Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Barcelona, 2012

Hamilton penalty hands Maldonado first pole position

2012 Spanish Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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

578 comments on “Hamilton penalty hands Maldonado first pole position”

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  1. Mclaren has done it again. How many times are they going to screw their drivers up under Whitmarsh management? Whitmarsh needs to go full stop!!!

    The guy can’t get anything right for the team.. they can put on a tyre and neither can they fuel a car up properly.. complete joke…….

    Angry is an understatement of how i feel now!!

  2. For the first time ever, I’m actually feeling sorry for Lewis Hamilton.

    1. Ha! Same for me. It was the team’s error or rather a completely unnecessary overdoing.

  3. All things considered – when you push the envelope mistakes happen, intentional ? of course not, but Martin W’s face spoke a thousand words when he stepped off th epit wall, at that moment I thought pole was gone.
    Who carries the can ? Martin does, he is the Boss, just like I carry the can for my team when they make mistakes. Win together loose together.
    Penalty – totally over the top, excluded from Q3 yes, the whole session no way.
    Surprised ? No, stewards rulings against McLaren and Lewis are always more than others get.
    Will Lewis stay ? Who knows, these errors do mount up, but do you throw the baby out with the bathwater ?
    Personally – Although I am McLaren through and through, I would rather Lewis won titles with another team, than didn’t win more with us.

    1. Agree with you completly.
      Lewis should be punished but not this harshly.
      Oh, if he were driving a red car he would not be starting from last place.

      1. @edmarques

        Oh, if he were driving a red car he would not be starting from last place.

        A Ferrari driver was demoted from pole position to the back of the grid at Monaco in 2006. So I don’t agree.

        1. @keithcollantine While I do agree, you’d have to say Schumacher at Monaco is a completely different proposition to Alonso in Spain.

      2. Lewis should not be punished, Mclaren should. Unfortunately for him ( at least this year ) he drives for them, so he suffers.

  4. Aleksandr Nausedas (@)
    12th May 2012, 20:02

    Just a quick question, if Hamilton is DSQ from P1, P2, P3 doesn’t that mean that he hasn’t set any time, which would imply having failed to achieve 107% rule? In other words, wouldn’t be eligible to race? Thanks for explanations guys.

    On the other hand as I am Maclaren fan, it is just wrong for the team to still have this kind of driver and make continuous mistake one grand prix after another. It is sad, but it seems Ill have to wait for at least a total of 15 years until Mclaren win constructors :( as I do not car for drivers that much. Tho, would love it to be from Mclaren, but from what I’ve seen yet – slim chances, almost none. Also for the guys that are seeing exciting race tomorrow: It would have been if Ham was starting in pole considering that his team would as usual this year make pit-stop errors both racing drivers. Unfortunately, but now I do not believe that Mclaren will score any points tomorrow as well as I am not sure whether they deserved it in this grand prix at all. Sad. Hope Ham is able to overcome this and show tomorrow how good he really is! Best of luck for Him! Finally, he should really start questioning his team if he wants to win more WC’s as Maclaren atm does seem as to be in silent-death mode :(..

    1. He’s excluded from the qualifying sessions, but his practice times were well inside 107% so no doubt he will be allowed to start, just like Karthikeyan despite he was unable to set a time within 107% in qualifying.

      1. Aleksandr Nausedas (@)
        12th May 2012, 20:15


  5. Wait, wait, wait. If Karthikeyan is rewarded with being able to qualify despite breaking (sorta) the 107% rule but Hamilton breaks a rule how can the statement, “rules are rules” be applied. Also its been said before but what about Vettel and Massa not finishing the last race because of fuel, no punishment but surely thats breaks the rules?!

  6. The ******** never ends with this bunch. I have my theory of whats going on here. Lewis will never win another WC with Mclaren. This smells exactly like it sounds!

  7. If I was Hamilton, I’d be off to Nascar or Indycar so fast the FIA wouldn’t even realise what had happened.

    It’d be the best for both parties. I can guarantee the FIA would be happy to see him leave and he’d be able to race without getting screwed every time he does something special.

    1. Pure ********. Hamilton is an F1 driver, why the hell would he go to NASCAR?!

  8. Would the stewards have come to the same conclusion and punishment had the driver been Alonso for example. Had it been Hamilton swerving dangerously across the track like Roseberg I am sure he would have received a penalty. I am absolutely tired of the stewards and some fans. I cant help but feel that there are certain things about Hamilton that people unfortunately do not like and this leads to unfair judgements taken against him. Makes me sick

  9. to all those who say Lewis won’t win with Mclaren anymore and that he should leave…remember we were all criticizing Maldonado last year! but look at him now!
    don’t jump to conclusions just because of one mistake! yes I know Mclaren has made 5 mistakes in 5 races so far, but there are 15 more races to go!

    1. 15 races to go, well that is a scary thought.

  10. 100 million ferarigate fine recent past …Mclaren are the FIA stewards whipping boys..
    why cant Hamilton appeal this harsh ruling…?even murder convictions get a chance to appeal and be heard

  11. I knew it the second Hamilton stopped. The commentators hardly noticed it, never mind thinking of the consequences…

  12. am sure if Buttons car was underfuelled…the punishment would have been different.

  13. Well I’m as shocked as anyone else.. But if Hamilton needed to give a fuel sample, then he should know more than any of the other drivers that he has to make it back to the pits under his own power. After all, it’s his actions that brought in this rule. It’s a completely sound rule, and I think the punishment is completely justified. The rules are there to be respected. If he only had a 5 or 10 place penalty like some people on here are suggesting, then that would mean that he still starts ahead of cars that did abide by the rules, which is surely unfair…

    No, I don’t hate Hamilton, I just believe that if he keeps having problems like this (through either his own fault or his team’s) then he’s got to pay the price, it’s the same for the other 23 drivers on the grid, why should Hamilton be able to ‘bypass’ rules?

    1. You make it sound like Hamilton cose to stop. The team came over the radio and said stop immediately technical issue. The driver has no blame in this. Mclaren is the culprit and the same goes for Canada. Mclaren fuelled the car, Mclaren mde the decision to stop. How is the driver to know what is wrong.

    2. You do realise the Driver does not fuel the car, he does not have a fuel gauge in the car, he does not have a fuel flow meter in the car to work out how much fuel he is using, he has to rely on the team completely on all of this information

      Your post makes it all sound like it was Hamilton who refuelled his car personally, By the 10 times you use He and His. Sorry mate i think you clearly do hate Hamilton. When was the last time you saw a F1 driver personally refuelling his own car?

      The only correct people you can but any blame for this error is on Mclaren THEY are the ones who stuffed up. This was NOT Hamilton’s fault he does not deserve any of the criticism you have given him

  14. CONSPIRACY THEORY: Germans (VETTEL) didn’t have a good saturday nor did Button and Webber, Williams, on Sir Frank Williams’ birthday get Maldonado on the front row deservedly along with home-town boy Fernando Alonso in P3 in a poor but improved Ferrari.

    Stewards: Let’s disqualify Hamilton.


    1. @younger-hamii

      Mind if I offer another conspiracy theory?

      Do you remember the final scenes of Ronin, where it turns out Robert de Niro is still a CIA agent? CONSPIRACY THEORY: SAM MICHAEL NEVER LEFT WILLIAMS.

      For completeness sake, I should add I am not being serious.

  15. Sam Michael….it’d be funny if he wasn’t ripping off the fans and the sponsors. The man is the sporting equivalent of the crony capitalist. He moves from team to team, earning a fortune, driving down success….but then someone will probably hire him when McLaren go another 5 years without a constructor’s championship. But hang on…the reason he made Williams go backwards was because the technical design aspects weren’t his strength – he needs to be in an operational capacity to make the pitstops and on track aspects run like clockwork.

    1. So true!! I was really suprised when McLaren hired him. He almost destroyed Williams!! And now McLaren has the best car by far, but they can’t capitalise their advantage because Sam is responsible for all the important trackside desicions.
      Come on, the guy doesn’t have what it takes.

  16. Yet another farce to add to the long, long catalogue of ridiculous decisions made by the FIA / race stewards.

    At the outset, I completely accept that Hamilton/McLaren have breached Article 6.22 – but as far as I can see (and please, correct me if I’m wrong here), that Article does not stipulate what the punishment is for any breach?

    As such, how on earth did the stewards reach the decision that complete disqualification from qualifying was the fair sanction?! By most estimates, a lap’s worth of fuel is worth 0.1 – 0.3 seconds; Lewis was on pole by nearly 0.6 seconds. Also, the underfueling of Hamilton’s car did not affect his first run in Q3 – and it certainly didn’t affect his times in Q1 and Q2.

    The most galling thing is that far worse offences have received much more minor sanctions. Think back to Spa last year where Maldanado was given just a 5 grid place penalty for intentionally crashing into Hamilton . How can failing to complete the slow-down lap be deemed more serious than intentionally making contact with a competitor’s car?

    It’s this disproportionate application of punishments which really damages the sport – this isn’t the only example either, think about McLaren getting a $100m fine for copying elements of Ferrari’s design compared to Renault receiving a suspended disqualification for instructing one of their drivers to crash.

    All fans and competitors in any sport ask is that decisions are transparent, fair and proportionate. F1 continually fails on nearly all of these counts.

    1. Brilliant statement.

      1. Totally agree.

    2. If you will turn a blind eye to,
      1) Exploiting the rule which was put forth for the very offense of the very team(repeat offence Canada 2010)
      2) Lie to reporters about a non-existent car issue not related to fuel
      3) Take the lie to stewards(repeat offence Australia 2009)
      then yes, you are right @bpacman

      1. @ridiculous
        (1) When Hamilton failed to return to the pits in Montreal in 2010, this wasn’t in contravention of any rule in place at the time. As such, I fail to see how it’s relevant here – it’s not a repeat offence? All because the rules have changed now does not deem what happened in Canada 2010 to have been a contravention of the rules too. You can’t punish someone for doing something that wasn’t an offence at the time?!
        (2) Please include a link to the part of the FiA rules where it states that you have to tell reporters the truth. Also, I haven’t seen it since but I’m pretty sure Whitmarsh was noncommittal on what caused Hamilton to stop – he said they’d have to look at the data to find out?
        (3) Read the statement properly – the stewards never concluded that McLaren lied. They simply didn’t accept McLaren’s contention that a team member failing to put the right amount of fuel in the car was force majeuere. McLaren never told the stewards that there was a problem with the car, they put forward their contention (i.e. that a team member putting the wrong amount of fuel in was force majeure) and the stewards didn’t accept it. If putting forward your side of the case amounts to lying, every barrister in this country is a liar.

    3. Aleksandr Nausedas (@)
      12th May 2012, 20:36

      Well, as stewards declared on their official post, because Ham’s vehicle couldn’t reach stewards for checkup, they were unavailable to take a fuel sample from Ham’s formula thus influencing DSQ from quali as they contained no evidence of everything being correct or normal throughout all sessions, thus this DSQ is totally explainable why he was punished by 24 positions, even though I think it should have been a fine given to team and none punishment done for the driver as it wasn’t his fault! Hope I manage to answer your question..

      1. @alexsandr Could you please quote the part of the stewards’ statement where they say they couldn’t take a sample from Hamilton’s car?
        As I read it, they punishing him for failing to return to the pits under his own power.
        As the statement does not mention that Hamilton did not provide a sample of fuel, I’m assuming that he did and that they found nothing wrong with it.
        Also, Ted Kravitz tweeted that there was 1.5 litres of fuel in Hamilton’s car when he stopped and the stewards required 1 litre of this for their testing.

    4. @bpacman

      Think back to Spa last year where Maldanado was given just a 5 grid place penalty for intentionally crashing into Hamilton .

      I agree that punishment was too lenient, but that doesn’t make this one too harsh.

      1. @keithcollantine I take your point but how do you judge if a decision is harsh? You do so by comparing it to past decisions.

        The sanction applied to Hamilton would suggest that this infraction is of the same seriousness as Schumacher parking his car in the middle of Rascasse in 2006 and significantly more serious than Maldanado’s deliberate contact with Hamilton last year at Spa.

        1. @bpacman True but equally you shouldn’t let past bad decisions become an excuse for making more bad decisions.

          1. @keithcollantine I completely agree. Even judged in isolation though, I’d say that this decision is harsh. Short of preventing Hamilton from racing tomorrow, the stewards couldn’t have applied a harsher penalty. For me, that kind of penalty should be reserved for the most serious offences – such as driving that endangers competitors/stewards – not failing to complete the slow-down lap under your own power.

            What’s your opinion Keith – do you think this was an appropriate penalty?

          2. @bpacman Not made my mind up yet. Will comment or write an article when I do. Preoccupied with pre-race analysis and round-up at the moment.

  17. In the last race we had the Rosberg incidents and after discussions there will be no zero tolerence applied as circumstances are different. With this if Hamilton got pole by a tenth then this would have made a difference but he gained a tenth at most and was on pole by 7 tenths. Stewards should take this into account.

    Thing with Mclaren is they lie alot, spygate, Australia 2008 and they have done what happened today before. Cheats do not prospor hence 1 constructors title in 20 years.

    1. Australia 2009. Also Hamilton cheating the safety car Valencia 2010 and getting a token penalty so long after he secured 2nd.

  18. Lewis has had fueling problems in under a year…in singapore he cudnt go out for a second run in Q3 becoz the pump guy was pumping fuel out instead of in..n nw this..this is craizy..heads shoud roll

  19. Face it. Mclaren was trying toi cheat and got caught. Period.

    1. No, I think it’s just incompetence on this occasion. It was clear he had an edge over the field throughout qualifying. No need to deliberately under-fuel the car to gain half-a-tenth, especially given the high possibility they’d be caught.

      It also fits McLaren’s behaviour so far this season – a lot of small mistakes that have ended up being very costly.

  20. Can someone please tell me if this has ever been applied to drivers finishing the race with a shortage of fuel. I can’t remember anyone getting penalised.

    Surely not carrying enough fuel for 72 laps give more time advantage than for 3!

    1. I remember cars being disqualified after races for being underweight. Prost just made it past the chequered flag at Imola in 1985 before he ran out of fuel, but he was later thrown out. Not quite the same thing (the stewards’ statement doesn’t say Hamilton’s car was underweight, and it sounds like the rule he broke only applies to qualifying).

      The FIA has thrown the book at anyone they believe is trying to run light – as you say, it’s got to be a big advantage. The BAR team was banned for two races in 2005, and the Tyrrell team had all its 1984 results wiped. Admittedly they were trying things which were illegal – and although the intent today was not the same, you could say that compared to those, McLaren have got off lightly.

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