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.”

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2012 Spanish Grand Prix

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578 comments on Hamilton penalty hands Maldonado first pole position

  1. 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’?

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

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

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

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

  8. 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…

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. Allie500 said on 12th May 2012, 19:13

    Total ********. F1 is a complete farce. Vettel did the same thing at the last GP after winning, pulling to a stop at the end of the pit to save enough fuel to give a sample. Did he get any penalty? NO! Of course not. If it had been a Red Bull or Ferrari that had done the exact same thing not a damn thing would have happened b/c they get special treatment from FIA and FOM.

    I’m not even watching this farce GP tomorrow. McLaren should boycott it too.

  12. OOliver said on 12th May 2012, 19:14

    Mclaren…
    Great job Withmarsh.
    For sure next race his car either doesn’t have a wing or missing a drive shaft.

  13. David-A (@david-a) said on 12th May 2012, 19:15

    My least favourite team seems to be the most stupid team. LH would have had pole even with up to 3 laps extra fuel considering he was 0.5 up. Feel sorry for Hamilton.

    Happy for Pastor and Williams though.

  14. sketchyterry (@sketchyterry) said on 12th May 2012, 19:15

    Wow that is the most outrageous decision ever!!!! The Hamilton haters will be saying that its to be expected but he got into Q3 fair and square did he not?!?!?!?!? The stewards in this sport are just crazy, so frustrated and annoyed! Fair sporting… I think not

  15. sketchyterry (@sketchyterry) said on 12th May 2012, 19:16

    Does anyone know if they can Appeal?!

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