Only when we were about to close the chapter of São Paulo GP, another twist made its way into the list. Lewis Hamilton was summoned to the stewards. Before you freak out thinking that he lost his marvellous win, let us clarify:
After taking the chequered flag at Interlagos, Hamilton “undid his seat belts on the in-lap at the end of the race.” This was a breach of safety regulations as Appendix L Chapter III Article 4 of the FIA International Sporting Code states –
“Drivers must be properly restrained in their seat by safety belts in conformity with the technical regulations for the vehicle concerned, at all times during a competition when it is mobile on a circuit, pit lane, special stage or competition course.”
As a result, the seven-time world champion has been handed a €5,000 fine with a further €20,000 suspended for 2022. He doesn’t lose his hard-fought win. ( Imagine the anger of the F1 community if he did, Phew!)
The Stewards also had some things to say –
“While the Stewards are sympathetic to the desire to celebrate, it is fundamentally unsafe to undo the seatbelts while the car is in motion. Slow speeds in these cars are very fast for an unrestrained occupant.”
“Further, F1 drivers set the example for junior categories. It is critical that junior category drivers learn the importance of using all the safety devices of the car at all times.”
This weekend Max Verstappen was also fined with a €50k for touching the Mercedes in Parc Ferme. Hopefully that’s it for an expensive weekend for the title contenders! ( but as Toto Wolff, Mercedes boss commented on Max’s fine, “For someone with a solid middle-class salary, that doesn’t hurt.”)
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