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

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.

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

  1. JUGNU said on 18th April 2010, 10:44

    If FIA decides to give penalty than give it to both the drivers as i think Vettel also pushed Hamilton too far on the right when there was clearly lot of space. He did it on purpose.
    But i hope the results stay the same and there is no penalty at all just warning.

  2. Brian Baum said on 18th April 2010, 10:46

    Sheep wrote: “I’d say, racing incident, let it be.” Racing in the pits?

    • sheep said on 18th April 2010, 10:51

      It was during the race, so maybe ‘race incident’ would be a better way of putting it:
      if you’re complaining about racing in the pits, then surely you don’t like the way that Vettel overtook Hamilton in the pit lane?

      • Brian Baum said on 18th April 2010, 11:02

        Because of his wheel spin, Hamilton was behind Vettel and tried to get ahead of him in the pit lane. Driving beside Vettel was stupid and dangerous, and Hamilton should be penalized.

        • sheep said on 18th April 2010, 11:25

          At no point did Hamilton drive faster than Vettel, so you can hardly say he ‘tried to get past him’.

  3. Undoubtedly he should be penalised. Too many incidents that are controvertial with Hamilton. He needs to be thought a lesson. Dodgy Dodgy driver.

  4. JohnBt said on 18th April 2010, 10:46

    Hamilton must stop making obvious moves which do not favour him at all. Otherwise he drove well again. Pity Alonso’s jump start drive through, but still he stormed through to 4th. Overall the race was fantastic as the rain was just adequate to mess things up.

    • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 11:15

      Hamilton gets himself into positions where he needs to race to get a good result.

      I agree he should make sure he gets a good qualifying performance and make the right pit stop calls. If he can just cruise at the front like Button he would get himself in a lot less trouble.

  5. sainaa said on 18th April 2010, 10:48

    Hamilton is deserved a penalty. He’s been driving like a hooligan out there on the track. Twice he crossed the white line when he entered the pitlane and the first one was a slamdunk penalty.

    • James_mc said on 18th April 2010, 10:51

      By the same token though, Baricello left the track to avoid an incident in the first corner with his direction being similar to that of Hamilton’s dive into the pitlane, should he get penalised?

      And a lot of drivers, not just the ones overtaking in the pitlane entrance were jumping over the white lines in the pitlane entrance, +25 second penalties for Alonso, Massa, Vettel, Webber, Schumacher too?

      • marius van list said on 18th April 2010, 10:58

        What regulations say? I know about +25c when you drive out of pit and cross line…like Rosberg last year for ex….what when drive in? I don’t know…

  6. matt90 said on 18th April 2010, 10:49

    I thought the whole point of the 25 second penalty was to replace a drive-through if there wasn’t time to investigate an incident during the race. There was clearly plenty of time to make a decision during the race, which may have allowed Hamilton to drive the rest of the race accordingly. So if any penalty is given, it should be a fine or grid-drop at the next race.

    To be honest though, if a penalty of any kind were to be given it should be for Hamilton overtaking on the entry or Vettel squeezing Hamilton on the exit. The releases were nearly simultaneous, and Hamilton would almost certainly have been ahead of Vettel if he hadn’t had so much wheel-spin- the release itself was justified.

    If Hamilton is being investigated, I would have thought that Alonso should be as well- although I was just relieved to see him finally escape from Massa after the last few races. I’m not even an Alonso fan and its been annoying me seeing him held up by his team mate.

    • Vishy said on 18th April 2010, 11:05

      “I’m not even an Alonso fan and its been annoying me seeing him held up by his team mate.”

      Totally agree.

      • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 12:37

        Totally agree too, but on the other hand, it’s his own fault for ending up behind a slower Massa so often.

        • matt90 said on 18th April 2010, 17:23

          Fair point, but regardless of if the team says that the two drivers are free to race, it seems silly when particularly in Australia Alonso may have had the pace to get past Kubica and claim an extra position for himself and the team.

          • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 23:03

            In fact the team (Domenicali) said they are not allowed to race each other during the last stint.

            These days basically the last stint is the whole race. In a dry race at least.

  7. marius van list said on 18th April 2010, 10:53

    It was great driving by Hamilton. Anyway, he did dangerous drive in pit. Rules are rules. He can do more on track… not in pits. Vettel was dangerous as Hamilton getting in “game” there. Both should be penalised. And this should be done during race. Stuards were too slow for F1 today. They should be judging in snooker from next time maybe. From different hand now, it was not necessary to get second SC on track. It was at least curiosity. Few tiny parts on track… stuarts did not like advantage of Jenson, Nico, Kubica and Petrov… not good for show. Overall… I would give a penalty -drive “over” all stuarts team today. Race was great anyway:9!

  8. steph said on 18th April 2010, 10:54

    Massa and Alo been to stewards because stewards weren’t happy about Alo’s move on Massa in pitlane.

  9. Most of you are obviously biased fans…….Okay, so you argue that he was released late and was slow out of there, but why not just accept the fact the other guy was in front and not take such a risk of running equipment or unaware pit crew for a position? Id be startled if ANYONE did it, let alone the young and ambitious LH…. I mean, how many warnings will it take? Maybe till he harms himself or someone else…

    • Brian Baum said on 18th April 2010, 11:08

      I agree… it’s time to prove to Lewis that he has to follow the rules like everyone else.

    • Robbie said on 18th April 2010, 11:13

      As a Hamilton and McLaren fan I agree there. I just hope that Lewis is penalised with a grid place for the next race, not this one.

      Red Bull fans who are saying that it was Hamilton’s fault they didn’t do so well should listen to Christian Horner’s words – “we weren’t fast enough”.

  10. steph said on 18th April 2010, 10:56

    Brundle: I would penalise Lewis on grid in Barcelona. Reprimand Vettel.
    DC: hope no penalities but I think Martin was right

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

    • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 11:16

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

  12. Chris said on 18th April 2010, 10:57

    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.

    • Robert said on 18th April 2010, 11:49

      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.

  13. 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!

    • Vishy said on 18th April 2010, 11:09

      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!!!

    • Patrickl said on 18th April 2010, 11:28

      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 …

      • 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.

  14. Jacaru said on 18th April 2010, 10:58

    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.

  15. Mike said on 18th April 2010, 11:00

    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.

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