• Chinese Grand Prix

No penalty for Hamilton or Vettel after pit lane incident

ESPNF1 Staff
April 18, 2010 « Button hails best-ever win | »
Vettel and Hamilton run wheel-to-wheel in the pits © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have been reprimanded but not penalised for their driving in the pit lane during the Chinese Grand Prix.

The pair entered the pit side-by-side, and after near identical pit stops, were released by their crews simultaneously. Wheel spin for Hamilton meant he came out alongside Vettel and they banged wheels driving down the pits, rather than conceding position.

The stewards concluded that the duos driving, which saw Vettel edge Hamilton towards other teams' pit boxes, was undertaken in a "dangerous manner". They talked to both drivers and reviewed video footage of the incident before making their ruling.

Vettel said he was surprised to see Hamilton come alongside him in the pits.

"I had a battle with Lewis in the pit lane," he recalled. "At the stop I was ahead; I don't know why he pulled to the left and was keen to touch me. I hoped I didn't get a puncture from that - I don't really understand why he did that as I was a bit ahead of him and had the advantage anyway."

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said that it was just a racing incident, typical of being in the heat of the moment.

"I think in these conditions [this kind of thing happens], both drivers were released at the same time, I think it was slippery."

He also revealed that there were no team orders in the closing stages of the race, as Hamilton closed in on Button and then fell back as both drivers' tyres struggled with worn tyres.

"Fantastic job by both drivers, they obviously had different strategies, but they ran the race just great," he said. "It was tense, those last laps, but they were racing, they were going for it. They were quicker than everyone else in those conditions. We took that as our view of how to go racing, but boy did it make a long race for us. Lewis had a fantastic race, again so many overtaking moves. Jenson was a little bit lighter on his tyres. We played the right strategy for both cars."

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