FIA Formula 1 Race Director Michael Masi has explained why the two penalty points handed to Lewis Hamilton were rescinded after an investigation into his practice start transgressions at the Russian Grand Prix.
Hamilton was found guilty of breaching two elements of the regulations which related to the Race Director’s notes regarding practice race starts and Article 36.1 of the Sporting Regulations for not maintaining a constant speed on the pit exit.
Hamilton was subsequently handed two-five second time penalties as well as two penalty points on his Super Licence which left him on 10 points and on the verge of a one-race ban.
Hamilton served both penalties at his one and only pit stop in the race and dropped down the field but was able to recover to third place, losing 11 points to team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the battle for the World Championship.
After the FIA discussed the matter with Hamilton and other members of the Mercedes team after the race, the decision was made to rescind the Briton’s penalty points after it was found team radio proved it was a team decision to allow him to complete his practice start in the incorrect place.
“The stewards after the race heard from the team and the driver of Car 44, Lewis and Mercedes spoke to the stewards, at which point it was actually a team instruction to Lewis of where he could perform those practice starts,” said Masi.
“Lewis followed his team instruction and yes it was him driving the car, however, a contributing factor was his team instructed him to do so at that point and therefore they saw it fit to revise their decision accordingly.”
“On that basis the stewards have rescinded the penalty points as they thought it was inappropriate and as a result have fined the team 25,000 Euros for that instruction.”
Hamilton’s Super Licence currently has eight points, the first two of which will not be removed until November 17, leaving the six-time World Champion only four points away from a race ban.