Hamilton to be slapped with fine for skipping Gala after defeat to Verstappen

Sir Lewis Hamilton missed the FIA awards ceremony after his controversial championship defeat to Max Verstappen last year.

Sir Lewis Hamilton has confirmed that he will be fined for his non-appearance at the FIA prize-giving gala in December, but has pledged to put the money towards a good cause.

Hamilton was cruelly denied his eighth world championship in December’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when a controversial Safety Car restart by former race director Michael Masi led to a last lap overtake from Max Verstappen.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was on the radio to tell the 44-year-old that the situation was “so not right,” before the everyone at the team apart from the Alfa Romeo-bound Valtteri Bottas opted to skip the awards ceremony in Paris during which Verstappen was officially crowned champion.

The Silver Arrows also refused to send their Constructors’ Championship winning car over for the customary photoshoot.

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Former Formula 1 driver Ralf Schumacher at the time suggested that Hamilton’s absence was unfair on Verstappen, and the 37-year-old’s understandable dejection led him to take nearly two months away from the public eye to gather his thoughts.

Since then, Masi has been removed from his role and replaced by a combination of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, who will be supported by the returning Herbie Blash and a virtual control room.

F1 has also altered the regulations to dictate that “all” lapped runners are to be allowed to traverse the Safety Car at race control’s discretion instead of “any” of them.

Hamilton confirmed that he is to be fined by the FIA for his absence from the gala.

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“There will be some sort of fine re the gala,” he said, quoted by GPFans.

However, having set up the Hamilton commission in 2020 to help minorities and less fortunate people succeed in motorsport careers, he has found a way to turn a negative into a positive, and the money will be going to a good cause.

“But we have worked together to make sure that the money will be put towards youth from underprivileged backgrounds getting into motorsports engineering,” he explained.

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The Briton has met ben Sulayem previously, and he is pleased with the election of the man chosen to replace Jean Todt who departed after serving his maximum term of 12 years.

“I met Mohammed a long, long time ago through an event that we had in Dubai so it is good to see him in the position he is in,” he added.

“It again adds to that diversity challenge that we are trying to overcome,” Hamilton concluded.