During the FIA press conference following the 2016 Hungarian GP, Lewis Hamilton took as swipe at his team mate suggesting his behaviour in qualifying put others at risk of harm.
Hamilton had complained following the qualifying session on Saturday about Rosberg’s pole position lap being allowed and an hour later the German driver was hauled up before the stewards.
The result? No penalty awarded.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is in agreement with Lewis Hamilton, in that the double waved yellow flag rules needs revisiting.
“The worst thing about this is that we are an example,” Vettel said, echoing a sentiment presented by Hamilton. “Next week there’ll be a go-karting race and there will be a double yellow flag somewhere because somebody went off, and the marshals probably go out and help him, and then the ways the kids think is ‘I don’t need to lift much because in Formula 1 is okay’, and that’s the pinnacle and that’s how we have to behave.
“That’s what I don’t like about it”.
Some may feel citing the ‘role model’ argument, is a bit rich coming from the German. Seb’s car to pit radio transmissions have at times this year tested FOM’s TV bleep machine to the limit.
Then others may consider, refusing to obey team orders or asking the FIA to investigate your team mate is reprehensible, selfish and not in the spirit of a ‘team game’.
F1’s drivers claiming they are role models is most often a viewpoint fraught with danger.
But we digress.
Vettel appears to imply that there are better solutions than the current ham-fisted ‘lift for a tenth’ etc etc. “I think in the past we didn’t have the technology to time the different sectors around the track, and we only had Sector 1, Sector 2 and Sector 3.
“The rule of thumb was that you are not allowed to improve in a yellow sector. Double yellows, if you look it up in the rule book, means be prepared to stop.
“Arguably if you go two km/h or four km/h slower or you brake a little earlier and you drop one and a half tenths I don’t think you are preparing to stop.”
The German driver has apparently suggested the ‘mini sector’ where the yellow flags are displayed are deleted from the overall lap. There are up to 20 mini timing sectors at each race circuit.
Others believe cutting and pasting bits out of laps is not the way to go, plus the FIA and Charlie Whiting are not known to implement technological solutions well. Cf. The VSC.
It is clear this topic has been debated ad nauseam as Vettel reveals: “It’s one of those things we are trying to improve and try to make it more fair to give us drivers the chance to finish our lap even if an unfortunate situation comes up where there’s a yellow flag, but in my opinion it got worse,” said the German.
“We had many unnecessary discussions.
“As I said, in the past it was clear: don’t improve under yellow. Now we can and we need to debate how much is considered a lift and how is not.
“I’m not a fan of penalising every single one because we need to race as well, but I think it was pretty much what I was trying to say earlier, and I think we didn’t set a great example yesterday [Saturday].”
Yet the case of the drying track has always thrown up qualifying surprises for those last on track. Austria 1988 saw the mighty McLaren’s and Ferrari’s humbled as pole was claimed by Giancarlo Fisichella in his Benetton Playlife. Second last man over the line was Jean Alesi in his Sauber and he claimed P2 on the grid.