Lewis Hamilton penalty to be investigated by FIA over ‘role model’ concerns

Lewis Hamilton escaped penalty for causing a collision with Mercedes team-mate George Russell on lap 1 in Qatar.

Lewis Hamilton’s penalty from the recent Qatar Grand Prix is going to be reviewed by the FIA, as they are concerned that his “role model status” could impact actions taken by young drivers.

Hamilton retired from the Qatar GP at the first corner, after colliding with team-mate George Russell.

The seven-time World Champion tried to swoop around the outside of Russell and Max Verstappen, only for him to make contact with the ex-Williams driver.

Whilst no penalty was awarded for causing the crash, Hamilton did accept “full responsibility” and later apologised to Russell and Mercedes.

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He was penalised, though, for crossing the live track after his accident, something which is against the rules.

Hamilton was given a reprimand and a £34,700 fine by the stewards for running across the circuit, something he was “very apologetic” for.

Half of the fine is suspended until the end of the year and will only need to be paid if he repeats the offence.

“After crashing out of the race in Lap 1, the driver of Car 44 abandoned his car in the gravel and ran back to the pits,” the FIA’s statement read after the Qatar GP.

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“He thereby crossed the track that was live at this time and reached the inside edge of the track just seconds before Car 63 [Russell] arrived at high speed after exiting the pits. He then continued to walk alongside the track until finally exiting the track.

“During the hearing the driver of Car 44 was very apologetic and realised that the situation could have been very dangerous for him as well as the drivers approaching.

“The Stewards reinforced the fact that crossing a live track can cause extremely dangerous situations and the drivers have to be very cautious about it.

“In addition to imposing a significant fine (which is suspended in parts), the Stewards also reprimand the driver bearing in mind that receiving a certain number of reprimands during a season will draw a significant driving penalty in accordance with Article 18.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”

Whilst it was assumed the case was closed, the FIA have reopened it and are delving deeper into the matter.

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They are “concerned” that Hamilton making this error as a “role model” will have an impact on young drivers, who may judge running across a live circuit as acceptable.

An FIA spokesperson said: “The FIA is revisiting the incident in which Lewis Hamilton crossed a live track during the Qatar Grand Prix.

“The FIA notes that Lewis was apologetic during the subsequent Stewards hearing in to the incident and acknowledged that the crossing was a serious safety breach.

“However, in view of his role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers.”