Stewards’ “reprimand” for Lewis the right call

Posted on April 18, 2010


A reprimand was the right choice for the Shanghai Grand Prix stewards as they reviewed Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s clash in the pitlane.

Following interviews with both drivers and a look at videos and other evidence, the stewards declared: “The Stewards decide Lewis Hamilton drove in a dangerous manner and therefore impose a penalty of reprimand.”

Released about a second later than Vettel, Hamilton found himself alongside his German rival as the pair left the pits. See a clip at the BBC here. The incident sparked calls for Hamilton to be penalised, either by losing his second place or with a penalty at the next race. This would have been wrong.

This was the definition of a racing incident. Both drivers are in the race for the title and it was one of a number of pitstops for both teams in the rain disrupted race. And the danger was a theoretical one – had there been engineers in the pitlane I’m sure Lewis would have dropped back.

This is the clearest example yet having retired drivers on the panel is a good thing. Alex Wurz, I imagine, will have acted with a cool head in a situation where last year the result of the race might have been changed.

I don’t like race results changed after the chequered flag at any time – penalties should be dealt with during the race – but to do so today would have spoiled a lively and exciting race.

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