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. Tayyib (@m0nzaman) said on 12th May 2012, 19:17

    I just read on the Sky website that the car was underweight does that mean it had a lack of fuel or something far worse like a lack of ballast like BAR in 2005 at Imola, is there something they have not told us or have the FIA been reallyy really harsh by putting him to the back of the grid. It should make for a fascinatin race with Pastor on pole and the matador 2nd come on Fernando.

  2. rob m said on 12th May 2012, 19:17

    What about tyres, can now choose which to start on ?

    • rob m said on 12th May 2012, 19:19

      Sorry, can he now choose which to start on ?

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 12th May 2012, 19:20

      I think so.

      • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 12th May 2012, 19:41

        @eggry I don’t think he can, unless the team opt to start him from the pit lane, which is the only sensible thing to do, especially as Catalunya is known for it’s first corner incidents.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th May 2012, 21:31

      I believe Hamilton will start the race on the tyres he qualified on. Sporting regulations article 25.4 (e) says:

      At the start of the race each car which took part in Q3 must be fitted with the tyres with which the driver set his grid time.

      There is no indication this rule is affected by a driver receiving a penalty after taking part in Q3.

      • Lee1 said on 12th May 2012, 23:29

        But he was disqualified from Q3 so therefore surely has not technically set a grid time in that Session? I am sure other drivers that have been demoted out of the top 10 got to start on their own choice of tyres…. But I may be wrong.

  3. Mahir C said on 12th May 2012, 19:18

    Another Mclaren classic! All that talk about being the most professional and efficient team on the grid, yet another screw up. Poor Lewis, what more does this guy have to do?

  4. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 12th May 2012, 19:18

    Mclaren screws up again! I’m no Hamilton fan but he doesn’t deserve this hardship, I’d be ****** as hell

  5. Girts (@girts) said on 12th May 2012, 19:21

    Hamilton obviously doesn’t deserve this and I’m sorry for him.

    However, I believe that McLaren as a team were rightly punished because they had gained an unfair advantage, even if it wasn’t decisive in this case. The penalty was necessary to discourage other teams from acting the same way in the future. In a closely fight season like this, where every thousandth of a second can be decisive, teams might be easily tempted to ‘miscalculate’ the necessary amount of fuel. It would then just lead to chaos and mockery.

    Now, who predicted the pole sitter for the Spanish GP correctly?

    • melkurion (@melkurion) said on 12th May 2012, 19:30

      Agree completly :)

    • McLar3n said on 12th May 2012, 19:38

      “I believe that McLaren as a team were rightly punished”. I think Hamilton as a driver was punished more than McLaren as a team. Dock the constructors points obtained from Hamilton’s result tomorrow, you have McLaren as a team being punished.

      In Montreal 2010, a fine of $10,000 was imposed. McLaren as a team was punished there. Not the case here. Last I checked, Hamilton doesn’t operate the fuel rig.

  6. xabregas (@xabregas) said on 12th May 2012, 19:21

    From what i read Hamilton was disqualifyed from the all qualifying process not Q1, Q2 or Q3 so i guess he got lucky to be in the race tomorrow since he hadn´t any time in qualifying.
    In the end it´s Maclaren´s fault and i really feel sorry for Hamilton, he put a great show in Q3.
    Congratulations Williams

    • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 12th May 2012, 20:51

      Hamilton’s practice times are easily inside the 107% barrier; excluding him from the race would have been vindictive, and probably resulted in legal action from McLaren.

  7. nemo87 (@nemo87) said on 12th May 2012, 19:22

    Complete ********

  8. sparkus88 (@sparkus88) said on 12th May 2012, 19:23

    What would the penalty have been for coming back to pits and not being able to provide a full 1 Litre fuel sample?

  9. StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 12th May 2012, 19:23

    Don’t get all the comments going on about the stewards been unfair or bias etc…

    Article 6.6.2 of the 2012 Technical regulations clearly 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.

    The stewards have specific penalty’s to be given for specific regulations & quite clearly the penalty for breaking this regulation is disqualification from qualifying.

    Seems quite clear to me that a rule was broken & penalty deserved to be handed out!

    • StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 12th May 2012, 19:25

      According to the stewards release Sam Michael attempted to claim force majeure on the grounds of the individual failing to put enough fuel in the car.

      • kilrcola (@adelaidef1fan) said on 12th May 2012, 19:27

        imagine if they didn’t punish them.

        Lotus/RB/Ferrari all next race..

        “oh one of our trainee pit crews forgot to fill up and we couldn’t finish the qualy outlap, our bad, can we still keep our qualy time?”

        • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 12th May 2012, 19:42

          But you can do that anyway on your first Q3 run; no-one’s taking fuel samples then (I think). A mistake such as this should only be punished enough to discourage it, as it would obviously be undesirable to have five cars parked on the straight at the end of Q3, but there are more lenient penalties to do that, such as a grid penalty, a time penalty, or taking away the timed lap that was underfuelled.

        • Mads (@mads) said on 12th May 2012, 19:49

          Yeah of cause they should punish them. Afterall it was Lewis and McLaren who got the rule introduced in the first place, but a 24 grid drop is probably a bit harsh…

          • SPIDERman (@spiderman) said on 12th May 2012, 20:21

            Did anyone notice one of the Mclaren mechanics rush to whisper something into Hamiltons ear as soon as he had arrived at perc ferme area before getting weighed in?
            these guys messed up big and were already trying to cover up… but still too harsh is the punishment.

          • Tony M (@tango11) said on 12th May 2012, 20:44

            Next to the bloke from the grassy knoll wasn’t he?

          • SPIDERman (@spiderman) said on 12th May 2012, 21:08

            whats your point tony M AT TANGO 11?..if you have nothing to say it is not wise spoiling a good discussion

          • mac_user67 said on 12th May 2012, 22:17

            I noticed the guy speak to Hamilton..

            I think they should’ve just come clean, Whitmarsh definitely knew why Hamilton pulled over, yet their policy was to keep quiet – how stupid when the truth was inevitably going to come out. I felt for sure then Hamilton was short of fuel, I even wrongly assumed he was copying Kobayashi, but apparently the Sauber had a hyraulic problem.

            If Mclaren had come clean straight away a drop to the back of the grid would have called the sport into disrepute as it is the stewards can call lying to them the very same.

            Either way I feel it is very very unfair on Hamilton. I’d try to move to Lotus if I were him!

        • tvm (@tvm) said on 12th May 2012, 21:42

          And how would this hurt the sport?

          • Daler said on 12th May 2012, 21:53

            My guess is that if no fuel was required for testing, some sort of cheating shenanigans would ensue. Its not like F1 teams have never cheated before.

  10. Ash356 (@ash356) said on 12th May 2012, 19:24

    The thing that annoys me is the penalty’s harsh. Fair enough, it’s legitimate it seems, but the back? Seriously?
    That’s just ridiculous, especially considering quite a few drivers didn’t even bother setting a time. It should be about exciting the spectators, not the damn laws. A drop to 10th I would agree with, and deem fair.
    But getting sent to the back when he evidently got to Q3 on his own merit is just pathetic, and is one of the reasons that turn people off watching the sport.
    On another note, Mclaren need to get their bloody act together. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis left, these persistent mistakes are seriously affecting his world championship chances.

  11. kilrcola (@adelaidef1fan) said on 12th May 2012, 19:26

    I was expecting P6, but they really are making an example of HAM and MCLAREN.

  12. Snafu (@snafu) said on 12th May 2012, 19:27

    In order to get a good result, Mclaren should start rain dance just about now…

  13. OOliver said on 12th May 2012, 19:27

    Mclaren should get a fine.

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 12th May 2012, 19:36

      They did when the same thing happened in Canada 2010, Hamilton kept the pole, and duly won the race.

      After that, the FIA changed the regulations to ensure it didn’t happen again…

  14. Rob8k said on 12th May 2012, 19:27

    I think we need to think about this for a second. Firstly, I am too like many here surprised and a little bit disappointed to hear that HAM has been thrown to back of the grid. The punishment in no means seems to fit the crime. So all these people calling it a fair punishment, I assume, have a dislike to HAM. What about all the times drivers have stopped on track after a race? Why is this action always going unpunished, surely the advantage is just as great.

    Secondly, maybe someone will clear it up, but article 6.6.2 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”

    Now, last I checked, qualifying isn’t a practice session and thus this rule is null and void in this circumstance.

    Now, I do believe HAM should be punished. I don’t want to see cars qualifying and stopping on track after Q3 but a 5 grid place drop should be suffice or his time revoked. Once again the stewards have handed out another penalty not fitting for the crime and thus hampered someone that clearly deserves to have started at least 10th and once again we will be discussing penalties due to the over the top reaction by the stewards.

    • Diogenes said on 12th May 2012, 19:38

      You need to check again; from the sporting regulations:

      33) QUALIFYING PRACTICE
      33.1 The qualifying practice session will take place on the day before the race from 14.00 to 15.00.
      The session will be run as follows :

    • paul_E80 said on 12th May 2012, 19:41

      Now, last I checked, qualifying isn’t a practice session and thus this rule is null and void in this circumstance.

      Qualifying is actually classed as a practice session.

      LOok back at Bahrain 2010 where Karun Chandhok was allowed to race despite only doing laps in Q1 when there was this rule-
      “Article 31.2 of the FIA’s 2010 sporting regulations states that all drivers must take part in at least one of the practice sessions in order to be allowed to participate in the grand prix. ”

      The official name for qualifying is also ‘Qualifying PRACTICE’.

      • Rob8k said on 12th May 2012, 19:46

        Thanks for clearing that up, wonder if you could get away at stating it doesn’t officially say qualifying practice although most likely pulling at straws. Although happy there is a rule, still not happy at the punishment.

      • David BR2 said on 12th May 2012, 20:48

        In Brazil it’s called ‘treino livre’ and ‘treino oficial,’ free practice and official practice (qualifying).

      • Lee1 said on 12th May 2012, 23:35

        If this is the case, I am sure drivers have run out of fuel in practice sessions before? If so have they been punished? Perhaps I am only thinking of testing…. however I am almost certain I have seen drivers run out in free practice.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th May 2012, 23:38

          Testing, yes; practice, no.

          • Lee1 said on 12th May 2012, 23:40

            Ah, thanks for that. I will be keeping my beasy eye out for future offences though…. ;-)

        • Lee1 said on 12th May 2012, 23:38

          Also what would be the punishment if they did? Obviously in Quali you can be disqualified from the whole 3 sessions but if it is in free practice what on earth would they do? I suppose they could ban the driver from Qualifying but that would then be slighty less of a punishment as you would have a full fresh set of tyres having not had to run in qualifying…… so surely that would not be fair?

  15. caci99 (@caci99) said on 12th May 2012, 19:28

    I feel baffled. Why the back of the grid? The amount of fuel missing on the car couldn’t have made him go 0.5s faster. And I am even more ****** off because this guy who did the best time and added excitement in the quali session, is severely penalised for no fault of his own, while a couple of other drivers who choose “to save tyres” and not running are comfortably making ahead!!

    • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 2:50

      Its simple. The rules call for exclusion from the session (all of it). So back of the grid it is.

      The good thing is that the stewards had NO discretion in this decision. So people shouldn’t be complaining about the decision, it was the only one the stewards could make.

      People should only complain about the rule if they think it a bad one.

      Secondly this isn’t swimming race. It is not only about the individual in car racing. It is not Lewis fault it is the car/team problem.

      As some others noted this does make Mclaren look very grubby indeed. Witmarsh’s dodgy evasiveness and his telling lies makes me think less of McLaren specially considering there past cheating offences.

      I would love to see Lewis go to another team and see how he goes.

      On the bright side think how much fun it will be to watch Lewis scythe his way through the field from the back of the grid.

      • rols said on 13th May 2012, 4:14

        Where do the rules say that the punishment for that infringement is to be excluded from the session and where do they define the session to mean the entirety of qualifying practice and not just Q3?

        I totally agree that McLaren broke the rules and deserved punishment for it, but I’ve still to see a definitive source for what the punishment should be. If indeed there is one and that’s what it says, I have no issue with this at all. Do you have a link?

        • Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 13th May 2012, 4:50

          Where do the rules say that the punishment for that infringement is to be excluded from the session

          The infringment is in the Technical Regulation. Therefore, the car is illegal. I cannot find something that states outright the the punishment is DSQ, but It’s hardly necessary. Breach in the Tech rules are either there or not there, and punishment has always been DSQ.

          where do they define the session to mean the entirety of qualifying practice and not just Q3?

          2012 Sporting Regulation, article 33.1.

          I totally agree that McLaren broke the rules

          That’s a common assumption throughout the comments in this article, I think.
          McLaren made a mistake. Because of that, the car was illegal. People are trying to wishfully balance the penalty as they see fit, like we do with driving issues, everyone has his own perspective. But that is not the case.
          Breach of the Tech rules, illegal car, DSQ. No discretion at all.

        • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 5:08

          If you bothered to read this comment from Stefmieester above you would understadn and feel better about it.

          “StefMeister (@stefmeister) said on 12th May 2012, 19:23
          Don’t get all the comments going on about the stewards been unfair or bias etc…

          Article 6.6.2 of the 2012 Technical regulations clearly 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.

          The stewards have specific penalty’s to be given for specific regulations & quite clearly the penalty for breaking this regulation is disqualification from qualifying.

          Seems quite clear to me that a rule was broken & penalty deserved to be handed out! “

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