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Hamilton defends Turn 1 incident

NEWS STORY
31/10/2016

Lewis Hamilton denies that he benefitted from cutting opening corner in Mexico.

While the stewards were busy assessing Max Verstappen's late excursion during his battle with Sebastian Vettel, not to mention the German's subsequent encounter with Daniel Ricciardo, many were still wondering how Lewis Hamilton escaped punishment after running wide at the first corner after locking-up and heading across the grass to rejoin the track at Turn 3 still leading.

According to Motorsport.com, Race Director Charlie Whiting - yes, that Charlie - and the stewards were satisfied that Hamilton did not gain a "lasting advantage" during the incident and that telemetry proved he had backed off, whereas in Verstappen's case the only way that the Red Bull driver was able to remain ahead of a much quicker Vettel was by cutting the corner and rejoining the track.

Defending his move, which has led to criticism from a number of rival drivers, Hamilton said: "I flat-spotted a tyre so that wasn't an advantage. I was in the lead going in and still in the lead going.

"Basically on the formation lap I had a glazed right front brake," he revealed. "I had 500 degrees in the left and 200-250 on the right. I went to Turn 1 and the right front woke up and locked and I was carrying such speed I was lucky I didn't go in the wall.

"After that I had the biggest vibration," he continued." I didn't know if I was going to make it. The vibration was so big I could hardly see."

Interestingly, while much of the focus on Verstappen concerns the incident at the end of the race, little attention has been paid to what was going on behind Hamilton at Turn 1, where Rosberg went off track as he battled the Red Bull driver.

TV replays clearly show that the German was effectively forced off track after being 'kissed' by the Dutch driver, even though, having investigated the incident, which was mainly focussed on Rosberg leaving the track and rejoining, the stewards ruled that neither driver was wholly or predominately to blame for the collision.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Mexico City, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by jcr, 01/11/2016 11:13

"I find it hard to see the difference between the corner cutting of Hami or Max,
Rosbergs was a result of physical racing.(not a excuse)
But a Penalty for either Mercedes driver,
would probably have decided the World Championship.
Would Charlie Whiting (FIA) or any steward want that on their C.V.
I doubt it.
LET THE BATTLE CONTINUE !!!"

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2. Posted by Superbird70, 01/11/2016 0:34

"Bring back the gravel traps."

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3. Posted by Stitch431, 31/10/2016 19:33

"they smartly put the focus on Hamilton, whereas it was Nico Rosberg who in the first round after the wheelbanging racing incident with Verstappen cut off over the grass and thus gained an advantage (read position) and did not get punished for it. Probably because he is in a Mercedes..."

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4. Posted by mickl, 31/10/2016 19:27

"I think the first corner thing, because it was lap 1 and 1st corner there is some leniency by the stewards as there always has been at the start of a race.

However I do think the run off on that corner should change as we'll get the same thing happening again next year. A gravel trap closer to the tarmac so if you run off you run a much higher risk of getting beached.

Bernie's idea of putting walls at the corners isn't that bad an idea. As Bernie said in a post race interview, if they can't keep to track limits Monaco, Baku, Singapore, etc races should be dropped."

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5. Posted by Kkiirmki, 31/10/2016 19:06

"Of course he gained an advantage, cutting across the grass gave him at least a 2-3 second lead over the reset of the pack. "Telemetry proved he had backed off", well of course it did, what driver is going to try and accelerate over grass, and possibly spin his car? Hamilton knew he could release the brake (to avoid further flat-spotting his tyre) and safely travel across the grass to re-join the track. Luckily he did it while leading the race and not from somewhere in the middle of the field. Fortunately, the safety car negated any advantage he had gained, so it turned out to be a rather moot point anyway.

The FIA need to implement a simple rule: Leave the track, at anytime, due to a piece of poor driving (this should also include when its wet) and you will be punished. There no reason why the FIA can't implement a 5 or 10 second stop and go penalty."

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6. Posted by 4-Wheel Drifter, 31/10/2016 18:07

"I am so tired of this kind of 'fudging' by the stewards that I can hardly express how ridiculous the whole notion that someone watching television can decide whether or not a driver has or has not gained an advantage. You know what would put a simple stop to this ignoring, on the part of all drivers, the limits of the track? Simple: a fence. Oh, I know, that might be dangerous. In real racing when you leave the circuit, you are lucky if your car is not destroyed. So what's the obvious answer? Leave the track with all four wheels and you must go to the end of the line, place 22."

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