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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Image ?? Williams/LAT

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578 comments on Hamilton penalty hands Maldonado first pole position

  1. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 12th May 2012, 18:58

    I saw it coming, but that’s a bit over-doing it, no? I know he gained an advantage, but throwing him to the back of the grid seems so unfair.
    Oh well, at least we’ll see Maldonado on pole – that wil be very fun indeed.

  2. Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 12th May 2012, 18:58

    This is totally over the top. It’s ridiculous that he has been excluded from the grid altogether, what about his other lap in Q3, or all of the laps in the other sessions?
    Oh wait…wasn’t there a Ferrari in 3rd? What a surprise.

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 12th May 2012, 19:59

      Here we go with the unsubstantiated claims from conspirators. Take off the tin-foil hat. McLaren broke the rules, they got punished. Simple as.

      • bag0 (@bag0) said on 12th May 2012, 20:47

        @colossal-squid Ok, they breached the rules, but this is a total overkill, if he gained an advantage with less fuel, he did it in his final lap, but not before, so count his first q3 lap, or q2 lap, but this…

        • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 12th May 2012, 23:51

          It’s the first time there’s been a penalty for breaking a rule such as this. I agree completely, it seems a bit much to be demoted to last on the grid, I would have considered a 5-place penalty as the more even handed option.

          However it is ridiculous to suggest that Hamilton was demoted so as to favour Alonso, as @bleeps_and_tweaks inferred.

          • rantingmrp (@rantingmrp) said on 13th May 2012, 8:17

            What will really be priceless is when someone else breaks the same rule and the stewards, taking into account the unpopularity of their punishment against LH, give that second transgressor a lesser penalty.

      • Bleeps_and_Tweaks (@bleeps_and_tweaks) said on 13th May 2012, 11:56

        @colossal-squid You’re right of course, their haven’t been any instances in the past that Ferrari have benefited from borderline decisions by the FIA…wait, how’s your F1 history, that can’t be right?!

        As Keith has stated in a comment article this morning on the site, the penalty is totally OTT. Only a Hamilton/Mclaren hater wouldn’t think that. Any true F1 fan who wants the best drivers fighting it out at the front would want Hamilton to receive a proportionate penalty, rather than this draconian one.

        • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 14th May 2012, 19:38

          @Bleeps_and_Tweaks Well let me know when you can conclusively prove that the FIA are corrupt, and favour Ferrari.
          You suggested in your first comment that Alonso being 3rd on the grid had any bearing on the penalty imposed on Hamilton, I am merely pointing out how ludicrous that statement is.

          As for your second point I may not personally like Hamilton but as you can see in one of my comments under yours, I completely agree that it was an incredibly harsh penalty.

  3. kilrcola (@adelaidef1fan) said on 12th May 2012, 19:01

    Can’t say much more than I guess the team deserve it..

    EVERY OTHER TEAM CAN CONFORM..

    They are clearly making an example of him.

    I respect his driving skills, but do not like his arrogance.

    • Ryne (@ryne) said on 12th May 2012, 19:06

      How is his team low-fuelling him a sign of Hamilton’s arrogance?

    • James (@goodyear92) said on 12th May 2012, 19:09

      He’s not arrogant. He congratulated both Pastor and Alonso on their brilliant qualifying efforts and called them both brilliant drivers who would push him hard in the race. He got no congratulations back from them. He has also been very patient with the team’s constant mistakes.

      • DaveD (@daved) said on 12th May 2012, 19:27

        I agree James.
        Lewis has had his moments in the past but he’s really competitive and he’s doing much better. As my father used to say, show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.

        Lewis has talent and expects the best from himself and his team. So do many other drivers, but Lewis seems to get held to a higher standard. Why???

        • James (@goodyear92) said on 12th May 2012, 19:49

          Exactly. I’m so sick of this argument from his haters. All F1 drivers have a degree of arrogance, because it’s a required trait. You have to believe you are the best there. I dislike Vettel, but he’s not a bad guy and he’s extremely talented, I just haven’t taken to him. I never insult any other driver, mainly because I like pretty much all of them, but Lewis haters always seem to.

          • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 2:24

            You are quick to throw out the hater tag. Show me a hater comment on here. Craze you forgot the other catch cry anti hamilton.

  4. Mallesh Magdum (@malleshmagdum) said on 12th May 2012, 19:02

    Now McLaren have learnt how to
    put tyres on properly they’ve
    forgotten how to put fuel in the
    car.

  5. Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 12th May 2012, 19:02

    Seems McLaren thought 2010 Canada was such a long time ago, mistake. And that too second offense. Feel sad for Lewis, then again rules are rules

    • Lee1 said on 12th May 2012, 23:22

      Only in Canada there was no rule to break, just a memo to tell them that they should get back to the pits in a particular time limit. The memo was not an official rule, the rule only came in as a result of that incident. Also as far as I know the rule applies to the whole event not just Qualifying so why has no one else been punished yet?

  6. schooner (@schooner) said on 12th May 2012, 19:02

    Hamilton’s crew let him down yet Again!

  7. Ribf1 (@) said on 12th May 2012, 19:03

    Mclaren handed Frank williams a birthday gift. Maldonado now on pole.When will Mclaren learn from mistakes?

  8. djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 12th May 2012, 19:04

    Stewards are racist. Its the only explanation for such repeatedly harsh punishment.

    I could understand a relegation to 10th which I feel would still be harsh. But the back of the grid?!?

    His car was legal in Q1 & Q2. Disgraceful decision.

    • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 12th May 2012, 19:09

      Stewards are racist. Its the only explanation for such repeatedly harsh punishment.

      http://i4.ytimg.com/vi/OGAu_DeKckI/hqdefault.jpg (Sorry!)

    • Slr (@slr) said on 12th May 2012, 19:22

      His car was legal in Q1 & Q2.

      Cars which make it to Q3 are checked after Q3. The cars don’t get checked inbetween each qualifying session, unless they go out in Q1 or Q2. Besides, an illegal car part or whatever isn’t the issue here. Hamilton stopped on track and McLaren did not have an acceptable reason.

    • Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 12th May 2012, 19:29

      His car was legal in Q1 & Q2.

      I’d love to see the “My behaviour was legal from age 0 to 17″ in courts everywhere.

      • djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 12th May 2012, 19:31

        Well yeah, since you wouldn’t be punished for anything you did between 0-17. Judges do base their decision on your history. What’s your point?

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 12th May 2012, 19:44

          @djdaveyp87 I think @stefanauss‘ point is that McLaren didn’t breach the rules in Q1 & Q2, but they did however breach the rules in Q3, which they’ve been punished for.

          So — to extend the analogy we’re using — if you committed a crime at age 40, telling the judge you were a good kid isn’t going to get you far.

          • Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 12th May 2012, 19:52

            @damonsmedley exactly. F1 rules clearly states that an F1 car must comply to the rules at all times during the event. And definitely Q3 is within “the event”.

          • Lee1 said on 12th May 2012, 23:24

            @Stefanauss,

            Would you say the race was also part of the event? Would you say if that is the case then Vettel should have been punished for stopping in Bahrain?

          • Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 13th May 2012, 1:34

            Lee1,
            yes, the race is part of the event.
            No, that’s not the case with Vettel. Cars must go back to the pit on their own power in practice and qualifying, the rules don’t include the race, where a car that doesn’t make it to the parc ferme is brought back by the marshalls.
            The only relevant part of the fuel rules for the race are the 1lt sample minimum.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th May 2012, 21:24

      @djdaveyp87 The stewards may have over-reacted, you certainly have.

      • djdaveyp85 (@djdaveyp87) said on 13th May 2012, 5:35

        @keithcollantine In hindsight, I certainly did over react. But seriously… when will these disproportionate penalties stop and what will it take to stop them. They are ruining my enjoyment of F1. Lewis deserves alot of the penalties he receives but so many of them have been completely over the top and inconsistant. He has had penalties for things other people have got away with and always seems to get the blame for racing incidents as well as always receiving the sharp end of the stick. If I was him, I would feel suicidal!

        • rantingmrp (@rantingmrp) said on 13th May 2012, 8:26

          It will always be a what-if with these situations. What if it was Lewis and not Rosberg that was defending against Alonso the other day?
          What disappointed was that the Stewards chose to use their discretion in this and any other incidents, which is a shame because it does open up the decision-making to subjectivity. If they had chosen to enforce the rules as they are, full-stop, regardless of the situation, F1 would certainly look fairer.
          But here we are: it’s another race weekend, and we are debating another Hamilton punishment by the Stewards. Someone suggested Hamilton needs to take a sabbatical a la Raikonnen – perhaps try WRC or Indy Car or something, if only so the Stewards can forget what it feels like to throw the book at him.
          And why does Whitmarsh still have a job??

  9. callum (@095cal) said on 12th May 2012, 19:05

    Does this mean that Hamilton’s car didn’t have a problem, it really did just run out of fuel?

  10. Tom Haxley (@welshtom) said on 12th May 2012, 19:05

    He has been “excluded” from qualifying – does that mean he gets all his tyres back as new ones – i suspect not ;)

  11. Nathan Bellows (@nathanbellows) said on 12th May 2012, 19:05

    If I were Hamilton I’d be asking questions at McLaren. Aside from giving him a real pace-setting car they’ve been ruining the races for him, twice with pit stops and now under-fueling his car. McLaren are the last team you’d expect to make such basic errors as these, they’re quickly throwing away a real shot at the title this year!!

    The fairest thing to have done would have been to completely dock McLaren of their constructors points for this round, regardless of where Hamilton and Button finish. No driver should have to take the rap for their team’s mistake like this. But then when was the last time the FIA did ‘fair’?

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 12th May 2012, 19:09

      Now I’m getting pretty sure Mclaren doesn’t want to win constructor’s title…

    • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 12th May 2012, 19:27

      Actually, McLaren are about the first team I’d expect to make such errors; there having been a catalogue of them on both cars stretching back through 2011 and into 2010. Sam Michael was brought in specifically to cut down on these mistakes, which just goes to show that whenever you hire Sam Michael to do something he will actually manage to make it worse (see: Williams performance now he’s left).

  12. James (@goodyear92) said on 12th May 2012, 19:05

    I can’t believe it. Absoloute joke. The same rule should apply to the race if someone runs out of fuel. How much time have they gained over a race distance by being 1 lap lighter than the car behind? 0.100s a lap perhaps? Maybe giving them a healthy advantage over the car behind, but they get no penalty. If I recall that happened to Vettel and Rosberg in Bahrain, so why not take their results away? The clue is in their names. No one can argue that the stewards are unfair to LH now. It’s not like that whole advantage was down to the fuel, some yeah, but not all. He would have had it regardless and they not only strip his fastest time, but send him to the back.

    • paul_E80 said on 12th May 2012, 19:15

      there is no rule against not driving back to the pits in the race, However there is in qualifying.

      how is it been unfair to lewis when his team clearly broke the rules & the stewards applied to penalty stated under those rules?

      bet you woudn’t be calling it unfair had it happened to other drivers.

      • James (@goodyear92) said on 12th May 2012, 19:26

        My point is there should be. If you’re driving a whole race lighter on fuel than people behind you, then you’ve gained more than you possibly could in 1 qualifying lap. Yet it’s ok to do it in the race, why? Give me a reason why there is no similar ruling for the race and how it’s fair that Mercedes and Red Bull did the same in the race and probably gained alot of performance over the entire race, but that’s fine because the FIA haven’t bothered to create a rule against it. It’s unfair because 1 lap less fuel doesn’t give you the clear performance advantage that he had. Rules are straightorward, but are not applied as such in F1 and are usually applied more harshly to LH and that’s a fact. I would actually, as I am a F! fan and have a fondness for most of the drivers.

        • sdtaylor91 (@sdtaylor91) said on 12th May 2012, 20:13

          Totally agree, its an absolutely stupid rule. How is it totally ok to do the exact same thing in a race but you get disqualified for doing it in qualifying? Where is the consistency??

          Dont even get me started on Mclaren, an absolute farce, HRT could do a better job …

      • Lee1 said on 12th May 2012, 23:26

        Only the rules do not state that the rules apply only to Qualifying.

  13. luigismen (@luigismen) said on 12th May 2012, 19:07

    How about that Hulkenberg-Maldonado comparison?? I bet no one can say now that Pastor is just some random pay driver

  14. Ribf1 (@) said on 12th May 2012, 19:07

    McLaren have the best car on the grid, and two drivers capable of winning the title. But they’re making a real mess of this season.

  15. Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 12th May 2012, 19:09

    Oh boy, let the Hamilton fanbase hating the FIA begin!

    I do belief that the penalty is a bit harsh, but it would be unfair not to hand him a penalty. Mclaren have cheated and under-fuelled their cars in Qualifying all too often.

    • sdtaylor91 (@sdtaylor91) said on 12th May 2012, 20:17

      ‘All too often’ …. thats a very flippant comment

      they did it once, when it wasn’t illegal. Today the mechanic accidentally drained some fuel when he should have added it, thats not cheating, thats a mistake.

  16. Ed Marques (@edmarques) said on 12th May 2012, 19:10

    Come back Ron!!!
    Another race ruined by the Mclaren

  17. brxtr (@broxter) said on 12th May 2012, 19:10

    A characteristically monumentally stupid mistake from McLaren and a ridiculous penalty. Brilliant.

  18. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 12th May 2012, 19:12

    It’s a screw-up, and a pretty massive one at that. But rules are rules, and making an exception for Hamilton would be setting a dangerous precedent. Still, it’s a bit harsh all things considered, and I’ll admit I was expecting him to be demoted to either 6th or 10th. But if that’s what the regulations say then there’s no arguing, and I suspect Hamilton’s record at Montreal 2010 pushed a particularly harsh stance.

    Well done to Pastor Maldonado though. He’s coming on well and forcing me to take back everything I said last year. Sure, he got a bit (or a lot) lucky, but he followed the rules where Hamilton did not, so deserves every accolade right now. Happy Birthday to Frank Williams too!

    Oh, and has anyone else had their predictions royally screwed by this. I had Hamilton to win…

  19. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 12th May 2012, 19:12

    This is unprofessional for a team like McLaren. Oh! hang on! Why only McLaren? Isn’t this Formula 1? How can a team make multiple blunders over the course of just 4 races.

    I really pity with Hamilton. Poor guy is on the receiving end right from Malaysia.

    This blows his chance completely. I doubt even points for him now as he has used his tires more than his rivals and with such a tight field and a circuit like Barcelona. I really pity him!

  20. malos (@malos) said on 12th May 2012, 19:12

    I personally don’t expect much from Spanish Stewards since their homeboy will benefit from this. When it comes to Hamilton, the punishments are always outrageous and misapplied.

    • paul_E80 said on 12th May 2012, 19:18

      the stewards are not all spanish. there is 1 local steward but the other 2 are randomly selected from other countrys & dont forget there is also the ex-driver steward.

      in this case the stewards have simply applied the stated penalty for a regulation that was clearly broken.
      nothing to do with bias, all you have to do is read the fia sporting/technical regulations to see a rule was broken & the correct penalty applied.

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