Lewis Hamilton punished after taking blame for George Russell crash – F1 news round-up

Henry Valantine
Lewis Hamilton slides off after colliding with George Russell.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell collide in Qatar.

Max Verstappen took victory at the Qatar Grand Prix, but one crash dominates the F1 news headlines after the chequered flag.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell came to blows at Turn 1 after a lightning start from the seven-time World Champion, but Hamilton has since accepted responsibility for what happened between the Mercedes team-mates.

A huge amount happened up and down the grid on a hot, humid night in Lusail, so here is the best of the F1 news from Sunday.

Max Verstappen takes victory in Qatar as McLaren make up double podium

Starting in the most natural place on a race day, Max Verstappen took victory in the Qatar Grand Prix after yet another dominant showing in his Red Bull.

He was kept honest by the McLaren duo of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris, with the Woking-based team notching their 500th podium as a constructor in doing so at the same time.

George Russell managed to recover to fourth after his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the start, but the heat and humidity caused huge physical issues for the drivers as some struggled to make it to the finish.

Our full race report from a frantic race is below.

Read more: Qatar Grand Prix: Max Verstappen wins with huge drama at Mercedes as drivers collide

Lewis Hamilton reprimanded and fined after crossing the track

Hamilton took to social media to admit he was at fault for his Turn 1 crash with Russell, which saw the seven-time World Champion retire at the earliest opportunity from the race, finding his team-mate after the race to apologise in person.

But while there was no further action for his crash from the FIA, Hamilton did receive a non-driving reprimand and €50,000 fine (€25,000 of which suspended for the remainder of 2023) for crossing a live track on his way back to the pit lane following the crash.

The stewards’ verdict read: “During the hearing, [Hamilton] was very apologetic and realized that the situation could have been very dangerous for him as well as the drivers approaching. 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.”

Read more: Lewis Hamilton slapped with hefty fine as FIA issue double Qatar GP decision

Sergio Perez labelled with ‘shocker’ performance in Qatar

While Verstappen sailed to victory in Qatar, it was a different Sunday altogether for Sergio Perez, who was hit with three separate five-second penalties for breaching track limits on multiple occasions throughout the race.

Those infringements dropped the Mexican down to 10th at the end of the race, when he could have been at least a couple of places higher without it.

Christian Horner was unimpressed afterwards, saying to Sky Sports F1: “Checo has had a bit of a shocker of a race.

“He’s had a horrible weekend, the incident yesterday. And then, unfortunately, the three penalties that he got in the race.

“Without those penalties, when you add 15 seconds to his time, suddenly he’s a lot further up the points scoring on a day that Lewis didn’t score, so it was a missed opportunity to really try and cement that second place.”

Read more: Christian Horner delivers ‘shocker’ Sergio Perez verdict after disastrous Qatar weekend

Esteban Ocon admits vomiting in his helmet during Qatar Grand Prix

Multiple drivers had to go to the FIA medical centre to receive treatment after the race for the extreme heat, and Esteban Ocon revealed he vomited inside his helmet after 15 laps in such conditions.

“Yeah, by lap 15, 16 for two laps I think I was doing that and I was like, shit, sorry for swearing, but it’s gonna be a long one,” Ocon admitted to Sky F1 when asked to confirm if this was the case.

“Managed to get that under control, just mentally tried to focus on exactly what I had to do, but I’ve never had that in the past.

“I’ve always been able to do two race distances in the car, that’s always what I’m training for but today, it’s just the hot air and how hot the engine is from behind the car.

“I don’t think we particularly see in the cockpit too well, so it must have been like 80 degrees inside the car today. I’m glad that next year we come back in December.”

He was far from alone in sharing stories about how tough that race was for the drivers physically, and we’ve compiled the thoughts of several drivers below.

Read more: Serious Qatar GP concerns after vomiting, near fainting and medical centre checks

Fernando Alonso punished for unsafe manoeuvre in Qatar

After an uncharacteristic off at Turn 2, Fernando Alonso looked to rejoin the track but cut across the circuit in doing so, getting perilously close to Charles Leclerc as he looked to defend position.

The Aston Martin driver came back on at full speed as he found himself close to Leclerc, but was reprimanded for doing so in an unsafe manner.

The stewards said: “Although Car 16 [Leclerc] did not have to take any evasive measures, the Stewards determine that given the speed and the angle in which Car 14 [Alonso] came back on track, he rejoined in an unsafe manner.”

Read more: FIA dish out Fernando Alonso punishment after unsafe Qatar GP manoeuvre