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Formula 1 Belgian GP

Hamilton penalty harsh, says Wolff, as FIA explains decision

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes the five-second penalty that Lewis Hamilton picked up for his clash with Sergio Perez in Formula 1's Belgian Grand Prix sprint race was not deserved.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14

Hamilton was deemed by the FIA to have been at fault for a brush with Perez as they battled for position through Paul Frere in the damp opening section of the sprint race.

The contact between the Mercedes and Red Bull left Perez with a hefty amount of damage, and the Mexican later retired from the race.

But while Perez and the FIA felt that Hamilton was to blame, Wolff thinks that his driver did nothing wrong.

"Absolute racing incident," said Wolff. "This is a sprint race. We want to see them racing, and the argument of the damage isn't valid because he [Perez] was going backwards before then. Massively backwards.

"I think when you look at that corner, they were side-by-side. And yeah, fair enough, it takes two to tango, but it's a racing incident. For me, that's pretty clear."

Hamilton was able to race on after the clash with Perez and eventually came home in fourth place – after being unable to find a way past third-placed finisher Pierre Gasly.

However, the five-second penalty dropped Hamilton to seventh place at the chequered flag.

What the FIA said about the penalty

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG, in Parc Ferme after the Sprint

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

Although drivers were battling difficult tricky conditions in the early stages of the sprint race, the FIA stewards said that they felt that Hamilton could have avoided the collision.

In a statement explaining the reasoning behind penalising the seven-time world champion, the stewards said that Hamilton only understeered into Perez after touching the kerbs.

"Hamilton was attempting to pass Perez on the inside at Turn 15," stated the stewards. "While Perez was giving little room on the inside for Hamilton, Hamilton drove onto the kerb and subsequently understeered into Perez in the wet conditions.

"The Stewards consider that Hamilton was predominantly at fault for causing a collision and order a 5-second penalty."

As well as being given a five-second penalty for the Perez clash, Hamilton was given two penalty points on his licence – which are the only points he has right now.

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