The FIA concluded that Lewis Hamilton was responsible for a collision with Sergio Perez during a challenging bout for position at Paul Frere during the initial segment of the sprint race, which was adversely affected by damp conditions.
The incident resulted in significant damage to Perez’s Red Bull vehicle, compelling the Mexican racer to withdraw from the contest.
Although both Perez and the FIA placed the blame on Hamilton, Mercedes team principal, Wolff, believed his driver was not at fault.
Describing the incident as an “absolute racing occurrence,” Wolff stated, “This is a sprint race. We want to see them race, and the argument about the damage is invalid because Perez was already losing ground significantly before that.
“It seems evident to me when looking at that particular turn, they were side-by-side. Yes, it’s true, it takes two to tango, but this is a racing incident,” he added.
Despite the run-in with Perez, Hamilton managed to continue the race and secured the fourth position, falling short of overtaking third-place finisher Pierre Gasly.
However, due to the five-second penalty, Hamilton’s final ranking was lowered to seventh place.
FIA’s viewpoint on the penalty
Lewis Hamilton, representing Mercedes-AMG, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint
Photo by: Sam Bloxham / F1 Flow Images
Even though the racers were grappling with challenging conditions at the outset of the sprint race, the FIA stewards believe that Hamilton could have evaded the crash.
In their justification for penalizing the seven-time world champion, the stewards indicated that Hamilton only veered into Perez after coming into contact with the kerbs.
“The stewards noted that Hamilton was trying to overtake Perez on the inside at Turn 15,” they explained. “Despite Perez giving Hamilton limited space on the inside, Hamilton hit the kerb and subsequently skidded into Perez due to the wet conditions.
“The Stewards believe that Hamilton was primarily at fault for causing the collision and have decided on a 5-second penalty.”
In addition to the five-second penalty for his collision with Perez, Hamilton was awarded two penalty points on his licence, the only ones he has at present.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hamilton’s FIA penalty
Who was considered at fault for the collision between Hamilton and Perez in the sprint race?
The FIA determined that Lewis Hamilton was at fault for the collision with Sergio Perez during a challenging bout for position in the sprint race.
What were the consequences for Hamilton due to this incident?
Lewis Hamilton, who originally finished in fourth place, was handed a five-second penalty, which resulted in him being dropped to the seventh place. He was also given two penalty points on his licence.
What is Toto Wolff’s opinion about the penalty given to Hamilton?
Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team principal, believed the penalty given to Hamilton was too severe. He maintained that the incident was an “absolute racing occurrence” and argued that his driver did nothing wrong.
What did the FIA stewards state in their justification for the penalty?
The FIA stewards believe that Hamilton could have avoided the crash. They explained that Hamilton only understeered into Perez after hitting the kerbs, leading to the collision. Hence, they considered Hamilton predominantly at fault and decided on a 5-second penalty.
How did the collision affect Sergio Perez in the race?
The collision caused significant damage to Perez’s Red Bull car, which resulted in him having to retire from the race.