In the course of the renowned Eau Rouge-Raidillon climb at the Spa F1 qualifying round, Hamilton seemed to be somewhat slower and deviated from the expected racing line while leading his teammate, Russell. Hamilton ended up veering off the track at the hilltop, moved across the painted run-off area, and reentered the track just slightly ahead of Russell, who then eased off his accelerator.
Consequently, Hamilton was subject to scrutiny and both drivers have now been called upon by the race stewards to explain the incident. This investigation pertains to a possible infringement of Appendix L of the 203 FIA International Sporting Code.
The specific clause under review states: “Drivers must remain on the track at all times and cannot exit the track without a legitimate reason. For clarity, the white lines that mark the track boundaries are considered part of the track, but the kerbs are not.
The same clause further states: “If a car exits the track for any reason, the driver may return to the track. However, this must be done safely, without gaining any sustained advantage. A driver is considered to have left the track if no part of the car is in touch with the track.
“Furthermore, the stewards may be notified if a driver executes any action that causes debris on the track.”
Hamilton concluded the qualifying shootout for the Sunday race in fourth place. However, due to a five-place grid penalty imposed on Max Verstappen, who clocked the fastest time ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by 0.82 seconds, Hamilton will start the GP from the third position. Russell, on the other hand, finished Q3 as the eighth fastest.
Hamilton and Russell, who are teammates at Mercedes, had a similar encounter during the Q2 of the Spanish GP earlier this season. In that instance, Hamilton attempted to overtake Russell on the main straight, but Russell’s car (#63) veered towards the track’s edge.
Their cars, the W14s, lightly brushed against each other, causing minor damage to their bodywork and Hamilton ended up driving onto the grass.
Following the incident, a formal warning was issued to Russell and the team for having “unnaturally changed direction”.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Spa F1 qualifying incident
What was the incident involving Hamilton and Russell at the Spa F1 qualifying?
During the Spa F1 qualifying round, Hamilton, while leading his teammate Russell, appeared to be slightly slower and veered off the track at the Eau Rouge-Raidillon climb. He reentered the track marginally ahead of Russell, which prompted an investigation.
Which FIA regulation is allegedly breached in this incident?
The investigation pertains to a possible violation of Appendix L of the 203 FIA International Sporting Code, which states that drivers must stay on the track at all times and cannot exit the track without a valid reason.
What is the consequence of the investigation for Hamilton and Russell?
The outcome of the investigation has not been reported yet. However, both Hamilton and Russell have been called upon by the race stewards to explain the incident.
What is Hamilton’s starting position in the GP after this incident?
Hamilton ended the qualifying shootout in fourth place. However, due to a five-place grid penalty imposed on Max Verstappen, Hamilton will start the GP from the third position.
What was the previous incident between Hamilton and Russell earlier this season?
During the Q2 of the Spanish GP earlier this season, Hamilton and Russell had a similar incident where their cars lightly brushed against each other causing minor bodywork damage. Following the incident, a formal warning was issued to Russell and the team.