Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2022

Hamilton avoids penalty for passing Magnussen under red flag

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton has avoided a penalty after he was investigated for speeding and overtaking under red flags.

The Mercedes driver was placed under investigation after he passed Lando Norris and Kevin Magnussen approaching turn five around the same time a red flag was shown during final practice. Norris alerted his team to Hamilton passing them on his radio at the time, but Magnussen did not mention it.

The stewards examined the incident and concluded Hamilton did pass Magnussen after the red flag was shown. However they ruled Hamilton reacted quickly to the signal and the speed difference between the two cars at the point the red flag was shown explains why the Mercedes passed the Haas.

In deciding not to penalise Hamilton, the stewards pointed to a precedent set when Max Verstappen was cleared of overtaking Lance Stroll when a red flag was shown during practice for the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort last year .

After speaking to Hamilton and his team, and examining footage of the incident and relevant data, the stewards concluded: “There is no dispute that car 44 [Hamilton] passed car 20 [Magnussen] directly after the track was placed in a red flag condition.

“The driver of car 44 stated that he was on a fast lap, he saw the red light, immediately completely lifted the throttle and applied the brakes, whilst checking his mirrors for cars following in close proximity. He stated that he had, in doing so, gone past car 20.”

Telemetry supplied to the stewards by the FIA showed Hamilton lifted his throttle entirely and “applied firm braking pressure” immediately after the red light was displayed. When the light was shown, Hamilton was travelling at 288kph, more than twice as fast as Magnussen, whose speed was 126kph.

“It is our conclusion that the driver of car 44 took every reasonable action to comply with the regulations in that he immediately reduced speed in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity upon the first indication of the red light,” said the stewards.

Although Hamilton had “technically” committed a breach of article 2.5.4.1 (b) of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code, the stewards ruled “he could not avoid overtaking car 20 in this case and therefore… determine to apply no penalty.”

They also noted he had not breached article 37.6 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations, which states drivers must “stay above the minimum time set by the FIA ECU at least once in each marshalling sector” when a session is red-flagged. Pierre Gasly was penalised for infringing that rule during the Japanese Grand Prix.

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Hamilton avoids penalty for passing Magnussen under red flag”

  1. Well, there’s a shock.

    1. Did you read the article or just the headline?

    2. In which way are you shocked?

      Shocked that the stewards used a precedent set last year when ruling on Verstappen?
      Shocked that Hamilton did in fact do what he was supposed to do but his closing speed to car 20 was 162kph and couldn’t avoid passing it?
      Or that because it was Hamilton they just let him off?

  2. Seems like the right decision. If the telemetry showed he braked as soon as the red came out then he’s abiding by the rules. Stamping on the brakes and locking up to try and remain behind a slow car wouldn’t be safe.

    1. Its just as well this wasn’t being decided by another computer algorithm, like Yuki Tsunoda last week in Brazil.

  3. Lando did what??

  4. The precedence for this decision was Verstappen last year, when of course he was given so much leeway.

  5. How very unexpected

  6. Fair enough

  7. Always good to remember that the FIA picks the stewards. They pick these guys in particular because they know they’ll play nice and not penalize the big teams. However, ‘precedence’ is not in the regulations as the FIA is not an English common law type of organization.

  8. How surprising Protected Class isn’t penalised…

  9. Surprised they didn’t penalise Magnussen for slowing too much and causing Hamilton to pass him…

    1. They probably didn’t think of that option

  10. Lando basically thinks everything is too dangerous, but this was likely more about the hopes of getting Hamilton penalized so he could score more points.

    I’m not a Hamilton fan, but common sense should always be applied rathe than adhering to the letter of the law over the spirit of the law. The RF should not encourage drivers to immediately slam dangerously on their brakes just to avoid a penalty.

    1. but common sense should always be applied rathe than adhering to the letter of the law over the spirit of the law.

      So the rules regularly should be ignored and/or applied inconsistently? What are rules for, exactly?

      The RF should not encourage drivers to immediately slam dangerously on their brakes just to avoid a penalty.

      On the contrary – the red flag is exactly the time when drivers need to slow down abruptly and be prepared to stop.
      Not doing so should absolutely result in a penalty.

      It’s funny how quickly people forget things in and around F1. Suzuka was only a few weeks ago, and included quite the red flag situation…..

      1. On the contrary – the red flag is exactly the time when drivers need to slow down abruptly and be prepared to stop.

        When I took my driving test, an “emergency stop” was part of the test.
        Slowing rapidly in a controlled manner to a completely stationary state was the expected behaviour, not stamping on the brakes ignoring the surrounding conditions and producing an uncontrolled stop.

        The stewards report seems to note that LH produced a controlled slow-down from a relative speed difference of 162kph (288kph – 126kph) by taking “every reasonable action to comply with the regulations, in that he immediately reduced speed in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity upon the first indication of the red light”

        Do please note their words: “in a safe manner

        Of course, if you have access to more telemetry than the stewards, do feel free to write to them and point out their error.

        1. Get over your fixation with telemetry and data. That is so F1. All numbers and no feeling. No passion. No humanity.

          An abrupt (or emergency) stop (as in slowing more forcefully than he did) doesn’t at all imply that it is unsafe in any way.

  11. Ofcourse he avoids it.

  12. If it was Max, we’d already have 5 articles on it..

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