German GP: Lewis Hamilton keeps victory after post-race investigation
Mercedes driver called to stewards over aborted pitlane entry after Vettel crashed out
By Pete Gill and James Galloway at Hockenheim
Last Updated: 23/07/18 9:36am
Lewis Hamilton has kept his victory of the German GP after surviving a lengthy post-race investigation into his aborted pitlane entry during the race.
After summoning the Mercedes driver, the stewards found Hamilton guilty of breaking the regulations but opted to hand him a reprimand rather than a time penalty.
Hamilton was investigated over his aborted entry into the pitlane after title rival Sebastian Vettel had crashed out.
Hamilton returned to the track by slithering over the grass to take the lead of the grand prix after team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who had held track position ahead of him, had pitted.
"It's the most emotional day, up and down," said Hamilton, who won from 14th on the grid. "No one ever wants to go and see the stewards, they have the hardest job because every scenario is always different, but this has just been an unbelievable day."
Why Hamilton avoided a tougher penalty
Although Hamilton was adjudged to have committed an offence, the stewards' official verdict revealed he had escaped a stiffer penalty because:
- 'The driver and the team candidly admitted the mistake and the fact there was confusion within the team as to whether to stay out or to enter the pits and that led to the infringement.'
- 'The fact that the infringement took place during a Safety Car period.'
- 'At no time was there any danger to any other competitor and the change in direction was executed in a safe way.'
Summing up, the stewards concluded: 'Taking all of the above into account, including considering previous infringements of the above rule, we are of the opinion that a reprimand would be the appropriate penalty for the said infringement on this occasion.'
Giving an insight in what he said to the stewards, Hamilton said: "Many times in the past I was in there a lot, but I hardly ever see them now and respect the rules and respect the job that they have to do. I was just open and said 'this is how it was'. They could see and hear how confusing it [the pit situation] was."
How the incident unfolded
Hamilton was running third when Bottas was called into the pits after the Safety Car was deployed, and seemed to be stopping himself before receiving a radio message from Mercedes and swerving back onto track.
"It was just the most confusing second and a half!" reflected Hamilton. "I honestly thought I was going to stay out, I was happy with my tyres.
"Then they said come in and I saw Valtteri coming in and I thought 'are they sure about it?' By the time I got in they were like 'no, stay out!' and it was literally 'go left, go right' and I just slowed down and trundled across some grass to make sure I re-joined the track as safe as I could.
"I don't know if you heard the radio after, but I was like 'guys, that was the most confusing couple of seconds!' because they were shouting in my ear 'no left, no right' but I think it was still relatively exciting."
Updated drivers' standings
|Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull||106|
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