn’t deserved …

    Anyway, I am neither a Hamilton apologiser nor a Di Resta critic – as long as we see exciting action on the track, I’m fickle in that regard. I certainly don’t want to take anything away from DIR’s best F1 result so far ..!

  200. LemzisMilpis says:

    For spinning? What exactly are you smoking, I wish I had that? he was penalized for a very brutal recovery move. And rightly so.

  201. Tyler says:

    I disagree

  202. LemzisMilpis says:

    Well, I wish to see yourself in a regular street car, when someone puts an almost 360 degree turn in front of you.

  203. Same here, I got sucked into watching the whole thing. Great race.

  204. Exacting revenge for silly comments.

    McNish is far too mature for that. He’s a good driver with a lot of experience. It was obvious that Hamilton made an unsafe move, and should be penalized for it.

    Passing is a part of racing, not spinning your car around… and risks relating to the former, but not the latter, should be accepted.

  205. Arron says:

    It wasn’t a serious suggestion merely a joke, you telling you would sit there and wait for every other car to go by, I doubt that very much.

  206. Brundle is an ex-driver… but wait, McNish is also an ex-F1 driver, and current Le Mans driver. I would say that McNish, having watched several replays several times, probably had a better idea of what happened than Brundle did, and probably made a more accurate judgement.

    Paul is right though, spin-turns are not a part of racing… while they are fun to watch, they are not a good idea when traffic is approaching you.

    That being said, penalties should reflect the action being done. Pass didn’t come off but it’s a racing incident? No penalty. Did a spin turn in front of another car, even if there’s no collision? Worthy of a penalty.

    I’ve also got some racing experience, and while it’s not F1, it’s a little better than the average arm-chair critic.

  207. a) Webber lost control and was a passenger.

    b) Yes, it is better to stay in one spot rather than spin your car onto the racing line when other cars are coming. If he was to spin his car around, he should have spun the car to the right.

  208. KRB says:

    “Nürburgring taking Webber out of the track” huh?!? I’ll assume you’re talking about LH running MW out of road as MW tried to go around the outside of Turn 2? Webber himself in his column for the BBC has said that he deserved to be run out of road in that position. The difference for LH going around the outside of FA the very next lap in the same corner is that he was a half-car length further forward than Webber was on LH.

  209. KRB says:

    Exactly … he would only normally do 8-9 hrs at Le Mans, but he only managed less than an hour this year.

    Pretty nice if you ask me when people move out of the way when you flash your lights!

  210. KRB says:

    Very true. In Monza ’10, it seemed he was trying for a big win before the sched headed to more RB6-friendly tracks. Why he hung his wheel out there when Massa was clearly taking the corner is beyond me. He had a guaranteed 4th in that race (assuming no technical problems), and likely could’ve nailed Massa for 3rd over the race. The move in Singapore had to be tried, but LH should’ve known that MW wouldn’t give it up easily, and should’ve braked early and ducked up under Webber (who likely would have gone close to the wall, such was the speed he was taking).

    A 3rd and 4th in Monza and Singapore is 27 pts, and he wins the DWC then.

    Even if McLaren and Ferrari jumped Red Bull, Vettel just has to keep finishing, and he’s guaranteed at least top 6 finishes. The other teams have basically given up on any serious developments to their 2011 cars now, so the top 3 have opened up a sizeable performance gap to the midpack.

  211. **Paul** says:

    I suggest you look further down this list of posts and read what malcolm.strachan has written, because that’s what Lewis should have done. There is absolutely no defence for doing a doughnut on the racing line.

  212. **Paul** says:

    I would yes, as it’s easier to avoid a stationary target than a moving one. Then as soon as Di-Resta passes he pulls forward off the racing line and performs the move, and continues with his race.

  213. Damian J says:

    I prefer to defer to the opinion of ex F1 drivers who have a more balanced view than the usual anti Hamilton axe grinding posts.

  214. **Paul** says:

    @Damian J: Just not the opinions of McNish and Coulthard….?! I’ve no axe to grind with Lewis, he’s a great driver.

    Sometimes I think penalties are incorrectly awarded in F1, but more often than not they’re pretty much on the money IMO, but then again I’m not especially biased to one driver.

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