Lewis Hamilton says he went to see the stewards during the red flag period during the Italian Grand Prix and was shown onboard footage that led him to accept his penalty for entering a closed pit lane.
Championship leader Hamilton was in a comfortable lead ahead of Carlos Sainz when he pit under the safety car at Monza after Kevin Magnussen stopped on track. However, the pit lane had been closed as Magnussen’s car needed pushing into the pit lane, and Hamilton was duly handed a 10-second stop-and-go penalty that dropped him to the back of the field and limited him to seventh at the finish, having to take the penalty after a red flag interruption.
“I just came back, spoke to the team — they didn’t have any video — and I just wanted to see what had been missed, because I could have sworn on the entry to the pit lane there was no red light,” Hamilton (pictured above congratulating winner Pierre Gasly) said.
“It wasn’t to see Michael (Masi), it was to see the other stewards who made the decisions with penalties. They just quickly showed me the onboard, and there were two signs that had an X on it. I actually didn’t see them, because I was looking elsewhere. Then, there was not really much more for me to do, so I just left, went back, got changed, and that’s ultimately why I was a little bit late to the grid.”
Race director Masi says there are clear protocols in place that cover the pit lane entry boards and how teams and drivers are informed when the pit lane is closed.
“The signal used for the closure of pit lane, there’s actually two parts to it. One is for the driver, the light panels actually have a big red X on it. Depending on the circuit there are either two panels or one panel, so the light panels that normally display ‘Safety Car’ and all the other flag signals, have a big red cross on it. At this circuit we have two panels that display that cross to signify that pit lane is closed from a trackside perspective.
“Additionally, the software that the teams use has the pit lane shown as red with ‘Pit Lane Closed’, and the third element to that is on the timing page that has all of the incident notifications pop up, that actually says ‘Pit Lane Closed’, on page three.
“(At Monza it’s) the last two panels prior to pit lane entry — I think it’s panels 16 and 17 — and further just to make it clear, that the map indicating those is distributed to all the teams in my event notes and is part of the pit lane diagram. And obviously it’s also what forms part of the race director’s event notes which is used for the drivers’ meeting.”