There’ll be a big sigh of relief going into the final qualifying of the year at Mercedes, as Lewis Hamilton has been cleared of overtaking cars under the red flag during Saturday’s practice session.
After part of Pierre Gasly’s front-right wheel brow disintegrated during FP3, red flags were issued to pick up the debris. However, it appeared that Lewis didn’t get the memo as he overtook cars under the red flags, which is not allowed.
“There is no dispute that Car 44 passed Car 20 directly after the track was placed in a Red Flag condition,” the FIA document stated.
📻 "Hamilton overtook the Haas as well under red flag" – Lando#AbuDhabiGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/oZimJWkkCZ
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“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 [Kevin Magnussen].
“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;
- That immediately when the red light was displayed, the driver lifted throttle 100%
- That immediately when the red light was displayed, the driver applied firm braking pressure.
- 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 our 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 184.108.40.206 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.”
With the Mercedes looking fast, Hamilton will be glad to go into qualifying knowing he hasn’t got a grid drop to his name!
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