Wolff says Hamilton penalties in Russia "far-fetched"

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff believes the penalties imposed on Lewis Hamilton at the Russian Grand Prix are "far-fetched".

Wolff says Hamilton penalties in Russia "far-fetched"

The FIA deemed that Hamilton had performed a practice start beyond the area specified in the pre-event notes issued to teams by race director Michael Masi.

The Briton was handed two five-second penalties.

After taking the penalty at his only pitstop, Hamilton finished third behind teammate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, and he also received two penalty points, putting him close to a potential race ban.

Read Also:

Wolff revealed that after the investigation was announced, shortly before the start of the race, he and Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows went to see the stewards.

Wolff also insisted that he wouldn't apportion blame to Hamilton or the team for triggering what he called a "far-fetched" penalty.

"The errors always happen together," he said when asked about the incident by Motorsport.com. "It's not a team error, it's not a Lewis error. And I wouldn't want to point at anybody, and I've never done that.

"Ron [Meadows] and I were the stewards, the verdict was he wasn't in the right place. There is no mention what the right place is in the director's note, nor is it in the regulations. So we disagree on that one – we agree to disagree on that one.

"The other one was not driving at constant speed in the reconnaissance laps, and there again, it's debatable. But the race has happened.

"He received the 10 seconds penalty. So for a reconnaissance lap infringement an in-race penalty can be debated also. But you have to take it on the chin and move on.

"I'm not happy with the penalty, because it's far-fetched, but we agree to disagree. I will always respect the stewards in their job, but on that one, we just agree to disagree."

Wolff insisted that Masi's notes did not specify exactly where drivers could conduct practice starts, suggesting that Hamilton complied.

"The race director's notes say, if I'm well-informed, that you must do practice starts after the lights on the right side of the pitlane. And that's what happened.

"The designated place, it says after the lights, at the right side. It does specify that the practice starts need to be done after the lights on the right side."

Wolff insisted that Hamilton gained no advantage by doing the start where he did.

"You know, things are not always black and white, and there's room for interpretation. There are rules that can be interpreted in two ways. There is common sense.

"There is the fact that then that an in-race penalty was given, actually two in-race penalties were given, for an infringement that happened before the race.

"And there was an argument that he gained an advantage by making the [practice starts] there, I think it was not an advantage because there was no grip, so much less grip than you would have on your starting positions. It is what it is at the end of the day, obviously, we're all emotional about that.

"But the emotion should be geared towards Valtteri who deserved a race win since a long time, and that is fundamentally what makes me happy. And finishing once and three should give us all reason to make us cheer and fly home and say, we can be satisfied with how it went, and now we need to learn from the incident.

"We need to look at the procedures and our communications. And as every time we will not blame the person, we will target the problem."

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton: F1 stewards "trying to stop me" with penalties
Previous article

Hamilton: F1 stewards "trying to stop me" with penalties

Next article

Bottas: Radio message aimed at people asking me to "give up"

Bottas: Radio message aimed at people asking me to "give up"
Load comments
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022