'Fans' hit out over Hamilton penalty


5s penalty handed to Lewis Hamilton for causing a collision with Sergio Perez leads to outrage on social media.

As the TV pundits breathlessly praised the Spa Sprint, casually throwing in that there were six (6, count 'em!) actual laps of racing, 'fans' were already taking to social media to express their anger at the penalty which dropped Hamilton from fourth to seventh.

The seven-time world champion had been battling with the Mexican for several corners and was attempting to pass the him on the inside at Turn 15.

While Perez was giving little room, Hamilton drove onto the kerb and subsequently understeered into the Red Bull causing damage to the sidepod that was to lead to the Mexican's retirement.

The stewards considered that Hamilton was predominantly at fault for causing the collision and gave the Mercedes driver a 5 second penalty and 2 penalty points.

"Not really much to say," said Hamilton at race end. "A racing incident I think, I tried to go up the inside.

"My only thought is it's tricky conditions out there," he continued, "we're all trying our best, and of course it wasn't intentional.

"I went for a gap, he was slow going through 14, so I went up the inside, I was more than half a car length on the inside, and if you no longer go for a gap you're no longer a racing driver as Ayrton said, so that's what I did.

"When I watched it back it felt like a racing incident to me," he insisted. "I feel like we're in a racing period, we don't want to be deterred from racing, you know?"

Team boss, Toto Wolff agreed.

"Absolute racing incident," said the Austrian. "This is a sprint race, we want to see them racing.

"The argument of the damage isn't valid because he was going backwards before then, massively backwards," he insisted. "When you look at the corner they were side by side.

"Yes, fair enough, it takes two to tango but it's a racing incident. For me that's pretty clear."

"I think he was in a bit of a hurry," sighed Perez. "Everyone was in a hurry to recover today, it's a very short race and you need to take that level of risk. But not nice to get my race ruined by him.

"It was massive damage," he added. "He took out the whole right hand side of the car. He damaged the floor and sidepod so that was game over, we lost too much grip with it."

Meanwhile, social media saw the usual pile-on, with 'fans' hitting out at the FIA and singling out Driver Steward, Derek Warwick, who also happened to be on duty in Abu Dhabi in 2021.

The former F1 driver, F3 and World Sportscar champion, was accused of racism towards Hamilton and it was even pointed out that he has a Honda dealership, as F1 continues to laud the new demographic it is welcoming to the sport.

Check out our Saturday gallery from Spa here.

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Published: 30/07/2023
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