Lewis Hamilton is within two penalty points of picking up a one-race ban after his infringements ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.
The championship leader was guilty of practicing starts outside of the designated area, with the FIA informing teams via the race director’s notes where they are permitted to launch in the pit lane. Hamilton asked his team over team radio if he could do them further down due to the amount of rubber that was on the track, and was told he could.
A look back at the time penalties incurred by polesitter Lewis Hamilton before lights out – which ended up changing the complexion of the Russian Grand Prix#RussianGP 🇷🇺 #F1 pic.twitter.com/3EZ43De2UB
— Formula 1 (@F1) September 27, 2020
However, the stewards investigated Hamilton and handed him two five-second time penalties, one for each occasion he did a practice start in the wrong area. Hamilton was also handed a penalty point for each infringement, bringing him up to a total of 10 for the 12-month period.
Two penalty points were picked up in last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix when he collided with Alex Albon, meaning Hamilton has four races — at the Nurburgring, Portimao, Imola and Istanbul — before those two are removed. If he picks up two further penalty points in the next four rounds, the six-time world champion will receive an automatic one-race ban.
After the two drop off from last year’s race at Brazil, Hamilton will have to wait until early July 2021 to lose any further points, having picked up four in Austria this year (for two separate incidents), and a further two at Monza for entering a closed pit lane during the race.
No driver has ever picked up such a ban since the penalty points system was introduced, although specific race bans have been imposed in the past.