After colliding with George Russell on Lap 1 of the Qatar Grand Prix, and ending up in the gravel trap, Lewis Hamilton crossed the circuit to make his way back to the pits.
Crossing the track while race is going on is a breach of the regulations, so after the race Lewis was fined 50,000 euros, of which 25,000 was suspended until the end of the season.
However, the FIA has now decided to launch a review into the situation and the subsequent punishment, as they believe it was more serious than previously thought.
Former F1 driver and current Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok pointed to other drivers who have previously done the same thing, and were not punished at all.
“Not saying this should be condoned but I’m sure Lewis isn’t the first person to do this,” Chandhok wrote on X.
“Didn’t [Logan] Sargeant cross the track just at the previous event in Japan? Bit odd to talk about precedent when other people have done it before.”
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“Max [Verstappen] at Monza 2021 is another example I think,” he concluded.
The Max example happened after the Dutch driver’s controversial crash with Lewis at the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, which left Max’s Red Bull on top of Lewis’ Mercedes.
Racing driver and broadcaster Alex Brundle pointed to the FIA’s curious choice of wording in their statement announcing the launch of the review, where they wrote that “in view of [Lewis’] role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers”.
“Ok I get it,” Brundle wrote on X.
“But ‘Due to his role model status’ – Is unnecessary/clumsy wording,” he concluded.
Many others have asked the question – what makes a certain driver a ‘role model’, and whether other drivers can also be considered ‘role models’.