Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Singapore, 2010

Five years, over 35 incidents: Has Hamilton been treated fairly?

DebatesPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton has been no stranger to controversy in his first five years in Formula 1.

This has led to claims and counter-claims over whether the FIA stewards treat the McLaren driver too harshly.

With that in mind I’ve compiled data on Hamilton’s many visits to the stewards on a range of minor and major charges, whether he was the innocent or aggrieved party. Do they reveal anything about Hamilton’s form before the stewards?


Race Incident Outcome Notes
Hungary Alonso blocks Hamilton in the pits during qualifying Five-place grid penalty for Alonso, team lose constructors’ points for race Hamilton, who inherited pole position, had ignored a team instruction to let Alonso start his lap first.
Japan Kubica collides with Hamilton Kubica given a drive-through penalty
Japan Collision between Vettel and Webber behind Hamilton during safety car period No action taken on Hamilton. Vettel initially given ten-place penalty, later reduced to a reprimand. Only investigated after evidence emerged in video shot by fan
Brazil Hamilton, Button and Sato use an extra set of wet tyres in practice All teams have to return extra set and pay €15,000 fines Occurred in practice for championship-deciding race
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren. Interlagos, 2007
Hamilton had few visits to the stewards in his first season

Hamilton’s first season saw some contentious decisions which gave a foretaste of what was to come.

There were no consequences for Hamilton at the Nurburgring when marshals used a crane to place his car back on the track – Hamilton still inside – after he spun off in a rain storm. The rules were later changed to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Hamilton was judged blameless when Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel collided behind him during a safety car period in Japan. But, following a second investigation after a new video of the incident, emerged a penalty initially given to Vettel was reduced.

At the season finale Ferrari alleged Hamilton had caused Kimi Raikkonen to lose time in qualifying, but they did not appeal and the stewards did not investigate the incident.

Hamilton lost the championship to Raikkonen in the race. Afterwards the cars of Williams and BMW faced a protest over using fuel of an incorrect temperature. Had they been thrown out and points redistributed, Hamilton might have won the championship, but no such action was taken.

Hamilton was not directly implicated in the ‘spygate’ affair which saw McLaren thrown out of the constructors’ championship and fined $100m.


Race Incident Outcome Notes
Malaysia Hamilton and Kovalainen impede Heidfeld and Alonso in qualifying Five-place grid drop for Hamilton and Kovalainen
Europe Hamilton arrives late for FIA press conference €5,000 fine
Canada Hamilton crashes into Raikkonen in the pit lane Ten-place grid drop for next race Rosberg received same penalty for same infringement
France Hamilton cuts a chicane while overtaking Vettel Drive-through penalty for Hamilton
Belgium Hamilton overtakes Raikkonen at the corner after he had gone off the track and allowed Raikkonen past Post-race time penalty, which cost him his victory McLaren’s appeal rejected as “inadmissible”
Japan Raikkonen goes off the track as Hamilton runs wide in turn one Drive-through penalty for Hamilton
Japan Hamilton hit by Massa Drive-through penalty for Massa
Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton, Spa-Francorchamps, 2008
Raikkonen and Hamilton had several incidents in 2008

Many of the penalties Hamilton received in his second season were straightforward and uncontroversial: impeding in Malaysia, taking out Raikkonen in Canada, cutting a corner in France.

However the stewards’ decision to strip him of his victory in Belgium was an absolute travesty.

Hamilton was forced off the track by Raikkonen while battling the Ferrari driver for the lead. Hamilton returned to the track, gave the lead back to Raikkonen, then overtook him at the next corner.

In judging this an illegal move and handing Hamilton a 25-second penalty, the stewards contradicted recent precedent. They handed the win not to the driver Hamilton had allegedly transgressed against, but his team mate, who was never in the hunt for victory.

Hamilton had another penalty for a strange incident with Raikkonen in Japan, where the McLaren driver braked too late for the first corner and ran wide, along with several other cars.


Race Incident Outcome Notes
Australia Hamilton and McLaren give “deliberately misleading” evidence over circumstance in which Trulli passed him during safety car period Exclusion from the race results McLaren later fired sporting director Dave Ryan over the incident
Malaysia Hamilton exceeds the pit lane speed limit in practice €1,200 fine
Belgium Hamilton and Alguersuari collide on the first lap No action taken Both drivers retired
Hungary Raikkonen makes contact with Hamilton and Vettel on the first lap No action taken Neither Hamilton nor Vettel were impeded by the contact
Italy Hamilton exceeds the pit lane speed limit in practice €2,400 fine
Italy Buemi runs down an escape road to avoid Hamilton during Q1 No action taken Buemi was eliminated in Q1 but Hamilton probably made no difference to this
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren. Melbourne, 2009
McLaren were caught red-handed in Melbourne

Few edicts from the stewards’ office had much consequence for Hamilton in 2009 – with one significant exception.

During a safety car period in the first race of the season Hamilton moved ahead of Jarno Trulli when the Toyota driver went off the track. Under instruction from his team, Hamilton then allowed Trulli to re-pass him, still behind the safety car.

But McLaren gave a different version of events to the stewards, who initially punished Trulli. When the truth emerged Trulli was reinstated and Hamilton disqualified.


Race Incident Outcome Notes
Malaysia Hamilton changes line more than once defending from Petrov Hamilton shown the black-and-white flag for unsportsmanlike driving A seldom-seen form of reprimand
China Hamilton and Vettel found to have “driven in a dangerous manner” when exiting the pits alongside each other Hamilton and Vettel given reprimands
Canada Team tell Hamilton to stop on track after setting his fastest time at the end of Q3 $10,000 fine and reprimand
Europe Hamilton overtakes the safety car as it leaves the pits Hamilton given a drive-through penalty
Singapore Hamilton and Webber collide No action taken Hamilton retired due to damage
Abu Dhabi Hamilton crosses the white line at the pit lane entry during practice Hamilton given a reprimand
Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Singapore, 2010
Webber and Hamilton collide in Singapore

Hamilton was perhaps fortunate to avoid a more severe penalty for overtaking the safety car in Valencia. He had been disqualified for doing the same thing in a GP2 race at Imola in 2006.

He collected a series of reprimands during the year for both driving and other infringements.

One of which was the team’s instruction for him to stop the car after qualifying in Canada as he was low on fuel. He kept his pole position, and it’s doubtful his low fuel level was what secured it for him.


Race Incident Outcome Notes
Malaysia Hamilton changes line more than once defending from Alonso Hamilton given post-race time penalty Similar to what he had been warned about the year before.
Malaysia Alonso hits Hamilton while racing for position Alonso given post-race time penalty
Spain Hamilton sets personal best time in sector two during the race while yellow flags are displayed Hamilton given reprimand
Monaco Hamilton cuts chicane in qualifying Hamilton loses best time from qualifying
Monaco Hamilton and Massa collide Hamilton given drive-through penalty
Monaco Hamilton and Maldonado collide Hamilton given post-race time penalty
Canada Hamilton and Button collide No action taken – stewards determine it a racing incident
Canada Hamilton’s decision to stop his car on the track is investigated No action taken – team mistakenly believed Hamilton had suspension damage
Hungary Hamilton spins his car around in front of di Resta, who goes off the circuit avoiding him Hamilton given drive-through penalty for forcing another car off the track
Belgium Hamilton and Maldonado make contact twice, before and after the end of Q2 Maldonado diven five-place grid drop, Hamilton given reprimand
Singapore Hamilton and Massa collide Hamilton given drive-through penalty
Japan Hamilton and Massa collide No action taken
India Hamilton and Perez ignore double waved yellow flags in practice Hamilton and Perez given three-place grid drops
India Hamilton and Massa collide Massa given drive-though penalty
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren. Monaco, 2011
Hamilton received two penalties in the Monaco Grand Prix

The previous year, Hamilton had been warned by the stewards for changing his line more than once while defending his position at Sepang. Unsurprisingly, they escalated his penalty to a drive-through when he repeated the move on Alonso 12 months later.

Hamilton’s penalty for spinning his car in front of Paul di Resta during the Hungarian Grand Prix attracted much comment. Adrian Sutil received a reprimand and $20,000 fine for spinning into the side of Nick Heidfeld in Singapore two years earlier in similar circumstances – a penalty that looks too lenient on Sutil in retrospect.

His collision with Pastor Maldonado in the Monaco Grand Prix might have been avoided had Maldonado shown the kind of awareness Michael Schumacher had when Hamilton made an identical move on the Mercedes driver earlier in the race.

Had Maldonado survived the incident I suspect Hamilton would not have been penalised, as it often seems the stewards place too much weight on the consequences of an incident, rather than whether a drivers’ move was acceptable or not in the first place.

But on the whole Hamilton’s penalties this year have been entirely typical of what would be expected.


You can make a lot of criticisms about the FIA stewards: They are not always consistent. They too rarely give explanations for their more contentious decision.

They use penalties which can vary enormously in effect with the circumstances and produce outcomes that are excessively severe (Spa 2008) or unduly lenient (Valencia 2010).

This goes for all drivers including Lewis Hamilton. Consistent application of the rules is a bugbear for fans of many sports and F1 is no exception.

But the evidence above does not support claims that the stewards pursue a line for or against Hamilton.

And, though he may imply otherwise in the heat of the moment, nor do I think Hamilton believes he gets unfair treatment from them.

In 2007, Hamilton voiced his displeasure at the handling of the Fuji safety car incident, saying: “I just think it’s a real shame for the sport.

“Formula 1’s supposed to be about hard, fair competition. That’s what I’ve tried to do this year, just be fair. There’s been some real strange situations this year where I’m made to look the bad person and, by the looks of it, this weekend be given a penalty. If this is the way it’s going to keep going it’s not somewhere I really want to be.”

Four years and some 30-odd incidents later, if Hamilton seriously thought the stewards had it in for him surely he’d be long gone already.

Do you think the stewards have treated Hamilton fairly or unfairly? Which decisions do you agree or disagree with? Have your say in the comments.

If you believe I have overlooked any significant incidents involving Hamilton please supply details in the comments, including a reference to the relevant stewards’ report if possible.

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277 comments on “Five years, over 35 incidents: Has Hamilton been treated fairly?”

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  1. Only showing the incidents that LH was involved in means you cannot judge if the stewards acted fairly or not where Lewis is concerned. You would need to look at every other similar incident that every other driver has been involved in over the last 5 years and see what their punishment/penalty was for same or similar incidents, only then would you be able to judge the stewards fairness, or whether they were biased in favour or against Lewis. I can think of one incident off the top of my head where Michael Schumacher moved off line more than once or more than one occassion and pushed Lewis off track at Monza 2011 and not only was he not penalised during the race or after it he wasn’t even reprimanded.

    1. Michael Schumacher moved off line more than once or more than one occassion and pushed Lewis off track at Monza 2011

      No he didn’t. If you watch the video you’ll see he moves off-line, then he moves back towards the racing line, but he doesn’t make a second move off-line.

      See: Mercedes: Schumacher fifth after Hamilton battle

      And as I said in an earlier comment, I have drawn some comparisons with other drivers’ penalties where relevant.

      1. Even MSC’s his own team thought he was doing the wrong thing and told him on more than one occassion over the radio. But even putting this incident aside, you would need to look at how lenient or harsh the stewards have been on other drivers for same or similar incidents to get the bigger picture of whether the stewards have been fair or not where LH is concerned.

        1. Even MSC’s his own team thought he was doing the wrong thing

          Yes, but that was not making two moves. That was not giving Hamilton enough room when he returned to the racing line, something the stewards have clarified since then.

      2. Is moving back to the racing line legal, that is the second move and as laid down by the rules is illegal. It, as shown by the Hamilton 2008 Spa incident, just because it has been done before does not make it a precedent.

        1. I agree. Moving back onto the racing line should be counted as another move.

  2. I don’t think that Hamilton has been treated unfairly. For sure, race stewards are only human beings, they make mistakes and have made some mistakes when making decisions about the incidents where Hamilton has been involved. But I don’t believe that they have made them on purpose.

    What I see here, is a problem with the general approach that race stewards have. ‘Clean driving’ is being promoted these days, Hamilton’s daring and adventurous moves are often considered to be ‘dirty driving’, which should be punished. Hamilton’s driving style is simply not what those who are responsible for applying the rules want to see.

    I disagree with such an approach and would be sad if Hamilton lost his self-confidence and started to feel that F1 is not the right place for him because of the many penalties.

    We probably don’t know a lot about how drivers like Alberto Ascari or Juan Manuel Fangio behaved on the track when they were racing because there weren’t 1000 TV cameras that could spot their each and every move then. Probably they were even more aggressive than Hamilton and today would spend all their spare time in the stewards’ rooms to explain their actions. Yet we consider them to be great drivers. Why treat Hamilton differently, why just not let him drive the way he does? F1 didn’t destroy itself when there were no penalties for “causing a collision” and it wouldn’t nowadays.

    Just let Hamilton and everyone else drive, that’s my opinion.

  3. I agree with everything you’ve said Keith.

    The stewards are very inconsistent and I personally think the rule-book needs a major overhaul. Nothing is clear and too often we see different rulings for similar (if not identical) incidents.

    The reference you make to Sutil in Singapore 2009 is a very good point. I actually defended Hamilton in Hungary, but I’d have been able to make a much better case if I’d used that as an example.

    I’ve disagreed with a lot of the decisions this year, and I’ve agreed with a lot, too. I was pleased Hamilton received a drive-through for running into Hamilton in Singapore, but since then, I’ve started to wonder if the penalty system is too harsh. It seems that nearly every bit of contact we’ve seen between two drivers this year has resulted in an investigation and – more often than not – punishment.

    The rulings I disagree with are:

    Belgium 2008 – It was unprecedented and very harsh.

    Malaysia 2011 – His weaving didn’t affect Alonso in any way at all.

    Hungary 2011 – Initially, I defended him using the excuse that it all happened too quickly and it was an honest mistake made in a panic, but I think the Sutil point is a much more valid argument.

    India (Qualifying) – I think both drivers should have been let off considering it was a very unusual occurrence. It’s not impossible that Lewis saw the green light and kept going, not even checking for double-waved yellows (I mean, who would double check to see if they’ve made a mistake when there’s a flashing green light?).

    India (Race) – It was a racing incident, but there was more Hamilton could have done to avoid it. Neither of them deserved a penalty.

    1. @damonsmedley – had to laugh when I saw your 3rd para!

      Hamilton received a drive-through for running into Hamilton in Singapore

      This year it feels like if he could have hit himself, he would have…

      I’m not a massive Hamilton fan, but I hope he’s back to his best next year, it’s been a shame to watch him suffer on track.

      1. @dirgegirl

        Oh God! Oops! :P

        I agree with you though, I’m no fan either, but I enjoy watching him at his best.

  4. I would be interested to read a debrief on all of the on track race incidents, I understand what Keith is trying to do here but a lot of these incidents were not on track during the race (in practice/qual, not turning up to press conf, stopping on track) take those out and the list shrinks plus a few of the on track ones were in unique situations ( red light in pit lane, overtaking safety car, incident behind the safety car).

    I don’t think the stewards have it in for him because they are different each race, which goes to the consistency argument many have, for me the worst example of inconsistency is the pen for changing lines on one lap against Alo in Malaysia watch a YouTube clip of it and compare it to what Schey did at Monza for several laps. I can’t see how that works.

    Plus the general theme of looking to blame someone and give them a penalty is far more prevalent these days I would have a lot of the above as racing incidents with no pens required.

    1. @douglst

      I would be interested to read a debrief on all of the on track race incidents

      If you follow the links in the tables there’s a lot more information there.

      1. Keith, I am talking more about a detailed analysis of each incident, comparing with other similar incidents and in your opinion whether you think blame can be apportioned, if a pen was warranted or if it was a racing incident. A bit more like what you did for the Mas v Ham India accident where you gave your views and the reasons for them.

        I clicked on the link of the web v ham in Singapore and did not have much there, other than a couple of quotes.

  5. “some people will defend Hamilton to the death, some people will put him down at every given oppurtunity.”

    In my experience you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If you pick up on a Hamilton issue you get tarred as a Hamilton hater and then of course you must surely be a Button fan. People just love to pounce regardless, I guess objective criticism doesn’t sate some people.

    This is the problem with text based forums unfortunately, its impossible to glean true sentiment from cold text.

  6. I actually believe the stewards don’t know how to deal with Lewis because he is a very agressive driver and takes every little chance that opens up to him no matter how small and surely that’s what a racing driver is supposed to do? They are not all out there going for a stroll in the park, they are racing drivers in very fast cars going out to win and sometimes that means there will be contact, that’s the nature of the sport and maybe LH has more than others because he tries more than others & that’s what makes him exciting. What do we want to watch a procession of cars going round in a line where they only over take if there’s like a 10 mile gap between them or do we want to see wheel to wheel racing. What ever else you think of LH in my opinion, along with Alonso, & maybe Go-By-Bashi he is the most exciting driver out there. A case in point for me was the Indian GP, with Lewis’s confidence & mood seemingly down at the moment he ended up in 7th on track by himself and didn’t appear to really be pushing & how boring was that race because he wasn’t up there fighting with other drivers, apart from the 1 incident with Massa.

  7. Are there any kind of stats on number of investigations per driver? It struck me as interesting that you mentioned not just penalties but all investigations. I’m curious to know how every driver stacks up in that realm to see who’s getting the most attention. Not because I think there’s a conspiracy (I think your assessment is fair that there’s no special vendetta against Hamilton), but because I think there could be some light shed on all the drivers behavior patterns.

  8. I think Hamilton has been treated fairly. What really rubs me the wrong way is when people suggest Hamilton should be treated differently to everyone else simply because he is at the front end of the grid. If the penalties seem harsh, there is a reason for that – Hamilton clearly hasn’t learned from previous incidents.

  9. Well it always seems to me odd that when someone overtakes Hamilton, he quite rarely has contact, yet when he does overtaking the moves are either brilliant or they crash. It may be down to fact that he does more overtaking than is being overtaken but nevertheless…
    I am getting more and more feeling that modern F1 is going into direction DRS pass=good; all other passes=maybe; pass attempt with contact = bad and someone must pay for it.

  10. If Lewis does think that the stewards are against him most of the time, then probably the seeds were sown in 2008 with those two travesties of justice.

    And a few other idea’s for discussion,
    How do you break the tow of a slower (lap time) car which might be faster in a straight line, without weaving. Most of this year the McLarens and RBRs are way down on speed through the measuring points.
    Should a driver get penalised, or repremand for following team orders.
    Also should Lewis not feel agrieved that Schumacher wasn’t investigated a Monza this year.

    I must point out that Lewis is not my favourite driver, but do think that more decisions have gone against him, than for him.

    Monaco was one of the races where you could look at the two incidents and have different views entirely. Did Massa slam the door closed and therefore cause the crash and why didn’t Maldonado drive like Schumacher, and give way but survive and gain valuble points.

    Talking of Maldonado do we know why Lewis got a repremand at Spa?

    1. I believe Lewis got the reprimand at Spa for the contact in the final corner where he ran into the side of Maldonardo & I think Williams also said that Lewis’ actions had cost Pastor his last lap.

      1. Not true. The steward’s report gave the same time for both Maldonado’s penalty and Hamilton’s reprimand, implying they were both cited for the same incident.

  11. The penalty at Spa in 2008 was fair and deserved. He had enough space to turn into corner, yet he still didn’t do that. And there’s a rule saying that in the situations like that, the driver must wait for at least one corner before he can try to regain the position. And Hamilton broke that rule by passing Räikkönen in 1st corner of the track.

    1. But others had done exactly the same in previous races and not even a mention of an investigation.
      One of those cases was Alonso in Canada, If my failing memory is correct.

    2. Oh no, please not this again!

    3. there’s a rule saying that in the situations like that, the driver must wait for at least one corner before he can try to regain the position

      Which was only announced after Hamilton was given the penalty in Spa:

      Hamilton penalty: FIA closes the stable door after the horse has bolted (Video)

      If you think he should have taken that into consideration, you clearly overestimate his powers of time-travel.

      1. I didn’t know the rule was set up after the race. That puts things into new perspective….

        1. I think something to look at regarding the Spa ’08 penalty was that applying a penalty for what Lewis did was consistent.

          At Suzuka in 2005 Alonso did the same sort of thing, He passed Klien by cutting the chicane, Let Klien back past but immediately re-passed into turn 1. A few laps later Alonso was told he had to re-allow Klien past.

          They mentioned this while discussing the penalty on the ITV broadcast at the next race.

          1. A few laps later Alonso was told he had to re-allow Klien past.

            As Keith points out in a comment on the first page (including a link to bigger analyses) the stewards later admitted that their instruction had been wrong.

  12. I think the thing is with Hamilton is that in 2007 he kicked up a storm by beating his world-champion team mate… this came to a head in Hungary and the ensuing spy-gate affair – Hamilton was but the latest pawn in the enormous vendetta between Max Mosley and Ron Dennis.

    So this CREATED Hamilton’s “bad boy” image… in 2008 a few minor incidents and the enormous furore over the Belgium GP result cemented that image in both the minds of the viewing public – and crucially, within Lewis Hamilton himself.

    If I can clash a few metaphors, it seems to me that Hamilton has been painted as a villain in the eyes of FIA, and that Hamilton has now painted himself into a corner in that role. His view of being the FIA’s whipping boy (or his paranoia, call it what you will) has this year affected his performance.

    Does that make any sense whatsoever to fellow armchair psychologists out there?

  13. Interesting views from Mark Webber over on Autosport on stewards giving too many penalties.


    1. You can read the full quotes in the original article here:


  14. How often do other drivers turn up late to press conferences? How often do they brake the pit lane speed limit?

    Is Hamilton more guilty than others with these incidents?

    1. And if I remember every singlr one of them have been charge with a penalty.

      Vettel have two in his first two outing as BMW test driver. He also got one in last year a think, and another drivergot one too (In Korea).

      I guess with the press conference they will be circunstance that they will overlook the penalty…

  15. NO. Lewis is not fairly treated. They have to penalize Lewis to stop him winning.

    1. I don’t remember him winning in Korea.

  16. Jackie Stewart in his interview with Peter Windsor a few weeks back on The Flying Lap had some interesting things to say about Lewis. Basically, hes a man with an incredible talent who would do better with a full-time driver coach, as all sports have coaches. Here, we have Lewis who had fairly normal years (incident-wise) until he separated from his father’s management. Now who does he have to say “Lewis, when this happens, you dont turn in…or if Massa is on the track, you better give him a clean pass on the straight!”

    Another interesting discussion I heard recently discussed that because of his raw speed and talent, he is more CAPABLE of putting the car into overtaking positions that a) other drivers may not expect (turn 5 in India is NOT a place to overtake for normal drivers) and b) he is confident that he can make it work because of this ability.

    A couple of things to consider. I have the photograph of Mr. Atkinson in the McLaren garage as my background on my computer, as this image has been my entire expression for 2011, as a McLaren fan.

  17. This awful, agitating article just goes to show how much of trouble maker Hamilton is. Yes, he provides excitement but in the same way the bully does in primary school. Except for Hamilton, this bully actually performs once in a while.

    I’d love to know how many incidents Vettel has been in?

    1. I’d love to know how many incidents Vettel has been in?

      Less than Lewis.

      1. Well we know that Vettel hadn´t got a penalty this year.

        In 2007 he got one in China. 10 spots for impeding Heiki.
        In 2009 he got in Australia for his crash with Kubica.
        And last year at Hungary.

        Beside that I think he has the two fines back in 2007 for speeding in the pit line in Turkey and Monaco (his first two outing as test driver).

        I can´t remember any other.

        1. And a penalty Spa 2010, but indeed, Vettel (and everyone else except Massa) doesn’t get themselves into as much trouble as Ham.

          1. So I guess 6?

            I can´t find any reference involving the penalties that Massa had has. But I think that he gets more in trouble when Hamilton is around.

          2. The Stewards didn’t get involved in the 2010 Turkish collision between Vettel & Webber because they only get involved in inter-team issues (unofficially) http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2010/05/30/webber-and-vettel-lose-one-two-finish-for-red-bull-after-collision

          3. @Matt Clare – only inter-team issues – I recall them getting involved when Alonso blocked Hamilton and later that year, inspecting both Mclarens to ensure they were the ‘same’…

  18. When Hamilton arrived in the sport he was far too aggressive. The first two seasons had too many overtaking moves which left the other driver either to concede or to crash; that said, he also demonstrated some fantastic overtaking manoeuvres, e.g. against Raikkonen at Monza 2008 and the battle between the two at Spa the same year. I think the first two seasons cemented Hamilton’s reputation as overly aggressive, which is a shame because his third season was almost perfect – he still went for every chance he got, but he left the other driver room. The fourth season was very good too, proving that he’d matured as a driver.

    The stewarding during his first four seasons varied. In 2007 I think the authorities were very lenient towards him, allowing a lot of leeway for the fact that he was a rookie in the best car on the grid. But in 2008 Mosley installed a crony in the stewards office and to my mind tried to rig the championship to ensure that Ron Dennis didn’t win, which resulted in several very harsh decisions towards Hamilton, while Massa was treated with undue leniency (e.g. unsafe release at Valencia and penalising Bourdais for being crashed into at Hungary). I think it’s 2008 which aroused suspicions about the stewarding with regards to Hamilton. In 2009 and 2010 neither McLaren nor Hamilton were really in contention, so the controversy died down.

    The stewarding this year has been pretty fair, but far too pernickety. Add to that that Hamilton is driving poorly and I think that explains all the penalties. I do wonder whether the harsh stewarding has contributed to Hamilton’s deterioration as it seems to have knocked his confidence. There has been some variation in the application of the rules, but that’s largely down to changing the officials at every event, e.g. Hamilton’s move at Malaysia didn’t deserve a penalty, whereas Schumacher’s repeated blocks at Monza were treated too leniently.

    3rd November 2011, 13:41

    I guess its all in the stars when it comes to yellow flags!

    Lewis gets a three grid penalty for not slowing down during a race control green flagged sectord during P1, with the green light flashing on the circuit and on his instrumentation. There was two yellow flags being waved around by someone behind a building (only the flags were able to be seen) We still don’t why why the yellow flags were still out, there were no incidents were reportedly connected to that particular yellow flags which came after the track was green lighted by race control.

    Do we know why the yellow flag was being waived?

    On the other hand during the same session, Jenson, while Maldonaldo’s car was being lifted off the track, during a clearly designated yellow flag period, violates the F! rule which state “A single yellow indicates danger ahead, such as debris from a crash. Drivers must slow down as they pass; no overtaking is permitted, unless it is unavoidable such as a driver retiring in the section, or a driver is lapped” by passing Karthikyan’s HRT which had just passed the crane lifting Maldonaldo’s car. Jenson is not penalized.

    And during Q3, Jenson sees the dust from Massa’s crash, and does not lift even after the yellow flag and passes the stricken car and records his fastest lap under yellow. He does not get penalized.

    I guess Jenson is just lucky!

    1. Jenson sees the dust from Massa’s crash, and does not lift even after the yellow flag

      Button said he did and his sector time was only tenth-quickest. What’s your proof he didn’t lift?

        3rd November 2011, 14:54

        Did I criticize Jenson? I am happy for his good fortune.

        Button kept his fifth place on the grid (actually benefited from Lewis’s yellow flag penalty by moving up one place), keeping his gap from Massa at P6. The difference of the gaps between Massa and Jenson between the Q2 and Q3 is only .051 seconds and we know that Massa is no slouch in the Qs. The fact is he didn’t lift enough to give more than a .051 second gap to Massa. And that could be due to other factors. So you can’t prove that he lifted either. And Jenson got the benefit of the doubt as he should and I congratulate his good fortune.

        However, I would love to hear your version of why Jenson got away with passing the HRT in violation of the F1 yellow flag rules, right under Williams which was being lifted by the crane. Jenson was not lapping the HRT as it was only P1 and the HRT was moving at a decent clip and definitely was not retiring. If Jenson didn’t pass the HRT under yellow, please tell us.

        And as for the Lewis incident, do we know why the yellow flags were being waved after race control had green lighted the session? Was there an actual emergency? Or was the steward mistaken? Is it not true that the flags were being waved behind a structure well set off the track behind the barriers and the steward was not visible.

        Looking forward to hearing your explanation.

    2. Do we know why the yellow flag was being waived?

      Autosport said:

      According to a statement from the FIA, Hamilton was penalised for ‘ignoring double waved yellow flags at Turn 16 whilst marshals were in close proximity to the track’. The waved yellows were for Pastor Maldonado’s stationary Williams, which had stopped with an apparent engine problem and was being attended to by track officials at the time that Hamilton and Perez set their best session times.

        3rd November 2011, 14:56

        I know that. But the track had been cleared and green lighted when Lewis was on his fast lap. Am I wrong?
        Jenson on the other hand passed the HRT right under the Williams which was being lifted by the crane. Am I wrong?

        1. I know that. But the track had been cleared and green lighted when Lewis was on his fast lap. Am I wrong?

          You asked why the yellow flags were being waved, so I told you what the FIA said at the time.

          Regardless of whether the track had been cleared and was “green lighted”, it would appear there were still yellows being waved when Lewis did his fastest lap. Drivers are required to slow down for yellow flags even if they don’t show on their cockpit display.

          Jenson on the other hand passed the HRT right under the Williams which was being lifted by the crane. Am I wrong?

          I wasn’t aware of the incident until you mentioned it just now, to be honest.

            3rd November 2011, 15:39

            Tim, there is a video of Jenson passing the HRT while right under the Williams which was being lifted of the track (cannot find it now) , a clear yellow flag violation as I understand it unless someone (perhaps Keith) can tell us why that move should not have been penalized.

            And I am not questioning Lewis’s penalty, just want to know why the yellow flags were waved after the track had been green lighted by race control. I don’t recall any other incidents.

            And I read somewhere that Perez was penalized for driving 2 min before the end of P1, where as Lewis was penalized 1 min after. So I presume, Perez like Jenson did his violation under the race controlled sanctioned yellow flag.

        2. I know what your on about, However having watched the video a few times Button didn’t pass the HRT in the yellow flag zone.

          The green flag was out at the marshall post just before the final turn, Button slowed down & pulled alongside but waited untill he was past the green flag before he actually passed the HRT.

            3rd November 2011, 17:20

            You may be right, but why would the green flag go one when the crane is on the track area lifting the car?

            Are you sure race control had changes the status to green? I remember reading it was yellow. Perhaps you could give us a link?

            Here is one link…http://www.pitpass.com/src/seasons/2011/gp/india/report/fri_prac1.php

          2. I think your misunderstanding the yellow flag rules.

            The yellow zone started at the marshall post before where the Williams had stopped at the exit of turn 14 & the green flag was displayed just before turn 15 at the next marshall post after where the Williams had stopped.

            It was only a local yellow on the straght between turns 14 & 15, not a full cource yellow all the way round the track.

            3rd November 2011, 18:26

            Dizzy, you are right about the local yellow flag. However Jenson overtook the HRT on the straight before the green flag on turn 15. There is a photo somewhere. That is why there was controversy and everyone was waiting for the steward’s decision which came late in the day. If Jenson had not passed between turn 14 and 15, there would not have been any controversy and any stewards’ investigation.

            3rd November 2011, 18:37

            Here is the video of Jenson’s yellow flag pass…..

            Look at 31second mark. Jenson, Narain and the crane and trackworkers are in parallel and quite and tens of meters from 4 seconds away from turn 14. (35th second)

            Jenson himself says that he was in the yellow flag zone.

            Am I right?


          5. Depends on where the green flag was in relation to when JB actually overtook the HRT.

            The green flag was shown at the marshall point before the final corner (It wasn’t at the final corner it was a bit before it) so if he overtook after going past that point he did nothing wrong.

            However if the stewards looked at it & didn’t give him a penalty I guess he passed the HRT after passing the marshall post where the green was been displayed.

            3rd November 2011, 19:42

            >>However if the stewards looked at it & didn’t give him a penalty I guess he passed the HRT after passing the marshall post where the green was been displayed>>

            You can clearly see Jenson was passing Narain, the Maclaren, the HRT and the track workers are parallel. I don’t think the green flag would be before the trackworkers and the crane , do you? And Jenson himself admits that Narain was in the yellow zone when he passed him.

            We have a decent view of the track… Can you see the green flag anywhere?

            3rd November 2011, 19:48

            Even the commentators say (37 second) that Button over took under yellow though they justify it by claiming that Narain was going slow. They didnt see the green flag.

            Can you tell us where it was? You said that “The green flag was out at the Marshall post just before the final turn”. Do you have a video link?

            3rd November 2011, 20:05

            As for “However if the stewards looked at it & didn’t give him a penalty I guess he passed the HRT after passing the marshall post where the green was been displayed.”

            Obviously Jenson didn’t pass the HRT after passing the green flag, unless this mysterous green flag was waved before both Jenson and Narain passed the crane in parallel.

            Therefore Johnny H gave Jenson the benifit of the doubt even though he passed the HRT with orange overalled trackworker about half a road width away under Yellow conditions.

            On the other hand look at 1.42 of the video http://vimeo.com/31262768

            the green light is flashing, Maldonado’s car has been removed from the track, two small yellow flags being waved behind a fence BEHIND the barrier (the person waving the flag is invisible) and there is another flag hanging from the fence in front of the yellow flags (some sort of an advertising flag from the look of it, and the stewards hold him guilty.

            Lucky Jenson, unlucky Lewis.

          9. Its true Button drives alongside the HRT in the yellow flag zone, However there isn’t anything in the regulations which don’t permit this. You only get penalised if you actually pass the car.

            Watching the clip you see Button pull alongside & then slow down, This is legal.

            Its hard to tell from a head on shot exactly when Button actually passed the HRT, It looked close to where the marshall post with the green flag was.

            The race stewards would likely have more video angles as well as GPS data & other timing data avaliable so would have known exactly where Button & the HRT were in relation to the green flag, They looked at it & determined he had not passed the HRT untill past the green zone.

            The thing to remember about Hamilton is that he not only went through the yellow zone without lifting but he also had his DRS open & set the fastest lap of the session.
            In my view the was much more clear cut than with Button & the HRT.

          10. JACKBRABHAMFAN
            4th November 2011, 14:39

            I am asking you again, where exactly is the green flag? If it is so clear cut to you, then you should be able to show us the green flag!

            If you are going by what the stewards did instead of showing us where the green flag was, you are not contributing anything new to the discussion.

            And my point that Jenson got the benefit of the doubt and Lewis didn’t stands!

  20. In the future there would probably be a way to show a special screen to the stewards where the car’s livery is not shown, I’ve seen something similar in football, it’s called “Virtual Replay” but it’s not real-time play. In that way decission could be really fair for all and spectators would know those decision weren’t affected by obscure political issues (as 2008 decisions “against” Hamilton in Belgium looked as directed by a guy called Luca), I’m just saying…

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