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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578 comments on Hamilton penalty hands Maldonado first pole position

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  1. Nico74 (@nico74) said on 12th May 2012, 20:50

    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

  2. Gogog said on 12th May 2012, 20:51

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

  3. BS (@bs) said on 12th May 2012, 20:54

    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.

    • zicasso (@zicasso) said on 12th May 2012, 21:40

      Stuff for amateurs. Inexcusable for McLaren.

    • minnis (@minnis) said on 12th May 2012, 23:44

      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!

  4. andrew_s (@andrew_s) said on 12th May 2012, 20:58

    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.

  5. ducatiusa (@ducatiusa) said on 12th May 2012, 20:59

    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.

  6. smileyriley (@smileyriley) said on 12th May 2012, 21:09

    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.

    • hays33d (@hays33d) said on 13th May 2012, 1:45


      @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.

  7. BBT (@bbt) said on 12th May 2012, 21:11

    Madness, by all.

    back of the grid, what a joke.

  8. baldgye (@baldgye) said on 12th May 2012, 21:25

    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.

  9. wayne (@waynedru78) said on 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 .

  10. AlexNK said on 12th May 2012, 21:33

    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.

  11. oak said on 12th May 2012, 21:39

    does hamilton get new tyres then?

  12. Kemal said on 12th May 2012, 21:44

    Absolutely disgusting!!!!!

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

    Boycott the race!!!!!!

  13. Win7Golf (@win7golf) said on 12th May 2012, 21:44

    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…

  14. Csl46 said on 12th May 2012, 21:45

    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?”

    • OOliver said on 13th May 2012, 0:27

      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.

    • hays33d (@hays33d) said on 13th May 2012, 1:56

      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.

    • Stefanauss (@stefanauss) said on 13th May 2012, 2:16

      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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