Safety Car 'anomaly' to blame for Lewis Hamilton investigation

Lewis Hamilton behind the F1 Safety Car

The FIA has explained that a never before seen anomaly triggered an investigation into Lewis Hamilton, who had reportedly been driving too slowly behind the Safety Car during the German Grand Prix.

Hamilton had just received a five-second penalty for entering the pits to the left of the pit entry bollard, rather than the right, after he crashed at the penultimate corner when another investigation flashed up on the screen accusing the Mercedes driver of driving too slowly behind the SC which had come out for Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

However following an investigation into the matter, the stewards found that there was some confusion after Hamilton crashed and had a very slow pit-stop lasting almost a minute, which meant he was still required to stick to the Safety Car delta time, whereas those around him weren't.

"The Stewards determined that because car 44 pitted due to his own incident during the VSC/Safety Car period, and the subsequent long pit stop, he had completed one less lap under the safety car than the cars around him," confirmed the report.

"This meant that he was obliged to drive to the delta time, while the cars around him were attempting to safely catch the Safety Car. This gave the appearance that he was driving unnecessarily slowly, however in the view of the Stewards he was following the regulation."

F1 race director Michael Masi confirmed it was a scenario they had never seen before due to the unique circumstances.

"It was an anomaly basically with the way the system is. So there was no further action with that one," he added.

"Effectively your first two laps under the safety car, you have to respect the delta time to effectively catch up.

"The anomaly was everyone else was on their third lap so was able to catch up, but Lewis was on his second lap so was having to effectively respect the delta while everyone else around him was racing to catch the back of the line.

"Speaking to a couple of the sporting directors since, it is a situation that we have not seen before. So it is something for us to look at generally."