You know, the more I look at the incident between Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikonnen, the more I think the stewards got it wrong.
If you watch closely it does look like Hamilton lets Kimi by again, barely. But the sticky wicket is, there is nothing I can find in the rules that says how far back you have to drop. So, as usual, Hamilton is obeying the letter of the law if not the spirit.
The thing is, you can’t really penalize people for that. Well, apparently if you are the race stewards you can, but you shouldn’t. All you can really do is change the rules to make it clear how much ground you have to give up before you try to overtake again.
I really hate this for a number of reasons. First, I hate siding with Hamilton about anything because, well, yech. Second, I hate the idea that the FIA are messing with things they shouldn’t be messing with.
McLaren has filed an official appeal of the penalty. I am not sure when the Powers That Be will hear that. There also seems to be some question about whether or not they can appeal. The stewards called it a drive through penalty. According to the Rules, you cannot appeal a drive-through penalty. You just have to man up and do it.
Are you wondering what caused this change of heart? Well, for one thing, I finally actually sat down and watched the last two laps. I was so nervous when I watched it the first time that I fast-forwarded through them to get to the end and see how it turned out. When I actually watched it, and some online on-board footage, it seemed to me like Hamilton did back off, just not very much.
And I realized that if this penalty had been applied to Alonso in similar circumstances I would have been screaming bloody murder. So I came to the conclusion that I cannot happily accept a questionable penalty just because I cannot stand the guy it was levied against.
The question remains is the FIA intentionally trying to manipulate the sport, or was this just a bad call by the stewards in the heat of the moment? I am going to sincerely hope it was the latter. But I wouldn’t entirely rule out the former.
And so, on to Monza, where hopefully the race results will be decided on track and not in a back room somewhere.