Hamilton’s pit lane dice with Vettel could cost him second (Update: no penalty)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Vettel and Hamilton banged wheels in the Shanghai pitlane
Vettel and Hamilton banged wheels in the Shanghai pitlane

Update: The stewards have given Hamilton and Vettel reprimands and no penalties have been applied.

The results of the Chinese Grand Prix may change as the stewards consider whether to take action against McLaren for an incident in the pits.

Lewis Hamilton was released alongside Sebastian Vettel during their pit stop – a move which could earn him a time penalty.

The pair even went into the pits side-by-side as Vettel moved alongside Hamilton on the way to the pit lane.

Replays suggest the cars were released at approximately the same time but Hamilton got away from his pit box more slowly. In the press conference after the race he said he had wheel spin on the damp surface in the pits.

What happened next was also potentially controversial. With Hamilton now alongside Vettel the Red Bull driver edged right, squeezing the McLaren dangerously close to the air lines of other teams’ pit boxes. Hamilton took a hand off the wheel and gestured at Vettel, saying afterwards:

He was pushing me a little bit to the right. We touched wheels.
Lewis Hamilton

If McLaren get a penalty for the pit lane incident it would likely take the form of a 25-second penalty which would drop him to fifth behind Robert Kubica. Or he may get a grid penalty for the next race at Catalunya.

Do you think McLaren should get a penalty? Should Vettel’s move be investigated as well? Have your say in the comments.

2010 Chinese Grand Prix

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364 comments on “Hamilton’s pit lane dice with Vettel could cost him second (Update: no penalty)”

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  1. Also, hate these stupid post race penalties… hire an extra guy to look into race incidents or something.

    1. They have the people there. Problem is they want to talk to the drivers, team and see the telemetry.

  2. No penalties should be awarded, I think. The pressure is on the lollipop man to not release his team’s car if there is another car coming down the pit lane within a certain distance. Yes, Lewis was released *slightly* after Vettel was, but the time at which Lewis was released, Vettel was still hidden behind the McLaren mechanics and possible even the #2 car itself. The Lollipop man had no way of seeing that Vettel had been released because he’d have been looking a) at the rest of the McLaren mechanics to see that they’d finished and b) down the ‘fast lane’ in the pits. When he was released, Vettel wasn’t there, hence: no penalty should be awarded.

    Another point, though: Vettel squeezing Hamilton towards the slow side of the pits with the air hoses and such: dangerous.

    1. totally agree chris, vettel had no need to squeeze hamilton. It was in the pit lane so there was a max speed limit so hamilton was never going to overtake. Yes, hamilton maybe should have slotted in behind but its racing.

  3. The second SC was a scandal! Debris was on pit lane, not on the track. It was done only to make it possible to the rest to join first three cars. The stewards and Charlie Whiting have lost anything in my eyes. It was set for Lewis Hamilton and for him only! I know you will probably disagree, but anyone who will try to give it a honest look will have to notice, that second SC was not needed on the track!

    1. Had Vettle and Webber ended up on podium would you have said it was done for “Red Bulls”?

      I do agree though that second SC was a total scam and was only there to bunch up the field again and make the race interesting…. for You and Me!!!

    2. Hamilton was between both Red Bulls during the safety car.

      By the same token you could claim that they did this to help Red Bull win the race.

      In fact Schumacher gained 70 seconds from that safety car and ended up close behind Rosberg again in P5. Did they send out the safty car to keep Schumacher from being embarassed too much?

      Or how about Alonso who was in P10 almost a lap down? Didn’t he benefit from the situation?

      Try to stay objective …

      1. Pretty much everyone except Button, Rosberg and Kubica benefited from the second safety car call. If it was a questionable call it certainly wasn’t for the benefit of one driver or team. And given that those three drivers all finished in the top 5, it wasn’t that big a hindrance for them.

  4. Hamilton has a green light to do as he pleases in the field. Riding alongside Vettel in the pits and, in his first pit stop, he entered the pits through the gravel instead of using the exit way. Did he overtake Vettel before crossing the finish line on a SC out lap?
    Also Button breaking too much on the safety car out lap was pretty amazing.

    I dont care much about them getting penalized but the special treatment Mclaren receives is hilarious.

  5. I am very surprised by the general view with this, They both got out at about the same time so there is no problem there, and when they were side by side initially there is still no problem, Because Hamilton got wheel spin so they became level by chance.

    But the issue should be with what happened next, Hamilton should have backed off, and forfeited the place. I don’t care if he thinks it’s his rightful place, you cannot be side by side in the pit lane, yes Vettel may have moved over on purpose, but he was in the pit lane where the cars should be driving and he was ahead, Hamilton was the one driving in the dangerous area, He should have backed off, and complained to the FIA later after the race. or even got his team to complain for him earlier.

  6. agreed with mike.

  7. when do we find out?? DOES ANYONE KNOW?

    1. As long as it takes. The stewards have quite a bit to discuss today.

      I’d rather the decision was slow and correct rather than rushed and wrong.

  8. I think the point deduction is more fitting, when they lose 5 grid positions thats just 5 spots he will end up making up the next race anyway.Shouldve just backed off. Overtaking shouldnt occur in the pitlane

    1. neither should be pushing a car into other teams’ space…. Vettel had a terrible race and can blame anyone, especially Lewis… Reb Bull are good at accusing McLaren of things… McLaren used to be the black sawn of racing unfairly penalised for “stunts” other teams got away with (Renault using “foreign” technologies was ok, but not in the case of McLaren and that “honest” guy Alonso)

      Look at what Alonso did to Massa when he yielding right in front of Massa when coming into the pit lane?

      Great job from Rosberg and the Brits

  9. I think Hamilton should be disqualified for all of his antics, that way it will be learned that the FIA will come down hard upon drivers and teams, that way maybe drievrs will start to do things right automatically rather than have it messy like it is now and having to sort it out.

    Button should at least be penalized/reprimanded for backing the field up at the hairpin as well.

    1. Lewis got penalised in his championship year for backing the field up but not in the Safety Car conditions when the cars were driving slow

      If you think Lewis should be penalised, what about Alonso (coming into the pit lane right before Alonso) and Vettel (pushing Lewis into Williams’ pit stop (with mechanics in it))?

      Great racing drivers will have many people annoyed by their style, yet would people watch this race and think of it the same way, if you took away all the overtaking by Lewis?

      Great drive it was!

      1. Vettel did not push Hamilton in the pitlane. Hamilton himself chose to drive alongside Vettel in the pitlane, endangering the mechanics.

        It was Hamilton’s actions alone that endangered the mechanics in the pitlane – to suggest otherwise is a desperate attempt to excuse Hamilton’s actions.

        1. watch the replay… he just steered to the right… watch the replay

    2. Yeah cause we want to see drivers just drive behind each other. Heaven forbid they actually try to overtake each other.

      So I agree that Schumacher should be banned for pushing Hamilton and Massa off track repeatedly. Hamilton should be banned for pushing Webber off track. Alonso should be banned because he pushed Massa off in the pitlane entry. Massa should be banned because he went through the gravel entering the pitlane (for his first stop). Webber should be banned for hitting Hamilton twice in Australia.

      I say we go through all the footage and find every instance where a driver defends his line and BAN THE LOT OF THEM!!!

      OK, I’ll top the insanity now. Sad fanboys just have that effect on me.

      1. I personally expect drivers to be behind each other when in the pitlane. I thought the rest of the world did too.
        Overtake when on the track!

        1. What if two cars start from the “slow lane” at practically the same time and end up side by side? Then what? Who should yield and why?

          There is a case for both. Vettel overtakes Hamilton in the fastlane which you claim shouldn’t be allowed. On the other hand Hamilton got away slower and thus was overtaken and then should yield.

          It’s not that easy to call.

          1. Vettel didn’t overtake Hamilton. He was released first, and when Hamilton got close to the fast lane Vettel was already ahead. I really can’t see how there could be an argument in which Vettel overtook illegally in the pitlane!

          2. They were relased with at best a tenth of a second in between.

            Which is perfectly understandable since Vettel had stopped the same amount earlier than Hamilton.

            When two cars go in, both wait 3 seconds and then go again. Which car leaves first? The lead car or the one behind?

            The main issue is that Vettel was still in the inner lane when Hamilton was released. So it wasn’t an unsafe release. That much is clear.

            Now the problem comes when Hamilton has too much wheelspin and Vettel is able to overtake him.

          3. BTW YOU were the one that said that overtaking in the pitlane should not be allowed. Hence my point that Vettel did just that.

            I’m not the one saying it’s illegal.

  10. Red Andy says:
    April 18, 2010 at 11:07 am

    As long as it takes. The stewards have quite a bit to discuss today.

    I’d rather the decision was slow and correct rather than rushed and wrong.


    Does that mean it will be today? in THE NEXT HOUR? or maybe tomorrow or the day after?

  11. Whether or not they were released together Vettel had nowhere to go. Did anyone expect him to slow down in the pit to let Hamilton pass? He could not speed up and Ham should have given way and got back into the pit lane. I can see a grid penalty for Spain. Hamilton is a good aggressive driver but this is another incident with him involved.

    1. He had a a good metre or so to his left though, didn’t he?

      Of course it’s another incident with him involved, precisely because he’s a good attacking driver. You can’t have racing without cutting things close, and with saftey as good as it is, that danger line is rarely reached, let alone crossed. Or shall we just feed Hamilton valiums before the race and wrap up everyone else in cotton wool? I notice Hamilton is dangerous (not that you yourself are saying that, to clarify) to people who don’t like him but other drivers pulling off similar incidents are barely criticised at all.

    2. There is no “but” in there.

      The line should be “Hamilton is a good aggressive driver which means he’s bound to get into incidents with him involved.”

  12. I am a big fan of Hamilton and believe he is a fantastic racer. But I think he needs to get his head right.

    Too many incidents today, not necessarily his fault but how many can be forgiven?
    – Cutting across Vettel in pit lane (he lost traction and track position to Vettel)
    – Pushing Webber off track at restart (even though Vettel might have a hand in it)
    – Cutting across pit lane again!
    – Racing in pit lane. He should have yielded when he realized it was dangerous.

    I think a penalty is due and he should suck it up and get his head right.

    However you have to admit he is a fantastic racer. Vettel and Hami were near each other at 2 different times on the circuit and watch the difference in their finish.

    1. “Cutting across Vettel in pit lane”
      – both had the same strategy and neither knew they were gonna pit at the same time – last second breaking and coming into the pits is what you do and that was far…. Alonso deliberately cut across his teammate Massa yet he’s been receiving almost no critisism – because there is not rule forbidding that

      “Pushing Webber off track at restart”
      – Hamilton had no way to go otherwise with Vettel on his left… Webber has been driving rather poorly all morning, but he has a big mouth however but needs to stop making so many mistakes (I like the guy though)

      “Racing in pit lane. He should have yielded when he realized it was dangerous.”
      – he was released at the same time as Vettel and neither could race with a speed limit (it’s illegal to race anyway).. Vettel later pushed Lewis into Williams’ pit stop space with people in it… that was dangerous

      yes he should have yielded but both were safely driving in a straight line until Vettel moved to the right pushing Lewis into other teams’ pitstops

      1. Yes we know you can try to make excuses for everything that happened. Thats probably why he wasn’t penalized yet and its still being discussed, as it wasn’t perfectly clear.

        What winds me up, its always Hamilton. When controversy pops up during a race, somehow, Its. Always. About. Hamilton.

        Yes, he always managed to get away with it without a serious incident. But ask yourself this – for how much longer?

      2. Yeah what is the rule about two drivers ending up side by side in the pitlane?

        I remember last year when Kovalainen and Fisichella going side by side in the pitlane and Kovalainen got the power down sooner and overtook Fisichella.

        Is it allowed for two cars to be side by side in the fastlane?

        1. Some places it is, some places it isn’t. I remember it specifically being said that at Monza, for instance, two cars were allowed to go side-by-side down the pit lane because it was wide enough to accommodate them.

          1. How about here then?


            Looks like plenty space for two cars to me.

  13. I know the article is about Lewis *but* I can’t beleive we are discussing whether Hamilton should be penalised, yet Button gets off Scot free for his move behind the safety car. And there barely seems to be any discussion about it ! Yet remember how Hamilton got roasted alive for the Webber/Vettel incident in Japan 2007 – which was far less dangerous IMO than Button today.

    And look while I think that Hamilton was being a bit cheeky & should have fallen in behind Vettel since he was clearly in front (and then this talk about Vettel driving into the side of him would not have occurred) it does seem a little like the Stewards pay particular attention to Hamilton (and Victoria Police too, but that’s neither here nor there :) ). I am not saying he commits more penalty-worthy offences than anyone else, but that for some reason others can get away with things Lewis can’t.

  14. Why some penalties are decided during the race and others afterwards??. If hamilton gets a 10 grid penalty could harm him harder that a drive through today. Is there any rule or is just the marshals’ call??.
    I would give both of them a penalty HAM for not backing off (and having a bad record already) and VET for making the situation more risky for the guys around him.

    1. agreed. they had tons of time to do that, now they need both drivers to apologise and pay some sort of significant sum (100k) to the FIA… taking away points and stuff is just too Mosley like – it would discourage racing or whatnot… similar situations can occur easily in Monaco when it rains (it was slippery everywhere on the pitlane, give he drivers a break and let them fight for the title)

  15. Any penalty for anyone would be over-harsh. Hamilton’s release was too marginal for neglect or intention to be concluded with any certainty. Vettel should have left Hamilton some room, but Hamilton could have also lifted. Webber being forced off was just as much Vettel’s fault. Taken into context, none of the incidents deserves an outright penalty, and if one does then they all do, for everyone, including Button’s handling of the restart if you’re going to punish for the Webber “incident” too.

    Racing incidents, and should be left as such. Certainly no penalty that changes the result of today’s race. After sensible stewarding so far this year, F1 doesn’t need to return to the ad hoc result alterations of the past, not in these kinds of incidents especially (if it was on the last alp and someone gained a position illegally, sure, but neither happened).

    1. this is racing baby! F1 is alive!

    2. The last Alp? This is F1, not the Tour de France. Pay attention! :P


    1. Calm down. It could be 15mins the way things are looking but possible more. It will be today

  17. My opinion on the 2 vettel hamilton incidents firstly on the way in to the pits and the way out is that Vettel was unnecessarily aggresive in both circumstances. On the way into the pit lane Lewis clearly pointed to vettel that going into the pits was his intention. When lewis got in front at the corner, vettel got a bee in his bonnet about lewis being in front, and vented this frustation from then on on lewis in the race. Lewis wasn’t released unsafely as vettel wasn’t in the fast lane of the pit lane at the time he was released, which is where the lollypop man is looking when they release him. Vettel then pushed him dangerously into other garages which is ridiculously dangerous. My opinion is that vettel should be penalized for this and there should be some clarification on giving way on the way into the pit lane.

    Then on release of the safety car when lewis pushed mark webber wide, this again was clearly caused by vettel (and the bee in his bonnet from the earlier incident).

    1. You need to watch the incidents again – Vettel is blameless in both. Your attemepts at shifting blame from Hamilton to Vettel are transparent and pathetic.

      1. You can’t blame Vettel for holding the position when Webber had nowhere to go when being on the right of Lewis. Lewis couldn’t go left to free up space for Webber either.

        Nevertheless, Vettel should’ve carried out going straight on the pit lane with Lewis behind him, and not steered to the right endangering the Williams’ mechanics. Watch the replay

    2. Lewis and Vettel were released at the same time. Lewis should have stayed behind (right behind, not on the side) the guy but then Vettel went right and pushed him aside into Williams’ pit stop. Look, Lewis couldn’t have overtaken Vettel since everyone knows you can’t do and risk getting a drive through straight away

  18. what! i like jenson but it seems to be him that responsable to the incident a the restart!
    hamilton is not responsable for every incident in the race.
    Hamilton is just responsable for all the greatest overtakings in this season.

    1. Amen brother Amen… They’re paid too much anyway, get them to donate money to charities and clarify the rules (luckily noone got hurt and we saw some of the best racing this year so far)… Hamilton can’t be held responsible for everything, the other drivers need to learn to think outside the box and show they can race (otherwise they’re just drivers)

  19. Caution the drivers and take €100,000 from their wallets… They had all the time in the world to penalise by subtracting seconds or giving drive-through or 10 seconds pit-stops



    yet Lewis is getting the stick again

    1. Yes, but as I said earlier, I doubt that Alonso did it deliberately as noone would be stupid enough to think that they could get away with it!

    2. stop shouting, your giving me a headache.

      an, er, the two things you’ve said there kind of explain why no ones talking about it in this thread about Hamilton and Vettle.

      1. “You’re” ;-)

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