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. MacademiaNut said on 7th September 2008, 20:18

    If Massa wins the driver’s championship, he will feel like a sucker for FIA literally handing him over the trophy by penalizing every one else.

  2. I can’t believe how people are adding comments as if Kimi had the faster car.

    Surely Hamilton let Kimi take the place back, and overtook on the next corner. That is my simplified view that surely most occasional viewers would agree with?

    Unless there is a very clear explanation, of a move possibly off-camera, the sport has signed its death warrant.

  3. ceedas said on 7th September 2008, 20:19

    I’m not a Ferrari fan, but I really don’t like Hamilton either. Even so, this penalty does seem a little harsh, although I do think that Hamilton failed to give the place back properly, so perhaps some reprimand would’ve been more appropriate. Perhaps a big fine…? Anyway, it could all be overturned in a few weeks, so let’s not get too irate just yet.

    I think this appears worse though because there is still so much chatter about the pitlane fine that Ferrari received at Valencia. The GP2 pitlane incidents in Valencia and Spa have been deemed more dangerous than that of Massa because they were in the middle of the pitlane – Massa was at the end and the only danger was the safety and medical cars (the cameraman was in no more danger than usual really, he was well out of the way), whereas the mechanics jumped out of the way to avoid Senna yesterday afternoon. Just a bit of speculation.

  4. The issue is not how close to Kimi Hamilton was before going into the chicane compared to after it, but how close Hamilton would have been had he braked and taken the second part of the Bus Stop properly and not cut the corner.

    It would be physically impossible for Hamilton to have been as close to Kimi going into La Source had Hamilton not cut the second part of the Bus Stop, and as such Hamilton did clearly still have an advantage from cutting the corner, despite him letting Kimi back through. As such, I for one am wholly in support of the FIA’s decision to penalise Hamilton, as are a number of McLaren fans I know.

  5. Juan H said on 7th September 2008, 20:25

    Keith,

    I understand you are not happy; it has been a great end of the race, yet, I do believe Hamilton has again failed for not staying calmed…second position was again perfectly OK for his World Championship (we could say, “he was racing Felipe, not Kimi”). His temper again put him in trouble.

    Now, you asked why such penalty has been applied. I thought you might want to take a look to the blog of Marc Gene in the Spanish newspaper ElMundo, that I am pasting below. It is in Spanish, but yet you may get an idea. I know Marc “belongs” to Ferrari, but you may want to do some research on this matter. Marc defends that despite Lewis did allow Kimi to pass after not respecting the chicane, he should have let pass the next curve before attacking again, otherwise, he is taking advantage of the “rebufo” (sorry I do not remember the word in English now and I want to hurry up: it is something related to the “aspiration effect” of the previous car or alike). Whether or not this is correct, I do not know, but think about it.

    This is not to say that the stewards do not do what they want all the time regardless of the rules. In fact, many of us believe that happened often last year and you know what I am talking about. But that is an old story.

    In any case, congratulations to Lewis for an awesome race. The day he controls his temper will be unbeatable, I am afraid.

  6. Macademianut said on 7th September 2008, 20:26

    Even if they had given a drive through penalty, Hamilton would have won. He had a clear 14 second advantage over Massa!

    FIA just proves that they are stupid again.

  7. It’s one of those decision where you just don’t know where to start…

    And once you do start it’s difficult to know where to stop, either.

    Let’s all go watch Superleague Formula or something, shall we?

  8. SkinBintin said on 7th September 2008, 20:27

    @Rohan, I’d be of the opinion that you probably don’t know many McLaren fans. Because everyone I’ve talked to, regardless of which team they support, is as disgusted as I am. Well, apart from the Ferrari fans I know. They are all ecstatic.

  9. I’m no Hamilton worshipper, in fact I’m a closet tifosi if anything, but…

    I’m speechless.

    Actually I’m not at all, but it’s best I don’t write exactly what I’m thinking in the public domain.

    What an absolute disgrace. Hamilton deserved every one of those 10 points. If I wasn’t so morbidly curious as to see how bias the FIA can be on the Reds’ home turf, I’d turn off next weekend out of polite protest and disdain…

    Sadly the FIA website doesn’t have a general ‘contact’ email address, otherwise I would have sent them my tuppence-worth. *However*, they do have a contact for the site administrator, in case of “Any technical problems”… I thought it might be amusing if we could get the entire F1 world to email them and point out there *IS* a problem with their website – it says Massa won at Spa and Ham came third ;)

    admin@fiacommunications.com

    Ferrari
    International
    Assistance

  10. ninguen said on 7th September 2008, 20:28

    For me the penalty is justified. We´ve got the precedent of 2005 with Alonso and Klien, and in the post-race conference Hamilton recognised he used the cutting of the chicane to get right behind kimi to be in his aspiration.

    Given that, i would bet that if the incident would have been between sutil and nakajima, just to say someone wouldn´t been applied. It is applied with the interest to make the drivers champiosnhip more intriguing and nothing else

  11. Macademianut – the average time a speed-limited car needs to travel through the pit lane is 25 seconds, hence the size of the time penalty applied by the FIA (here to Hamilton & Glock, and in the past to Fisi, Liuzzi and many others). As such, had Hamitlon been given a drive through penalty, he would have been behind Massa and Heidfeld anyway.

  12. @ Keith
    > Raikkonen forced Hamilton off the track by swerving across the
    > front of the McLaren. Hamilton had been entirely alongside the
    > Ferrair [sic] going into the corner.

    Although I’m not sure whether Hamilton’s punishment was just or not, I do think you’re being too harsh on Räikkönen, here. He had the inside line on Hamilton, going into the final corner, which gives the corner to the Finn. Forcing a driver who’s trying to overtake you to the outside of a corner, is just as much ‘racing’ as it is to force the driver you are about to overtake to the outside.

    > A similar piece of driving at Eau Rouge or Blanchimont could
    > have lethal consequences.

    I’d say this is hardly the case anymore, because there’s 1,000 yards of run-off at both corners nowadays.

  13. ajokay said on 7th September 2008, 20:30

    Juan H,

    “I do believe Hamilton has again failed for not staying calmed…second position was again perfectly OK for his World Championship”

    So you’re saying you’d like to watch a motor RACING series where the guy who is in 2nd place has no interest in wanting to catch and overtake the guy in 1st place.

    Get out of here.

  14. Oliver said on 7th September 2008, 20:31

    They were side by side going into the corner, so what possible advantage did he get. If Lewis had not taken avoiding action both cars would have been out of the race if he had gone onto the grass. And I believe Mclaren consulted race control during the race.

    The is no point singing FIA and witchcraft. In my opinion, its not a lack of overtaking ruining the show, its the FIA and its inconsistencies that make a joke of everything.

  15. SkinBintin – being a Williams fan, I have little love for Ferrari, nor McLaren. So, fwiw not every non-Ferrari supporter with whom you have conversed is disgusted by the penalty.

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