FIA respond to ‘odd’ claims after Lewis Hamilton hit with ‘completely crazy’ punishment

The FIA have dismissed claims that Lewis Hamilton has been unfairly targeted by them after opting to hit him with a punishment several days after the Qatar Grand Prix. In a move which has been widely criticised by F1 pundits and drivers as ‘odd’ and ‘completely crazy’, Hamilton was handed a five-figure fine and reprimanded for walking across the track following his crash with Mercedes team-mate George Russell a week after the race at Losail.

Hamilton was forced to retire from a race for the first time this season when he collided with Russell at the first turn and was sent spinning off onto the gravel. After the race, the 38-year-old accepted full responsibility for the coming together and apologised to Russell.
But the seven-time world champion was forced to say sorry once more after the FIA announced it would be revisiting the incident where Hamilton walked across the track “in view of his role model status”. Hamilton apologised to the race stewards afterwards for putting his safety at risk, but it was not enough to avoid a heavy £43,000 fine for the incident.
The FIA have been criticised for choosing to open an investigation into Hamilton a week after the race had taken place, an unprecedented move given the amount of time that had passed since. But the world motorsport governing body denied the Mercedes star had been singled out. report that the FIA responded by clarifiying their reference to him being a ‘role model’ means that ‘any F1 driver has to set an example for younger drivers’, not just Hamilton.

However, that explanation is unlikely to placate any doubts or fears raised about the FIA targeting Hamilton for special treatment, especially when other drivers have committed the same offence and escaped punishment.

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok, now working as a pundit for Sky Sports F1, pointed out it was ‘odd’ that both recently-crowned champion Max Verstappen and Williams rookie Logan Sargeant had been guilty of the same crime and didn’t face any punishment.

Chandhok tweeted on X (formerly Twitter): “Not saying this should be condoned but I’m sure Lewis isn’t the first person to do this. Didn’t [Logan] Sargeant cross the track just at the previous event in Japan?
“Bit odd to talk about precedent when other people have done it before. Max [Verstappen] at Monza 2021 is another example I think…”
Verstappen had walked on the track following his infamous crash with Hamilton at the Italian Grand Prix two years ago and the Dutchman was much closer to cars driving past. Yet he escaped a fine or reprimand from the FIA for circumventing the safety regulations.

Another ex-driver, Tom Coronel, blasted the FIA’s decision and accused them over being overbearing in their handling of motorsport’s most popular racing discipline.

“How on earth can you fine Hamilton for this? We’ve gone completely crazy,” he said on the Racing365 podcast. “I’m not a three-year-old child, am I? I can just cross the road, right? I’m an adult guy. There are too many rules. We are completely bombarded with rules. It’s terrible.
“The track limits case is also something strange. I just agree. I think there were 200 FIA people present in Qatar. It made no sense at all, people everywhere in white shirts with FIA on it.”


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