Lewis Hamilton stripped of Belgian GP win – another asinine FIA decision

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Felipe Massa has been given the Belgian Grand Prix win by the stewards

Felipe Massa has been given the Belgian Grand Prix win by the stewards

Lewis Hamilton has had his victory in the Belgian Grand Prix taken away from him by the Belgian Grand Prix stewards.

The stewards added 25 seconds to his race time for cutting the chicane while battling with Kimi Raikkonen, leaving him third behind Nick Heidfeld.

This is an absolute travesty of a decision which mocks the notion that the FIA stewards are fair arbiters of the sport.

Hamilton cut the chicane on lap 42 of the race while alongside Raikkonen. Raikkonen forced Hamilton off the track by swerving across the front of the McLaren. Hamilton had been entirely alongside the Ferrari going into the corner.

Hamilton then let Raikkonen past him and re-took the Ferrari driver at the following corner. Despite taking the standard course of action to let Raikkonen regain his position, the stewards have stripped Hamilton of his win.

After letting Raikkonen re-pass him, Hamilton was no closer to the Ferrari driver than he had been before they went into the chicane. I do not agree any advantage was gained by Hamilton.

I also think it is disgraceful the stewards feel Raikkonen was not at fault in forcing another driver off the track. A similar piece of driving at Eau Rouge or Blanchimont could have lethal consequences.

Whether the stewards have done this to keep the championship close or keep their friends at Ferrari happy, this is an utterly lamentable decision.

It comes only two weeks after the stewards avoided stripping Felipe Massa of a win at Valencia for a clear infringement of the rules. This very weekend we saw further evidence that decision was bogus.

It is quite clear Ferrari can rely on the FIA to give them a favourable hearing at appeals.

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430 comments on Lewis Hamilton stripped of Belgian GP win – another asinine FIA decision

  1. Lewis was never fully behind Kimi until they started braking for the 1st corner. I believe you are supposed to, correct me if I’m wrong…give the full position back to the driver and then carry on.

    Hamilton while maybe 6km slower was beside Kimi down the entire front straight…Kimi tried to move left to set up for the corner and almost hit Lewis’s right front with his back tire.

    Sorry, Lewis needs to learn a little bit about passing.

    Also, saying Kimi pushed him off the road…? how about last year when Alonso pushed him off at the first corner?!? no penalty…Alonso had the line.

  2. LongTimeF1Fan said on 7th September 2008, 20:32

    I have been a long time fan of F1 and have supported loads of the teams at different times.

    I watched the GP2 races from Saturday and Sunday. In both races drivers did exactly what Lewis Hamilton did and were not penalised for it!

    Judging by the decisions that the Stewards have made in the last few seasons I guess that if Hamilton had not avoided an accident by running across the escape lane then he would have been found guilty of ‘Failing to avoid an avoidable accident’.

    The Stewards are becoming more and more blatant in their bias.

    They should all be replaced by a group that are elected by the drivers.

    Hamilton did well to avoid being hit by Raikkonen. Raikkonen should be punished for his dangerous driving.

  3. Macademianut said on 7th September 2008, 20:33

    Juan H,

    Kimi has been extremely slow in the corners after the rain started. Clearly, his car was ahead and he was wavering from one side to another to block Hamilton. Hamilton got on the inside, while Kimi was early on his brakes.

    Your whole lesson to Hamilton on his controling his anger is absolutely baseless. He spun in the first lap and was obviously eager to get it back. People who just watch the race start to give advice to the drivers who put the heart and soul on the track! I think McLaren is right to appeal this decision.

    But, this is not the end of the season. The equation will all be settled. FATE.

    Cheers.

  4. If it made a difference maybe this decision will add impetus to the manufacturers meeting to be held at monza – maybe every race team – apart from ferrari could turn up and refuse too race – then bernie might listen and get shot of the fia – unfortunatly it wont happen???
    and as for being biased Keith – everybody gets a chance however stupid at times!! to put their point over – I’m just gutted here about those fia – enter expletive of choice here – more if required – keep it going keith

  5. Keith,

    Great site you’ve got here – how about doing a post analysing, and especially comparing, the various stewards decisions involving McLaren and Ferrari over the last 3-5 years? Perhaps including incidents that weren’t investigated the maybe should have been.

    As a relative newcomer to the sport I would welcome an objective analysis so I can form a meaningful opinion that isn’t unduly influenced by my own or others’ biases.

  6. SkinBintin said on 7th September 2008, 20:34

    @Rohan, Fair enough… I take my comment back.

  7. Its always nice to have a race decided off the track… NOT! Thank goodness McLaren are appealing this but unfortunately we all know they will loose the appeal as well. Its been proved the cards are always stacked against every other teams, excluding Ferrari of course (and I am a huge Ferrari fan but this is clearly not a fair playing field any more).

    Winning at all and any costs is clearly everything, but its funny how it sometimes leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Massa’s penalty was 10,000 Euro’s but alas not Lewis’s. It’s interesting to note that Kimi has not received any penalty?! That says it all!

    My advice to Lewis, if I may be so bold, would be to keep your head down and focus even more mate. The championship win will be all the more sweeter.

  8. I like Guy’s idea for the article. Perhaps extend it to the past 10 years to account for the possible ‘Schumi’ effect. Though it could possibly already confirm what we all suspect.

    It was just racing. Neither driver was to blame, but the stewards decided to blame someone. Pathetic, yes. Racing incident, also yes.

  9. Obviously it doesn’t make a difference, but shouldn’t Kimi get the same 25sec penalty? May be only a formality but he was atleast 50% at fault.

    I am far from a Hamilton fan (he is my least favorite driver, I refuse to use the word ‘hate’ but I strongly dislike his attitude.)But this was clearly too far.

    I thought Nascar was guilty for spicing up the races with questionable “debris on the track” cautions, but this is far worse.

    How can you even take the championship seriously anymore?

  10. I am sick of the FIA milking Ferrari all the time. A good race spoilt by biased attitudes which are head this so called ‘sport’. Hamilton gave the position back to Raikonen who was the one that forced him off and overtook him twice to win fair and square. Its ashame Ferrari and the FIA cannot accept defeat gracefully.

    I think it has gone to far now this biased behaviour which has left a bitter taste in my mouth. Lewis, Mclaren and some of the other teams should really give the FIA a STERN CASE and a PUNCH and if the race is not given back to hamilton before Monza they should just boycott the next race.

    I was entertained in this race and was proud of Hamilton for his heroics, however it sickens me that when hearing his national anthem on the podium there is a plot in the stewards office to rid this talented drivers win and stunning drive for Massa who was not even in contention. Raikonen crashed out anyway.

    Shame on you Ferrari and FIA!

    it is a big shame that this sports is being brought into such redicle by this sort of shambolic decision.

  11. I for one am absolutely appalled at this decision. If there was any doubt in my mind over FIA favouring Ferrari it has completely disappeared now.

    Valencia springs to mind… both cars involved in incidents within the pits, one incident injuring and the other creating a potentially dangerous situation. Both incidents due to pit release. And what’s the best the FIA could think of? Fining a multi million pound budget team a mere 10,000 Euros (about 7,500 sterling).

    I for one hope that they appeal this decision using everything they have got. However i doubt it will do anything, after all the team appealing are called McLaren.

  12. @Steve – yeah, 10 years would be great, I was just a little hesitant about the workload for Keith :)

  13. I’ll second Rohan’s comments. There’s precedent for this. And Hamilton clearly gained an advantage by being closer to Kimi than he otherwise could have been.
    Kimi did nothing wrong defending going into the chicane – he had the line and didn’t need to allow Hamilton past.

    I don’t think this penalty can be appealed – so expect the see the court throw it out

  14. I have come to the conclusion that Lewis will be prevented from winning the championship. Real F1 fans know that stripping Lewis of his brilliant win is nonsense. Give it up Lewis and walk away, you don’t stand a chance.

  15. i think giving up position after cutting the chicane means a full car’s length immediately, not racing him down the start/finish straight. i dont like all the penalties, but Lewis was not playing by the rules. as far as Ferrari favoritism, what about the team orders incident in Germany, i think it was, when Heikki let Lewis by? or when Lewis took Kimi out in the pits in Canada? lets all calm down about the conspiracies.

  16. What a crab!!! I´m same lines with Dan M that I don´t like Hamilton very much.
    It think Hamilton got advantage but to give this kind of punishment is BS!!

  17. Steven Roy said on 7th September 2008, 20:47

    A complete travesty

    Anyone who thinks Hamilton was struggling to make the chicane should watch the onboard camera view http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70rXr2Mkq_M You can see he made the right hand part easily and is going to take the left hand part with no difficulty until he turns on to the grass to avoid a collision. The idea that anyone can gain an advantage in traction on grass is ludicrous.

    Kevin,
    My first thought was also Dijon and I posted elsewhere that the video should be sent to the stewards to try and induce a mass coranary.

    Lewis was part way level with Kimi’s left hand side going towards La Source. He lifted off to allow Kimi to pass then went completely behind him and attacked him on his right. What more could he do? McLaren spoke to Charlie Whiting at the time and he said it was fine. If the race director is happy with it why are the stewards involved?

    The comments of those who think the decision was OK remind me of the time Schumacher parked his car in Monaco. The people who thought he was wrong were discussing steering inputs, the car slowing and an then not slowing anymore and the Schumacher fans were saying Michael wouldn’t do that and ignoring the evidence. Someon who is in favour of this decision needs to put a coherent comment up defending it rather than saying we are all McLaren fans. Standing chanting four legs good, two legs bad is all well and good so long as you can explain whya and have the slightest idea of the definition of a leg.

  18. NDINYO said on 7th September 2008, 20:49

    #29 James these are the rules that were applied to convict poor Lewis:-

    These are the parts that the stewards quoted as being the ones that outlaw the chicane and why after overtaking in the chicane the driver should cede back the position:

    “30. a) Duri g practice a d the race, drivers may use o ly the track a d must at all times observe the
    provisio s of the Code relati g to drivi g behaviour o circuits.”

    AND

    “2 (g) The race track alone shall be used by the drivers during the race.”

    This part explains the 25 second penalty

    “16. The stewards may impose a y o e of three pe alties o a y driver i volved i a I cide t :
    a) drive-through pe alty. The driver must e ter the pit la e a d re-joi the race without stoppi g ;
    b) te seco d time pe alty. The driver must e ter the pit la e, stop at his pit for at least te seco ds
    a d the re-joi the race.
    c) a drop of te grid positio s at the driver’s ext Eve t.
    However, should either of the pe alties u der a) a d b) above be imposed duri g the last five laps, or
    after the e d of a race, rticle 16.4b) below will ot apply a d 25 seco ds will be added to the elapsed
    race time of the driver co cer ed.”

    As you can see, Lewis did not break the rules as phrased.

  19. David Watkins said on 7th September 2008, 20:49

    I feel so empty after this entirely predictable decision. Hopefully the appeal court will draw a line in the sand. If they don’t then McLaren should just boycott Monza. What is the point of risking one’s health if you’re just going to be cheated out of what you’ve earned. How can these people sleep at night?

    Desperate day for Formula 1. As damaging as Austria 2002(?) and Indianapolis 2005. Yet the arrogant, unaccountable halfwits continue to inflict their madness.

  20. > Luke <

    There were no team orders, that’s been establised and put to bed.

    Heiki said himself it was is own decision to let Ham past…

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