Lewis Hamilton has been told he is in the clear for an alleged breach of the safety car regulations in the German Grand Prix, after the FIA confirmed that an “anomaly” in the system was to blame for the situation.
Hamilton could have been given a post-race penalty if the stewards had found he had been in the wrong for driving unnecessarily slowly behind the safety car.
But an investigation by the stewards discovered that Hamilton had only been picked up for a potential rules breach thanks to a situation that had never occurred before.
The FIA announced it was looking into Hamilton’s actions for driving too slowly behind the safety car that had been called out for Charles Leclerc‘s crash.
The situation arose when Hamilton returned to the track following his crash into the wall at the final corner and a lengthy spell in the pits for repairs.
Under F1’s regulations drivers have to keep to a set time delta until the safety car has crossed the first safety car line for the second time.
It means cars that have crossed that line twice are allowed to run at normal speed behind the safety car, while those that have crossed it once – like Hamilton – still have to keep to the delta.
Hamilton therefore drove slowly to the delta time to keep within the rules, while other cars were driving much quicker – and it was this speed difference that prompted the alert for him driving too slowly.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W10 crashes into the wall
Photo by: Zak Mauger / LAT Images
F1 race director Michael Masi said: “It was an anomaly basically with the way the system is. So there was no further action with that one.
“Effectively your first two laps under the safety car, you have to respect the delta time to effectively catch up.
“The anomaly was everyone else was on their third lap so was able to catch up, but Lewis was on his second lap so was having to effectively respect the delta while everyone else around him was racing to catch the back of the line.
“Speaking to a couple of the sporting directors since, it is a situation that we have not seen before. So it is something for us to look at generally.”
Masi also explained that he had no cause for concern about Hamilton crashing under safety car conditions, after he lost control at the final corner and hit the wall.
“I think it is one of those where you look at the conditions the way it was,” added Masi. “It was tricky conditions all afternoon for everyone. It wasn’t even part of the equation so to speak.”