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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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. Rob,

    I doubt drivers are going to be cautious about overtaking..

    If it was so, after Spa : we would have seen boring races.. drivers are willing to take the risks

  2. Once again Lewis has screwed the pooch, apparently believing in his own invincibility. Did he deserve the penalty? Absolutely not, but he also should not have put himself in the position to be arbitrarily penalized by the Stoopids.

    This does not bode well for the last two races.

    As for Massa, what’s left to be said? Can’t wait for the Stoopids decision on his contact with Bourdais. The reality is it shouldn’t be penalized either way, a racing incident. No doubt there will be a sanction against Sebby of some kind.

  3. Obviously Lewis made a hash of the 1st corner but I think to receive an equal penalty to Massa is unjust. If Lewis deserved a drive through (which was harsh) then Massa should have received a 10sec stop and go (not sure if the rules list this as punishment?).

    I am a big Lewis fan but he did make the mistake and let himself down. Being behind Kimi wasn’t the end of the world as there is every chance he had the pace to win it later on in the race.

  4. The decision to impose a penalty for Hamilton was bizarre. It’s one thing punishing someone for doing that during the race but this was the first corner. When talking about chicane cutting penalties, it was mentioned about Alonso gaining places by going off the road at the start in Singapore, but this was ignored because it was the first corner. And rightly so! With 20 cars all bombing into the same corner at roughly the same time, several cars abreast, it’s to be expected that there will be outbraking, slight nudging, running wide etc. But has there ever been a penalty for it before?

    Let’s take the blinkers off and look at the 2 incidents without the prejudice of who people want to win. How those 2 incidents can be punished in the same way is utterly baffling.

    Brundle had it spot on when saying that we’re getting paranoid about penalties. And that’s the fault of the FIA. I’d much rather see most incidents (first corner, Massa v Bourdais) be classified as “racing incident” without penalty, and the punishment be given to obvious punting of others off the road (Heiki v Kimi at Spa and Massa v Hamilton today). Now every little incident is being scrutinised to the finest detail to the detriment of the sport. And we can’t be far away from teams appealing for penalties claiming precedent. Let the drivers settle it on the track.

  5. It will be interesting to see if Hamilton can throw away a third WDC in 2009

  6. This is just surreal, Bourdais penalised, Massa gains another point.

  7. It will be interesting to see if Hamilton can throw away a third WDC in 2009

    Well, is better to wait and see if he throw away this one. HAM still has a good advantage and the rivals (Ferrari) are not the best in consistency this year.

    A 1-2 ferrari in the next two races could seal the title for Massa. Difficult to think about that; this year is a roller-coaster season for every team/driver.

    I love to see Alonso putting some more emotion for the title contenders!

  8. Being a Hamilton fan I’m sure I could be considered biased. That said reverse the incidents today, and say Massa had done what Hamilton did at the start, I would NOT have deemed a penalty fair. On the other hand if Hamilton had done what Massa did, then I would have thought Hamilton well deserving of a penalty.

    IMHO the stewards only penalised Hamilton to ‘even thuings up’ as they had to penalise Massa.

    F1 stinks at the moment. IMHO rotten to the core. Give the title to Ferrari, just get it over and done with.

  9. This website is becoming H1fanatic instead of F1fanatic. After every race I see you crying on this blog. Hamilton is making stupid mistakes like last year.

    Today, as we saw Alonso let Hamilton pass (while Hamilton was lapping) because it makes no sense to hold Hamilton. If it was Hamilton, he was going to fight. Hamilton has no brain in his head and has not learned lesson from last year.

    Hamilton has nothing to do with Kimi now. He needs to focus on his own game and just keep ahead of Massa. But he will ruin his own chances of winning championship.

  10. Oh, and Massa gains another point due to Bourdais penalty!!! Clearly this is laughable. Shocking decision. Ferrari tinted glasses again.

  11. Also look at Hamilton and Alonso in Spa 2007–Alonso pushed Hamilton off the track (and onto asphalt runoff) right after Turn 1, and it was even more blatant since Alonso was fully in control of the car–no locked wheels. Today had two terrible decisions by stewards.

  12. Rahzam – I call them like I see them. I’ve explained above why I think it wasn’t a penalty. If you don’t think so then tell me why you don’t agree. But don’t give me this ‘you’re just biased’ nonsense, give me hard facts and a proper argument.

  13. Keith, you say HAM made a mistake but didn’t deserver a drive-through penalty. So what penalty would you have been OK with then?

    Or is it ok for title competitors to make “mistakes,” take their competitor out of the running and carry on?

    RAI was mathematically still in the running, in fact given that RAI lead the race at the start, we would potentially have had an identical situation to last year going into the last two races.

    Mistakes that impact other drivers have to be penalized, surely. The question is what penalty applies that’s below a drive-through in terms of impact to the mistakee?

  14. Keith

    I am regular reader of this blog. And I see these types of comments after almost every race. I like to be F1fanatic instead of H1fanatic. It is really boring to read these types of comments after every race.

    There is no use to argue with you. I will say something and you will write something. I just want F1fanatic type of things.

  15. What about the pass of Massa to Webber????????
    He passed him using the pitlane!!!!NO PENALTY??
    What about Bourdais??Where he was wrong, He was punished just because massa is unable to overtake…
    And of course You can’t punish someone for agrressive driving.
    In china stewards will punish Hamilton for being too silvery…

  16. The penalty seemed fair enough to me – sure, he didn’t hit anyone but that was purely by luck rather than judgement. He could have caused a major pile-up through his rashness.

    Until the Bourdais penalty came through, I was thinking the stewards had done a good job this race.

  17. There was no big accident in first corner only because Kime is fair and clean driver. If he would be guy like Hamilton or Schumacher he could have knocked out both McLarens, and Massa would have been on lead after 1st corner. Hamilton knew that he had no chance to stay on track, he made it on purpose and that´s penalty was right. First time I heard he agreed that he made mistake, only what he don’t agree is that they got same penalty with Massa.

    Penalty is right if driver makes dangerous movement on purpose.

  18. Navs – no penalty. Just like Raikkonen and Sutil at Monaco, it was a racing incident.

    Rahzam – “I will say something and you will write something.” Yes, it’s called having a discussion. If you just want a site where you can slag off people who don’t agree with you there are plenty of those already.

    Eddie Irvine – Massa did nothing illegal at all by using the pit lane exit. It’s 100% legal.

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