Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children
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FIA race director Michael Masi has defended the lengthy wait for some stewarding decisions over the past few weekends, most notably Lewis Hamilton’s disqualification in Brazil. Hamilton was summoned to the stewards on Friday after qualifying for a rear wing breach but had to wait until the following day for confirmation that he was disqualified from the session, starting the sprint race from the back of the grid.
Mercedes were then forced to wait overnight again after lodging a right of review to the FIA for an incident between Max Verstappen and Hamilton ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix.
Verstappen, Valtteri Bottas, and Carlos Sainz Jnr were then called to the stewards for alleged yellow flag breaches during qualifying, with the FIA announcing their decision just a few hours before the race.
But Masi defended the process and says it’s better to be thorough.
“I think you need to remember that one of the things, and I’d say all of you [journalists] around this table have asked for, [is] for more description in decisions rather than just saying ‘this person is guilty’ or ‘this person is not guilty’,” said Masi.
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“The stewards try and write their decision – be that last weekend [in Brazil], this weekend [in Qatar], or any of them that sort of have a level of nuance to them – they put that level of detail into them, and it takes time, to draft, rewrite etc. We can have decisions, and that’s one part.
“The other part is the teams need to be given the opportunity to present their case.
“As an example, last weekend in Brazil, effectively in total over the two days, Mercedes was presenting to the stewards for about 2.5 hours, so you’ve got to put that into account as well along with sessions and everything else in between.
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“I think sometimes the stewards would be happy to just write ‘this person has breached the rules and end of story, but then we’ll go back a few years and most of you around this table have said you want more description!”
Masi also denied there was too much of a delay for Verstappen, Bottas, and Sainz, despite the Dutchman being handed a five-place grid penalty from second on the grid.
“You look at where the cars were on track, go through and have a look at all of the footage of every single car in the top 10, which is what I did,” he said.
“Then you look at the data and so forth, obviously it is time-consuming, and you want to make sure of what you’ve all got, so once we’ve finally got to it, determined who had done what and what was displayed and what wasn’t displayed and so forth we then reported those to the stewards and they sent out the summons.”
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