FIA penalise Lewis Hamilton for Spa collision with Sergio Perez

Henry Valantine
Sergio Perez leads Lewis Hamilton at Les Combes. Belgium July 2023. F1

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez leads Lewis Hamilton and several others into the braking zone at Les Combes. Belgium July 2023.

Lewis Hamilton was given a five-second penalty for causing a collision with Sergio Perez after the two made contact during the Belgian Grand Prix sprint on Saturday.

Hamilton had looked to make his way by the Red Bull driver at an unusual overtaking spot through Stavelot, but ran into the sidepod of Perez and caused damage to his car.

The incident caused Perez to first tumble down the field before Red Bull pulled the Mexican into the pits to retire his car, with Hamilton also awarded two penalty points on his super licence for his infringement.

Lewis Hamilton drops several places with penalty

The Mercedes driver had been chasing Pierre Gasly for a place on the sprint podium at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday, crossing the line fourth after being told of his penalty.

With only 11 laps being run through the shortened event because of the rain interruptions, the gaps on track were small and the five-second addition eventually dropped Hamilton down to seventh once the extra time was applied.

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Perez initially reported after the collision that he had “no rear grip” and quickly fell down the standings, with the field filing past one by one as the laps went on but, with a hole in his sidepod spotted by Red Bull, the team opted to pull him in.

Hamilton had placed himself on the inside of Perez after he ran wide at Stavelot and the Mercedes driver was alongside through Curve Paul Frere, but clashed with the Red Bull driver in the process and the stewards decided to penalise the seven-time World Champion for doing so.

In giving their reasons punishing Hamilton, the stewards wrote: “Hamilton was attempting to pass Perez on the inside at Turn 15.

“While Perez was giving little room on the inside for Hamilton, Hamilton drove onto the kerb and subsequently understeered into Perez in the wet conditions. The Stewards consider that Hamilton was predominantly at fault for causing a collision and order a 5 second penalty.”

At the front, Max Verstappen took victory during the sprint after overhauling Oscar Piastri in doing so, with Alpine driver Gasly rounding out the top three ahead of Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.

Perez and Hamilton will start second and third respectively on Sunday, meaning the two could well dice again at the start.

Read next: F1 results: Sprint classification from the Belgian Grand Prix