Why two penalties? – Hamilton: “They are trying to stop me”

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

At the Russian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton received two five-second penalties for two infringements during practice starts ahead of the race.

The stewards determined Hamilton made two violations, one by completing two practice starts in the wrong place and the other one by not driving at constant speed in the reconnaissance laps. A video released by Formula 1 shows that Hamilton asked his team if it was ok to do a practice start in a different position than usual.

“There is already rubber here. Can I start further down? At the end of the pit lane,” asked the Briton.

“Go ahead. Yes, is fine. Leave enough room for cars to pass,” his engineer told him.

You can watch the video of the incident below.

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However it was obviously not ok, since Hamilton later received a penalty. After the race in an interview with Sky Sports F1, the Briton wasn’t happy.

“I need to go back and see what the rules are, what exactly I did wrong,“ said Hamilton.

“I’m pretty sure no one has ever got two five-second penalties for something so ridiculous before.

“I didn’t put anyone in danger, I’ve done this at a million tracks over the years and never been questioned on it. But it is what it is.

Asked if he thought the penalty was too harsh, Hamilton said the was being purposely held back.

“Of course it is. But it’s to be expected. They’re trying to stop me, aren’t they?

“But it’s OK. I just need to keep my head down and stay focused, and we’ll see what happens.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff agrees the punishment was “too harsh”.

“They said it’s not where you normally do a practice start and I agree with that,” saif the Austrian.

“But in the director’s notes it says you make a practice start after the lines on the righthand side. That’s what he did. There is room for interpretation. We have to analyse why we all made the mistake together.

“Lewis has faced a lot of adversity in his life and we all find the punishment too harsh,” concluded Wolff.

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