Lewis Hamilton investigated by FIA

Sir Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo all tripped over each other at the end of the second qualifying session in Baku.

The stewards have cleared Sir Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris of any wrongdoing after the incident involving him and McLaren’s Lando Norris in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Hamilton was eager to use the McLarens of Norris and Daniel Ricciardo behind him for a tow on his lap in Q3, but they stayed behind him having left the pits after the Mercedes, and Norris was told by engineer Will Joseph not to let the 37-year-old “play silly b******” with him.

In the end, both McLarens stayed behind Hamilton, and ended up being knocked out of Q2.

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The Mercedes driver made it into the top 10, but he was investigated for going unnecessarily slowly on the exit of Turn 12.

The fact that the seven-time champion and the younger Briton left plenty of room on his right for others to pass them was sufficient for the stewards to decide the incident did not warrant any punishment.

“The three cars on this portion of track at the time (cars 44, 4 and 3) were all on ‘out’ laps,” they said.

“Although car 4 was driven slowly, there was no potential danger to any other driver, this occurred on a straight section of road where visibility was not an issue, and there was room for the car behind (car 3) to pass if the driver of that car had wanted to.”

The Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen were also under investigation for leaving the pits in an unsafe manner when they crept into the fast lane at the start of Q1, but precedence of Williams not being punished for the same action meant that the stewards also took a light view of that one.

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“The stewards accept that the positioning of the pit garage for the team made it impossible in the circumstances for either team car to line up in order in the fast lane, in view of number of cars that were already there,” they noted.

“It is noted that both cars departed in a safe manner, and further that it would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the team to determine which order the cars should depart, leaving the only option as starting behind all other cars. 

“This effectively means that teams allocated pits at the exit of the pit lane will always have to exit last unless they choose to leave their garage significantly earlier.

“The stewards recommend that this particular regulation be examined, as this case is almost identical to that involving Williams Racing in Mexico 2021, where no further action was taken.”

After qualifying seventh, Hamilton assured that he was off line, and was within his delta time, so had done nothing wrong by slowing to try and allow the McLarens to pass him.

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“I mean I don’t really have a concern,” he stated.

“We’re supposed to… firstly I was off line, and you have to be within a delta time and I was within a delta time so I wasn’t below that out lap pace.

“So, within that delta time, I should be able to drive the speed I want and I was off line, I wasn’t holding anyone up.

“And I was trying to get a tow because we’re so slow in a straight line and the guys behind didn’t want to go by so then I just went off and did my lap.”

Charles Leclerc would go on to take pole in Baku ahead of the Red Bull pair of Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen, with Carlos Sainz in P4 ahead of the lead Mercedes of George Russell.