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)

  1. Internet said on 12th October 2008, 7:36

    Also what’s the record for the amount of penalties handed out to a single driver in a season? Hamilton has had quite a few this year.

  2. Cameron aka. SkinBintin said on 12th October 2008, 7:38

    @Robert. I don’t think this post has been spawned from Lewis favouritisim, but from the FIA’s blatant inconsistancys.

  3. What happened to Hamilton after the first turn? It seems as if he came out of the first corner in third. Then after the crash when the cameras catch up with the front runners he is back down fighting with the Ferrari’s?

  4. All these penalties are becoming a bit tedious, James Allen is literally ‘I wonder If that warrants a look from the stewards’ at anything.

    China is going to be equally as messy I feel.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th October 2008, 7:40

    Kate – good point I’ve fixed that part (I really should have remembered that after writing this!)

    I’ve said many times before they should penalise drivers for pushing each other off the track but it’s never been enforced before. From Schumacher on Hakkinen at Spa, to Hamilton on Glock two races ago, there have been loads of incidents that have gone unpunished.

    It’s the same old story: we can debate the rightness or wrongness of a particular rule, but it’s totally pointless until we start to see some consistency from the stewards.

  6. I’m sure I remember a battle between Hamilton and Alonso last year where Alonso forced Hamilton off the track. Ive been on call all night so my memory is a little fuzzy. I tried trauling youtube to no avail. Anyone else remember?

  7. They penalise Lewis for pushing Kimi off, they penalise Massa for hitting Lewis. Where is the inconsistency?

  8. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th October 2008, 7:45

    DC – Loads of people have pushed other drivers off the track and not got penalties – until today. There’s the inconsistency.

    Also, Hamilton didn’t hit Raikkonen, whereas Massa hit Hamilton (and went off the track to do it) so we’re really talking about two very different incidents. That’s why I wrote two separate posts: Massa and Hamilton’s Fuji crash – the penalty they got right (Video)

  9. Gougou said on 12th October 2008, 7:45

    At Spa Hamilton had no chance to overtake Kimi, he just brake too late at chicane (I was there watching very near). He made same mistake today and caused very dangerous situation, it´s not racing, it´s dangerous driving

  10. I agree with you, he shouldn’t get a penalty here.

    But Massa also, shouldn’t have got 1 for his move on turn 10

  11. Brad P said on 12th October 2008, 7:50

    Rob – a battle between Hamilton and Alonso last year where Alonso forced Hamilton off the track

    They both were as bad as eachother the whole season, only Alonso didn’t keep a cool head..

  12. Gusto said on 12th October 2008, 7:53

    Spa 07, Alonso does a deliberate force of the track, no problem its racing, Lewis outbreaks himself drive through, Iam sick to the back teeth with F1

  13. What struck me more than all the drive-through penalties, was the fact that Hamilton tried to win the race in the first corner by a rather silly outbraking manoeuvre, and Massa trying to keep is hopes alive a few corners later. Not World Champion-like driving, that.

  14. I hope Kubica wins the championship, Hamilton and Massa have both made too many mistakes to deserve it.

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