In his anger, lewis hamilton left formula 1 with an awkward debate on his departure from sochi.
The world champion, who was deprived of michael schumacher’s winning record in russia, feels persecuted by the track judges and casts doubt on fair formula 1 justice. "No one has ever been penalized for something like this before. It seems as if we had to fight against resistance," the world championship leader scolded.
But that’s not enough of hamilton’s general criticism: the penalty points recently handed out by the race commissioners are "ridiculous," his overpowering mercedes team is under constant scrutiny, and the rules have been changed to make the races more exciting. "They want to stop me, don’t they?" Said hamilton. Race director michael masi also got a broadside from the superstar. "We are on a wave long? I don’t think so," hamilton grimaced.
The whole mess was caused by the two time penalties for the 35-year-old’s trial starts outside the designated zone at the exit of the pit lane, which cost him a fairly certain victory. The spanish newspaper "el pais" saw it as a "slip of the tongue". "He didn’t gain any advantage from it," said team boss toto wolff, miffed. "There are rules that can be interpreted in two ways," the austrian added. Mercedes was particularly upset because hamilton received a penalty for breaking the rules before the race while the grand prix was still in progress.
"I’ve done this on a million tracks over the years and there’s never been anything wrong," hamilton affirmed. As a lesson, he will now study all the gray areas of the rules and regulations with his team in order to safeguard himself against what he suspects to be arbitrary action by the commissioners. "I will make sure that I stay clean from now on and don’t give them any more reasons," promised the defending champion.
His fellow drivers showed understanding for hamilton’s reckoning. "I have long said to myself that I will try to avoid the commissioners at the track. Meeting them in the hotel or at the bar is not bad, but on race weekends you should avoid their office," said red-bull driver max verstappen. Ferrari star sebastian vettel saw hamilton’s misdemeanor as just a "small thing," his team danger charles leclerc said: "actually, lewis didn’t do that much wrong over the year."
Nevertheless, for a few hours it looked as if the briton would have to serve a racing ban at the very next infraction. A ban is inevitable with twelve penalty points in the fia’s record of punishment. Hamilton’s account had grown to ten penalty points as a result of the original ruling by the race judges, but after an appeal by mercedes, the two russian points were removed from his account.
The team took responsibility for hamilton’s prohibited starting practice and must therefore pay a fine of 25,000 euros. With a further eight penalty points, the silver arrow driver also leads the statistics and has little room for further breaches of the rules for the time being.
The six-time champion should not expect any leniency in the final spurt of the season either. "If lewis wants to talk about something, i told him like all the other drivers that my tur is always open," said race director masi, but immediately also stressed that "if there is a rule violation, it doesn’t matter if it’s lewis hamilton or one of the other 19 drivers."