FIA announce decision after Lewis Hamilton part of four-driver Qatar investigation

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton was one of four drivers investigated for potentially driving too slowly in the opening segment of Qatar GP qualifying, though all escaped without punishment.

In order to manage potentially dangerous traffic issues during qualifying, the FIA commonly set a maximum lap time which must be respected throughout the sessions.

And for the Qatar Grand Prix, the time set was a 1:46.0.

Lewis Hamilton escaped punishment after investigation

However, Hamilton was one of four drivers who failed to respect that delta.

Race Control would confirm that Hamilton, Yuki Tsunoda, Liam Lawson and Oscar Piastri were all under investigation for potentially driving too slowly, as the four then waited to learn of the outcome.

Mercedes’ Hamilton secured P3 provisionally on the grid, with McLaren’s Piastri P6, while AlphaTauri duo Tsunoda and Lawson secured P11 and P18 respectively.

And now the drivers can rest easy after the stewards decided to take no further action on the matter, and explained their reasoning for this verdict.

“The stewards thoroughly reviewed marshalling/positioning data, timing data, onboard cameras and CCTV cameras,” their report began.

“Most of the incidents were easily judged based on the video evidence and therefore there was no necessity to hear from the drivers involved.

“For one incident, the stewards summoned (document 23) and heard from the driver of Car 44 (Lewis Hamilton) and the team representative to obtain more clarity.

“All drivers concerned stayed at or above speeds necessary to stay below 1:46.0 around the vast majority of the circuit. However, in all six cases the stewards determined that the drivers took appropriate actions to not impede other drivers, and in all cases they slowed down significantly to allow other drivers to pass while giving those drivers a clear track.

“The stewards therefore determine that they did not drive “unnecessarily slowly”, and that evidently the reason they were above the maximum time was due to their appropriate actions and take no further action.

“However, the stewards noted that in most of the incidents the fact that other cars were making a gap at the end of the lap influenced the drivers trying to maintain their delta time.

“The drivers are reminded once again that no car may be driven unnecessarily slowly and the stewards will continue to monitor the issue closely.”

With Red Bull’s Sergio Perez failing to make the top 10 for Sunday’s grid, Hamilton is presented with a golden opportunity to further reduce the deficit to Perez in that runner-up position in the Drivers’ Championship, currently standing at 33 points.