Hamilton & Rosberg Face Grid Penalty In France

Hamilton & Rosberg Face Grid Penalty In France

As if the retirement of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen in a race where BMW won wasn’t enough to open up the title campaign, the McLaren driver has been hit with a ten grid-slot penalty for his part in the accident that took himself and the Finn out of the grand prix yesterday. The accident saw Hamilton hit the back of Raikkonen has the Ferrari waited at the end of the pitlane alongside eventual race winner Robert Kubica. Also charged was Nico Rosberg, who moments later clipped the back of the McLaren.

Raikkonen and Kubica were doing what they should do, and that was waiting at the end of the pitlane because the red light was showing. The reason for the red light was down to the safety car leading the pack past the exit road of the pitlane, and cars have to wait in this position until the pack has moved on. However, Hamilton says he was caught out by the light and the two cars stopping in front of him.

Although the drivers appeared relatively amicable immediately after the incident, Raikkonen is obviously not entirely happy about the situation, the Finn now having failed to score in the two most recent races.

Obviously, anyone can make mistakes, as I did two weeks ago in Monaco, but it’s one thing to make a mistake at two hundred miles per hour but another to hit a car stopped at a red light. I am not angry because that doesn’t achieve anything and does not change my result. Kimi Raikkonen.

The pitlane exit is being very controversial this year, with Rubens Barrichello having been caught out on more than one occasion. However, seeing a car hit a stationary car in the pitlane is a new one on me.

It wasn’t a great stop. I saw the two guys in front battling in the pitlane and all of a sudden they stopped. I saw the red light but by the time I stopped it was too late. Lewis Hamilton.

The grid slot penalty will happen at the next race in France in a fortnight’s time.

Dare I suggest Lewis joins Rubens for his appointment at SpecSavers…?


  • This is a hard one to call.

    On one hand, I blame the drivers (Lewis and Nico). They should know the rules and should be experienced enough to know to look at the lights around the circuit.

    On the other hand, I blame the teams. They should be telling the driver while their pitting that the pitlane is currently closed and to watch the exit lights. The driver will be focusing on what’s going on in front of him and perhaps not the lights.

    Perhaps a poll… Who was in the wrong?



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  • The driver will be focusing on what’s going on in front of him and perhaps not the lights.

    An interesting point Stephen. I totally blame Hamilton on this, hence why I didn’t think of a poll. The teams should be telling the drivers about things like this and warning them, but then as you say, Hamilton was focusing on what was happening in front of him. Without wanting to sound too condescending (I’ve never been in his position), Hamilton should have been concentrating on what was happening in front of him – two cars stopped.

    I haven’t seen a replay since the race, but I’m sure there was a fair amount of time between Raikkonen and Kubica stopping and Hamilton hitting Raikkonen, so I don’t think it was like a pile up on the motorway when the car behind was tail-gaiting.

    Anyone got any further view on this? Am I being a bit harsh on Hamilton?

  • Nope Ollie, you are spot on.

    I would have more respect for Hamilton if he just came out and admitted his mind was elsewhere, apologised and held his hands up to making a mistake.

    Admitting mistakes doesn’t seem to be his thing though unfortunately.

  • So all the good things are the driver and all the bad are the team? No way! the driver drives anything happening at the wheel is his responsability. Lewis lost control of his car at 80km/h in the pitlane and he should not laugh at his dad 😉

    Lewis should not be blamed, as he did nothing wrong deliberately, but he shoud be punished because he broke the rule and wrecked his rival’s car.

    If Kimi and Robert could see the red light and stop their car there is not good reason for Lewis not to see it and stop his car.

    If I remember well the speed limit in the pitlane is 80km/h during the race. Are we saying these monsters packed with technology cannot be stopped at 80km/h? Can’t believe this!

    Lewis was not watching. Ok that might happen to anybody and I do not blame it for this, but he had to be punished. Because of his fault Kimi could not achieve a race result and honestly at the time he was stopped he was in for a race win. Faster than Lewis on the track, and out of the pits before him.

    Last year, ignoring the red light at the end of the pitlane was a disqualification for Massa, but disqualifying a crashed car surely was not enough. I do not believe this is going to penalise Lewis too much and it will give Kimi a better chance to score more points but nothing is certain… this is racing!

  • Stephen, according to M. Whitsmarsh, they warned him:

    Q: Did you give Lewis a warning about the red light over the radio?

    Whitmarsh: “Yes.”

    Q: So it was his fault?

    Whitmarsh: “Frankly, we gave it to him, we could have given it to him earlier. There was quite a lot going on, obviously we were stopping both cars. When you come in first and come out third I’m sure you’re anxious to see if you can jump past those people, and I’m sure that distracted him. As Nico [Rosberg] proved seconds later, it was easy to do.”

  • If Kimi and Robert could see the red light and stop their car there is not good reason for Lewis not to see it and stop his car.

    This is the only thing about the whole incident that is a little questionable in my mind. And it is more of a question for Rosberg than it is for Hamilton…

    …Two cars were at the end of the pitlane (albeit side by side rather than nose to tail) and this may have obscured Hamilton’s and (with three cars) Rosberg’s view of the light. However, the cars ahead had stopped, so why Hamilton didn’t think to back off is beyond me. When the exit to the pitlane is blocked by two/three cars, how can a driver not realise the need to brake, even just to allow himself a couple of moments to figure out what is happening.

    Ago’s comment about the speed limit is fair – 80km/h, or around about 50mph, is surely well within the range of stopping on a dime for a Formula One car.

    Thanks for the input Samuel. I still don’t agree with Whitmarsh that this was an easy thing to do just because Rosberg did it as well. I mean, the cars were in front of him, not moving.

  • Oh come on! Missing the red is one thing, but missing TWO cars stationary is beyond any reasoning. He really messed it up, obviously not intentionally, and has received his according, if somewhat light, penalty.

    Now, I think by the time he realized what happened, he was standing on his brake pedal and the wheel all turned to the left. However it’s very convenient, isn’t it? He could have taken out the white car…

    And that line of “all of a sudden they stopped” it’s nonsense. He had PLENTY of time to stop, they didn’t “suddenly” stop. Too much pride perhaps?

  • I’m pleased someone else mentioned the timeframe of all this. Above I tried to explain using tail-gating as an example of what not happened. There was a reasonable amount of time between Raikkonen and Kubica stopping and when Hamilton hit the Ferrari.

  • Oliver is 100% correct. Hammy screwed up. It’s really that simple. And I’m a Hamilton fan! I don’t think the penalty is excessive at all. It was a much different situation than the Kimi/Suitil incident in Monaco.

  • I’m sure that it was an accident and Hamilton really screwed up, but I don’t get the thing that why did he turned right when he got it was too late to stop. Maybe when he got that, he tried to hit Raikkonen becaus he was the most powerful rival of him? And I think this punishment is not enough for Hamilton. Too much pride perhaps, as Haplo said.

  • While I too agree that the stewards were right in penalizing Hamilton and Rosberg, I still am not very clear about one thing. Why did Raikkonen stop beside, and not behind Kubica? And that too, his nose was a few inches ahead of Kubica’s. Did he expect to get the double jump on Kubica and Hamilton because of his position in the pitlane? Would that be allowed? Overtaking when the Safety Car is out? As that move would’ve been, technically, an overtaking one. Can anyone shed some light on this matter? Thanks.

  • Raikkonen was only in that situation because Ferrari released him when Kubica was alongside the Ferrari pit. It is against the rules for a car to be released in that way, and perhaps Ferrari is fortunate that Raikkonen’s race ended soon afterwards. Since Raikkonen was already alongside Kubica and the fast lane is two cars wide in Canada, it is difficult to see why Raikkonen could not park there – after all if he’d braked and slightly misjudged it, he’d have risked hitting someone behind hjm. And an accident at the end of the pitlane is better than one in the middle of it because fewer people would be involved.

  • I’m surprised no has commented about the apparent stupidity of having an open pit lane to enter and a red light at the exit. The race was under the SC and the pit had previously been closed to entry – when the entry was opened, why was the exit kept closed…why wasn’t the pit lane control properly coordinated? Heck, you can’t have F1 cars sitting stopped during the race for any length of time before they overheat brakes, engines etc…or someone hits them…you needed two SCs – one for the track and one for the pitlane!

    My call is poor race control setting up a stupid and avoidable accident.

  • @John:

    The reason for the red light was down to the safety car leading the pack past the exit road of the pitlane, and cars have to wait in this position until the pack has moved on.

    It is to avoid cars driving fast out of the pitlane onto a stream of traffic traveling much slower behind the safety car. The rules are changing, hopefully, from the French Grand Prix onwards.

  • On the Kimi alongside situation I don’t think people are factoring in the fact that Kimi was allowed to be there because he has that fortunate trajectory leaving his slot because Ferrari are WCCs and have the first place in the pits….

    Kimi did what he was able to do from his position…that’s why all the teams want that position…

  • I was told by Ron that the best position is the last, but this time it looks like the first is the last, and McLaren is in the fifth… I’m lost now! 😉

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