Lewis Hamilton has escaped sanction for overtaking Kevin Magnussen’s Haas under red flags during final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s Mercedes was investigated by F1’s stewards after apparently passing two cars in quick succession as the session was suspended following Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri breaking the front right wheel and leaving debris on the racing line.
F1’s officials spoke to Hamilton and his Mercedes team after the session, as well as reviewing “positioning/marshalling system data, telemetry, team radio and in-car video”, according to official documentation.
The judgment said there is “no dispute” that Hamilton passed Magnussen “directly after the track was placed in a red flag condition”, but the stewards elected to absolve Hamilton based on the fact he slowed as quickly and safely as he could, the closing speed between the two cars was extreme, and that Max Verstappen had been let off for a similar incident during the 2021 Dutch GP.
“The driver of Car 44 stated that he was on a fast lap, he saw the Red Light, immediately completely lifted the throttle and applied the brakes, whilst checking his mirrors for cars following in close proximity,” the judgement stated.
“He stated that he had, in doing so, gone past Car 20.
“The Stewards took note of the precedent in relation to the 2021 Dutch Grand Prix (Max Verstappen), where no action was taken against the driver under similar but not identical circumstances.”
The FIA said its own data showed Hamilton lifted “100%” off the throttle “immediately when the red light was displayed”, applied “firm braking pressure” and was travelling at 288km/h compared to 126km/h for Magnussen, creating a delta of 162km/h.
“It is our conclusion that the driver of Car 44 took every reasonable action to comply with the regulations in that he immediately reduced speed in a safe manner at the earliest opportunity upon the first indication of the red light,” the stewards said.
They said Hamilton “technically” breached the FIA’s International Sporting Code, but “could not avoid overtaking Car 20 in this case and therefore the Stewards determine to apply no penalty”.