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.”

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

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  1. Do the FIA publish the weight/volume of fuel remaining in vehicles? i’d love to know how much fuel he did actually have. I’d also like to know weights and fuel for all cars after qualify and before and after each race.
    We have to question why Hamilton always gets the harsh decisions from the F1/FIA officials around the world.
    Also why he gets terrible service from the team when Ron isn’t about.

    Lewis going to Ferrari would be great PR all-round when it happens.

  2. Have a feeling that Hamilton will win tomorrow….. then dedicate it to the stewards for their applying a punishment consistent with the error.

  3. In Hamilton’s position, I’d seriously consider not racing tomorrow.

    With the difficulty of passing on the Barcelona track, the likelihood of scoring points is fairly low, and if you can sit out qualifying to save your tyres, why not sit out a race to save your engine and gearbox ?

    Or would that attract another penalty ?

    1. Absolutely my opinion too. Hamilton should do a quick lap or two then pull in to save an engine and box. Makes more sense in the strategic races we now have to watch. Won’t help the spectacle of F1 but they really don’t deserve it.

  4. Congratulation to Pastor for a great lap and Sir William! Now it’s all open for Fernado to win the race.
    Once again Mclaren have done the impossible, swim against the current. This is crazy!!!

  5. I’m sick & tired of the stewards harshness towards Hamilton. It seems one rule for Lewis & another for the rest of the grid. I’m in two minds now wether to cancel SKY Sports & not follow F1 anymore & I’m a massive massive fan. It wouldn’t be so bad if they handed out punishments pro rata to other drivers. But they don’t. They all get away with stuff but Hamilton puts a foot wrong they throw the book at him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis left F1 all together. I agree rules are rules but penalties should be consistent from 1 drive to another & while this is obviously far too harsh other drivers penalties are to lean. Maybe it’s a time to have a rethink how the stewards are elected.

  6. Good luck for LH tomorow. As alonso’s fan i need LH in front of the race because there are the drivers and the race is exhiting with both of them. Come on LH you have to win the race and dedicated to stewards

  7. I wonder where Hamilton will finish tomorrow after Mclaren balls up He`s pit stops?

  8. McLaren first cheat then lie about it. They were punished for blatantly lying in Australia 2009 and Canada 2010 cleared up the fuel rule beautifully.

    I’m absolutely gutted for Hamilton, his performance today was nothing short of dominant. There was never any doubt he was going to end anywhere else, a .5 gap shows a kilo of fuel less wouldn’t have made a difference.

    Please don’t label people who agree with the penalty as anti-Hamilton. He should have been on pole, but the team simply doesn’t deserve it by pulling amateur stuff like this.

    1. +1
      Stuff for amateurs. Inexcusable for McLaren.

    2. @bs
      When did they lie?
      They simply put forward their argument (force majoure), and the FIA didn’t accept it. As has already been said, if that makes them liars, it also makes every lawyer in the world a liar.

      Absolutely stupid of McLaren. They would have known about it before he passed the pits, they could have pulled him in and settled for a slightly lower position. I doubt Hamilton’ll get another WDC at McLaren, hopefully he can take Webber’s seat for 2013. Then we’ll get a proper battle!

  9. better strategy is for lewis to stay in the pits in Q3, save tyres and engine/gearbox wear and then get his start position by proxy.

    seems to work for somemof the other drivers.

  10. Now this is going to be a great race….Alonso will be first on turn one, the hard tires are working great on the Ferrari and Alonso will work his magic.

  11. There is no doubt in my mind that McLaren/Hamilton should be punished. However, the issue I have with the FIA is the lack of information on the penalties available and lack of detail and clarity for the penalty given. This also leaves themselves open to comments of inconsistency and bias.

    As part of their press releases for each penalty investigated they should state the penalties available and give reasons why a particular punishment was chosen.

    At least then we could discuss if the penalty and the reasons for giving it are appropriate with all the facts at hand.

    1. +1!

      @smileyriley, exactly what I’m thinking. I still haven’t found any FIA document that outlines that this violation equals this penalty.

      It would be very disappointing to find out that a black and white penalty like this was up to the stewards’ discretion.

  12. Madness, by all.

    back of the grid, what a joke.

  13. what a joke…. the penalty was too much in my opinion, when he was as quick as he has been all weekend to slap him to the back of the grid is over-board… McLaren once again have totally ruined Lewis’s race…

    …the sooner he can go to a team that can actually make good decisions the better, McLaren have been know for there poor strategy in recent years but, in one of the closest seasons in decades and they have all-but stopped him from even being a contender, despite having one of the best cars on the track.

  14. wayne (@waynedru78)
    12th May 2012, 21:25

    hi guys 1 other thing thst really bugs me about mclaren doing this it now means that they have now completly screwed jensons race too because he now dos’nt start 11th with a free rain on tyre option great job mclaren just handed the championship to lotus ,red bull ,mercedes .

    1. Button didn’t set a time in Q3, he gets to choose anyway.

  15. Feel sorry for LH, but the punishment was absolutely correct. McLaren run an underfuelled car and tried to get away with it. Do you really think they realized Lewis didn’t have enough fuel to return to the pits ONLY AFTER he set his pole time? Not a chance, they knew he was underfuelled right away, most likely even before he started his lap and DEFINITELY before hi finished it. They should have ordered him to abort his run and return to the pits. In that case, he would still be qualified quite high. Instead, they broke the rule and tried to get away with it by citing a false technical problem. This clearly qualifies as a deliberate attempt to gain an unfair advantage = cheating, by running a car that doesn’t comply with the regulations, in other words an illegal car. And the punishment was handed accordingly. Qualifying is a single event, and LH was excluded from the whole event.

  16. does hamilton get new tyres then?

    1. No, you cannot benefit from a penalty like that!

    2. yes if he starts from the pitlane and not the grid (I think)

  17. Absolutely disgusting!!!!!

    I won’t be watching tomorrow and any true Hamilton fan shouldn’t.

    Boycott the race!!!!!!

    1. That is dumb.

  18. UNBELIEVABLE!… Didn’t Vettel stopped at the end of the pit lane in the pit exit some past GP? And then run to the weight verification?… Why the ******* rules only apply to Hamilton… It’s the same year after year – one set of rule for him, other to the rest… I can’t believe this… I had the read this parody from some 3 sites to make sure it was real… NO MORE COMMENTS… Or else this post would no be published…

    1. @win7golf As far as I know, the rule only applies to qualifying, not the race. As long as there’s a fuel sample in the car, it’s ok to do it after the race.

  19. Nobody has yet answered the question “what would have been the penalty for having less than 1 litre of fuel in the car for sampling?”

    1. @Csl46.
      The penalty for having less than 1litre of fuel in the tank would depend on who was driving it.
      For sure if its Hamilton, it would be a 2 year ban. For some others perhaps a reprimand or $5000 fine.

    2. I tried to find the answer to this, but haven’t been able to. Since both of these violations (1. not making it to pit lane and, 2. needing 1 liter for testing) are under 6.6.2, right now I’d have to assume they carry the same penalty.

      If that is the case, and McLaren knew this, I think their hands were tied. They decided the only way to go would be to claim force majeure and stop the car, hoping the FIA would buy it.

      The alternative would be to accept the same penalty for less than 1 liter of fuel.

    3. I don’t recall a breach of the Technical Regulation being punished by nothing else than DSQ.
      And these rules are part of the Tech Reg.

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