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

  1. jackal40 (@jackal40) said on 12th May 2012, 23:52

    OK, after reading all of this I’ve got to ask why is a car/driver who does not set a time in Q3 allowed a position ahead of those who don’t make it to Q3?

    I understand (but don’t agree with) the penalty Hamilton has received. But other drivers didn’t go out on Q3 and received starting positions in the top 10 – makes no sense to me.

  2. Never so this much controversy over a penalty on F1F before.400 comments and counting,i’m impressed.As far as the penalty is concerned,i don’t think that McLaren tried to cheat,it was a simple human error,a stupid one indeed.It was clear that Hamilton was fastest othere,no reason for them to be so tight on fuel.If he had one more gallon of fuel onboard he would still get the pole,but it’s easy for me to talk about it now.People make mistakes,simple as that.Those who bash Mclaren for making mistakes and letting Hamilton down,i ask them how many wins would Hamilton score riding a tricycle in his pajamas,and would he been a 2008 champion without them.They practically made him,so it’s not quite fair to bash them like this.And yes,Sam Michael is a walking disaster.

    • minnis (@minnis) said on 13th May 2012, 0:04

      If he was driving for a team like Ferrari, he could have been 2007 champion, 2008 champion, possibly 2009 champion, and possibly 2010 champion, and 2011 runner up. All these years the Ferrari has been right up there challenging for the title.
      I hope Hamilton goes to a team capable of going at least 1 race without making a major mistake! Even HRT aren’t this bad, at least they know how to put fuel in a car!

      • mac_user67 said on 13th May 2012, 0:16

        2009 was Brawn’s year but I agree Hamilton could have achieved more if he were with Ferrari.

        Unfortunately for him he won’t be able to join Ferrari now unless he were willing to supportAlonso

        • mac_user67 said on 13th May 2012, 1:18

          In the heat of the moment I made a monumental mistake with my comment above, Hamilton was definitely in the best position possible with Mclaren till 09 and not many drivershave had the chance to join the best team. Alonso is a better all round driver though

      • @minnis Was that supposed to be funny,get serious will you.Without McLaren in 2007 he would be really lucky to get a seat in a beckmarker,let alone in a established team,Ferrari would have been out of question,lol.But for the sake of argument,let’s say that by freaky coincidence he ended up in Ferrari,and Ferrari are famous for hiring rooke drivers previously sponsored by McLaren such as Lewis was back then,where do you think that Alonso would have been all these years.Let me tell you,he would be in McLaren winning races and titles.Alonso was a contender for the title in a subpar Ferrari,he would be walking away with it in a Mclaren.If Hamilton had a better team to go to he would be long gone by now.

        • OOliver said on 13th May 2012, 0:52

          Lewis haspaid his dues at Mclaren. Mclaren during Ron’s era is so different to Withmarsh’ era. I said last year, Hamilton should have moved to Williams, as he will not win another championship for Mclaren with Withmarsh in charge. The harder he tries the worse it gets.

        • minnis (@minnis) said on 13th May 2012, 22:15

          @kimster381 and all others,
          I think you are missing my point – all those years I mentioned, both Hamilton and Ferrari were in the running. I’m merely pointing out that other teams have been in contention, but have made few or no mistakes like McLaren have. I’m also not saying he WOULD have gone to Ferrari, in fact I doubt that could ever have happened. I’m just hypothesising on what he could have done if he HAD. I’m also not saying just Ferrari – I said a team LIKE Ferrari. This could mean RBR, Brawn for 2009, even the Lotus or Mercedes this year. If he can drag the dog of a car McLaren produced for the first half of ’09 into the points, then he could do wonders with one of these.

      • Anonymous said on 13th May 2012, 0:50

        ROFL. Thanks , I needed a laugh!

      • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 13th May 2012, 1:08

        ROFL. Thanks, I really needed a laugh.

  3. Quin1010 (@quin1010) said on 12th May 2012, 23:58

    I really don’t get the whole fuel sample thing. Do F1 teams still concoct their own fuel formulas? I know that Indycar runs E-85 as the standard fuel for all competitors. If F1 does already have a specified fuel are they suspecting teams of “doctoring” the mixture, thus the testing? Also, one-plus liters seems like a large amount just to test for compliance but then I am certainly no expert in this area. When was the last time someone was caught using an illegal fuel? I’m sure someone here can enlighten me.

    • SPIDERman (@spiderman) said on 13th May 2012, 0:14

      exactly….i agree that this fuel sampling thingy is joke by FIA..perhaps we should have just one fuel supplier for all teams just like the tyre thingy with pireli..so there is no need for testing.. each cars fuel…saving costs in the end..

      • mac_user67 said on 13th May 2012, 0:21

        Good idea, there is no point in each team bringing their own fuel if it is all the same RON. The only team I know of that uses a specific fuel is Ferrari using shell. Everyone should use the same fuel and it could be monitored in the same way the tyres are

    • Nick.UK (@) said on 13th May 2012, 0:18

      @quin1010 I can’t recall exactly what race it was last season, but one of the Toro Rosso’s received a penalty, which I will not hesitate to say, was NOWHERE near as bad as this – 5, maybe 10 place penalty I think. It was for a ‘fuel irregularity’. No more details were revealled so far as I know. I don’t think many people cared to be honest. It wasn’t a pole lap like this… nor Lewis Hamilton.

    • timi (@timi) said on 13th May 2012, 0:28

      1997 Mika Hakkinen was stripped of his third place at Spa.

      I kind of agree with you but the rules are there as a pre-emtive measure. Let’s think of it this way;

      There is no longer a sample taken by the FIA, everyone just assumes every other team is using the standard regulation fuel!! PLEASE. How long do you think that would last? A race? Maybe two? Don’t be naive

    • hays33d (@hays33d) said on 13th May 2012, 2:15

      I think the reason for testing has been covered. Mainly because there is not a sole fuel supplier.

      The reason they get their own fuel is because the teams want it that way due to sponsorship.

      The largest example is Ferrari and Shell, a very long partnership. In fact Shell just came out they have gotten another 2bhp out of a new fuel formula looking for another tenth of a second even though it conforms to current strict fuel rules. So there is still development there.

  4. Ivan Vinitskyy (@ivan-vinitskyy) said on 13th May 2012, 0:20

    I wonder if they moved the same guy who did pit-stops to re-fueling.

    • Nick.UK (@) said on 13th May 2012, 0:27

      HAHAHAHA! God, imagine the shame!

    • SPIDERman (@spiderman) said on 13th May 2012, 0:32

      bottom line is trying to maximize pole position winning possibility by being stingy or careless with fuel is a daft move..in any case the fuel handler should have noticed immediately and therefore alerted the team to tell Hamilton to abort the mighty pole position run and cruise back to the pits…NOW..don’t these cars have some sort of fuel gauges to guide the driver as well?

  5. lightsout (@lightsout) said on 13th May 2012, 0:34

    I found this decision to be highly strange. Yes, I’m a Hamilton fan and I did expect some kind of penalty but this seems really harsh. The only other time someone has been sent to the back of the grid like this was Schumacher in 2006 when he parked it at Monaco .

    Now consider Schumacher’s penalty against Barrichello in Hungary in 2010 – a 10 place penalty. So apparently what Hamilton did (which wasn’t his fault at all!) is worse that what Schumacher did to Barrichello! Likewise when people have been found guilty of causing accidents – 10 places. The decision to send Hamilton to the back just baffles me.

  6. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 13th May 2012, 0:42

    I was expecting a 10-place grid penalty – kinda like sending him to the back of the Q3 line (because he only gained his competitive advantage in Q3). Sending him to the back was rather too harsh, IMO. But it does send a very strong warning to the teams to make sure this never happens again. If there’s one thing the FIA has never looked too kindly on, it’s underweight cars.

    • SPIDERman (@spiderman) said on 13th May 2012, 0:57

      i doubt if Hamiltons car was going to be below the 620 kg limit rule even after stopping at turn four thereabouts.
      in this case they are punishing the effect of under fuelling and stopping car from arriving at perc ferme

  7. ManjuBoy (@manjuboy) said on 13th May 2012, 0:57

    So my guess of Lewis getting pole with a 01:21.783 is kaput!

  8. Rob Wilson (@rob-wilson) said on 13th May 2012, 1:03

    I’m massively gutted about this but what I’m thinking is that if Hamilton goes on to win this race now from dead last against all the odds and against all the bad luck and horrible mistakes by Mclaren It would be the greatest victory ever. C’mon Lewis, anyone can win from the front, but winning from the back, that’s what makes legends. It’s time to become a legend.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 13th May 2012, 1:38

      Historically, I don’t think anyone’s ever won outside of the first two rows here – never mind the back. He’ll need a very good drive just to score a point.

  9. urbanspaceman said on 13th May 2012, 1:10

    Absolutely disgraceful decision. At the very least they could have dropped him down to 10th but to send him to the back of the grid is so unnecessarily harsh; hardly a surprise that this great benefits a Ferrari driver. Completely ruined tomorrow’s race.

  10. MattW said on 13th May 2012, 1:42

    Sam Michael went from Williams to McLaren and Williams have improved and McLaren are having shockers. Coincidence?

  11. Paulocreed (@paulocreed) said on 13th May 2012, 2:05

    Did this not happen to alonso either last year or 2010. And then he hitched a ride from Webber? Does anyone remember which race weekend it was and where? And I don’t believe Alonso was penalized. Was the rule made after this?

  12. manatcna (@manatcna) said on 13th May 2012, 2:30

    Whitmarsh, it’s time to go

    • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 5:22

      Yeah but hang on. Whitmarsh can’t be responsible for the human errors or accidents such as wheel nuts not going on properly or the fuel guy not selecting the fuel in setting.

      • Gerry de C said on 13th May 2012, 7:58

        Yup he is responsible for everything that happens in the team!!!!

      • DT (@dt) said on 13th May 2012, 7:58

        He in charge of the team and therefore responsible for the actions of the team. Its all about leadership, you take credit for the team’s success and take blame for their failures

  13. bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 3:02

    I think people are being harsh on Mclaren for the wrong reasons.

    Yes there have been lots of team errors but the team errors are those of a human error or an accident made by individuals.

    This is to say that the management or strategy calls by Mclaren have been ok excluding good old hindsight et al. The car is brilliant and no one should complain about driving for Mclaren this year.

    You can’t ever stop human error, people, individuals make human errors and have accidents. The wheel nut is not Mclaren as a teams its not a systemic mistake, it’s an accident. The refuelling in this case was claimed to be a human error/accident by a team member switching the lever the wrong way or the wrong setting.

    Cluster theory and all that says that events happens evenly spread out in groups and clusters. So it just looks like its happening a lot at a certain period but isn’t really.

    • bearforce1 (@bearforce1) said on 13th May 2012, 4:44

      Or is all the bad luck Mclaren are having just bad karma for the dirty money they have from the Bahranii royal family. Bahrain royals owns Mclranes soul. Lol.

    • DaLoCo said on 13th May 2012, 8:02

      Possibly true, but we need stats to confirm. I think the bigger issue is that McLaren had been dropping the ball everytime the race is on the line. They as a team have taken their drivers out of contention. If you look at the other teams you will see almost faultless performance when it is needed.

      And btw, how does a wheelnut issue happen in two races….surely you check or replace the equipment? Or perhaps the gun operator should practice till he is faultless?

      I am by no stretch of the imagination a McLaren supporter, but I also hate seeing good drivers impeded by poor teamwork.

  14. JustinF1 (@justinf1) said on 13th May 2012, 3:13

    As Lewis pulled over I thought he would be penalized.. I am just surprised the “SPEED” channel commentators did not say anything about it! I think Maldonado won’t hold p1 on for more than 3 laps,. IF it does not rain,. I’m not a Pirelli fan anymore.

  15. Mariano (@mariano) said on 13th May 2012, 3:13

    As many others have already stated here, it is also my opinion that Hamilton’s penalty has been too harsh. A 10 grid penalty would have been more than enough.

  16. mac_user67 said on 13th May 2012, 3:25

    I’ve worked out the:

    * Perfect Q3 Qualifying Strategy*

    Head out on an illegaly light load at the start or midpoint of the session – so light you are barely able to return to the pits yet unnotticable by anyone. ACT LIKE YOU PLAN TO DO ANOTHER RUN – refuel (with enough for outlap, fast lap and inlap), change tyres etc. If another run is required then go for it – else stay put and then the stewards cant deduce you were under fuelled earlier? Easy, disgusting but easy… How many times has this occured already..

    God I wish F1 could be clean..

    • Gogog said on 13th May 2012, 5:10

      one lap = 2.5kg of fuel that equates to around 1/10second.
      Hamilton was 5/10 secs up on Maldanardo. fuel weight was not an advantage.

      Cant help think of the BMW fuel irregularity at Brazil 07.

      • mac_user67 said on 13th May 2012, 12:04

        I wasn’t implying it was done to give Hamilton an advantage – I was simply suggesting a way that a team could get away with running light – hell they could even try to get away with using an exotic fuel..

  17. duncanmonza (@duncanmonza) said on 13th May 2012, 3:44

    Any other driver would have got a 10 place grid penalty.

  18. d3v0 (@d3v0) said on 13th May 2012, 4:05

    I’ve never been so un-excited for a GP.

  19. Maksutov (@maksutov) said on 13th May 2012, 4:08

    Some kind of penalty is understandable and probably deserved given the rules. But this kind of punishment is over the top.

    If anything, Hamilton’s Q3 time should have been deleted, nothing more. Meaning that he would then start from 10th.

  20. Gogog said on 13th May 2012, 4:59

    This is just the politics of F1.

    Hamilton moved to back of grid is a better headline than Hamilton pole.

    But Mclaren are a team grasping defeat from the jaws of victory, this cannot go on, look at Button saying to Hes team `You work it out`.

    If heads dont roll then the drivers will, to other teams that know how to measure fluids in the tank and fecking change wheels in under 10 seconds.

    • me262 said on 13th May 2012, 5:43

      c’mon Hamilton fans, get your whining done and get on with having some belief. You all starting to sound like schumacher fans :) Lewis now has the opportunity to come from dead last and prove to the world just how good he is. Its a good script and will be good to watch (hold your breath when he comes in behind Massa!)

      hopefully he’s learnt a thing or 2 about patience & about being in the right frame of mind when things out of your control dont go your way. Whining and sulking was yesterday. Harsh penalty it was but today its about getting on with it

      • Gogog said on 13th May 2012, 6:06

        i said it earlier but…. Where do you think he will finish after they balls up hes pit stops… Lewis will not be wearing Mclaren coulors next year…

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