Drivers as stewards make presence felt as Hamilton gets black-and-white flag

CommentPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The stewards said Hamilton's defence from Petrov was too aggressive
The stewards said Hamilton's defence from Petrov was too aggressive

Lewis Hamilton was shown the black-and-white flag during the Malaysian Grand Prix for weaving in front of Vitaly Petrov. He didn’t receive a penalty, but was warned not to repeat his actions.

It’s been a long time since anyone was shown the “unsportsmanlike driving” flag – and its appearance in today’s race is a sign the addition of experienced racing drivers to the stewards’ office is having an effect.

There is no written rule on what a driver who is defending his position is allowed to do. But it’s generally accepted they are allowed to make “one move” off the racing line and a subsequent move back towards the racing line as they approach the next corner.

Hamilton obeyed this principle when he first passed Petrov at the end of lap five. Then Petrov re-passed him.

But when Hamilton got past the Renault driver again at the end of lap seven, his defensive tactics clearly went beyond what is normally accepted.

As they crossed the line to start lap eight Hamilton crossed from the right-hand side of the track over to the extreme left, pausing briefly on his way, then came back across to the right, back over to the left again, and then to the middle of the track.

This clearly went beyond what the “one move” rule allows. Here’s how Hamilton explained his reason for moving around on the straight on the radio during the race:

I wasn’t weaving for him, I was weaving to break the tow.
Lewis Hamilton

I think what we’ve seen today is the benefit of having experienced drivers assisting the stewards. Driver-stewards have been introduced for the first time in F1 this year. Today it was Johnny Herbert’s turn, and with 160 F1 starts and three wins to his name he knows the sport as well as anyone.

Drivers like Herbert are far better placed to make a call about whether a driver is attempting to run their rival off the track or simply trying to stop them getting the benefit of the slipstream.

Rapping Hamilton’s knuckles without ruining his race with a penalty was the smart thing to do – particularly at a time when so much attention is being paid to overtaking in Formula 1.

When it comes to overtaking, rules and technology stack the odds heavily in favour of the defending driver. The defending driver can have a car that’s two seconds per lap slower and aerodynamics will help keep the chasing car behind.

On top of that the “one move” rule – with its liberal interpretation which allows drivers to return towards the racing line after making their defence – makes it even harder for a car to overtake. Consider that in some series, such as IndyCar racing, drivers aren’t allowed to make defensive moves and are ordered to give up their position if they do.

But I do wonder if the stewards’ decision leaves us with one problem: drivers may now think they can expect to get away with one act of weaving per race with just a warning.

What’s your take on the penalty? Also, can anyone remember the last time the black-and-white flag was used in F1? Have your say in the comments.

2010 Malaysian Grand Prix

Image (C) Renault/LAT

333 comments on “Drivers as stewards make presence felt as Hamilton gets black-and-white flag”

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  1. I think it was handled well.

    It previous seasons we would of seen a pointless penalty or drive through which would of wrecked the race.

    1. I agree. It didn’t even look dangerous as Petrov was simply following Hamilton and not attempting to pass at that point.

      Stewards made another good decision by not penalising Vettel for overtaking Trulli under yellow flags too.

      So far, having ex-drivers involved seems to have made a huge improvement :)

    2. Yes it would wrecked his race, but it is ok to wrecked someone else race ! You British should be more fair and apply same rules to everyone. I can bet u if would another way round all brit would make big problem of it !

      1. I’m tired of hearing this ‘you Brits are all biased’ rubbish. We’re no more or less biased than any other nationality and I can think of plenty of British people on this site who dislike Lewis Hamilton.

        The truth is that one misjudged act of weaving did not ruin Petrov’s race, whereas a drive through penalty would have deprived us all of Hamilton’s magnificent run.

        The fact remains that there are plenty of biased F1 fans who say they want wheel to wheel racing, but look the other way as soon as their favourite drivers commits some kind of indiscretion, or scream for a rival to be given a drive through the second they do anything vaguely suspect.

        1. Interesting to hear Vettel got away with passing under a yellow flag, right at the end with the Lotus, even though Trulli waved him through.

          Its nice to see the stewards don’t need their power fix and give out constant penalties. Having drivers on the panel is clearly a wonderful idea.

          1. The presence of a former driver as a steward doesn’t necessary prove that the idea is making the difference – far too early to tell.

            The stewards’ decisions in Malaysia (letting Hamilton off with a warning, not penalising Vettel’s yellow flag offence) were absolutely correct, but we don’t know how much of that was actually due to Johnny Herbert. It’s entirely possible that the stewards could have come to the same conclusions without an ex-driver present.

            There are signs that we can be optimistic, but co-relation does not prove causation – especially after just three races. I reckon it’ll take at least a season (and perhaps a bit of insider info on the impact, if any, of the ex-driver stewards) to be able to tell whether it makes a real difference.

          2. Jarred Walmsley
            6th April 2010, 8:51

            That was because Trulli’s Lotus was dying and so the only sensible thing to do was go past, and also it was lapping which I believe is different from what it would have been if both drivers had been on the lead lap which Trulli wasn’t even before Vettel passed him.

        2. polishboy808
          4th April 2010, 21:46

          Hamilton’s magnificent run? It was luck, not all of it but most of it. I’m tired of hearing Lewis this, and Lewis that. He’s like the Britney Spears of F1. Everybody talks about every single one of his moves. ‘He broke up with his girlfriend’, truth is, nobody watching f1 cares. When do you hear about Kovalainen’s life, or Buemi’s? Speed, the channel that play’s f1 in America, Constantly talk about Hamilton, and even if he is doing nothing, and there’s a battle going on somewhere else on the track, they will show him and say, ‘look at that magnificent driving’, as he goes off. Now I’m not saying Brits are biased towards Hamilton, but I’m saying that he is over rated. I saw the battle between Alguersuari and Schumacher shown one time in Australia, and as Hamilton was doing nothing spectacular at the time, we had an on-board camera, for about 2 laps with him. Why? Why do you think that there are two pages to this topic? Because it’s Hamilton. Truth is, had it been any other driver, the investigation would be much longer, or he would be immediately penalized. It’s time we turn the spotlight towards other drivers.

          1. If you’re tired of hearing about Lewis Hamilton, perhaps you should stop coming onto forum posts that are specifically about Lewis Hamilton.

          2. American_F1_Fan
            5th April 2010, 9:04

            Uhhhh polishboy, Hamilton can’t be the Britney Spears of F1, because Britney already drives for Mercedes GP!

          3. actually you cant say that. hamilton has been in tons of positions in the past where the stewards have penalised him for doing nothing wrong, when the other drivers (especially ferrari) always got away with things. at least now its fair. and also hamilton is’nt the most focused on driver in F1. It’s actually schumacher because he’s a 7 timne chamo. and your comment about how in australia we followed hamilton round for two laps wen summit excitin was goin on well. the bbc always do tha and so did itv but always with different drivers to show how they each handle the track and corners even if there is other stuff going on. although i do agree with you that no-one cares particuarlly about his private life and i think Nicole Whateverhernameis is dragging him down as a driver.

          4. Jraybay-HamiltonMclarenfan
            8th April 2010, 0:14

            Go away hater stop crying because Hamilton is good.

        3. Mike "the bike" Schumacher
          4th April 2010, 22:31

          “vaguely suspect”

          Don’t make me laugh, that was the most blatant disrespect of the “Drivers Code” that I can remember for a long time.

          The one move is not actually a rule but it should be.

          Surely breaking the tow from the other car is a defensive move and so should be included in this rule.

          1. To clarify, that wasn’t a comment specifically about Hamilton’s weaving manouevre. It was a comment about the biases of F1 fans and how they’ll have a different opinion of similar moves, depending on which driver it was that did it.

          2. His moves were almost comical, The black and white ruling was, just perfect,
            I don’t care if Hammy was doing well, It doesn’t matter, He did do the wrong thing, but saying that, It isn’t good for the sport to have itself sanitised.
            Oh and the Black and White flags do work, notice Hamilton was playing very fair for the rest of the race.

            Anyone notice that Massa did something similar on the back straight of Melbourne? (not quite to the same extreme though.)

        4. You are biased. If Michael Schumacher had been the culprit the condemnation would have been deafening. However, given that it was Hamilton – he who lies to stewards and is given to behaving like a brat – you Brits have eyes only for what you say was “Hamilton’s magnificent run”.

      2. I’m not british…….I thought it was a great decision by the stewards……..Lewis should not have done it, but it was not dangerous, and did not effect (at that stage) a passing opportunity……As a result, warning the driver (whoever it is) for their behaviour is the right move…….Why destroy a drivers race in those circumstances……
        As for Seb passing a backmarker under yellow, the passing rule is there to stop drivers still racing under yellow. Had the stewards done anything, there would have been uproar. The drivers ensured safety on the track and also the safety of their cars…….

      3. @P,

        Another arrogant opinion that thinks that this is a nationality issue. To be honest in most cases the British sports fans are some of the most knowledgeable and unbiased in the world. You may note that pretty much every British sports fan for instance thought Maclaren and Hamilton were entirely wrong to lie to the stewards last year in australia and you will be very hard pressed to find a British fan that is not willing to admit that Alonso, Vettel, Schumacher etc are very good race drivers.

        I personally welcome this new common sense approach from the stewards and I am loving the fact that drivers are no longer being punished for simply racing. The last few years have been very dark for stewarding where they have punished practically every overtaking move by what has seemed like inventing new rules and interpretations as they have gone along. Hamiltons weave was a bit dramatic but the Petrove was not making an overtaking move at the time so Hamilton was not really blocking. He did not ruin anyones race as Petrov was highly unlikely to make any move stick. To prove a point too, there was a situation in the last race that you may have noticed where Hamilton was taken out by an overly aggressive Webber and his race was truly wrecked as he may well have got past Alonso. However most British fans were more than happy to see Webber getting just a warning. I for one would much rather see my favourite drivers getting taken out my racing mistakes than the old stewarding that punished them from even trying to overtake.

        Also if it does lead to drivers breaking the rules a bit more (thinking they can get away with minor rule breaks) then this is a far better situation than races being decided by stewards after the race by using rules that are not even published for public consumption! Race driver stewards are in a great position to decide if someone has made a genuine mistake or are purposefully ruining other drivers races.

        Also @P, Did you see Massa weaving in a much more dangerous manner in front of Button in australia? Also did you see many British fans calling for Massa to be punished?

        1. Polishboy808
          5th April 2010, 2:19

          No, because what u, i geuss did not understand is that it is not about nationality, it is about f1’s drama queen hamilton. I never said anything about britts being biased towards british drivers. I said that i think they are NOT biased towards them, i said that much of the world is biased towards HAMILTON!

          1. Not P either
            5th April 2010, 10:34

            Now whos the drama queen, i think the @P text was directed at the poster “P” and not “Polishboy808”, notice the subtle difference ?

        2. But Massa didn’t even weave in front of Button?

          1. I suggest that you watch the Australian GP again then….

          2. I suggest you stop confusing Button with Webber, then.

          3. Massa didn’t weave in front of Webber. Webber weaved behind Massa, feigned to try to pass. Brundle made a typically snarky comment, but it was directed at Webber, not Massa.

          4. @Kirk- thanks for the info.

          5. Any chance we can get footage?

            My impression was that Massa was weaving, but not nearly as much as Hamilton did…

      4. It’s odd people get cross when there is no racing action and a boring race and then get cross when there is racing action and a relatively entertaining race.. Hamilton’s move clearly wasn’t illegal, but was ‘unusual’ enough for stewards to make a sensible intervention. Vettel’s ‘pass/overtake’ was again more a warning to drivers to be very aware of any overtaking under yellows.. it’s clutching at straws to develop either into a slanging match about national biase etc

      5. I do agree on both fronts. It was a good decision, and yes if Petrov or (dear I say) Michael Schumacher did what Hamilton did, it will only take the will of God to hold back Martin Blundle from talking to Charlie Whiting himself.
        Martin could not say it was a fair move or not and was more confused on an answer when asked if Schumacher did that, what would the outcome be.

        I wouldn’t say brits, but certain brits would be a good suffice.

      6. If you are that biased against our own apparently biased perspective, why do you read the comments of a British website?

    3. I disagree as this was clearly, clearly not a blocking maneuver but rather a “I don’t want this guy to get a draft on me down the straight” maneuver which is fine. There is no imminent danger involved and waiving a flag during the race screams weakness and boring. It was a smart move on Hamiltons part. If he was blocking I would completely agree but he was just not doing that at all. The first half of a straight is no place to sit there and help set the other guy up. I’m sure Vitaly knew what he was doing and didn’t feel it was dangerous or against any regulations. Poor move.

      1. Agree totally. Petrov was more concerned with getting a tow than pulling an overtaking move.

        1. Just saw a clip, and by the way, Vitaly gets alongside on the run into the turn, I’m sorry, but it is clearly dangerous.

          Do you actually think Petrov wasn’t trying to overtake him?

          1. not while he was weaving.

            Hamilton didn’t weave at all in the breaking zone, which to me should be fine. Its entertaining to see people actually fighting for position rather than just sitting there and watching it happen.

            ayrton senna was the king of this. watch some of his old videos and you’ll see he used to squeese people nearly off the track. It was “fine” then in F1’s golden era it should be the same now.

    4. Like next year?

  2. It was a bit silly but no where near as dangerous as what Massa did to Webber in Melbourne weaving about in the braking zone.

    Glad to see Stewards haven’t made any stupid penalties now drivers are onboard with the panel.

    1. It was a bit silly but no where near as dangerous as what Massa did to Webber in Melbourne weaving about in the braking zone.

      Great point Tommy!

      1. Thanks, it’s more a talking point simply because it’s Hamilton who always causes controversy.

        Nothing ever came up on Massa’s driving in Australia, Funny as he is often the one having a go at other drivers.

        1. Scott Joslin
          5th April 2010, 21:52

          Massa also nearly pushed Hamilton off the track at Turn 3 at the start in Bahrain, but no one made a fuss about his dangerous driving either.

    2. Was it really weaving or just that Massa’s tyres were in a really bad shape and he couldn’t control a slide?

      1. Saying that is almost a worse excuse as saying something like Lewis was warming his tyres in front of Petrov :P

        1. I agree Tommy, and was wondering why nothing came up regardinging Massa in Melbourne for the move. It was very close to the turn-in for the corner, ans if they had collided, it could have been very serious, and there were a lot of other cars around at the time. The track was also damp, and no doubt the while lines, which Melbourne has a lot of, would have been very slippery.

          Now while it was unusual to see a driver weave like hamilton, he did it for the majority of what must be approaching a kilometre-long straight, and once he was into the breaking zone, which is where the weaving becomes dangerous, he stuck to his lane, as it were.

          But yes, a warning was fine, and he knows now not to do it again, but a penalty would have been harsh.

          1. Agreed. Especially when you consider how he pulled away from Petrov after defending his position. I bet Bernie loved every second of that. :)

          2. Whether Hamilton was faster or not doesn’t come into it….

      2. Yeah, as webber tried to get along side to Massa’s left MAssa’s car ‘slid’ to the left, then as Webber tried to get along side Massa’s right Massa’s car slid the right on a part of the track that is almost straight. No, it wasnt realy weaving, it was blatant blocking !.

    3. Webber smashed into Hamilton! I would say it is just an accidental racing incident involving tire wear and an earnest interest in making a race of it. Be glad that they are trying despite the lame aero problems we have these days.

  3. David Johnson
    4th April 2010, 14:50

    Weaving is very different from breaking the tow. Proper racing over robotic time trial racing surely…

    1. Yeah, I watched the video again, and I think the difference is that Hamilton started each change in direction and Petrov followed.

      Rather than Petrov repeatedly trying to come out from behind Hamilton with Hamilton blocking, which is obviously unsafe and against the rules, it was Hamilton trying to not be in front of Petrov with Petrov repeatedly trying to fall back behind him.

      In a way he was doing the complete opposite of blocking by trying to give Petrov a clear road in front of him.

      1. I think so too, when I saw it I thought every time Hamilton moved Petrov followed, so it didn’t look like blocking. But I guess he deserved the penalty because only one move is allowed along the straight..

  4. Hmmmmm Hamilton thinking “outside of the box” which nearly gets him into trouble again. Shouldn’t of done it but lets be realistic about this and know he won’t be able to do it again in the future without some sort of punishement to show for it. Same applies for the other drivers.

    But somehow I don’t think Renault are going to let this go without a few grumbles.

  5. I think if we see more of this occurring it will quickly be relayed during a driver’s briefing “no more”.

    I wouldn’t be too worried about this setting a precedent, I do think they’ll crack down on it if it becomes prevalent.

  6. I don’t remember anyone making this much of a deal about a Ferrari weaving in Australia to present a pass. In that case, the red one changed directions twice to block a faster car, clearly preventing the overtake.

    Watch this incident again, and watch Petrov keep following Hamilton. Given that Petrov made no atempt to actually pass him, you could argue equally well that the Briton was trying to pull out of the way of the Renault driver, so why then should he be warned for moving off line to allow the car through?

    But I guess you’d need to be able to look at things objectively to be able to answer that one, and when it comes to stories like this, objective analysis usually takes a back seat to just having another opportunity to complain about the big bad Mclaren man.

    1. What are you on about?

      The whole purpose of weaving is so that Petrov can’t get a tow and can’t overtake – so the fact that he wasn’t able to is definitely not proof that it didn’t stop overtaking (it’s opposite).

      But don’t let me get in the way of your ‘objective’ analysis ;)

  7. I think it was a good decision – they let McLaren know that kind of behaviour isn’t allowed but as this is the first time in the season Hamilton did it he was left with warning. He did zig-zag a lot to avoid the same move that Petrov pulled on him lap earlier so it was all right to ”penalize” him. It will be interesting to see what will happen when another driver does the similar thing – was this black and white flag a warning to other drivers as well or will their first punishment also be a warning.

    And I must say it is great to see the return of the various racing flags that exist in the rules but are seldom used – we saw black and orange flag last season and now black and white.

    A good call and it could have to do with having a former racer among the stewards.

    But is the word of the former driver outweighing the voices of other judges? I already heard cries of favoritism because both Herbert and Hamilton are British.

  8. Can’t believe I’ve missed, what seems to be, a nice race! After reading your take Keith, I believe the steward’s decision to be fair but also do not want the drivers to believe they can do what Lewis did.

    Instead of this being interpreted by drivers as something they can get away with, it should be considered a warning. Also, with the introduction of assisted stewards, they should watch out for many of the unwritten rules.

  9. It’s great to see the difference the input of the drivers make in stewarding decisions :)

    I think this was the right decision, if Petrov had been making the moves first and Hamilton blocking them that should be a penalty, but as this was Lewis moving first and Petrov following it’s just part of racing. I do it all the time in racing games to try and stop people getting a tow on me hehe.

  10. chaostheory
    4th April 2010, 15:05

    When I was watching the race it didnt look to me like someone did something wrong, so I was surprised to hear Hamilton received a black-white flag. It looked like Petrov was desperately trying to keep himself in Lewis car stream, and the Briton was desperately trying to shake him off of his back. So there should be no warning or both drivers should have been warned, not just the one in yellow helmet.

    1. Weaving like that is dangerous, and by now we all should be aware that he was just trying to break the tow,

      But we should also be aware that weaving like that is both dangerous, and unsportsmanlike (hence the black and white flag)

      Why the hell should Petrov be warned?
      Are you suggesting him being reprimanded for trying to use the faster Mclarens slipstream?

      1. sorry, but petrov was also weaving. there is no distinction between trying to get a tow and trying to shake a tow, both drivers were snaking down the straight. if petrov had the intention of passing hamilton on the straight he would’ve done so, he didn’t. petrov was positioning himself to out brake hamilton into the corner.

        it’s racing, and i’m glad it’s back!

  11. Bad decision in my opinion.

    Now we have a precedent that making multiple moves won’t give a driver a drive through.

    Lewis said that “I wasn’t weaving for him, I was weaving to break the tow” but in my opinion, that’s total nonsense. I think it’s completely irrelevant what was (or what he says was) his intention. He had another driver trying to overtake him and he took multiple moves.

    Towing has always been part of Formula1 and other drivers haven’t tried to “break it” as Lewis did. I wonder how Lewis reacts if in next race a driver in front of him “breaks the tow” and thus prevents any chance of overtaking.

    1. Well no, if another driver had done it in race he would have got the warning. But now if a driver does it in another race he’ll get a penalty. Breaking tow has effectivley been outlawed by this desision. No driver will be stupid enough or stewards leniant enough to make the rule, weave once an i’ll get a warning. Now it’s weave an probably get drive through.

      So the law has been layed down in a unclear area of the regs with a warning for future an no controversy. Brilliant.

      1. “But now if a driver does it in another race he’ll get a penalty.”

        What makes you think so? Wouldn’t that in fact be unfair? This precedent says that first time a driver make multiple moves in a race he gets a warning.

        Excluding this case, I think driver stewards is a great idea. Fantastic job so far, if we don’t count this case.

        1. No the precedent set is the warning. In race, it’s a warning. But as he was warned an the drivers will be warned next briefing, doing it again will merit punishment. Now that the race is over all drivers must consider themselves warned in future. Otherwise why even warn him?

          1. Because he might have done it again in the race (in fact that is very likely).

            If a player gets a yellow card for touching the football with his hand in football, that doesn’t mean everyone touching the football in the future will get a red card.

            I’m not saying the situation is identical, but it doesn’t seem logical that everyone in the future would get a drive-through for making more than one move just because Hamilton got a warning once.

          2. Well put hot err,, nice name ^^

          3. Jarred Walmsley
            6th April 2010, 9:06

            Hotbottoms, that is a completely different scenario, as the hand balling is something that is quite clearly covered in the football (soccer) rules, whereas the weaving done by Hamilton wasn’t clearly covered, by giving a warning to Hamilton and I imagine warning all drivers in the drivers briefing at China they are laying down the law. So, what Hamilton got wasn’t equivelant to a yellow card it was a talking to, and in the future any driver will get a penalty or in keeping with your football analogy a yellow card

          4. no hotbottoms, thats because footballs rules are even more unclear than f1’s

            its a non contact sport, but most of the time grabbong eachother in the box on a corner, or shirt pulling is accepted…. only sometimes people get yellor/red cards for it, but only sometimes, when one reff actually does a good job….

            i think we can safely say the problem is not the actions of the drivers, its the actions of the rule writers. If it’s not black and white, it just wont work.

            The “grey” areas in regulations also led to this double diffuser which is “against the spirit of the rules” and has killed the overtaking oppertunities the aero mods in 2009 were meant to produce.

          5. if the rules were clear there would be no “against the spirit of the rules” instead only “against the rules” which could be punishable without question.

            that stands for driving rules, and design rules.

            (sorry for the double post)

    1. Did you see that incident in television? Vettel almost stopped his car to avoid overtaking in that turn, but Trulli did so also. Vettel didn’t have any other chance but to overtake.

      1. Trulli went very slow, it looked as though he was trying to let Vettel past, correct decision by the rule makers again,

        Brundle (I think) noted they were both being too polite in trying to let each other go first, And I suspect that like him and myself, Trulli may have not realised he was racing under yellow flags at the time….

  12. Sush Meerkat
    4th April 2010, 15:09

    I’d forgotten how camp Johnny Herbert was, brilliant to have him back.

    This shows another point to the races though, that Renault is good at following other cars, but its not good to follow.

  13. What a load of crap.
    The “one move rule” is in regard to blocking a driver attempting to overtake as it makes it more dangerous. You could easily say Hamilton was moving out of the way to allow Petrov to overtake as it was very clearly Petrov following Hamilton, not Hamilton blocking Petrov.

    What Hamilton did has nothing in common with any of the previous weaving calls we have had in years, seems like sour grapes that Hamilton once again is willing to think outside the box when others didn’t.

    1. I agree 100%. Finally someone who actually watched the race! I would add that if the maneuver that Lewis executed was warned against, why was Petrov not warned also when he executed the exact same maneuvers?

    2. No, it’s not about being ‘dangerous’, it’s about being sporting. Or, in this case, unsporting.

      1. Can someone post a link to what Petrov supposedly did?

  14. Keith, I disagree that drivers will be allowed some sort of a “one act of weaving per race”.

    The next time Hamilton does it (even if it is the first time in that race), I am pretty sure he will get a drive-through. A repeat offense will and should be handled strictly.

    But a welcome decision nevertheless.

  15. Correct decision. A bit naughty, but entirely fair by Hamilton, but not something he should be encouraged to do, hence a warning being the right penalty. At least he wasn’t weaving in the braking zones, unlike Massa in front of Webber in Australia (and there wasn’t any action for that, so at least there’s been some consistency). It looked as though Hamilton really was just trying to break the tow, and it was Petrov reacting to Hamilton’s changing of lone, not the other way around, which would of course been more of a transgression.

    Meanwhile Vettel gets away with overtaking under a yellow flag:
    Again, sensible decision, because he was lapping the Lotus and it wasn’t done dangerously. I just wonder what the uproar would have been had it been another driver? Hamilton? Schumacher? Alonso?

  16. For a long time I have known exactly what the problem with stewards is – they represent the governing body and it is in their interest to make the races as ‘exciting’ as possible.

    Today was a good example of this. Hamilton clearly deserved a penalty for performing several dangerous swerves in front of Petrov. However, he didn’t receive one and there’s one reason for that.

    Had the stewards given him a penalty, we wouldn’t have seen him chasing and overtaking the cars in front. The penalty would have dropped him back in the field and we would have missed the opportunity to see this former world champion racing through the field.

    The penalties themselves can provide excitement and interesting twists to races, but in this case the excitement that a penalty for Hamilton could have created was far outweighed by the excitement of him making his way into a points paying position.

    Until we see a truly independent body of stewards, poor decisions like the one today will keep on happening.

    1. Yes, let’s have tedious races, nobody should dare to try bending the rules a bit. More FIA bureaucracy please!

      1. So, according to you it’s okay to risk safety in the name of not having ‘tedious races’ ?. That’s nonsense.

        1. The question is whether Hamilton’s weaving *was* dangerous and this a safety issue. I don’t think so and I seriously doubt anyone else directly involved did.

          1. He wasn’t weaving, more drifting across the track followed by an aggressive change in direction (or three). I thought it was an absolutely stunning piece of driving, both from Hamilton and Petrov – well done what a show! (but please don’t do it again)

    2. The thing is, Hamilton was trying to move away from Petrov. Petrov followed, so Hamilton moved away again. It’s different compared to Hamilton moving in front of Petrov had Petrov moved away from behind Hamilton first. The only way a collision could happen is if Hamilton braketested him, or Petrov misjudging how close he is to Hamilton.

    3. It is precisely because we had race stewards who were politicos and not drivers themselves, that we did see so many poor and intrusive dicisions which interfered with the racing on track. This year every race will see ex-F1 drivers joining the 3 race stewards to give a realistic drivers opinion. Thus today’s good decision.

      There was nothing dangerous about Hamilton trying to break the slipstream tow. Petrov wasn’t pulling alongside Hamilton and they weren’t passing any other cars. Over-zealous stewarding was deciding races off the track instead of letting the drivers race. Today we saw a good example of the reversal of this trend.

    4. For a long time I have known exactly what the problem with stewards is – they represent the governing body and it is in their interest to make the races as ‘exciting’ as possible.

      I don’t think there’s a serious amount of evidence to support that. On the other hand, look at the races and Spa and Fuji in ’08 and you have plenty of evidence the stewards do the exact opposite.

      1. Historically some of the decisions made by the stewards have made them look like they were just pompous, overbearing, nincompoops drunk from the success of rising to the frothy top of the club hierachy. The antithesis of Johhny Herbert in fact.

        Thank god that era is over then…..and good riddance to it (and him – you know who).

  17. I think that’s a good decision. Don’t know why I think that, but I just do.

  18. “drivers may now think they can expect to get away with one act of weaving per race with just a warning.”

    This is my only concern.

    1. I don’t think the decision to issue a warning rather than a penalty is a free pass to do this once a race. If a driver receives a warning about poor driving then continues to drive in that manner a penalty is then on the agenda. And I’d expect the stewards to consider driver behaviour over the balance of a season, not just race to race.

  19. I think Martin Brundle on the BBC got it right: Hamilton wasn’t blocking Petrov so nothing should have been said or done. Petrov wasn’t making an attempt to pass, therefore Hamilton was well within his rights to try and ‘break the tow’. Had we seen Petrov jink out behind Hamilton and Hamilton following suit, then Petrov jinking the other way and Haliton moving again, then, yes, that would have been one move too many. This case clearly had Petrov reacting to Hamilton, not the other way around.

    1. “This case clearly had Petrov reacting to Hamilton, not the other way around.”


      1. James Alias
        4th April 2010, 18:41

        Great cheeky move by Petrov though, I’m beginning to like him already! ;)

        1. spot on, the first respectable decision by the stewards in years :)

          more fuel for the blind hamilton haters that can’t see he’s the most exciting of the top team drivers out there :P

    2. If Petrov wasn’t attempting to pass then why was he desperately trying to stay in the slipstream?

      A pass encompasses more than just driving around a competitor – it is getting a better exit from a corner, closely following a rival out of the corner, and then gaining track position before or into the following corner.

      Lewis going out of his way (swerving is not optimal) solely with the intention of disrupting the tow (i.e. interfering with the pass) is definitely unsportsmanlike. Which is why he got the unsportsmanlike flag.

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