Hamilton says race officials ‘are trying to stop me!’

Lewis Hamilton might have finished on the podium in today’s Russian Grand Prix, but he was far from happy with what had happened in Sochi after being handed two penalties for a pre-race infraction.

Hamilton carried out two practice starts at the end of pit lane before heading to the grid, but it was out of the area mandated by the race director’s instructions.

He was given two separate five second penalties which cost him the lead of the race and left him battling to get back on the podium by the time the chequered flag came out.

  • Read also: Bottas takes second win at Sochi as Hamilton penalised

“What happened? What happened?!!”, Hamilton said over the team radio when told about the penalty. “Where’s that in the rule book?”

When he was interviewed by Johnny Herbert immediately after the race, Hamilton dodged questions about how he felt about the penalty.

“It doesn’t matter to me what happened before the race. It happened,” he said. “It wasn’t my best day, but it is what it is.”

“I didn’t do much during the race, I just held my position. Congratulations to Valtteri for his victory, of course,” he added.

But when he was subsequently interviewed by Sky Sports F1, Hamilton gave vent to his frustration and annoyance over the decision.

“I need to go back and see what the rules are,” he said. “I need to see exactly what I did wrong. I’m pretty sure nobody has got two five-second penalties for something so ridiculous before.

“I didn’t put anyone in danger, I’ve done this at a million tracks over the years and never been questioned on it,” he continued. “It is what it is.

Asked if he felt that the decision had been excessive, Hamilton responded: “Of course it is. But it’s to be expected.

“They are trying to stop me,” he said, referring to the race stewards. “But it’s okay, I just need to try keep my head down and stay focused and see what happens.”

Hamilton was also unhappy with the Mercedes strategists’ timing of his pit stop during which he had to serve the two consecutive penalties.

“The plan was to stop on that lap it was just that I was trying to go as far as I could,” he explained. “It didn’t change a huge amount, but I know I had such a long way to go on that tyre.

“I was doing pretty well on that soft,” he pointed out. “We’ll discuss it and try figure it out. I’ve just got to make sure I don’t put myself in that position again.”

As well as the two time penalties, Hamilton has also been given two penalty points on his F1 superlicence. He now has ten in total for the last 12 month period – and if he reaches 12 then he incurs an automatic one race ban.

That will remain the case for the next four races until the Turkish GP in November, which is a year after he picked up two penalty points for his clash with Alex Albon in Brazil.

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