Lewis Hamilton investigated after qualifying incident

Lewis Hamilton has emerged as the lead driver at Mercedes since they introduced new upgrades in Austria.

Lewis Hamilton has avoided a grid penalty at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix, after being investigated by the stewards following Friday’s qualifying session.

Hamilton will start Sunday’s race at Spa-Francorchamps from third on the grid, despite having qualified fourth.

A five-place grid penalty for pole sitter Max Verstappen has seen those in the top six inherit a place on the grid, promoting Charles Leclerc to P1.

Hamilton was in with a chance of receiving a grid penalty, after almost impeding George Russell.

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

The seven-time World Champion was summoned to the stewards after qualifying following an incident in Q2, at the top of the Eau Rouge/Raidillon section.

Hamilton ran off line whilst Russell was behind, with the 38-year-old having skipped Raidillon as a result.

The 103-time race winner then rejoined the circuit off the racing line, but it still forced Russell to abort his lap.

Russell had already come off the throttle when Hamilton ran off line, which arguably made the incident less serious.

Article continues below

Russell actually defended Hamilton’s actions, with the former Williams driver having informed the governing body that his team-mate’s actions were “at no point unsafe”.

It was actually discovered that Hamilton cut across Raidillon because of Valtteri Bottas quickly approaching behind him, something Russell had also been informed of by the Silver Arrows.

The stewards agreed with the two Mercedes drivers and decided that no action was necessary, unlike Kevin Magnussen’s incident with Charles Leclerc.

Magnussen was slapped with a three-place grid penalty for impeding Leclerc, something which ultimately didn’t hamper the Monegasque’s qualifying too much given that he’s starting on pole.

READ: Max Verstappen shows his true colours

The Ferrari driver inherited pole following Verstappen’s grid drop for a fifth gearbox, with only four being legally available for the season.

After a miserable couple of races at Silverstone and the Hungaroring, Leclerc will be keen to make the most of his pole position on Sunday, especially with the summer break following the race.

Claiming a rostrum on Sunday would be the perfect way for Leclerc to enter the summer break, after what’s been a torrid season for the driver so far.