(Motorsport-Total.com) – It was five to twelve at Lewis Hamilton. Because the two points initially imposed on his Formula 1 super license at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi had brought him close to a racing ban. The fact that the stewards took back the points should give Mercedes driver Hamilton a sigh of relief. But there is still a certain risk.
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Because this year Hamilton leads not only in the world championship standings, but also in the “sin index” of Formula 1, with currently eight points on his driver’s license. The problem: if he authorizes the twelve points within twelve months, he will be banned from the following race.
At least in the next races, Hamilton shouldn’t be guilty of anything. Because only on November 17, 2020, two of his penalty points expire. Until then, every further penalty point could take revenge.
What Hamilton received his current penalty points for
But why did Hamilton accumulate so many penalty points anyway? That explains our current overview. And accordingly, four of the current eight points come from encounters with Red Bull driver Alexander Albon, in Brazil 2019 and Austria 2020. Both times, Hamilton caused a collision with Albon in the race.
In Austria, incidentally, on the same day as the Albon crash, Hamilton received two more points for ignoring yellow flags. Finally there were two more points on top, in Monza, because Hamilton had entered the closed pit lane there. And after Sochi it was almost ten out of twelve possible points.
Mercedes sports director Toto Wolff is aware of the dangerous situation. Even before the Sochi penalty points were withdrawn, he said: “We know that we are very close to a race suspension.”
Horner is already joking about a possible ban
That in turn calls Red Bull team boss Christian Horner on the scene, who verbally puts his finger in the wound: “I don’t even know who the substitute drivers at Mercedes are, but I would think that they would be sent to the gym, only for the case of falls.”
In fact, Mercedes has nominated two Formula 1 substitute drivers: Stoffel Vandoorne and Esteban Gutierrez, both of whom have already contested Grands Prix.
Wolff, however, has other plans: “The point now is simply to bring the season to an end without receiving the additional points. Or at least to be in the position to bag the driver’s title before something like that happens again.”
No blame at Mercedes
For the rule violation at the practice starts before the start of the race, he wanted to refrain from assigning blame: “I don’t point my finger at anyone, not in the team and not at the driver. Period.”
In general, Wolff said in a first reaction, he did not agree with the verdict. Reason: “I’m not happy with the penalty because it is far-fetched. But you can disagree. I always respect the stewards in their work. In this case, however, we are divided.”
Even Hamilton himself had no understanding of the sentence that the stewards had initially applied to him. And anyway: “The penalty points that were generally spent this year are ridiculous.”
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Hamilton explains: “I’m not speaking from my point of view now, but from the perspective of us drivers. If you put someone in danger or cause a collision. Then, of course, you should get penalty points.” He himself neither endangered nor injured anyone when he started the exercise.
“The bottom line,” says Hamilton, “is a ridiculous rule, but it is what it is. I just have to make sure to keep a clean slate in the future. I have to make sure [den Sportkommissaren] no reason to give, not even a hint, for them to act. “
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He also sees his Mercedes team responsible, says Hamilton. “I guess we’ll look at the rulebook and look for areas in which to make rules. Areas that have never been penalized before. We’re going to try all of these [Bereiche] to find and arm ourselves against those we know of. “
Verstappen defends Hamilton
Hamilton is backed by Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who had already said before the penalty points were withdrawn: “I’m not sure whether it is correct to award penalty points for something like this. If you cause a crash, then it is something else. And Lewis had already received a sufficiently painful punishment. “
He is very familiar with the situation, says Verstappen. “I know that from my own experience, I had ten points or something. I then said to myself: Just stay away from the stewards – on the track. Meeting you at the hotel at the bar is not that bad,” said the Formula 1 driver and laughs.
Verstappen adds seriously: “At the next drivers meeting we will definitely talk about it. Let’s see if something happens. It’s always good to talk about it and communicate. After all, we know the whole picture then. And then we move on. “