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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes explain penalised Italian GP pit stop

The what, how and why of the unusual pit-lane mix-up that cost F1’s world champions victoryat Monza; Hamilton collects two more F1 penalty points

Last Updated: 07/09/20 11:24am











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Race leader Lewis Hamilton was given a 10-second time penalty as the session was stopped in Italy due to Charles Leclerc’s dramatic crash.

Race leader Lewis Hamilton was given a 10-second time penalty as the session was stopped in Italy due to Charles Leclerc’s dramatic crash.

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have explained more about the “weird” situation in the pit lane that led to the world champion receiving a penalty that cost them victory in the Italian GP.

Amid a dramatic race won completely unexpectedly by AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, Hamilton dropped to the back from first to the back of the field via a 10-second stop-and-go penalty for entering then pit lane on lap 20 when it was closed after Kevin Magnussen’s Haas broke down on the outside of Monza’s first corner.

Antonio Giovinazzi, the Alfa Romeo driver, was also penalised for the same offence.

The pit lane was closed by race control at 15:41:47 local time.

‘The pit lane closed message was displayed on the Time Page 3, and the pit lane closed lights were displayed on light panels 16 and 17 at the same time,’ said the stewards. ‘Car 44 [Hamilton] entered the pit lane 15:41:59.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted: “The decisions that were taken were highly unusual; but they were absolutely within the rules.”

Explaining what had happened, the Austrian said: “With Lewis and the penalty, it was a weird sequence of events. We should have spotted earlier that the pit lane was closed, by the time that we did, the car was entering the pit lane.

“There was a single yellow [flag, at the final corner] than 11 seconds later a Safety Car deployed. I don’t know why, this what we couldn’t understand.

“Whilst the Safety Var was deployed they put the entry to the pit lane on red but it was two yellow crosses on the outside [boards] and no light at the inside.

“We spotted that last minute, back home, one of the strategists just shouted into the radio whilst we were entering the pit lane.”

While there is no traffic lights system on the entry into the Monza’s pit lane, the two boards displaying crosses to signify the service road was closed were on the outside of the final corner, the Parabolica.

Hamilton, who went to see FIA race director Michael Masi to find out more during the race’s red-flag delay, admitted this came as news to him.

“There were to signs that had an X on it. I actually didn’t see them as I looking elsewhere,” said the world champion. “So there was not really much more for me to do.

“If you’re going through a right [hand corner] you’re not looking left, you’re’ looking over to the right and gauging the gap between you and the white line.

“Naturally also when there’s a car that’s pulled over on the right-hand side you’re conscious of the marshals.

“Generally I don’t remember any time coming here when that was the indication for the pit lane closing, I’ve never actually known that would be the left. So that was a new experience.”

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Lewis Hamilton reflects on a disappointing Italian Grand Prix that saw him finish seventh after a stop-and-go penalty.

Lewis Hamilton reflects on a disappointing Italian Grand Prix that saw him finish seventh after a stop-and-go penalty.

Hamilton says he and team will learn from error, as penalty points rack up

With the entire process of entering the pit lane, stopping for 10s, and then leaving costing Hamilton a massive 31.6s in total, the Englishman resumed his race at the back of the field – 18 seconds behind the next nearest car.

Hamilton started lap 29 in 17th place but a stirring recovery meant he gained positions 10 positions over the final 24 laps, with his strong pace such that he also earned the bonus point for the fastest lap.

He said both he and the team could have done better but, all in all, was satisfied to salvage the result he did to maintain a 47-point title lead on a day team-mate Valtteri Bottas was only fifth and Max Verstappen retired.

Reflecting on the sequence of events that put him at the back, Hamilton admitted: “We sit and do the debrief and nobody’s happy and we have to hold one another accountable.

“I definitely hold myself accountable for not seeing those signs but it’s part of a whole sequence of things that we did as a team which weren’t perfect.

“But to come away with that many points, and the fastest lap which was helpful… talk about damage limitations, I’m definitely grateful for it.”

One potential concern for Hamilton is that the pit-lane mix-up meant two further penalty points were added to his F1 superlicence by stewards, taking him up to eight for the last 12-month period.

Drivers receive an automatic one-race ban if they reach 12 points and the next points to expire on Hamilton’s licence (two) are not until November 17. That means the world champion has to avoid collecting four more penalty points over the next six races.




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