F1 stewards hand out punishment after Lewis Hamilton broke rule at Austrian GP

Lewis Hamilton speaks to the media after qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix

Mercedes landed themselves in hot water with the F1 stewards at the Austrian Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton drove out of the garage and appeared to hit a wheel jack

Mercedes have been fined by the FIA after releasing Lewis Hamilton’s car in an unsafe condition during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix.

The incident happened during the session as the Briton fought to secure the best possible starting position for the race at the Red Bull Ring. A wheel jack was still attached to his car as he pulled out of the Mercedes garage and into the pit lane and it was caught by the TV cameras.

It was soon announced that the stewards would be looking into the matter after the conclusion of the session. And they have now confirmed a £4,250 fine for the team is the punishment they have deemed to be appropriate.

In an official decision document, they wrote: “Car 44 [Hamilton] was released from the garage in an unsafe manner dragging a jack and an exhaust extractor behind it. The stewards acknowledge that the team immediately informed the driver to stop to prevent any further damage and/or dangerous situation.”

Hamilton received no sporting penalty for the rule breach as he was not responsible for what happened. That meant there was no danger that he would lose fifth place on the grid after earning that slot with his fastest lap of the session.

And Max Verstappen, who took pole position, also avoided a penalty after he too was investigated over a separate matter. The Red Bull racer dominated qualifying but was accused of “driving unnecessarily slowly” at the end of the pit lane during the session.

After reviewing video evidence, the panel of stewards decided that no further action against the Dutchman was necessary. They wrote: “Despite the fact that Car 1 [Verstappen] exited the pits slowly and made up a gap of approximately 14 seconds to the car in front of him, the stewards determine that in this case no other car was directly affected by this in their attempts to set a lap time.

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