Hamilton penalty hands Maldonado first pole position

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Barcelona, 2012Pastor Maldonado has inherited pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was handed a grid penalty after stopping on his return to the pits in Q3 and will start from the back of the grid.

McLaren instructed Hamilton to stop as he had too little fuel in the car and needed to retain enough to provide a sample to the FIA for testing.

Although the rules allow a car to be stopped on its return to the pits if needed, a shortage of fuel is not considered an acceptable reason.

A statement from the stewards read:

“The stewards received a report from the race director which stated that during post-qualifying scrutineering a sample of fuel was required from car four, however, the car failed to return to the pits under its own power as required under Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations.

“The stewards heard from the team representative Mr Sam Michael who stated that the car stopped on the circuit for reasons of force majeure. A team member had put an insufficient quantity of fuel into the car thereby resulting in the car having to be stopped on the circuit in order to be able to provide the required amount for sampling purposes.

“As the amount of fuel put into the car is under the complete control of the competitor the stewards cannot accept this as a case of force majeure.

“The stewards determine that this is a breach of Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations and the competitor is accordingly excluded from the results of the qualifying session. The competitor is however allowed to start the race from the back of the grid.”

Article 6.6.2 of the technical regulations states: “Competitors must ensure that a one litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the event.

“Except in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards of the meeting), if a sample of fuel is required after a practice session the car concerned must have first been driven back to the pits under its own power.”

See the updated Spanish Grand Prix grid.

2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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578 comments on Hamilton penalty hands Maldonado first pole position

  1. Paulocreed (@paulocreed) said on 13th May 2012, 2:05

    Did this not happen to alonso either last year or 2010. And then he hitched a ride from Webber? Does anyone remember which race weekend it was and where? And I don’t believe Alonso was penalized. Was the rule made after this?

  2. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 13th May 2012, 2:30

    Whitmarsh, it’s time to go

    • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 5:22

      Yeah but hang on. Whitmarsh can’t be responsible for the human errors or accidents such as wheel nuts not going on properly or the fuel guy not selecting the fuel in setting.

      • Gerry de C said on 13th May 2012, 7:58

        Yup he is responsible for everything that happens in the team!!!!

      • DT (@dt) said on 13th May 2012, 7:58

        He in charge of the team and therefore responsible for the actions of the team. Its all about leadership, you take credit for the team’s success and take blame for their failures

  3. bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 3:02

    I think people are being harsh on Mclaren for the wrong reasons.

    Yes there have been lots of team errors but the team errors are those of a human error or an accident made by individuals.

    This is to say that the management or strategy calls by Mclaren have been ok excluding good old hindsight et al. The car is brilliant and no one should complain about driving for Mclaren this year.

    You can’t ever stop human error, people, individuals make human errors and have accidents. The wheel nut is not Mclaren as a teams its not a systemic mistake, it’s an accident. The refuelling in this case was claimed to be a human error/accident by a team member switching the lever the wrong way or the wrong setting.

    Cluster theory and all that says that events happens evenly spread out in groups and clusters. So it just looks like its happening a lot at a certain period but isn’t really.

    • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 4:44

      Or is all the bad luck Mclaren are having just bad karma for the dirty money they have from the Bahranii royal family. Bahrain royals owns Mclranes soul. Lol.

    • DaLoCo said on 13th May 2012, 8:02

      Possibly true, but we need stats to confirm. I think the bigger issue is that McLaren had been dropping the ball everytime the race is on the line. They as a team have taken their drivers out of contention. If you look at the other teams you will see almost faultless performance when it is needed.

      And btw, how does a wheelnut issue happen in two races….surely you check or replace the equipment? Or perhaps the gun operator should practice till he is faultless?

      I am by no stretch of the imagination a McLaren supporter, but I also hate seeing good drivers impeded by poor teamwork.

  4. JustinF1 (@justinf1) said on 13th May 2012, 3:13

    As Lewis pulled over I thought he would be penalized.. I am just surprised the “SPEED” channel commentators did not say anything about it! I think Maldonado won’t hold p1 on for more than 3 laps,. IF it does not rain,. I’m not a Pirelli fan anymore.

  5. Mariano (@mariano) said on 13th May 2012, 3:13

    As many others have already stated here, it is also my opinion that Hamilton’s penalty has been too harsh. A 10 grid penalty would have been more than enough.

  6. mac_user67 said on 13th May 2012, 3:25

    I’ve worked out the:

    * Perfect Q3 Qualifying Strategy*

    Head out on an illegaly light load at the start or midpoint of the session – so light you are barely able to return to the pits yet unnotticable by anyone. ACT LIKE YOU PLAN TO DO ANOTHER RUN – refuel (with enough for outlap, fast lap and inlap), change tyres etc. If another run is required then go for it – else stay put and then the stewards cant deduce you were under fuelled earlier? Easy, disgusting but easy… How many times has this occured already..

    God I wish F1 could be clean..

    • Gogog said on 13th May 2012, 5:10

      one lap = 2.5kg of fuel that equates to around 1/10second.
      Hamilton was 5/10 secs up on Maldanardo. fuel weight was not an advantage.

      Cant help think of the BMW fuel irregularity at Brazil 07.

      • mac_user67 said on 13th May 2012, 12:04

        I wasn’t implying it was done to give Hamilton an advantage – I was simply suggesting a way that a team could get away with running light – hell they could even try to get away with using an exotic fuel..

  7. duncanmonza (@duncanmonza) said on 13th May 2012, 3:44

    Any other driver would have got a 10 place grid penalty.

  8. d3v0 (@d3v0) said on 13th May 2012, 4:05

    I’ve never been so un-excited for a GP.

  9. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 13th May 2012, 4:08

    Some kind of penalty is understandable and probably deserved given the rules. But this kind of punishment is over the top.

    If anything, Hamilton’s Q3 time should have been deleted, nothing more. Meaning that he would then start from 10th.

  10. Gogog said on 13th May 2012, 4:59

    This is just the politics of F1.

    Hamilton moved to back of grid is a better headline than Hamilton pole.

    But Mclaren are a team grasping defeat from the jaws of victory, this cannot go on, look at Button saying to Hes team `You work it out`.

    If heads dont roll then the drivers will, to other teams that know how to measure fluids in the tank and fecking change wheels in under 10 seconds.

    • me262 said on 13th May 2012, 5:43

      c’mon Hamilton fans, get your whining done and get on with having some belief. You all starting to sound like schumacher fans :) Lewis now has the opportunity to come from dead last and prove to the world just how good he is. Its a good script and will be good to watch (hold your breath when he comes in behind Massa!)

      hopefully he’s learnt a thing or 2 about patience & about being in the right frame of mind when things out of your control dont go your way. Whining and sulking was yesterday. Harsh penalty it was but today its about getting on with it

      • Gogog said on 13th May 2012, 6:06

        i said it earlier but…. Where do you think he will finish after they balls up hes pit stops… Lewis will not be wearing Mclaren coulors next year…

  11. f1azzer (@f1azzer) said on 13th May 2012, 5:33

    Thinking to myself after watching Qualy that I should comment with my opinion that the management have something to answer for. I come on the forum here and am amazed at all the fans who are like-minded, so am just adding my agreement. Management must take the blame for the catalogue of errors and misjudgments, and that includes not helping Hammy to get over his emotional problems last season. And let’s not forget Jenson here also. How can this team of engineers not get his car balanced in Spain with the time and expertise at their disposal??.

  12. jvumix (@jvumix) said on 13th May 2012, 7:46

    Follow the rules and all this rage becomes unnecessary.

    Rule was drafted after HAMILTON and MCLAREN did exactly the same thing in Canada 2010. Teach them a lesson for sure.

    Alonso must be cracking up. He’s really starting to think, I may not have the best car, but I am sorrounded by such a bunch of jokers, RBR not even bothering to have a go, after setting 16 poles just last season, I can stay in the champioship fight all year.

  13. Gerry de C said on 13th May 2012, 7:52

    Whitmarsh ‘GET A GRIP MAN!!!’This is no way to run a F1 team.

  14. DT (@dt) said on 13th May 2012, 8:01

    I’m a huge Mclaren fan but they shouldn’t expect to get away with stupid stunts like these. The worse is when Whitmarsh denied that is was a fuel issue when he knew it was!

    Maybe they’ve moved the guy who couldn’t get the left rear nuts on to fueling :-)

  15. Lothario said on 13th May 2012, 9:25

    Of all countries it had to happen in, it had to be Spain..

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