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Formula 1 Qatar GP

Hamilton fined and reprimanded for crossing live F1 Qatar GP track

Lewis Hamilton has been fined and reprimanded for crossing the Qatar Grand Prix circuit on foot after his clash with Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate George Russell.

Hamilton tangled with Russell into Turn 1 at the start of the Losail race, being spat out into the gravel by the contact that broke his right-rear wheel and ended his race.

While the race was under the safety car Hamilton then crossed the live circuit from the outside of Turn 1 to the pitlane on the inside, just seconds before Russell emerged from the pits.

The FIA stewards heard from an apologetic Hamilton after the race and handed him his first reprimand of 2023 as well as a €50,000 fine, half of which is suspended for the rest of the season.

In their verdict, they wrote: "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.

"He thereby crossed the track that was live at this time and reached the inside edge of the track just seconds before Car 63 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."

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, the field as Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, ends up in the gravel on the opening lap after contact with George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB19, the field as Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14, ends up in the gravel on the opening lap after contact with George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The stewards decided not to take further action against the seven-time world champion on the accident itself. They did find Hamilton was predominantly at fault for the collision but judged it as a typical first-lap racing incident, which they are generally more lenient on.

Hamilton apologised to Russell for the clash, which he caused by not leaving enough room while he attempted to overtake his team-mate around the outside.

"I’ve watched the replay, and it was 100% my fault and I take full responsibility. Apologies to my team and to George," Hamilton said on X (formerly Twitter).

Russell did manage to continue following a pitstop for new tyres and fought his way back to fourth in a race marked by mandatory tyre changes and severe heat exposure.

"Lewis and I, we'll be fine, " Russell commented. "We've got a huge respect for each other; nothing was intentional from either side."

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