Hamilton and Raikkonen’s Fuji clash – the penalty they got wrong (Video)

Lewis Hamilton made a rash mistake at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix – but did it deserve the drive-through penalty he received?

Or to put it another way, has a driver ever got a penalty for forcing another driver off the track before?

After losing the lead to Kimi Raikkonen at the start Hamilton dived down the inside of the Ferrari driver to re-pass him at turn one. He clearly out-braked himself, and locked his tyres hard, forcing Raikkonen wide and onto the tarmac run-off.

Predictably, there’s nothing written in the rules about it. Article 16.1 of the sporting regulations allows the stewards to penalise drivers for forcing each other off the track.

But we’ve seen drivers force each other off the track many times in recent races, but I’m struggling to remember an occasion when anyone has been penalised for it. Hamilton wasn’t penalised for it with Timo Glock at Monza, nor Kimi Raikkonen when he forced Hamilton off the track at Spa.

It’s hard to see how Hamilton deserved a penalty for the move. And the precedent it sets is extremely strange:

Raikkonen out-braked himself at Monaco and took another driver out (Adrian Sutil) but didn’t get a penalty. So the rules seem to state that if you force a driver off the track and out of the race, you don’t get a penalty, but if you force another driver off the track and he stays in the race, you do get a penalty.

Where is the logic in that? Once again the FIA stewards have rendered a baffling verdict that leaves themselves open to accusations of inconsistency and favouritism.

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193 comments on Hamilton and Raikkonen’s Fuji clash – the penalty they got wrong (Video)

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  1. It looks like both McLarens forced Raikkonen off. Hamilton started it, and Kovalainen finished it off.

    But I agree Keith, when has there ever been a penalty for someone forcing another driver off?

  2. Gusto said on 12th October 2008, 7:11

    Well ive gone and seen it all, penalty for that, and then Bam Bam skittles him of tha road, and looks like he may get a Bam Bam ticket for thinking Boudouis was a mug. think ill join the new viewers there looking for and only watch it for the crashes. Absolute Joke, bring on the clowns the circus is in town.

  3. qazuhb said on 12th October 2008, 7:12

    I think Lewis really deserves it for stupidity alone… but yes, there are no precedents for this type of incident (except of the many precedents of the FIA setting new standards when Mclaren and Ferrari are involved.

  4. Gusto said on 12th October 2008, 7:14

    May God strike me blind I swear i,ll never spend another penny on F1

  5. the unwritten rule just got rewritten;)

  6. audiq7 said on 12th October 2008, 7:21

    Hamilton is really cracking under pressure like last year at the same point. Raikkonen is not playing anymore championship so why overdriven to overtake him at the first corner !!! Unbelievable.

    Need to be confirmed but on TV there is yellow flag indication when he is overtaking Massa.

  7. Filipe said on 12th October 2008, 7:21

    Well, Hamilton deserved if not for forcing KImi for the amount of dumb stuff he did on this start.

    The worst thing for him is that this should make the pressure over him worse.

  8. mail123456 said on 12th October 2008, 7:22

    12 months ago Kubica and Massa make a good show forcing each other out … and also this time it was first corner incident … every time it looks more and more stupid from the stewards

  9. I’ve already proposed the theme – should McLaren continue to race? This is the only team that races against rival teams AND FIA … or rather FIA races against McLaren >:-(#)

  10. Robert said on 12th October 2008, 7:26

    It is just amazing to me how this blog is so biased towards Hamilton. “The penalty they got wrong”? C’mon, there isn’t a global conspiracy against Hamilton or something, just stop crying.

    Both drivers, Felipe and Lewis, were not so good at the start of the race. If both had been more careful, they should’ve had better positions. But still, you gotta give credit for Felipe’s race on the second and third stint’s. Hamilton just disappeared at that time.

  11. 12 months ago Kubica and Massa make a good show forcing each other out

    Never mind 12 months ago, in this race Kubica pushed Kimi off the track when they were battling for second and he didn’t get a penalty (rightly).
    No way did Hamilton deserve a penalty, it was a stupid move no doubt but as others have pointed out, it happens every race in the first corner and no-one’s been punished before.

  12. Are you guys complaining about the enforcement or the rule itself? It is in the rules that the stewards can enforce an penalty if a driver forces another driver off the track under 16.1 The stewards can then impose one of three penalties 1) drive through 2) ten second penalty or 3) drop of ten grid positions… except in last five laps
    It is looking like history repeating itself with Hamilton trying too much when all he needs to do is finish in points. Kubica may be the dark horse who wins as Massa & Hamilton incur penalty after penalty in next two races

  13. Hamilton is a PlayStation pilot. If everything goes smooth, he wins. But as soon as something goes unpredicted, he just goes mad. He threw away this race. He was pole and championship leader for God’s sake!
    With Ferrari so bad this year, HAM+McLaren should have already won this, but they can’t. The problem is that probably they will not win… again. It’s sad that the F1 championship candidates are so mediocre this year.

  14. Internet said on 12th October 2008, 7:35

    As a F1 and motorsports fan, I am just glad we have someone that goes for the win every time whatever the cost rather than playing the percentage game and settling for points.

  15. Kimi says that he was actually hit by each maclaren, in turn… If by “forcing off the track” the FIA actually mean “nudged off the track” then the penalty becomes a no-brainer.

    It was a stupid move, so bad that he needed some fresh rubber even without any massa-related pirouette.

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