Shovlin suggests rivals alerted stewards to Hamilton's practice starts


Clearly unwilling to let this one go, Mercedes is now suggesting that a rival team may have alerted the Sochi stewards to Lewis Hamilton's practice starts outside the designated area on Sunday.

In an age when drivers openly call for rivals to be penalised, perhaps it should be expected that the teams harbour similar feelings about one another.

Now, Mercedes trackside engineering director, Andrew Shovlin has suggested that Lewis Hamilton may have been 'grassed up' to the stewards.

“Some places there's a box that they paint on the floor and you've got to do it in the box," Shovlin tells the sport's official website's F1 Nation podcast, "other places it's kind of a general area.

“Often if there's a lot of rubber it's not going to be representative of the grip," he continued. "The drivers - and also the engineers - will want to find a bit that's closer in terms of the grip to expect on the grid.

"And what happened was Lewis asked if he could go a bit further along the pit exit, we hadn't realised quite how far he was going to go. But it's really just trying to find a bit of tarmac that is more like the one you are going to get when you do a proper race start.

"We didn't see the first one," he admits, "and when we saw the second one we thought ‘they're not going to like that'.

"We didn't think it was dangerous and given that the event notes said it was on the right-hand side after the pit exit we thought it might have been ambiguous enough that we would have... I mean when we saw the car position it wasn't a complete surprise that they didn't like it, and no doubt there may have been teams who flagged it as much as whether the FIA or the stewards spotted it themselves. I don't know.”

One driver who has to take avoiding action as Hamilton performed his practice start was Lance Stroll, though we know that Racing Point and Mercedes enjoy a very good relationship.

On the other hand, who had most to gain from as possible penalty for the pole-sitter?

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Published: 29/09/2020
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