Lewis Hamilton has avoided penalty for a rules breach when he was rejoining the track at turn 2 during the qualifying session for the Russian Formula 1 Grand Prix.
The FIA stewards during the qualifying session said that Hamilton was facing investigation after failing to hear Michael Masi, the race director who gave instructions to Hamilton as he was rejoining the track at Turn 2. Michael Masi had advised all the drivers in the pre-race event notes that they must pass through some bright orange billboards in the run-off area if they missed the apex at Turn 2, and later rejoin the race slowly.
Lewis Hamilton did not follow the given routine during the qualifying session which lead him to be investigated alongside Haas’ drivers Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean, as Williams Nicolas Latifi was also not left behind in the investigations.
In a statement given by race stewards after the qualifying session, it was said that Lewis Hamilton had accepted he had not followed the instructions given by Michael Masi. However the track violation did not give him any advantage and he returned to the track safely, escaping a penalty.
“The driver accepted that he had not followed the instructions and further he accepted that in a race there would be a penalty. The stewards determined that there was no advantage, as the relevant lap time was deleted.” The race stewards statement read.
“Furthermore, to be consistent with previous decisions, the Stewards considered the precedents set out in the 2018 Spanish Gran Prix and the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix.”
Nicolas Latifi, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen were also cleared of the track violation as all the drivers were reminded that such a breach would land them a five second penalty. The FIA has been particularly strict on track violatons at Sochi as it has a vast run-off area, asking the track managers to install an escape route at turn 2 before the fast left hand Turn 3.
Hamilton was looking at losing his time in the second qualifying round after going wide at turn 18 on his first lap that was later deleted for exceeding the track limits. The 6-time world champion went on to set the fastest time in Q3 securing the 1st pole position.