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AFP
September 29, 2020

Stewards acted fairly against Hamilton: FIA

Sports

AFP
September 29, 2020

SOCHI, Russia: Race director Michael Masi has hit back at Lewis Hamilton’s claim that Formula One’s rulers are trying to stop him winning races — and said Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix stewards acted fairly by penalising him.

Hamilton, who led from pole position, was hit with two five-second penalties for pre-race misdemeanours that wrecked his bid for a record-equalling 91st Grand Prix win. Masi, who took over as the top official at races representing the International Motoring Federation (FIA) in the aftermath of Charlie Whiting’s sudden death in Melbourne last year, flatly rejected Hamilton’s post-race comments.

“I think from an FIA perspective we are there as a sporting regulator to administer the regulations,” the Australian said late Sunday. “We have the stewards as an independent judiciary to adjudicate those.

“There was an infringement and it doesn’t matter if it was Lewis Hamilton or any one of the other 19 drivers — if a breach has occurred they will consider it on its merits. “Further to that, I would say they adjudicate it equitably and fairly in the circumstances, taking all of the key elements into account.”

Hamilton was penalised for performing irregular pre-race practice starts in the pit lane exit road and for inconsistent speed on the reconnaissance lap. The sanctions, widely seen as too severe, effectively ended his hopes of winning in Sochi and levelling with Michael Schumacher’s record of 91 Grand Prix victories.