Trulli penalised, Hamilton takes third (Update: Video of Hamilton’s pass)

Lewis Hamilton has been promoted to third place in the Australian Grand Prix after Jarno Trulli was handed a 25-second penalty by the stewards.

Trulli’s penalty, for overtaking Hamilton during the final safety car period, relegates him from third to 12th.

Hamilton had taken third place off Trulli when the Italian ran off the circuit. During the confusion following the deployment of the safety car after Vettel and Kubica’s collision, Trulli re-took third place from Hamilton.

I’m disappointed to see the stewards bring such a harsh penalty on Trulli. If he overtook Hamilton unfairly under the safety car, it’s entirely clear what the consequence of that misdemeanour was, and the punishment should be for him to be relegated to fourth behind Hamilton.

Giving him a 25-second penalty is especially unfair in this context as the race finished behind the safety car, and so it dropped Trulli many more places than it would have done had the races ended normally.

Toyota are apparently readying a protest. It is Trulli’s second penalty of the weekend, the first coming for Toyota’s rear wing infringement during qualifying. Despite starting in the pit lane he drove an excellent race to finish third on the road.

The full revised Australian Grand Prix standings are here: Australian Grand Prix result

Update: Added video of Hamilton passing Trulli,. courtesy of F1 Zone

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141 comments on Trulli penalised, Hamilton takes third (Update: Video of Hamilton’s pass)

    • hitchcockm00 said on 29th March 2009, 11:50

      That’s a terrible decision.
      How can Kubica say that Vettel was being optimistic. He was defending his position. It was Kubica who was being optimistic by assuming he was in front going into the corner when infact they were side by side.

      Losing the chance for a podium was punishment enough.

  1. Daniel said on 29th March 2009, 11:42

    Im A Hamilton Fan And I Feel This Is Harsh!!

    I Would Of Dropped Him To 4th Not 12th

  2. TommyB said on 29th March 2009, 11:46

    Trulli should have been dropped the place down not all the way to the back. What an amazing drive from Lewis.

    Would of loved to have seen Jenson and Lewis on the podium together, just to see how they acted together

  3. Kershan said on 29th March 2009, 11:46

    I do think the penalty is harsh, as the time penalty is not really appropriate after or during a safety car period. However, I don’t agree that Trulli should just have been given 4th back. The punishment has to be greater then the potential gains, otherwise people would break the rules more often as there would be nothing to lose. I suppose also, a driver’s “legal” position on the track would have a bearing on everyone behind him – i.e. was Glock denied a challenge on Trulli because of Trulli’s misplacement? In the circumstances I would have said a 3-place penalty is appropriate; the stewards have to be seen to be consistent in their penalties, but discretion must be used in unusual circumstances such as the race effectively finishing behind the safety car.

    • Indeed; there’s a safety angle, after all. The penalty should be harsh enough to discourage opportunistic overtaking, just in case it happens near the accident site (or, in case of extreme wet weather, anywhere).

      Still gutted for Trulli, though. It’s the difference between a team that is used to running in front and a team that is newly competitive — the former would have polished off their act in situatinos like this.

  4. NDINYO said on 29th March 2009, 11:52

    As a McLaren fan who has had to learn to live with the letter of the law, i would say Trulli gets what he deserves and so do the two Brawns upfront for using legal diffusers. I hope the April 14th appeal fails and i hope by then McLaren will have a modified diffuser ready.

    Keith, if Toyota are appealing, what are they appealing against? Are they appealing the punishment or the rule?

    • Williams 4ever said on 29th March 2009, 17:52

      Diffuser isn’t a component that can be modified and deployed in isolation. It needs substantial redesign and with no in-season testing thats not possible. The rival teams realize this and have gone on protest rather than quick modification of their own component

  5. David said on 29th March 2009, 11:55

    Trulli drove well but Hamilton was much better driving a far worse car. Either way, Trulli messed up twice by himself, first failing to keep the car on the road, second taking back the position without checking the legality of the move. Unlike incidents during the heat of racing (such as Spa where LH received the same penalty and lost the race after handing back the position!), Trulli’s pass was under the SC with time to think about what he was doing, check with his team, the race director, etc. Just daft.

    • John H said on 29th March 2009, 12:00

      Indeed. I hope that people don’t start knocking the stewards about the Trulli decision, because Toyota really should have read the rules and known better. I wander what they are actually appealing against?

      With regards the Vettel decision however… please bash away!

  6. Patrickl said on 29th March 2009, 12:01

    From this account I’d say that’s an incredibly dumb move by Toyota and Trulli. Again (rear wing failure).

    But then maybe Hamilton handed the place back to Trulli? Hamilton might have thought he overtook during a yellow flag. Still Toyota should have known better and/or cleared it up with the stewards.

    Annoying that the camera’s missed this one. Would have liked to see what happened.

  7. martinb said on 29th March 2009, 12:02

    Trulli didn’t gain a racing advantage because they never raced after he overtook.

    I think the stewards should use a bit of common sense here and just drop him back to fourth.

  8. pSynrg said on 29th March 2009, 12:03

    I have to agree with Keith, dropping Jarno back behind Lewis should have been enough. But we have been clamouring for consistent application of the rules and a 25 sec penalty is usual at this point. Just unfortunate for Jarno it was shortly after the SC.

    As for Lewis, well he as acted like nothing other than the reigning WC in a dodgy car. Brilliant consistent hard driving and saying all the right things before and after the race. Maybe this way his detractors will start to see him for the brilliant deserving WC that he is.

    • Paige said on 29th March 2009, 12:25

      Echo what you said. If you analyzed the lap times, Hamilton was running extremely well, way beyond the apparent capability of the car. He got every single ounce of pace out of it that he possibly could. He overtook six cars on the track before the first safety car, he drove brilliant laps to keep pace with Rosberg (who was in a superior car) and put distance on the drivers behind him to position himself for the points through the 2nd pit cycles, and he kept pace with Trulli (again, in a superior car) on the super-softs. He was absolutely mistake free and just cooly and calmly picked his way through the field and did exactly what he needed to do to get points.

      McLaren had a great strategy for him that worked out brilliantly, but a major reason why it worked out brilliantly is that Hamilton turned in far and away the best driving performance of the day. Anyone who wanted to see him “prove” himself in an inferior car got Exhibit A of the evidence of the evidence today. 4th was an amazing result for him as is, but to get a podium and get 6 points is just tremendous. It gives him and McLaren a cushion while they work to improve the car.

    • David said on 29th March 2009, 12:55

      Well said Paige.

    • Williams 4ever said on 29th March 2009, 17:57

      As for Lewis, well he as acted like nothing other than the reigning WC in a dodgy car.

      Back it up Jack.. to early to say.. I remember when Alonso drove Dog of a car in last year’s Oz GP into points, his detractors were the first to point that race was chaotic and he merely took benefit of chaos around him, doesn’t prove to wring dog of a car into points ;)

    • Jay Menon said on 30th March 2009, 2:05

      Not taking anything away from Lewis, he did drive pretty well. The first 10 laps looked spectacular because he was on the Super Softs, not many in the rear end were running that and he also managed to avoid the melee round turn 1. After that, he was pretty much hanging on, he benefitted from the first safety car period, made some ground as he had stopped earlier. It was a steady drive. Keep in mind that he only got to the podium thanks to 3 cars dropping out on the last lap!

      Anyways, its the first race, I felt it was a bit of a mess, great fun though. I think we’ll start to see a clearer picture come the next couple races.

  9. John Spencer said on 29th March 2009, 12:04

    My post on this was eaten by an Error 500 – Internal server error. A sign that F1Fanatic is swamped at the moment, perhaps?

    Anyway, others have made my point – yes it is harsh, but:

    (a) The stewards had a limited range of punishments available to them (reprimand, fine, 25s time penalty or 10 place grid drop in Malaysia)

    (b) Time penalty punishments are always unfairly random unless you are more than 25s ahead of the car behind (er, in which case you probably wouldn’t get a 25s punishment)

    (c) This is actually harsher than a 10 place grid drop – if Trulli can manage 3rd or 4th from a pit lane start, a 10 place grid drop isn’t going to hurt much in Malaysia. The Toyotas had fantastic race pace today, which I guess makes the punishment hurt even more.

    (e) Are the stewards going to publish details of their rulings as Max promised for 2009? It would be interesting to see how they justify this penalty.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th March 2009, 12:30

      Sorry John we have got high server load at the moment which is causing some errors. And it’s not just here – I’ve had a hell of a job getting on Autosport!

    • Very good point about the limited options to stewards.

      Lewis also got a 25-second penalty at Spa last year. It cost him 4 points. For Trulli; it is 6 points.

      I won’t say it was Toyota’s fault. There was far too much confusion in the closing laps.

      Drivers were in a dilemma whether to overtake the 3-wheeled Vettel under the safety car too.

      Just a tad too unfortunate.

      But for a Lewis fan like me; yayayayayayaay :D :D :D

  10. pSynrg said on 29th March 2009, 12:11

    I think we’ve overlooked the fact that this makes it a Mercedes 1-2-3!

  11. todd said on 29th March 2009, 12:19

    yeah the fia have only 3 penalty options. its all fair. bit of bad luck for toyota this weekend, they were stronger than mclaren, started from the pits and out paced them.

  12. Aaron said on 29th March 2009, 12:23

    There was me thinking the FIA weren’t going to be so hard with the penalties this year.

    Sebastian Vettel has been given a 10-place grid penalty for the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend following his clash with Robert Kubica in Melbourne.

    Full Source:

    • Paige said on 29th March 2009, 12:30

      That’s a pretty ridiculous penalty. Kubica was the one who drove out of line in that case. Firstly, attempting an overtake into that corner is just madness. You don’t have enough straightaway to get a good tow and pull out. It’s even madder to attempt an overtake on the outside of that corner, as Kubica did. Secondly, it was Kubica who crowded Vettel and gave him now room.

      Vettel ran his line to protect his position. Kubica attempted the impossible and was extremely impatient when he was much faster than Vettel and could have pulled off an easier maneuver at a later point on the track.

  13. Talking about fair application of the rules… BrawnGP were awesome today, completely out performing the other teams…But did anyone else find it strange that Vettel could be penalized for causing the accident with Kubica (effectively for trying to hold onto an inside position which was “behind” the outside car in the braking zone) but Barrichello could get away with the same thing at the first corner off the start? He (Barrichello) was definitively behind Webber going into the turn, yet he did not yield the track position causing an accident involving 3 other cars, one of which was forced to retire. Yet no punishment…

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th March 2009, 12:35

      Barrichello could get away with the same thing at the first corner off the start?

      Barrichello was pushed into Webber by Kovalainen, and Kovalainen retired, so I’m not surprised there were no penalties there.

      But if we’re going to punish every ‘avoidable accident’ them Barrichello pushing Raikkonen wide and then passing him (lap nine) must surely qualify?

    • Mr Soap said on 29th March 2009, 12:44

      Keith – No, Webber says Barrichello hit him, Kovalainen says he hit Webbers front wheels while he was spinning.

      Replay on BBC agrees with that version of events.

    • Patrickl said on 29th March 2009, 12:47

      Kovalainen retired bacause Webber rammed his front wheel off.

      Barrichello was already on course to ram webber when Kovalainen tapped him from behind. Barrichello is just looking for excuses. But indeed that tap might have saved him from getting the penalty he really deserved.

  14. It is accepted as fair because the demoted driver was Trulli. I’d like to see reaction if it was Lewis…

    • John H said on 29th March 2009, 12:29

      No, I’m not happy with this comment. There was a very clear infringement of the rules here by Toyota, nothing at all left to interpretation.

      The controversy surrounding last year’s Hamilton decisions were because there were grey areas for every single one. But please let’s not go there again.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th March 2009, 12:32

      aa – I haven’t “accepted it as fair”. I said the punishment didn’t fit the crime.

    • Loki said on 29th March 2009, 14:30

      I’m a much bigger fan of Trulli than I am of Hamilton, but from the sounds of it this is all fair.

      And hopefully this kind of decision will stop paranoid fans scraming McLaren Witchhunt.

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