Who slept worst last night: Mika Salo

(Motorsport-Total.com) – Dear readers,

Lewis Hamilton

The world no longer understands: Lewis Hamilton after the race in Sochi

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sorry if I’m a little more direct today. But this crap (!) That Lewis Hamilton didn’t deserve to break Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 wins and seven world championship titles, I can’t really hear it anymore!

He’ll soon have made it, period, and he’ll win many more races than 91 so that the discussion will be superfluous at some point. And he won’t have needed Adelaide, Jerez or Monaco for that.

And anyone who argues in all seriousness that everything was made so easy for Hamilton in his career must have slept through the Russian Grand Prix yesterday.

I am truly not one of the conspiracy theorists, neither in real life (since not at all) nor in my job as a journalist in Formula 1 (since only rarely, because I’ve just experienced too much to resist it completely). But the fact that the Mercedes driver received two five-second penalties on Sunday can only be a bad joke.

Punishment was right, but the sentence was a bad joke

We want to dispute one thing right away: There are no two opinions about the fact that he basically had to be punished for his practice starts at the exit of the pit lane (too far out).

In point 19.1 of the “Event Notes” by FIA race director Michael Masi it says: “Practice starts may only be carried out on the right-hand side of the lane after the traffic lights at the pit exit.” Toto Wolff later argued in an interview with Sandra Baumgartner from ‘Sky’: “He was on the right-hand side after the traffic light.”

Strictly speaking, the Mercedes team boss is right. Because the space provided for the practice starts is neither precisely drawn in the route sketch in the “Event Notes” nor marked on the asphalt, for example with a white start box, one could argue on a sports lawyer level that Hamilton did nothing wrong.


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But according to logic, the six-time world champion could have stopped somewhere after turn 2 and practiced a start. What Wolff is doing is nothing more than quibbles.

Senior race engineer Andrew Shovlin sounds more honest, who puts it this way: “Because the ‘event notes’ said it had to be on the right and after the pit exit, we thought it would be ambiguous enough to defend it.”

In the end it wasn’t, because by point 19.2 at the latest (which the commissioners, funnily enough, did not mention in their judgment), the subject of punishment yes / no had been dealt with.

It says: “For security reasons […] Cars are not allowed to stop in the ‘Fast Lane’ without a justified reason whenever the pit lane is open. “And:” A practice start is not considered a justified reason. “

A warning would have been enough

Now you can of course theoretically discuss whether the place where Hamilton drove twice was still part of the “Fast Lane” or not. I don’t know of a clear definition for “Fast Lane”.

But since everyone else has also understood that, even his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, we can say that the FIA ​​commissioners have done something is basically perfectly fine.

And yet, if I had been Commissioner Mika Salo, I would have slept very, very badly last night. Because the penalty of five seconds twice, which moves Hamilton’s 91st victory to the Nürburgring of all places, is nothing more than a bad joke.

The commissioners could have chosen any other punishment from their catalog. For my part – and that is of course always subjective – I would have issued a warning and a penalty point for myself. Because the action was not dangerous and the alleged sporting advantage, if it was at all, minimal.

And I would have grabbed Hamilton after the race to explain to him in a very constructive and unequivocal way that this is not allowed, why it is not allowed and that he will not get away so easily next time.

Salo and his fellow Commissioners George Andreev, Gerd Ennser and Andrew Mallalieu could have done that. FIA race director Michael Masi explicitly confirmed this to me after the race: “The commissioners can apply any penalty from the sporting regulations or the international sports code.” After all, that’s what they’re there for.

But Salo was apparently too busy sending his buddy on Finnish TV live WhatsApps from the meeting that he forgot to seriously consider the Hamilton case.

Salo: Indisputable behavior by the FIA ​​commissioner

Behavior that is utterly unbearable for a referee in a millionaire sport and can only lead to this gentleman losing his job should be substantiated by the allegations in the room (the FIA ​​has not yet responded to my request on this topic) (and there is no doubt about it, after all, millions of Finnish fans have seen it live on television)

In the larger context, it doesn’t matter anyway that Hamilton took the victory away for a triviality. He’ll break Schumacher’s records anyway, he’ll still become world champion. And for the show it was very good that he didn’t win once, at least the other Mercedes did.

But not like this!

It cannot be that a driver for a rule violation that was neither dangerous nor 100 percent on his cap (that’s exactly why Salo & Co. withdrew the originally awarded two penalty points and instead gave the Mercedes team a 25,000 euro fine converted, which Hamilton had incorrectly instructed via pit radio), the victory is taken away.

In addition, when Messrs. Verstappen and Sainz drive like crazy through the bollard slalom in the run-off zone of turn 2 at the same time, so that they put themselves and others in danger and don’t even receive the smallest admonition. That was life-threatening and should have been punished! Not Hamilton’s completely harmless practice starts.

It is of course complete nonsense that the powerful men in Formula 1 conspired to harm Hamilton, as he himself suggested after the race. But I can’t blame him for the impression that he is being looked at very carefully, a little more closely than perhaps other drivers.

Why was Hamilton punished and Leclerc not?

For example, he received a five-second penalty for the collision with Alexander Albon at the season opener in Austria (Gerd Ennser was also one of the commissioners in Spielberg), during the exactly identical (!) Maneuver by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in Russia (against Lance Stroll) wasn’t even investigated.

Who can hold it against Hamilton that the thought that the three most powerful managers of the former Ferrari successful team are now the three most powerful men in Formula 1 doesn’t exactly warm his heart? At least I don’t! Even if I want to make it clear that one has nothing to do with the other …

And, by the way: The rule, introduced only because of Hamilton, that the top 3 of a race during the parc ferme and podium ceremony are no longer allowed to take off their racing overalls and not even open the zipper (a reaction to Hamilton’s Breonna Taylor shirt in Mugello ), so that you can’t see if they wear t-shirts with messages that might not fit anyone is also completely ridiculous.

I’m just waiting for the day when the first one mistakenly opens the zipper after a heat race and pushes the top of the overalls down to his hips. Because if you then apply the same rigor as with Hamilton yesterday, there must be a penalty. Although that would of course be total nonsense.

Just like the punishment (or its degree of punishment) yesterday was total nonsense …

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Christian Nimmervoll

On my own behalf: Follow me on Facebook under “Formula 1 inside” with Christian Nimmervoll “. There you will find all the Formula 1 texts I have written, as well as insider information, opinions and assessments on current topics. And of course the opportunity to criticize this column and to discuss with me personally!

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