Hamilton just two points away from race ban

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton PA

Lewis Hamilton now two points away from one-race ban.

Lewis Hamilton has been given two penalty points for his superlicence to go with the ten-second time penalty at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver was going through the usual routine as the drivers made their way out of the pits to form the grid by performing a practice start.

However, there is a specific zone at the pit exit where the drivers can do this.

And replays showed Hamilton performing a practice start well down the pit exit, causing several drivers to swerve across the white line as they accelerated out of the pits.

The race director’s event notes for the Russian Grand Prix, under Article 19, state that practice starts may only be carried out on the right-hand side after the pit exit lights.

19.2 states that for reasons of safety and sporting equity cars may not stop in the fast lane at any time the pit lane is open without a justifiable reason.

The Stewards’ then handed Hamilton a five-second time penalty, before immediately after issuing another five-second time penalty for separate infringements, leaving Hamilton at a ten-second disadvantage.

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He served all ten seconds at his pit stop on Lap 17 as Hamilton surrendered the lead of the Russian Grand Prix to Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

But the Stewards’ weren’t finished just yet as they then added two penalty points to Hamilton’s superlicence.

That takes him up to 10 for the 12-month period, and Hamilton’s won’t see any points drop off his licence until the Turkish Grand Prix in November.

That means two more points would take Hamilton to 12, at which point the World Championship leader would pick up a one-race ban.

If that happened then Mercedes’ reserve driver Stoffel Vandoorne would be in line to replace the Briton.

The first two points for Hamilton came at the 2019 Brazilian GP after colliding with Alex Albon.

Four more followed in Austria this year, two for a yellow flag violation in qualifying and then for hitting Albon again in the race.

A further two points came Hamilton’s way for entering a closed pit lane at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, with one for each practice start in Russia taking Hamilton up to 10.

Follow all the action from the Russian Grand Prix with the PlanetF1 live centre