Lewis demands yellow flags clarification 

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton has asked for clarification surrounding the yellow flags waving that provided a twist to Budapest qualifying.

After one of the longest Q1 sessions ever witnessed, Q3 was ramping up to provide some last minute excitement. All the cars were on track, and readying for a final hot lap of the session.

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso lost control of his car at turn 9 and was facing the oncoming traffic. Double waved yellows appeared straight away, warning other drivers to “be prepared to stop”. This ruined nearly everyone’s final hot lap, everyone bar Nico.

Fernando managed to get going before Nico came around the corner, and the yellow flags were close to being removed as Nico approached. After seeing what looked like a nailed-on pole position disappear from his grasp, Lewis asked for clarification on what a yellow flag situation actually meant.

“Well yes, when it is a yellow flag it says that you have to be prepared to slow down or you have to slow down and lose some time,” he said. “When it is a double yellow it says be prepared for a car or marshal on track because you don’t know what is around the corner so you have to be prepared to stop, that is what it says.

“The clarification that is needed is… Nico only lost a tenth at the corner so if that is really what we are allowed to do in future for the likes of even if you lift when you approach a corner with due care if that is allowed on a double yellow, I thought that was the case in a single yellow, but on a double I thought you had to pay more caution to it. If it is only a tenth you have to lose that is now different for us drivers and we can approach it differently. But I’m sure not that is the safest approach.

“We’ve seen such incidents in the past. I seem to remember [Pastor] Maldonado nearly hitting a marshal at Monaco one time because he hadn’t slowed down enough and there was a marshal on the track.”

“Just more clarification would be good. For me there was no question I had to lift because Fernando was on track but perhaps for Nico I think Fernando had cleared but there were still flags. It is just a different scenario. Otherwise it is what it is and I will fight from where I am.”

Four hours after the event the stewards decided that Nico’s lap was legal, and that the championship leader would be allowed to keep his time. The stewards found that Nico did in fact lift sufficiently.

One thing is for sure, we will potentially have more Mercedes fireworks between the two championship rivals.

11 responses to “Lewis demands yellow flags clarification 

  1. Two sides to this one, Lewis is right about a double waved yellow but the explanation that Nico gave plus a drying track also run true. Many on here have called for a full track speed limit and this seems a very sensible solution as Marshals do a wonderful job and it’s in the interest of the sport that we protect them whilst on track..that all said ,why does Lewis feel the need to play this out after the race, surely it’s better to express these things behind closed doors as it just makes f1 more of a laughing stock.

  2. FIA learns nothing from the Bianchi situation. Speeding with double waved yellow is perfectly ok.

  3. Lewis is right to ask for clarification. While the waved yellows may have been ‘close to being removed as Nico approached’ but how did Nico know that? All Nico could see was the waved yellows so he should have slowed. Problem is FIA/Stewards have made a noticeable lift on the data trace enough to satisfy the rules for waved yellows. It is now custom and practice to be able to show a lift on a data trace to avoid any penalty.
    I can’t really believe after Jules and FIA report saying he was going to fast under waved yellows that they have not clarified the rules to ensure safety of drivers and marshals when they are most vulnerable.
    If, god forbid, anyone else is injured in a waved yellow section the FIA will not have a leg to stand on. They have written down in a public technical document a 0.1sec lift is enough to satisfy the waved yellow rules!!!!!

  4. Would it be too hard to say under double waved yellow sector to force the pit-lane speed limiter.

  5. What’s really funny about it is that it’s only an issue if this nico does it. When the other does it (hulk) in Austria nobody cared.

  6. This reminds me of Alonso’s accident in Brazil 2003. None of the drivers will ever respect any guidance’s, unless there’s a strict nad clear rule.

  7. You should not be able to set a time during Quali if any part of your lap is under yellows of any sort. End of. Have they learned nothing from Bianchi? Drivers should never be trying to drive to a target speed/time under any form of yellows unless that speed is genuinely slow (i.e. safety car slow), not just “no faster than their last qualifying lap”.

  8. Lewis was asked by a journalist in questions from the floor in the press conference yesterday.
    If you watch the video, Nico lifted for the braking zone, then carried his speed through the apex. Doesn’t appear as if he was prepared to stop, as what double yellow flags means.

    • I guarantee you’ll find examples, post Jules accident, of every driver on the grid driving through dbl waved yellows in a not prepared to stop manner. So lets not suggest that everyone out there is good as gold bar Rosberg, as that simply isn’t the case. The only reason this was highlighted here was that it hampered Hamilton and assisted Nico, that’s why you didn’t hear a word from Lewis’ mouth about Hulk in Austria.

      Should they slow down more for dbl yellows? Hell yes. I’ve long said that and the FIA were correct in saying that part of the fault in the Bianchi accident lies with a driver who didn’t back off sufficiently, but until all drivers back off by a considerable margin it makes it difficult to be that guy who loses several seconds to his rivals each time. That’s why they can’t leave this to the drivers judgement, IMO a mandatory VSC maintaining time gaps between cars should probably be used as it’s about the fairest way to do things.

  9. Stewards will sometimes bend the rules or even disregard them in order to make it a better show. Or they don’t clarify until after an incident. It is not a sport, It is a business through and through.

  10. Personally I believe stewards decisions are met to enhance the show, causing controversies allong the way.
    They know that a trailing Rosberg by a considerable margin would mean game over, hence the diabolical penalties and none penalties. Why didn’t they give him a drive-through in Silverstone, a 10 place grid penalty or black flag in Austria, a 5 place grid penalty plus a fine for a double-yellow flag infringements in Hungary??
    If the attitudes taken by stewards reflect a “we don’t want to interfer in the championship” then good for them, i hope the lawyers dealing with the death of Jules Bianchi will have taken note of Hungary’s Q3 decision.

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