Hamilton Escapes Punishment After Investigation over Red Flag Offence in Abu Dhabi Practice

Lewis Hamilton will not face any sanction from the FIA after being cleared of any wrongdoing during final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after an investigation for passing another car under red flag conditions on Saturday.

A puncture for Pierre Gasly left debris on the track which needed clearing up, and the FIA opted to stop the session with a red flag as a result.

Hamilton was on a fast lap and was heading towards turn four at speed when the red flags flew.  However, in the moment he slowed down, because he was at top speed and Kevin Magnussen was on a slow lap, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver passed the Haas F1 Team driver on track.

However, the stewards found that Hamilton had followed the rules of a red flag, slowing down immediately when notified, and it was unavoidable for him to pass Magnussen.

“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton) and the team representative,” read the FIA statement.  “The stewards reviewed positioning/marshalling system data, telemetry, team radio and in-car video.

“There is no dispute that Car 44 passed Car 20 directly after the track was placed in a Red Flag condition. The driver of Car 44 stated that he was on a fast lap, he saw the Red Light, immediately completely lifted the throttle and applied the brakes, whilst checking his mirrors for cars following in close proximity.  He stated that he had, in doing so, gone past Car 20.

“The Stewards took note of the precedent in relation to the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix (Max Verstappen), where no action was taken against the driver under similar but not identical circumstances.

“The telemetry evidence was sourced directly from the live data available to the FIA not from any evidence provided by the team.

“The telemetry data clearly shows the following:

  1. That immediately when the red light was displayed, the driver lifted throttle 100%
  2. That immediately when the red light was displayed, the driver applied firm braking pressure.
  3. The speed of Car 44 at this point was 288 km/h.  (Car 20 had a speed of 126 km/h at this point – a delta of 162 km/h).

“It is out conclusion that the driver of Car 44 took every reasonable action to comply with the regulations in that he immediately reduced speed in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity upon the first indication of the red light.

“Notwithstanding, technically this is still a breach of Art b of Cpt IV of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code, however he could not avoid overtaking Car 20 in this case and therefore the Stewards DETERMINE to apply no penalty.

“It is noted there was no breach of Article 37.6 of the Formula 1 Sporting Regulations.”