Lewis Hamilton believes the Formula 1 stewards’ failure to penalise Nico Rosberg after Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying sends a worrying message about yellow flag abuse to drivers in junior categories.
Rosberg kept his Hungaroring pole by demonstrating to the officials he had lifted adequately under the double waved yellows for Fernando Alonso’s spin at the end of Q3.
Hamilton encountered the McLaren as the incident happened so had to back right off, costing him pole.
After beating Rosberg to race victory, Hamilton said he was still concerned about the implications of his Mercedes team-mate going unpunished.
“If it is double yellow flag, you have to be prepared to stop,” he said.
“Nico was doing the same speed at the apex as I was doing on the previous lap, so if there happened to be a car that was slowing or a marshal on the track, it would have been pretty hard for him to slow down.
“The fact he didn’t get penalised means we have to be careful because the message we are sending to drivers here, but also to the drivers in the lower categories, is it’s now possible for you to lose only one tenth of a second in the double waved yellow flag section, which is one of the most dangerous scenarios.
“Before it was two tenths you’re supposed to lose with one yellow flag and half a second with two yellow flags.
“Going into the next race, we could be battling for pole position and we see double yellow flags and we know we only have to do a small lift, only lose one tenth of a second and we’ll be fine – and go purple in the sector.”
Rosberg argued he had done enough to safely acknowledge the yellows.
“What you have to do with double yellow is significantly reduce your speed,” he said.
“I went 20km/h slower into that corner, 20km/h is a different world in an F1 car – you’re going proper slow. Everything is safe.
“I lifted off 30 metres before my braking point, I was just rolling there 20km/h slower until I got to the apex.
“I had a much tighter line as I went in slow so I could accelerate out again.
“It was a pretty clear case for the stewards and that’s why I didn’t get any penalty.”
He added that the fact the track was drying throughout qualifying made comparisons with previous laps “irrelevant”.
“You’re going to get massively quicker every lap,” Rosberg said.
“It’s not like a track that is consistent.”
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo said the argument raised an issue drivers “have been wanting to discuss further for a long time”.
He added: “On a single yellow, people are getting away with a micro lift and show stewards they slowed down when they didn’t really.
“A double yellow is something significant. The double yellow needs to be very different to a single yellow.
“I guess that’s what we’re not too pleased with at the moment.”
Article by AutoSport
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