Hamilton reprimanded, keeps German GP victory
Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton has kept his German Grand Prix win following a stewards' investigation into a pit entry incident.
Hamilton won the race on the road from 14th on the grid, aided by intermittent rain and a crash for Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who was the runaway race leader when he slid off into the barriers.
Vettel's off triggered a safety car and, with the end of the lap approaching fast, Hamilton was given a series of conflicting instructions from his Mercedes pitwall in quick succession.
As a result, he took to the pitlane entry road but then cut across the grass the emerge on the start-finish straight - a decision which ultimately allowed him to lead the race at the restart and take the chequered flag in first.
But Hamilton and Mercedes were called up to the stewards after the podium ceremonies had concluded, with the summons' notice citing a potential violation of the FIA International Sporting Code.
Hamilton's race-winning margin of 4.5 seconds over teammate Valtteri Bottas meant that his race win was under threat due to the possibility of a time penalty.
However, following lengthy deliberations, the stewards decided that the sanction would be limited to a reprimand - Hamilton's first of the season.
The stewards' explanation for the decision read: "It was clear that there was an infringement of the above mentioned rule - the driver clearly crossed the line separating the pit entry from the track.
"In deciding on the penalty for the infringement, we took into account the following mitigating factors.
"(i) The driver and the team candidly admitted the mistake and the fact that there was confusion within the team as to whether to stay out or to enter the pits and that led to the infringement.
"(ii) The fact that the infringement took place during a Safety Car period.
"(iii) At no time was there any danger to any other competitor and the change in direction was executed in a safe way.
"Taking all of the above into account, including considering previous infringements of the above rule, we are of the opinion that a reprimand would be the appropriate penalty for the said infringement on this occasion."
The decision means that Hamilton will take a 17-point lead over Vettel in the standings into the next race in Hungary.
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