Lewis Hamilton has denied that a conversation he had with the FIA’s Charlie Whiting had an influence on the decision by the FIA stewards to investigate Nico Rosberg over the yellow flag issue in Hungarian GP qualifying.
The stewards had initially decided not to conduct a formal investigation after Nico Rosberg entered a double waved yellow during his pole lap. However, the German was summoned by an FIA document timed at 7.16 p.m. – over three hours after qualifying ended – after new evidence emerged. Sources have suggested that Hamilton played a role in triggering the investigation.
Intriguingly in the post-race press conference, Hamilton talked extensively about the yellow flag issue and gave details about how Rosberg’s apex speed on the yellow flag lap had been the same as on his previous lap, so it’s possible that he provided similar information to the FIA.
Toto Wolff confirmed that Hamilton had been in touch with Whiting after qualifying, although the team principal was keen to play down the significance of that contact. Nevertheless, the Mercedes management will clearly not be happy if Hamilton’s intervention did indeed trigger an investigation that could have seen the pole winner penalized.
“I don’t believe I influenced the stewards’ enquiry,” said Hamilton. “I have spoken to Charlie for clarification, because as I said in the press conference, which obviously I don’t want to bring up again, but in the next scenario when I’m in the same position where I was all I have to do is lose a tenth in Turn 8, and even though there’s a car facing me on the track in Turn 9, all I have to do is lose a tenth.
“Lifting and coasting into a corner, that’s fuel saving. And braking at the same place and getting on the power five meters earlier or whatever it was, and being the same speed at the apex and actually much quicker at the exit… And also at the apex of the corner there was a yellow flag on the right for the Turn 9. It’s just important to know. If that is the case, the precedent was set yesterday. He said he’s going to think about it, because that’s not how it should be. If I do the same thing in the next race, do we get penalized. All the young racers, all of us here, need to know.”
Hamilton expects the matter to be discussed in the next driver’s briefing in Germany next week.
“I believe so. I will definitely raise it, because as I said knowing that on a double waved yellow now is [lift] and then gas it and go back on it, and still go purple, I can still get pole while there’s someone crashed or marshals on the track or a car in the middle of the road. If I get round him with only using a tenth, there should be no penalty.”