The penalty came about when Kevin Magnussen parked his Haas near the pit entry, which let to the Safety Car being deployed. However, at that point race leader Lewis Hamilton entered the pits, while the signal boards said the pit lane has been closed.
Ultimately the Briton was punished with a 10 second stop and go penalty that relegated him to the back of the grid and he ultimately managed to finish in P7. After the race the Briton also received 2 penalty points. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff explains what led to the confusion that cost Hamilton a very probable race win.
“It was a weird sequence of events that maybe we could have spotted earlier,” said Wolff after the race.
“The decisions that were taken were highly unusual, but they were absolutely within the rules. One of the Haas [cars] was parked to the right, near the entry, on the inside of Parabolica, and there was a single yellow.
“Eleven seconds later, a safety car was deployed. Once the safety car was deployed, they put the entry to the pit lane on red, but it wasn’t exactly red, it was two yellow crosses on the outside.
“One of the strategists just shouted into the radio whilst we were entering the pit lane. There was confusion.
“We can’t see the signs, and this is just a sequence of events that screwed Lewis’s race. Not happy, but you have to take it on the chin.
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“From the pit wall, you can’t see these yellow crosses, and if the driver doesn’t spot them, which I believe is absolutely the truth, the only way you can see that the pitlane was closed was on page four of the FIA communications system.
“Nobody looks at that page when the safety car is deployed, the driver is about to come into the pits. Everything is concentrated around the pit stop.
“Unlucky, I would say, and a very unusual decision to close the pitlane,” concluded the Austrian.
Hamilton said after the race that he failed to see the yellow crosses on the board that indicated the pit lane was closed, but accepts the blame and the punishment.
“Honestly I didn’t see those boards, so I take responsibility for that,” said Hamilton.
“[It is] something I will learn from. To get seventh and still get the fastest lap, that’s still some good points considering I definitely didn’t think that was possible from 26 seconds behind the last car.
“I’ll definitely take it, and grateful obviously Max [Verstappen] didn’t score any points.
“So not a huge loss today,” concluded the Briton.