‘Lewis always goes ten metres further, not 200’

Date published: September 30 2020

Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes pit box

Robert Doornbos says Lewis Hamilton rarely does practice starts on the designated spot, but went further past it than usual in Russia.

The Mercedes driver’s chances of victory at Sochi were all but lost when he was handed a 10-second time penalty for twice making practice starts outside of the area designated for them.

He was furious after the race, calling the decision “ridiculous”.

“Are we all on the same page?” he said in the post-race press conference. “I don’t think so.

“I’m probably on a different page of the book or I’ve skipped a few pages clearly.

“It’s ridiculous the points that have been given people this year in general.

“Penalty points usually are for – I don’t want to speak on my behalf – from a drivers’ point of view, if you put someone else in danger, you crash into somebody, of course, you should be getting penalty points.

“I didn’t harm anybody, didn’t put anybody in harm’s way so ultimately it’s a ridiculous rule – but it is what it is.”

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After looking at various clips, former F1 driver Doornbos observed that not doing practice starts in the designated area is something Hamilton often does. However, he has never missed it by as much as he did at Sochi.

“In the regulations, it is discussed on Thursdays where you can make a practice start,” he said in his video column for Ziggo Sport.

“You [drivers] do it at the end of the pit lane after the red lights on the right. What you don’t want is for everyone to do it in the same place, because then there will be too much rubber and it won’t be representative of what you have on the grid.

“So Lewis always does it ten or 20 metres later, but this time he did it 200 metres later. All the way out of the pits. It’s an unusual spot and he was punished for that.”

Hamilton did apologise for his reaction shortly after the race, stating that he’s “only human”.

“I may not always get it right in the face of adversity. I may not always react the way you want me to when tensions are high, but I am only human after all and I am passionate about what I do,” he said.

“I’m learning and growing every day and I’ll take my lessons and keep fighting on to the next one.”

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