The day that Lewis Hamilton should have conquered with ease, two very simple mistakes cost him. Instead of coasting through as a race winner at Sochi, he had to settle for a podium finish.
Although the investigation’s results were to be revealed after the race, the FIA communicated the decision during the race. And Lewis Hamilton was not particularly happy when he heard about the time penalty.
Regardless, he kept his focus and tried to speed up. Eventually, he finished 10 seconds behind Bottas in P3 and joined Verstappen on the podium.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nBozO2RHoU]
Lewis Hamilton feels the FIA are ‘out to get him’
The British driver obviously felt that the sanctions levied on him were quite harsh. Speaking in a brief interview with Sky Sports F1, he stated,
“I need to go back and see what the rules are, what exactly I did wrong. I’m pretty sure no one’s got two five-second penalties for something so ridiculous. I wouldn’t put anyone in danger, I have done this at a million tracks. But yeah, it is what is.”
The Race Control panel imposed a time penalty because Hamilton was practicing in an undesignated area and thereby endangering the safety of other drivers.
As per the guidelines, for safety reasons, drivers must keep to the right of the pit entry while entering the pits.
In addition, the FIA also added two points, one point per violation, to his racing license. And should a driver accumulate 12 points, it results in an automatic race ban. And Hamilton had some strong words for the sport’s governing body.
“Of course it is (on whether the points penalty was excessive). But it’s to be expected, they’re trying to get me. They’re trying to stop me, aren’t they? But it’s okay, I just need to keep my head down and stay focused. And we’ll see what happens.”
Mercedes enjoys a good outing under the sun at Sochi
If on the one end Mercedes endured puzzlement with regards to Hamilton, their other driver Valtteri Bottas won the Russian GP. The Finn was absolutely superb in the race, pulling similar moves from his 2017 win.
It is now the second time that Bottas has won in Russia from P3. Overall, having both drivers on the podium was business as usual for Mercedes. And by doing so, they took one step closer towards retaining the Constructors’ title.