Hamilton gets reprimand but keeps pole

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton's Montreal pole position will stand
Lewis Hamilton's Montreal pole position will stand

Lewis Hamilton will keep his pole position for the Canadian Grand Prix despite stopping his car on his way back to the pits to avoid running too low on fuel.

The FIA have issued a $10,000 fine for exceeding the maximum time allowed to return to the pits and given Hamilton an official reprimand.

The stewards’ statement read:

The team instructed the driver to stop on the circuit causing him to exceed the maximum time as defined in Document 15 – Race Directors’ Not to Teams of 11 June 2010, 19:06

Offence: Breach of article 15.1 of the 2010 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations
Penalty: Reprimand and a fine of $10,000

Article 15.1 of the Sporting Regulations simply says:

The stewards or race director may give instructions to competitors by means of special circulars in accordance with the Code. These circulars will be distributed to all competitors who must acknowledge receipt.

The radio message McLaren gave Hamilton told him to stop in order to avoid having too little fuel in order to give a sample after qualifying. This is required under article 6.6.2 of the Technical Regulations:

Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event.

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182 comments on “Hamilton gets reprimand but keeps pole”

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  1. Interesting decision. They decided to put another lap in that they didn’t plan for? I’m surprised they didn’t get a grid drop.

    1. That’s my thought, too, as I commented on the qualifying report.

      1. Spot on that lap was plan-B. Happy they didn’t spoil the race for us today but the crowd had something to cheer to see an F1 driver pushing his own car to the pitlane.

        1. Yeah that was a good spectacle. Reminiscent of the old days. It’s good to see the Stewards not caning the character out of the sport. It’s starting to get it’s soul back.

    2. I think Hamilton was lucky to get over the finish line with 8 seconds to go and just enough fuel to do another fast lap, so they went for it.

      This was a great spectacle, i would be really gutted, it if had been deemed to be a serious rule infringement and punished with taking his fastest time.

      This is exactly what i want to see, teams and drivers taking some risks and making it (or blowing it).

  2. If Schumacher did it instead…

    1. Same thing would’ve happened. If he did it in his Ferrari days, uproar would have been caused.

    2. an interesting experiment would be the following: during qualifying and the race, have 3 stewards locked in a room without any monitors and without any way of watching the action on track. When there is an incident, have somebody enter the room and describe to them the incident in generic terms – without mentioning which team or driver is in question. Ask the stewards what the penalty should be and hopefully get an answer that is not spoiled by the influence of who the driver or team is. I bet if this is the system that was in place, all of the penalties and decisions we have seen from the stewards would be very different, and would be straight-up interpretations of the rules.

      1. Glad Iam not the only one who thinks how different things would be in the cases offerrari/redbull/mclaren commited offence and got away with it compared to others doing it.

      2. I think thats a ridiculous idea, the situations are normally (not in this case!) far too complicated to attempt that, and they have to take into account all factors, not just straight sticking to the rules. In your own words, its an interpretation of the rules. And that is what it should be.

        1. Hence interesting experiment, an it is. Obviously impractical but do get off your high horse Henry.

  3. Well I’m glad he hasn’t been stripped of Pole, but it’s still a bit silly. Not in the spirit of motor racing surely? It didn’t affect what went on in qualifying and no one was harmed, or annoyed – infact it gave a lot of entertainment for the viewers!

    1. You seriously think that the FIA cares about “the spirit of motor racing”?

      1. I know the FIA don’t care about it. My comment still stands and it should be seen as questioning the FIA, rather than saying they usually act in the spirit of racing.

        1. don’t forget that the 1 laps worth of fuel was worth the diff between pole and p2. I thought they deserved a grid penalty. surprised he didn’t get one.

          Don’t blame FIA for acting within the rules. rules are there to be followed.

          Imagine if this is a precedent? Every driver wanting to stop on the track?

          1. Hello there, Lewis Hamilton hater

          2. @varun. Exactly. If it’s against the rules it’s against the rules. Period. Red Bull could’ve done the same and gotten P1 and P2 given the diffference the weight of that fuel makes. I think it’s kind of stupid they fined him rather than a (small) grid penalty. By fining him they’re basically sending the message that you can break/bend the rules and buy pole position. $10,000 means nothing to drivers who make as much as they do. What’s the incentive to follow the rules in the future? McLaren knew exactly how much fuel they were putting in the tank. I think it’s ironic that some are saying the fine isn’t “in the spirit of motor racing.” What’s not in the spirit of motor racing is knowingly bending the rules to see if you can get away with giving yourself a small advantage. I realize the advantage is very small, but in qualifying that’s all it takes… end rant.

          3. @Anon to say that you have to follow the rules period is being a Hamlition hater is stupid on your part and shows how idiotic your ideas are.

          4. Well, we have not forgotten how to make fuel loads adjustments, as we were using it 2 seasons ago.

            Lets see:

            1 Lap of fuel in Canada Means 0,0632 Sec advantage.
            1 Kg of fuel means 0,031 Sec advantage.

            Times made in Q3:

            HAM 75,105
            VET 75,373 +0,268
            WEB 75,420 +0,315
            ALO 75,435 +0,330

            Lewis Hamilton did not take pole because fuel load advantage. He just had an opportunity to make one more lap and he took it.

            He made a stunning lap, everybody who was watching Quali saw that incredible lap and he beat Red Bulls fair and Square.

            That pole was not about fuel loads, this pole is about Driving Skills and Driver Character… a pleasure to see still there is at least one driver who can make the difference.

            I found the penalty fair because there are safety reasons for not doing that, so a fine is ok.

            What I found a little bit naive is “reprimands”, from the moment nobody knows what does it means, or if there are some kind of possible future penalties for accumulating certain number of reprimands in a season.

          5. @IDR if he wanted to be legal he had no option to do the 1 lap. people don’t get that.

    2. Totally agree with you, deserved (if there is such a thing) pole but was a bit silly to run so low. They didn’t think they needed that last flying lap (with 15sec to flag).

      I’ve been scanning the internet ever since Quali finished trying to find news on this. IMO correct decision there had to be some kind of penalty

      1. If he hadn’t gone for a second lap on fuel he really didn’t have “available” he would been 4th and not 1st. FIA strikes again another stupid obvious rule violation gotten away with. This is rubbish. McLaren and Hamilton buys themselves a pole position.

        Rules outdated possible but they are still there and should therefor be adhered to.

        Disgusted. I hope he get jumped and stuck in traffic so he can’t take advantage of his P1 and soft tire position tomorrow and end up pushing himself to hard for a visit to the wall of champions.

        If they had DRIVEN the car in to pits at decent speeds I would congratulated him on a good quali but this is to much. Not deserved 1st place. Relegate to 4th which would been his position if you took away his fastest lap (last lap).

        1. Hello there Lewis Hamilton hater. The guy can never win with you guys right??

          1. Its one thing to be a hater, but its the rules and aerodynamic development for that pace costs far more than $10,000. How many reprimands can he get?

          2. hell there Lewis Hamilton butt-boy. The guy can never do no wrong with you right?

          3. Electrolite
            13th June 2010, 20:00

            “Hello there Lewis Hamilton hater. The guy can never win with you guys right??”

            “hell there Lewis Hamilton butt-boy. The guy can never do no wrong with you right?”

            Some pretty solid evidence how completely stupid both parties are.

    3. William Wilgus
      12th June 2010, 21:58

      It certainly DID affect qualifying—he was carrying less wight than he legally should have been (according to the rule of only so much time to get back to the pits). Therefore, he should have lost not only the pole, but at least a few places on the grid as well!

      1. 2 and half tenths though? Surely it didn’t knock that off? I’m no Hamilton fan, but after seeing that onboard lap…

      2. No he did not – there is only a requirement to have a liter left AFTER qualifying, not for an amount at the end of the fast lap.

        If you make a mistake in the lap after your fast lap, or miss the pitlane entry by celebrating your pole, and it does not lead you to block anyone, that looks silly, but it is not, should not, be a big issue. How is this really different.

        I would be much more upset if I found now, more than an hour after it finished, that due to some technicality, he was stripped of his pole.

        I guess they might have wanted to penalise the team and Hamilton a bit harsher, but did not want to alter the pole sitter after the fact.

        I would guess (hope) they talked to McLaren and told them that the reprimand meant that if this happened ever again, it would mean back of the grid for them. Oh, and if they please could put a bigger margin on their fuelling in the race too, to avoid communication errors :-p

        1. Indeed. Like if Hamilton or Vettel were got caught up in a pit lane race again it’d be treated much more seriously.

          1. Charlie Whiting said he doesn’t mind drivers racing in the pitlane …

            Just as long as they don’t push each other off the fastlane (or come very sideways out of their box)

        2. Fully agree with you on that. Those were epic images of Lewis doing an amazing lap, sitting up in the car and even pushing it.

          From comments made by Withmarsh, it is clear McLaren did not even plan this, but they had luck Lewis had the time and the fuel to do 1 more lap after Webber was faster than him.

          Also says, that the FIA checked. If it would have been deemed to be planned and systematic, they would have discarded the fastest lap.

      3. It wasn’t that Hamilton ran underweight – as far as we know, he didn’t.

        A mandatory fuel sample is taken from each car. If there isn’t any fuel to take then the car is deemed to have failed the mandatory fuel test (otherwise teams could run illegal rocket fuel and have the driver burn through it before it can be tested). Hamilton put in an extra lap at the end of Q3 which meant that he risked there not being enough fuel left in the car for the sample. McLaren therefore ordered him to switch the engine off and stop. There may have been a small weight advantage gained with running a lap less fuel but there doesn’t appear to be any question about Hamilton running underweight (which would be a clear cut, straight to the back of the grid job).

        The FIA appears to be taking issue with cars running without enough fuel to return to the pits. Cars currently run with fuel for an outlap, timed lap/s, inlap and fuel sample. If they could be run with just inlap, timed lap/s and fuel sample then there’s a small weight advantage – albeit one that could be significant on a track like Spa. Imagine the chaos of a qualifying session with cars stopping all over the place at the closing stages. In the wake of Mike Conway’s Indy 500 crash there’s also a safety issue to be considered.

      4. ‘legally’? – it’s in a FIA memo William.

        The fuel weight advantage would have meant he’s finish around a 100th ahead of Webber rather than 0.258 ahead. So you really think it’d be fair or good for F1 to send him a few places down the grid? For what? Being too good a driver?!

        1. Electrolite
          12th June 2010, 23:07

          That’s kind of what im saying.

          And in light of your post, Tim, I sorta take back what I said about the FIA being silly – I do see what you mean – if all teams started doing this is would be chaos!

          And Patrick I know they’re allowed to race in the pitlane – wrong choice of word on my part. I was just taking a mere example!

          1. Sorry Electrolite, should have said I agreed with you. Tim’s point is good too, I suppose yet again Hamilton has inadvertently (or not – but this time I think so) exposed a loop-hole that probably needs fixing, as Tim says for safety reasons, particularly at long circuits.

        2. Yer kind of following on from what Tim said, if they allowed teams to get away with this we’d get to the point where teams would run so little fuel that they’d all stop out on track after their final run in Q3, would be a nonsense

          1. Exactly. The other teams all seemed to be aware of this, as some of them stated immediately after qualifying that it was illegal. I’d be surprised if McLaren thought that what they were doing was totally legitimate, they just thought they could get away with it. In the cutthroat world of F1 though, you’ve got to know that the instant you do something that isn’t by the book the other teams are going to be crying foul. I think it’s right that there was a penalty, I just think it was the wrong penalty given the fact that $10,000 is pocket change to someone like Hamilton. It sends the message that you can buy pole. If you’re gonna buy pole it should be bought through millions in salary to Adrian Newey ;-). Either way though, hats off to Hamilton. That was a stellar lap, and I wish him the best of luck in the race tomorrow!

          2. We’ve seen other drivers return to the pits instead of putting another flying lap in because they don’t have ‘enough fuel’ in Q3 this season (even when they’ve not put a good lap on the board) – presumably they thought they’d get penalised for doing what Ham has done.

  4. Nothing McLaren can’t afford but still sucks. At least he keeps pole.

  5. Great stuff, awesome lap, awesome driver. A joy to watch and so glad it’s been kept. Well done Lewis.

  6. Hold on a sec – “If it was Schumacher” – Two years ago they’d have pulled Mclarens pants down, slapped they’re backsides and relegated him to the back of the grid.

    Massa’s unsafe release in 08 comes to mind …….

    1. Which of the two? Valencia or Singapore?

    2. The person who asked “If it was Schumacher” was referring to the fans reaction, not the FIA’s.

  7. Oh good, another reprimand. Interesting that the last time this precise offence was committed, both the offending drivers (Hamilton and Kovalainen, Malaysia ’08) were put back five places on the grid.

    Stewarding this year seems on the whole more lenient but certainly no more consistent.

    1. Strictly speaking, it wasn’t the same offence, since the maximum lap time rule didn’t exist in Malaysia 08, indeed, it was create after that race to avoid a repeat. Hamilton and Kovalainen’s penalties were for impeding Heidfeld and Alonso.

    2. Weren’t they moved back down the grid for impeding, not being slow?

      1. Maybe they were, and the “maximum time” rule was introduced to prevent such a thing from happening again. Certainly I remember it being discussed in the context of that incident, though.

        1. Er no, it was a completely different offence

          1. Indeed, a driver could still impede another, but beat the maximum time.

      2. MouseNightshirt
        13th June 2010, 0:06

        Keith is right.

  8. Untitled258
    12th June 2010, 21:51

    Right, im not saying Lewis should be punished for today, because i dont think he should.


    All these reprimands he is getting, is this the 3rd now? How many reprimands do you need before you get punished? ATM its just kinda meaningless.

    1. Were they for the same thing?
      When was the last time Ferrari got a reprimand for something they did wrong?


      1. Untitled258
        12th June 2010, 22:01

        Well one was the weaving in Malaysia, one was the pits in China with Vettel and one was today.

        Not the same thing no, but in football say if you foul someone you could get a yellow, and then deliberate handball or something and another yellow and get sent off (Terrible example i know). I would of thought a reprimand is a reprimand and eventually it would lead to an actual punishment, which it doesn’t seem too.

        Like i said, i dont think he should be punished for this, its the teams fault if anything. Just the whole reprimand thing confuses me.

        1. ISn’t it more like you get a warning not to do something again? So if Hamilton weaves on track, gets sideways out of his pitbox or runs out of fuel after qualifying again, then he weill get punished.

          Just like with Massa in 2008. First time (valencia) he got a reprimand and the team a fine for the unsafe pit release (and Massa’s unsfe driving with Sutil) and the second time (Singapore) he got a drive-through penalty.

        2. Here’s an example for you…The reprimands that Hamilton has received this year apply to everyone! In my opinion this is like the yellow card (reprimand) a sprinter gets for a false start! At the same time everyone gets a yellow card and the next one with a false start gets disqualified!
          It will be interesting to see if this kind of logic is applied if a driver besides Hamilton tries to do what has done in the past races ;)

    2. Valid point, one can only assume there is only punishment if the same offence occurs.

      1. Perhaps this is what should have applied to Schumacher’s last corner pass in Monaco then? A reprimand?

    3. The only occasion I can remember when a reprimand led to a penalty was when in Australia 2006 Sato was reprimanded for ignoring blue flags, and was disqualified from the Chinese GP for doing the same thing. Albers, who commited the same offence, got a 25 second penalty since he didn’t have a prior reprimand.

  9. STRFerrari4Ever
    12th June 2010, 21:55

    I’m beginning to warm to Lewis Hamilton, I’ve never liked him but his sheer talent and aggressive style is making me appreciate his quality. Good decision by the stewards before they would’ve demoted him many places but now the FIA have improved the stewarding area.

    1. Wonderful comment and very fair.

      1. +1 Great comment.

    2. I am a Red Bull fan and I agree. Lewis should keep pole, because he pushed like a maniac on that last lap and won the place. I am also warming to him, esp after watching him push the car and seeing the joy and emotions he displayed after the lap. He did really well, and for Red Bull, 2nd and 3rd is great considering Canada is a track where they were not expected to do well.

    3. Agreed – I couldn’t stand him when he first entered F1, but the last 2 seasons his aggression and determination in a car thats not the best is what has made me like him more. Similar to what made me a Schumi fan years ago.

  10. This is perhaps the fairest decision ever given by FIA.

    I hope the comments on this post don’t go into counts of hundreds as in the case of other FIA stewarding decisions.

    Giving Hamilton anything other than a monetary penalty (grid-place drop) would have been blasphemous. And not giving him a penalty at all would have encouraged all drivers to do the same.

    It was a petty crime, and it got a petty penalty. Case closed.

    1. A warning would be a better punishment. However, Lewis would have a collection of warnings by the end of the season.

    2. Surely giving Hamilton a fine is actually an advantage to him as it means his wallet will be lighter for the race?

      Disgraceful precedent IMO.


      1. Jhonnie Siggie
        12th June 2010, 22:36

        Well I dont know about disgraceful but I agree that this kind of thing should be discouraged just based on the aesthetics alone. The fans must be wondering why is the guy having to push the car that just got pole back to the pits.

        1. They were cheering. They loved it, just like when Button had to run to the podium in Monaco. It shows a lighter side, and also shows how close to the limit the cars are. Plus, Senna running out of fuel in the past and getting a lift from Mansell led to one of the most iconic F1 images ever. I quite like the idea of occasionally (not too often) seeing cars run out at the end

          1. Agreed. Stepping out of the stuffy, uptight appearance is a good thing for F1 as it shows drivers and teams to be human. It reminds me of clips like Mansell trying to push his car to the finish in ’84 at Dallas. or Prost doing the same in ’86 in Germany. These are the things we harken back to when we drum up some of our favorite moments.

            Even though I’m not a Hamilton fan (don’t hate the guy, but I’m very “meh” about him overall), I’d love to see these shots of him getting out and pushing the car himself in the midst of celebrating his pole show up in “best moments of the season” type montages. It was unusual and unexpected.

          2. I liked it when he skipped up to his rear wing, made me really happy to see him chearful again. Happy Hamilton was really missed in Istanbul.

    3. I used to love this site but i think its time i moved on.

      1. Adios my numerical friend

        1. Hasta la Bye Bye … and take Anon with you while you’re at it

  11. William Wilgus
    12th June 2010, 22:06

    Regardless of whether or not Hammy should have been penalized, I think he made a huge error in choosing the soft tire to start the race on. I look for a lap 2 pit stop from him!

    1. David Johnson
      12th June 2010, 22:15

      Ah…remember the mediums take 2-3 laps to come in and the redbulls have alonso and button behind them with more grippy tyres and better straightline speed…its going to be fun…I tell thee

      1. My my, didn’t think about Alonso fighting past the Redbulls. Hoefully he cocks it up and takes one of them out. Leaving Button to sneak round the outside in a daring three abreast overtake, proclaimed Mansell like by all who see it. Ham P1 But P2 Web P3?

        I CAN DREAM

        1. Well thats my prediction so I can dream with you. Prehaps we can add Schumi doing a stunning race to get to 5th?

          1. why not, sounds like fun!

          2. I am looking forward to a senario like that, it would be great to see that kind of thing again.

  12. colin grayson
    12th June 2010, 22:08

    the team told hamilton to stop ; he followed team instructions
    wonder how much fuel he had left in reality …how big is the sample required anyway ?

    1. sample needed is 1KG

      1. 1 Litre.

        But as Eddie Jordan pointed out, there’s usually enough fuel left in the tank on vapour alone.

        1. That story that Eddie Jordan gave took me by surprise.

          I remember Jordan telling how they were wringing every drop of fuel out of one of their cars after it got stranded on track in similar circumstances.

          He told that they even took the fuel lines out of the car to drain them.

          and now all of a sudden he comes with the story that he can’t imagine there being a problem? What?

          Or was that another team boss I’m thinking about?

  13. Regardless, the rule needs to be clarified or changed, because otherwise we’ll have cars stopping everywhere after Q3.

  14. another reprimend??? someone likes him very much! :)

    1. Jhonnie Siggie
      12th June 2010, 22:40

      Do you think the are trying to overcompensate for past poor judgments in penalizing him?

      1. Hopefully not, not because it doesn’t make me happy but because if thats what they’re doing you have to assume they’ll swing back the other way at some point.

        What the FIA seem to be doing is making, with the notable exception of Schumacher however the rules were iron clad in his case, decisions in favour of improved racing and fan friendly results. Maybe they should of penalised Hamilton but this is the first non Redbull driver on pole all season, an the prospect for the race is infinitely more facinaiting with Hamilton in front of the Redbulls.

  15. Stuart Fenton
    12th June 2010, 22:17

    seeing him ride his car like robin hood when it slowed, was a strange sight. Im suprised he wasnt told off for breaking point 65.9 of the strict fia rules

  16. Two great pictures on the last two articles. I’m looking forward to seeing more quali pics.

  17. Lewis stopped his car to avoid running out of fuel? Is taht true? I thought he stopped to save the amount of fuel needed for the FIA sample?

    1. Jarred Walmsley
      13th June 2010, 9:18

      Same thing is it not?

  18. Glad to see he didn’t have pole taken away from him. He put in a great lap. I’m sure all the teams run close to the limit on fuel (how many times do we hear about them having to save fuel in races?!) so McLaren didn’t do anything wrong. Admittedly they should’ve been able to get Lewis back to the pits, but they had a chance to do an extra lap so they took it. Would’ve been a bit foolish of them to tell Lewis not to go for pole just so he could get back to the pits.

  19. Hey, there’s no specific rule in FIA books to be broken:

    It seems that the fact that the requirement to return to the garage in a minimum time is enshrined in an FIA memo, rather than the sporting regs, left a loophole for McLaren to exploit.


    1. Jhonnie Siggie
      12th June 2010, 22:46

      And F1 is all about pushing limits right? Just like the f-duct and Red Bull’s trick suspension. It will be unfortunate though if we see a bunch of cars do it in the next quali

  20. Jhonnie Siggie
    12th June 2010, 22:44

    A $10,000 fine is well worth the coverage that the pole sitting car gets. In their general ledger, I think they will put the 10K as “advertising expense” rather that “fines and other sundry items” :)

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