It couldn’t have gone worse for Lewis Hamilton at the start of the Qatar Grand Prix after a Turn 1 collision with his teammate, George Russell, on the opening lap. Hamilton had to retire, but that didn’t stop the Stewards from investigating it, though he didn’t receive a fine for the dubbed “Lap 1, Turn 1” incident, but instead he got done for crossing the track under race conditions.
For his part, Hamilton has claimed responsibility for the incident with Russell, and the Stewards ruled that no further action was necessary.
The verdict read, “Cars 44 [Hamilton] and 1 [Verstappen] entered Turn 1 three-wide with [Hamilton] trying to make a move on [Russell] around the outside.
“When turning in, the rear-right wheel of [Hamilton] made contact with the front left edge of [Russell], causing [Hamilton] to spin off track. [Russell] also spun but was able to continue the race after that.
“Whilst the argument can be made that [Hamilton] was predominantly at fault, the Stewards, taking into account that the incident happened in Lap 1 and several cars were involved, determine that the incident is considered as a typical ‘Lap 1, Turn 1’ incident and no driver is wholly at fault. Therefore no further action is taken.”
While he wasn’t penalised for that incident, Hamilton was investigated for crossing the track on foot during the Safety Car. The race was still ongoing, and he was found in breach of Article 26.7 (b) of F1’s Sporting Regulations.
He has been a €50,000 fine, though €25,000 has been suspended on condition that Hamilton doesn’t commit any further transgressions.
“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 44 [Hamilton], team representative and reviewed video evidence,” read the verdict.
“After crashing out of the race in Lap 1, [Hamilton] 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 [Russell] arrived at high speed after exiting the pits. He then continued to walk alongside the track until finally exiting the track.
“During the hearing, [Hamilton] 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.
“In addition to imposing a significant fine (which was suspended in parts), the Stewards also reprimand the driver bearing in mind that receiving a certain number of reprimands during a season will draw a significant driving penalty in accordance with Article 18.2 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations.”