Hamilton faces investigation for failing to slow for red flag

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton faces an investigation ahead of qualifying today over whether he failed to slow sufficiently in response to a red flag during final practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lando Norris alerted his team on the radio to Hamilton’s actions after the red flag was displayed. “Hamilton overtook, the Haas as well, under the red flag,”

The session was red-flagged as Hamilton began a ‘push’ lap on a set of soft tyres. He came across Norris, who was on a cool-down lap, as he rounded turn four and passed Magnussen as he approached turn five.

Around the same time Hamilton was told “red flag, red flag, no overtaking” by his race engineer Peter Bonnington. “So get yourself back behind Magnussen,” he added.

Hamilton was also reminded to “keep delta positive” – by adhering to the minimum lap time drivers must follow to ensure they do not drive too quickly during red flag periods. “So just stay on that delta,” Bonnington added.

The stewards have summoned Hamilton to meet them at 4pm local time. They are investigating whether he breached article 2.5.4.1 (b) of Appendix H of the International Sporting Code. This states that when a red flag is shown “during practice, all cars shall immediately reduce speed and proceed slowly back to their respective pits.”

The session was red-flagged in order to allow marshals to retrieve a piece of debris at turn nine. The front-right wheel shroud came off Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri.

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Rule: International Sporting Code Appendix H Article 2.4.5.1 (b)

b) Red flag

This flag should be waved at the start line when it has been decided to stop a practice session or the race. Simultaneously, each marshal post around the circuit should also wave a red flag.
When the signal to stop is given:

1) during practice, all cars shall immediately reduce speed and proceed slowly back to their respective pits;

2) during a race, all cars shall immediately reduce speed and proceed slowly to the red flag line ((*) see the note at the end of point b));

3) overtaking is forbidden and drivers should remember that race and service vehicles may be on the track, the circuit may be totally blocked because of an accident and weather conditions may have made the circuit undriveable at racing speed;

4) if the race is stopped, drivers should remember that speeding is pointless because:

– the classification of the race or the order of the re-starting grid will be established from a point prior to the red flag being shown and according to the regulations of the competition;

– the pit lane exit will be closed.

All cars shall stop in order before the red flag line(*) until informed whether the race is to be resumed or ended and given the appropriate directions by marshals according to the regulations of the competition.

The red flag may also be used by the Clerk of the Course or his nominee to close the circuit (see Article 2.1.4).

(*): Red flag line: a continuous, 20 cm wide line should be marked with non-skid paint, crossing the track from side to side, at right angles to the track centreline, at the point behind which all cars must stop if a race is stopped or suspended, where they can be conveniently attended to and formed into a starting grid from which the safety car will lead them off if the race is resumed.

Update: Hamilton avoids penalty for passing Magnussen under red flag

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2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Hamilton faces investigation for failing to slow for red flag”

  1. Think he’ll get away with that one. Heading into a flat out corner he’d already passed the McLaren when the board went red. Even if he slammed on the brakes I think he’d still have passed the Haas too.

    He’ll have some explaining to do and maybe get a reprimanded, but these cases are rarely black and white when you’re doing nearly 200mph.

    No doubt this will be flooded with haters calling for penalties even though he passes safely and that would massively impact the chances of a good race on Sunday.

  2. No penalty for Hamilton, I expect.

    Now, if it were Gasly….

  3. A clear-cut penalty … for Max Verstappen.

    1. @red-andy Last year Verstappen wasn’t penalised for overtaking Stroll after a red flag came out in similar-looking circumstances. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the same here though of course what matters is the timings:

      https://www.racefans.net/2021/09/04/official-verstappen-avoids-grid-penalty-after-red-flag-investigation/

      1. Verstappen was very close to Stroll with nearly 200kph difference, so yeah, force majeure and clearly no penalty. Looking at Hamilton overtaking Norris, the same. But the Haas? Was it the same?

      2. With a comment as yours, I just hope no one labels you as a Hamilton’s fan…

        “you know how it is with these people…”

        1. KC _is_ a 44 fan and the bias has always shown. It’s not a matter of this particular -and fair btw- comment. This is not a complaint (it is his blog and he is entitled to support whomever he wants), just a statement of facts

      3. The stewards have cleared Hamilton and they did cite that Verstappen incident as a precedent:

        https://www.racefans.net/2022/11/19/hamilton-avoids-penalty-for-passing-magnussen-under-red-flag/

        1. yeah, I’m not surprised as well…

  4. The light panel light initially seemed yellow until the footage from the hairpin confirmed the color was red or changed quickly. Nevertheless, I reckon a reprimand.

  5. It did look yellow but even if it was red it’s still not worthy of a penalty because he started decelerating straight after that. Decelerating at 5g would not be the safe thing to do under a red flag.

    1. I tend to agree. The safest thing to do was to slow gradually into the corner. At the speeds Hamilton was doing and the slight curve of the track when he passed the McLaren there’s no safe way to just slam the brakes on.

      I think it might have been possible not to pass the second car, however the speed difference between them was enormous, so maybe not.

      Either way what he did wasn’t dangerous. He had full view of the corner, didn’t change direction and slowed down gradually.

  6. It does appear only after Hamilton went past one of the marshal points a real red flag was shown.

    There was a suggestion that passing Lando was unavoidable but maybe not KMag.

  7. He will be reprimanded.

  8. The flag (seemed yellow to me), was visible just as Hamilton was passing Lando. However, he only passed Magnussen a few seconds later.

    It doesn’t matter wether it was yellow or red, one may not overtake during either of them. So a penalty would be correct decision

  9. It should be no penalty. He passes a yellow flashing light board and the cars he passed were going very slowly. The physical red flag was waved at the post after he’s passed the post. I’m not sure how Norris knew it was a red flag when the post was still showing yellow – maybe his team told him?

    Obviously I don’t have access to all the information the FIA do. It from a quick check of the on-board only, he has a pretty solid excuse for why he passed 2 cars.

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