World Champion Lewis Hamilton hit out at Formula 1’s stewards after he incurred two separate penalties for a pre-race practice start infraction at the Russian Grand Prix.
On his way to the grid Hamilton carried out two practice starts outside of the designated area that is outlined in the event notes issued by Race Director Michael Masi.
He was handed two five-second time penalties for the transgression, which he served at his pit stop at the Sochi Autodrom, dropping him from the lead to third spot.
Hamilton was also handed an additional penalty point for each infraction which means he now has 10 penalty points on his Super Licence, bringing him perilously close to the maximum 12.
Of those penalty points two will not be removed until mid-November, meaning he will have to negotiate the next four rounds cleanly, while eight will stay until at least mid-2021.
“I need to go back and see what the rules are, what exactly I did wrong,” Hamilton told Sky Sports post-race.
“I’m pretty sure no one has ever got two five-second penalties for something so ridiculous before.
“I didn’t put anyone in danger, I’ve done this at a million tracks over the years and never been questioned over it. But it is what it is.”
When asked whether he felt the penalties were too harsh Hamilton replied: “Of course it is, and it is to be expected. They are trying to stop me. But it’s OK. I’ll just keep my head down and stay focused and see what happens.”
Hamilton’s title advantage over race winner Valtteri Bottas was reduced to 44 points.