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Formula 1

FIA 'revisiting' Hamilton's Qatar track crossing punishment

by Matt Beer, Edd Straw
2 min read

The FIA has announced it is "revisiting the incident in which Lewis Hamilton crossed a live track during the Qatar Grand Prix" following his first-lap clash with Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate George Russell.

Hamilton was already given a reprimand and €50,000 fine - €25,000 of it suspended - for running across the racetrack after leaving his damaged car in the gravel trap.

But a week on from the event the governing body revealed it is taking a fresh look, although The Race understands the FIA's "revisiting" is more about setting precedents for future penalties than giving Hamilton a bigger punishment retrospectively.

"The FIA notes that Lewis was apologetic during the subsequent stewards hearing in to the incident and acknowledged that the crossing was a serious safety breach," said the statement it issued to media.

"However, in view of his role model status, the FIA is concerned about the impression his actions may have created on younger drivers."

The Qatar stewards' initial verdict on the incident noted that Hamilton had only "reached the inside edge of the track just seconds before car 63 [Russell] arrived at high speed after exiting the pits" and that "he then continued to walk alongside the track until finally exiting the track".

But while emphasising the severity of the offence, the statement last Sunday night also underlined Hamilton's contrition.

"The driver of car 44 was very apologetic and realised that the situation could have been very dangerous for him as well as the drivers approaching," it read.

"The stewards reinforced the fact that crossing a live track can cause extremely dangerous situations and the drivers have to be very cautious about it."

Hamilton was also investigated for the collision with Russell itself, which occurred as both tried to attack Max Verstappen's for the race lead into the first corner.

No further action was taken because "whilst the argument can be made that car 44 was predominantly at fault, the stewards, taking into account that the incident happened in lap one and several cars were involved, determine that the incident is considered as a typical 'lap one, Turn 1' incident and no driver is wholly at fault".

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