Lewis Hamilton escaped a penalty after being flagged for speeding and red flags.
After passing Lando Norris and Kevin Magnussen, the Mercedes driver was red-flagged in final practice as he neared turn five. Norris warned the team when he radioed Hamilton at the time, but Magnussen did not.
Hamilton passed Magnussen after a red flag was shown after the stewards investigated the incident. However, Hamilton reacted quickly to the signal and the speed difference between the two cars when the red flag appeared explained why Mercedes passed Haas.
In deciding not to penalize Hamilton, the stewards pointed to a precedent set last year when Max Verstappen was cleared to overtake Lance Stroll during a red flag during practice at Zandvoort for the Dutch Grand Prix.
After talking to Hamilton and his team and examining the problem image and related data, the stewards concluded: “There is no dispute about that car 44.” [Hamilton] Past car 20 [Magnussen] Directly after placing the track in a red flag situation.
“The driver of car 44 was on the fast lap, saw the red light, immediately lifted off the throttle fully and applied the brakes, checking his mirrors for cars following closely behind him. As he did so, he said a car passed 20.
Telemetry provided to stewards by the FIA showed Hamilton lifted the throttle fully and “applied strong braking pressure” after the red light. At the lights, Hamilton was traveling at 288 km/h, more than double Magnussen’s speed, which was 126 km/h.
“It is our conclusion that the driver of car 44 took every reasonable step to comply with the regulations by immediately slowing down in a safe manner at the first sign of the red light,” the stewards said.
Although Hamilton was “technically” in breach of Article 22.214.171.124 (b) of Annex H of the International Sporting Law, the stewards “in this case could not avoid overtaking car 20 and therefore … decided not to impose a penalty.”
He pointed out that he did not violate Article 37.6 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations. Pierre Gasly was penalized for breaking that rule during the Japanese Grand Prix.
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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
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